Jonah Goldberg to MRCTV: How Liberals Stack the Deck Against Conservatives

May 28th, 2012 8:07 AM

If you have some free time on your hands, you might enjoy MRCTV's interview with Jonah Goldberg on his book The Tyranny of Cliches. If you've ever found it maddening that the media would present an issue like abortion with one side as hardline ideological conservatives and the other side as non-ideological humanitarians, you might be ready for Goldberg's thesis -- liberals have a bad habit of pretending to be non-ideological. He tells MRCTV's Dan Joseph they even lie to themselves.

In the interview, Goldberg recommends George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics And the English Language” as one of the great writings of the 20th century and a starting point for his book and the thesis that the media and the popular culture stack the deck against conservatism: (video below)

GOLDBERG: He [Orwell] talks about how – he doesn’t use the word ‘cliche,’ but it’s what he means, euphemisms and what not, stale language – that these things end up doing your thinking for you. And there are all of these cliched ideas, cliched formulations, that we indoctrinate kids with, that we indoctrinate Americans with through popular culture, through the media, in language and literature, that sort of stack the deck against conservatism, stack the deck in favor of a progressive statist outlook on life, and what I try to go through a bunch of them, and debunk them, and set the record straight.

Dan Joseph asked about how this is playing out in the Obama era:

GOLDBERG: Liberals, first and foremost, they lie to themselves. They think they’re not ideological. President Obama loves to say he doesn’t believe in ideology, he only cares about what works, he doesn’t care where the ideas come from. Jonathan Chait, Paul Krugman, a lot of these liberal writers that constantly talk about how liberals only care about what the best policies are, about doing good, and they don’t have an ideological agenda. And so what I argue is  that first of all, that’s just nonsense. And the idea of looking back on Obama’s first three and a half years and saying ‘wow, this is a guy who had no ideology, and was just married to the best practices and only cared about what works’ – you know, you sort of, if you believe that, you should probably give up your day job as a taste tester at a lead paint factory.

You can also read a summary of Goldberg's thesis at National Review Online.