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January 23, 2008
Frank Discussions: Jonah Goldberg
Jonah Goldberg's finally finished and released his book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. People seem to love Liberal Fascism (Goldberg has a whole blog to keep track of reactions; apparently some liberals are hostile to it) as its been selling out everywhere and even Amazon.com ran out of stock. Actually, it's kinda pointless telling you about it since you can't buy it. Still, I decided to interview Jonah Goldberg to see if I could get a free copy out of the deal (I'm still waiting).
Q. You seem to be doing a great service to liberals by pointing out their fascistic tendencies. I know if I were doing fascist things, I'd like someone to point it out so I could stop. How grateful have liberals been thus far?
I've been told that in some cultures, huge piles of dog feces wrapped in burning brown paper and comments on the promiscuity of relatives on your matrilineal line are considered enormous compliments. So by that standard, things are great!
Unfortunately, we don't live in one of those cultures.
Q. One great way to stop liberals from being fascists would be to round them up into camps. What should be the activities at these camps? Wallet-making? Canoeing? Something else?
I don't want to send anyone to camps, just for the record. But at Camp Kenwood, when I was a lad, we had a grand time playing water polo with a watermelon slathered in lard. For what that's worth.
Q. Some people may find it surprising to call liberals fascists, especially anyone who has never been on a college campus, since liberals just want to help the poor. Why do you hate the poor? Is it their smell?
Poor people don't buy books as much as rich people, so obviously they matter less.
By the way, you smell poor.
Q. What exactly is so bad about fascism anyway?
I see where you're going here. I think it was Lenny on the Simpsons who said, “Sure, the Germans made some mistakes, but that's why pencils have erasers.”
Fascism is bad in all the ways socialism can be bad. Why? Because fascism is a kind of socialism.
Q. You point out that liberals are like the Nazis because they're for organic farming and social programs, and so were the Nazis. Well, the Nazis also wore hats, so does that make anyone who wears a hat a Nazi? (Please say yes, because my wife keeps telling me to wear a hat when I leave the house, but I don't want to.)
No, actually this is what a lot of my critics keep saying I say. It's not in fact what I say. The point about the organic food stuff is that many on the left use the same arguments to defend organic food that Nazis did. They blather on about how we're all interconnected, about how capitalism makes you sick, about how the organic “holistic” lifestyle is an antidote to the alienating, deracinating pressures of modernity. They link socialized medicine to personal lifestyles, arguing that the state has every right to intervene in what you eat and how you live, because the state is picking up the tab (In Canada fat people can't get all sorts of surgeries because the state doesn't think they deserve them). I don't say liberals are Nazis because they both like organic food. But I do think that if we're going to have a permanent Fascism Watch we might as well ponder the implications of such similarities. “Public health initiatives were pursued not just in spite of fascism, but also in consequence of fascism,” Robert Procter argues in his path-breaking book, The Nazi War on Cancer. The National Socialist “campaign against tobacco and the 'whole-grain bread operation' are, in some sense, as fascist as the yellow stars and the death camps.”
And tell your wife if you wear a hat, you're worse than Hitler.
Q. I noticed in your recent TV appearance you have a goatee. How do we know you're not Jonah Goldberg's evil twin out to defame him and his talking couch?
I'm going to cut off your head and sh*t down your neck.
Q. Which presidential candidate is the most fascist?
I don't know, but Hillary Clinton wrote the most fascistic book of any of the candidates, remaining. Although I would have said Bill Richardson because he once wrote a book called “Nazi Supermen Are My Heroes” but it was in Spanish so few people read it. Also, despite the title, most of the book was about how he doesn't like negative campaigning.
Q. According to Amazon.com, your book is 496 pages and 1.6 pounds. If I saw a liberal three yards away who looked to be about five foot nine, and I were to throw the book with a momentum of 5 N*s at a release height of six feet, what angle would I have to throw the book at to hit the liberal directly on top of his head? Ignore wind resistance. Show your work.
No one told me there'd be math on this!
[It's actually a kinetics physics problem. Strange he knows so little about his own book. -Ed.]
Q. Would you support a tactical nuclear strike against the moon to fight fascism?
You well know my greatest concern is the threat posed by Volcanoes. The moon will have to wait. Perhaps we should have a sort of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the moon until we're prepared to strike.
Q. Tell us briefly why we should buy your book. You can't use the letter 'e'.
First, it aids in stopping folks from Visa coming to my pad and taking my stuff willy-nilly. Also, you would gain wisdom. This is hard. I miss that thing prior to F and following D.
[I ask the tough questions no one else will. -Ed.]
Q. Your interview on the Daily Show was quite edited. What happened in the cut parts? Did you strike Jon Stewart? How hard? Did it do any good?
We played tonsil hockey for about three minutes. Then he told me every single word in my book was dead-on accurate. Then he said, “but of course we'll cut that out! Hah ha ha ha!”
Q. Since conservatives like me fear change, were you branded as a witch or a communist for starting National Review Online?
Some branded me witch, others Communist. Which is funny because I am in fact both. I attend meetings where the first half are conducted Politburo style (How many bushels of wheat did we produce this week? Have the canned hams been sent to my dacha? Etc). Then in the second half we spark up a big cauldron of eye of newt stew and put hexes on carnival workers and people named Todd.
Q. The Corner is a very popular blog, but does anybody have any idea how many people are allowed to post on it and who those people are?
There are actually only three of us, we just keeping making up new names. Mark Steyn is actually an intern from Loyola. That guy you sometimes see out in public is an actor. You may know him from such films as “Kris Kringle Killed My Dog,” “Show Tunes Versus Demography: What Price Freedom?”, or “Knocked-Up.”
Q. And how many blogs does NRO now have? Is anyone actually expected to read all of those?
Yes. You will be quizzed later. How many? I don't know. Fewer than grains of sand on a beach, more than the number of natural teeth in Joe Biden's head.
Q. The people at the Daily Kos seem to hate you, but it's also well known they like eating their own feces. How could you be worse than the taste of feces?
That's a question you will have to ask the corprophagics at Daily Kos. Apparently they can develop a taste for anything - anything but me.
Q. According to Wikipedia, your youth was spent robbing liquor stores until you saw an episode of Star Trek that made you reevaluate your life. What episode was it?
How does Wikipedia get everything so, so right? It was “A Piece of the Action” because until I saw that I had no idea Vic Tayback was so versatile. I mean I knew he was drop-dead sexy. But the man had chops. And once I saw that, I knew that there was more for me than boosting Korean-owned liquor stores and huffing Miracle Whip.
Stolen? Dude you paid me to do that.
Q. What blogs, if any, do you read? (say you only read IMAO)
The Only Blog I Read is IMAO.
[Finally someone who can follow instructions. Buy his book! -Ed.]
Q. In closing, do you have a message for our nation's youth?
Text message while driving, don't go to sleep until you make it to the next level on your gameboxcube thing, condoms are for losers, only users lose drugs, always ask yourself “What would Britney Spears Do?” get all of your news from IMAO.
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