Monday, December 28, 2009

Waking the (Un)Dead, Part 3

In a recent bit of unintentional comedy genius, Enormous Thriving Plants Audrey insists Glenn Beck is "flinging poop at the wall", and "desperately hoping some of it will stick".

The comedy becomes evident when one considers that this is actually Audrey's approach to blogging, and especially to the topic of Jonah Goldberg.

In a recent post at her blog, Audrey makes one of her patented "criticisms without an actual criticism" of Goldberg.

Which, of course, necessitates drawing attention back to her mockery of Liberal Fascism, and another one of Audrey's great criticisms without an actual criticism.

While Audrey seems to delight in taking potshots at Goldberg when she thinks she can gain rhetorical advantage, the truth is that she has little familiarity with what Goldberg's ideas are at all -- mostly because she's stridently refused to familiarize themselves with them at all. The case in point is Liberal Fascism.

Audrey has been perfectly content to echo the far-left line of feigning offense at the book. Yet Liberal Fascism contains many criticisms of conservatism as well.

Perhaps most pointedly is Goldberg's criticism of former US President George W Bush. Goldberg criticizes Bush harshly for his flirtations with the Protestant Social Gospel that informs so many left-wing progressive movements.

Goldberg refers to this brand of "conservative statism" as "me too conservatism". To underscore this criticism, Golderb quotes a Bush speech in which the former President annonced "when somebody's hurts, government has got to move". Goldberg treats this comment as an implication that government has an overarching responsibility to alleviate human wanting through its activity.

In her exporations of fascism, Hannah Arendt famously wrote about the notion of "human omnipotence", as exercised through the state. Goldberg alludes to this same notion in relation to Bush's version of conservative statism.

In other words, Goldberg notes, the fascist notion of human ominipotence that lies at the core of fascist ideology isn't merely an ideological and philosophical dilemma for progressives alone -- the same dilemma confronts conservatives as well, and just as liberals have to be wary of this trap, so do conservatives.

In a proper intellectual response to a work like Liberal Fascism, a caveat like this wouldn't go undetected.

But truth be told, intellectualism is hard work. As for Audrey, she's simply too intellectually lazy to bother.

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