Not quite a Ronald Reagan, Carl Sagan, San Diegan Pagan, since I live in Los Angeles.
The Goldberg File
By Jonah Goldberg
May 10, 2013
Dear Reader (Note: This parenthetical's original jokes were revised twelve times by the State Department, removing all references to readers, dear or otherwise),
I'm pressed for time this morning as I'm in Kansas (actually Missouri at the moment). I'm speaking to the Americans for Prosperity chapter in Topeka at lunch.
Since you brought up Americans for Prosperity ("They didn't" -- The Couch) allow myself to repeat uh, myself. Two weeks ago, I wrote in this less than hallowed space:
I bring this up because, well, because it lets me get the word count up when I'm pressed for time. But also because Americans for Prosperity and the alleged bogeymen who help fund it -- i.e. the Kochs -- are a perfect example of what I am -- or was -- talking about. Suffice it to say the Left hates the Koch brothers. The New York Times is almost at the point of referring to them as Die Koch Brüder to really force the crypto-Nazi-moneybags insinuations.
But here's the funny thing. If you asked the typical liberal to describe what they think conservatives should be like -- and after you got the non-starter responses Michael Bloomberg, Meghan McCain, Lowell Weicker, the Gimp in Pulp Fiction -- the description you'd likely get back would look a lot like, well, David Koch. Highly educated? Check. Supporter of the arts? Check. Cosmopolitan? Check. Pro-immigration? Check. Libertarian? Check. Not much invested in social issues? Check. In fact if you imagine the New York Times editorial board personified as Andie MacDowell in Groundhog Day describing her ideal guy and Koch as Bill Murray's character, the conversation would go something like this. "Boy, I'm really close on this one," Koch would say.
Except, of course, there's one hitch: The problem with the Koch brothers is that they actually want their side to win, to persuade, to govern. And that's why they are eeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil. They are working against the liberal gleichshaltung. They won't pull their oars in the right direction. If they spent the exact same amount of money on politics, but only on liberals, all of the liberals bleating about the corrupting power of their money would be asking for some of it. Do you know what you call a left-wing Koch? George Soros.
Something similar goes for Grover Norquist. Norquist is receiving some strange new respect from liberals because he's in favor of their preferred immigration reforms. But liberals should have always liked Norquist. He's extremely libertarian on social issues. He's very dovish on foreign policy. His great crime? He's effective on the issues where he really disagrees with the Left.
Where possible, criminals try to determine whether a homeowner will make an armed response to a disturbance. Rattle the doors, start the dog barking, and fade into the darkness. If the homeowner starts poking around with something that could be a gun – scratch one possible target off the list.
Of course, criminals are human and make mistakes. A half million times a year a criminal encounters an armed "victim." The usual result is pretty much an "Excuse me, Mac, you know the way to Albuquerque?" That is, the perp makes some excuse and does the "getaway quickstep."
From media reports, about five percent of the time, the perp lays down and plays nice until the guys with the handcuffs come to take the perp off the citizens hands.
But about one time if five, more or less 100,000 times a year, a citizen will pull the trigger on a criminal plying their trade.
I wonder if the same sort of thing might account for "zero tolerance" rules that wind up with kids being suspended from school for pointing a finger and saying "pow".America's Autoimmune CrisisI think you could write a pretty good book on the idea behind my column today. I write:Is the American body politic suffering from an autoimmune disease?The "hygiene hypothesis" is the scientific theory that the rise in asthma and other autoimmune maladies stems from the fact that babies are born into environments that are too clean. Our immune systems need to be properly educated by being exposed early to germs, dirt, whatever. When you consider that for most of human evolutionary history, we were born under shady trees or, if we were lucky, in caves or huts, you can understand how unnatural Lysol-soaked hospitals and microbially baby-proofed homes are. The point is that growing up in a sanitary environment might cause our immune systems to freak out about things that under normal circumstances we'd just shrug off.Hence, goes the theory, the explosion in asthma rates in the industrialized world, the rise in peanut and wheat allergies and, quite possibly, the spike in autism rates. There's also a puzzling explosion in autoimmune diseases. That's where the body attacks healthy organs or tissues as if they were deadly invaders.Which brings me to my point. If you think of bigotry as a germ or some other infectious disease vector, we live in an amazingly sanitized society . . .I then go on to suggest that the absolutely ridiculous obsession with racism on college campuses and elsewhere is a kind of autoimmune crisis.One thing I didn't get to (I found the idea of the Klan laying siege to Oberlin College too funny to ignore) is the obsession with the "Muslim backlash" in America that continues to elude us.When you suffer from an autoimmune disease your body thinks healthy organs are in fact somehow invasive threats. Last week, Eric Holder's response seemed like an autoimmune misfire. Americans get blown up by jihadi immigrants and the body politic's response is to unleash antibodies in search of anti-Muslim bigotry.This is of a piece with the Left's instinctual, visceral need for terrorist attacks to be committed by white, Christian, conservative men. There's some glitch in their metaphorical genetic coding that makes them want to fight the wrong threat. Some liberal writers remind me of obsessive-compulsive hand-washers. They have a plausible concern -- dirty hands -- but they take it to the point where they wash their hands into bloody stumps for fear of a wildly exaggerated threat.In every year since 9/11, there have been more hate crimes against Jews than against Muslims in this country -- by a wide, wide margin. And don't get me wrong, I don't think America is bad for Jews. Quite the opposite: Without America, it's possible the Jews would simply be gone. This country is, in many ways, more Judaism's savior than Israel is. But to listen to the Left, anti-Semitism in this country is a weird hang-up but "Islamaphobia" is an epidemic. There's a Marcusian flavor to our autoimmune crisis. Herbert Marcuse's shtick talked up "oppressive freedom," "repressive tolerance," and "defensive violence" as ways of saying that American liberty was really tyranny and Marxist oppression was really liberating. It was all verbal alchemy, transmogrifying bulls*** into eggheady gold. The problem, alas, is that it worked.
"Which means you have to allow people the right to think freely. Yes, a lot of them will have stupid ideas. (What, you think your sh*t don't stink?) Yes, a lot of them will offend you. (Communist ideas offend me, but do I come and shut you down?)
"Unless someone actually has the power to send police to your door to enforce their stupid ideas, you can learn to live with it.
"You do not in fact have the right to stop people thinking thoughts you don't like. No, it's not unfair and bullying if people laugh at you. Yes, it hurts like hell but there's a reason for the old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones." And besides, ladies and gentlemen, you've been aiming ridicule at the other side for years, in the firm belief there was no one here but us chickens. (Some of us are dragons. We just also happen to lay eggs.)"