The Angry Confusion of Jonah Goldberg

Matthew Yglesias has come upon Jonah Goldberg’s latest tirade that he describes thusly:

“I read this Jonah Goldberg post that seemed to be complaining that liberals don’t cite enough sacred texts that can then be debunked (and therefore gain an unfair advantage by keeping our true theological roots shrouded in mystery) with some puzzlement, so I was glad to see him eventually clarify that he thinks a handful of inane pranks can rectify the situation.”

I admit that I got a bit of a chuckle out of this, but nothing really replicates the disingenuous pleading of the original post:

“The beauty of religious conservatives is that their dogma is open to scrutiny and investigation. Conservatives generally have a written canon that includes everything from the Bible to scores of political books. Liberalism’s canon is largely unwritten, it’s dogma made-up as they go along.”

Wow. Right after this bit, Goldberg states that he’s overgeneralizing but it would seem rather that he’s lying outright. Many of the principle liberal texts (Locke, Rousseau, et cetera) predate many principle conservative texts (Burke, et cetera). Burke, you will recall, was reacting to the lurching attempts to install liberalism during the French Revolution… Oh wait, hahaha, I’m assuming that the average conservative voter has read Burke.

Yes conservatives, I’m calling you out, who’s read Burke? Who’s read Oakeshott? Leaving aside the ridiculous, vaguely offensive claim that Goldberg makes that religion is the sole domain of political conservatives, a reading of popular political aims might make one conclude that the Christian bible is broken down into these chapters:

  1. Keeping it out of the bum,
  2. No abortions,
  3. Taking the brain-dead off of life support (don’t do it),
  4. Did we mention keeping it out of the bum?
  5. Tax cuts have to be in here somewhere… Anyone? Bueller?

The idea that all conservatives are earnestly attempting to adhere to biblical principles puts the horse before the cart in my mind. I think that many conservative politicians attempt sell policies that they’ve arrived at through a variety of means with a post-hoc religious justification. Moreover the problem with platforms based solely on religious texts is that they attempt to put policies beyond questioning. The other problem is that Jonah Goldberg really shouldn’t be allowed to write, but you knew that already.

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