- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

New TAC Online

The latest [1]TAC [1] is online.  In it Austin Bramwell has an utterly devastating review [2] of Goldberg’s book:

Instead, lacking even the excuse of ignorance, he chose to sling the term “fascism” around as casually as the most vulgar leftist. It does not speak well of Goldberg that, by his own admission, he wrote his first book not to enlighten but to exact revenge.

6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "New TAC Online"

#1 Comment By M.Z. Forrest On January 22, 2008 @ 10:42 pm


#2 Comment By John On January 22, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

I know. Absolutely priceless. Bramwell deserves a medal for that one.

#3 Comment By Koz On January 23, 2008 @ 6:41 am

I have mixed emotions about Jonah’s book, but frankly Bramwell’s review doesn’t score very many points as far as I’m concerned. Among other things, the assertion in Daniel’s quote above is plain wrong from my read, in fact it’s almost the opposite of the truth. In Jonah’s book, there ar e a bunch of chewy, more or less independent discourses relating this or that model of fascism with this or that aspect of liberal America. All told, it adds up to something that cannot be boiled down to three sentences, which hurts his presentation with the likes of Jonathon Stewart.

#4 Comment By smmclaug On January 23, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

I’m not a neoconservative, I have a powerful dislike for Jonah Goldberg and what he represents, and I think there are some reasonable grounds for dissent from his thesis. But I have seldom read anything that so closely hews to the definition of “smear job” as this book review. Koz is right–the sentence quoted above is the precise opposite of the truth–it’s not a clever zinger for which Bramwell deserves a medal. If there is one thing Goldberg does NOT do in his book, it is to casually toss around the word fascist. He spends copious amounts of ink actually defining the word–which “the most vulgar leftist” most assuredly does not do, which is sort of the entire point of the book. I have seldom seen a more obvious attempt to simply damage an author’s reputation among a magazine’s readers by confirming their preconceptions about him, and my respect for TAC has dropped considerably since reading that review. But of course, the review will be wildly popular among people who already know that they’re not supposed to like Goldberg. Personally, I’ll just go on disliking him for my own reasons.

#5 Comment By Andy Nowicki On January 23, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

Daniel, I’d like to hear you comment further about this article. I enjoyed it, yet it bothered me at the same time. Bramwell points out some things about Goldberg’s book that are probably true (I haven’t read Goldberg’s book so I can’t be sure, of course), but then he basically goes on to call writers like Weaver and Voegelin standard “movement conservatives,” when in fact in my understanding they are anything but standard– they are much more often read and treasured by non-movement conservatives– paleocons, neo-Confederates, etc.

Also, Bramwell seems a bit too assured that such nefarious figures as Foucalt, Derrida and Richard Rorty– and all of their pernicious ideas– are peripheral figures among leftists, and that Goldberg is stupid to say that the contemporary left is friendly to the ideologies espoused by them (deconstruction, cultural relativism, et. al). This seems so far off the mark that it’s scary. Granted, there are probably plenty of liberals who have never heard of these guys, and some academic leftists who have heard of them no doubt reject their ideas. But the left today is in fact lousy with people (particularly in academic settings) who simulatenously trumpet their own agendas with galling self-righteousness and call you a fascist if you object, and then in the next breath say that there are no absolutes and that truth is socially determined. Bramwell’s a good writer, but what planet is he on to claim that the left today generally speaking rejects deconstructionism and all the other trendily nihilistic yet at the same time dogmatically totalitarian ideologies?

#6 Comment By John On January 23, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

I don’t think that Bramwell is applying the term “movement conservatives” /to those writers/; he just says that they are the ones who make up the conservative movement’s “recommended reading list”. Indeed, a bit part of his complaint seems to be the drop-off in intellectual rigor from this original, pre-“Movementified” work to the currently ossified state of affairs that Goldberg’s book represents.