An Open Letter to Jonah Goldberg

open-letterby John Kirke9/17/15
Author’s Note: As before, I’m writing an open letter to a public conservative pundit, in part to encourage a substantive response that more than one person would read.  If he’s already answered the sort of questions I raise, I would appreciate being directed to those answers.

And, wholly apart from such answers, I believe the questions I have may be useful to others, as they shed light on the issues of the day.  I believe the following questions are worth asking.


I see that you’ve already addressed one open letter at the end of last week, and so I hope you’re willing at least to read one more.  It’s lengthy, but I’m trying to be thorough since I cannot assume that we’ll have any kind of ongoing dialogue.

I do think you may find this open letter worthwhile.  After all, this site was started by a few NRO commenters, past and present, who believe in standing athwart history but are frustrated with the disparity between National Review’s stated mission and the writing it has published over the last few years.

I myself remain grateful for your earliest G-Files in how they helped lead me to a world of conservative thought beyond talk radio’s focus on the issues of the day; I believe that, alongside McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad and Kurtz’ Radical-in-Chief, Liberal Fascism remains a key  book for understanding the modern political landscape; and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you at Emory University in 2008 and again in Chattanooga at the beginning of this year.

At the same time, I find myself less than impressed with your recent writing, as nothing has been as persuasive and explosive as the arguments in your first book, and on social issues especially you no longer seem all that conservative.

I was stunned by your rejecting Christian sexual ethics – the call to chastity, i.e,, sex only within lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, and celibacy otherwise – dismissing the standard as explicitly immoral and irrational, or as you put it, “cruel and absurd.”  I have no idea what makes you “very much doubt” that the courts will invent a constitutional right to polygamy since they’ve already jumped the higher hurdle of so-called same-sex marriage:  if only animus could motivate the belief that marriage is limited to the union of a man and a woman, what could possibly justify our limiting the union to two people of indeterminate sex?  And I don’t see how you can credibly argue for a “reification of the names” – for calling things what they are – when you write that “good manners” require you to call a man “she” if that’s his wish.

But I’m writing, not about these issues, but about the candidacy of Donald Trump.

I don’t personally support Trump.  A few months back, I explained to my friends on Facebook that my reluctance to support ANY candidate is grounded in my conviction that Mark Steyn is right, that we’re in very deep trouble.  I concluded:

Does ANY candidate recognize the gravity and enormity of Big Government and its even bigger debt?  Is he or she willing and able BOTH to articulate the problem to the electorate and to fight for serious reform in Washington?

If not, the GOP’s inevitable managerial progressive might be better than the Dems’ radical progressive, and it might be unfair to say that there’s no significant difference between the two, but the difference WILL NOT be enough.  It’s not enough to have a Republican with the car on cruise control rather than a Democrat with the pedal to the metal, when the car is still heading very quickly toward the cliff.

Trump probably is just another progressive, and so his candidacy probably isn’t worth considering, except that there is one conservative argument for Trump:  if every other candidate cannot be trusted in their opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens, it may be worth supporting Trump.  Support for his candidacy would keep the heat on everyone else, including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, it could help ground the debate in those “three core principles” that would be taken for granted in a saner society, and one could hope that a President Trump would actually work to implement most of his plan.

But even that conservative argument for Trump wouldn’t make the man a conservative himself, and supporters should be very clear-eyed that they’re probably voting for a progressive who has, out of conviction or political calculation, taken the right position on one very crucial issue.

They should be reminded of what I call Sowell’s Law – Thomas Sowell’s observation that there are no solutions, only trade-offs – but I do see that it’s a tempting trade-off in light of the treacherous leadership in the Republican Party:   if the alternative is an establishment choice that will betray the base on literally every major issue, it may be worth the risk to support a candidate who might keep his promise on one fundamental issue.

But apart from any considerations about supporting Trump, I appreciate his candidacy because of the light it has shined on the conservative commentariat.  It’s been an unflattering light, but not a dishonest light, and what matters most isn’t the blowhard billionaire’s mockery of the pundits, it’s their own comments in attacking him and his supporters.

There’s a great line attributed to J.P. Morgan: “A man always has two reasons for doing anything:  a good reason and the real reason.”

The line is, along with Sowell’s Law, one of my favorites.  It’s a cynical observation, and it’s certainly not how a man of integrity ought to live, but it’s clear that it’s how a lot of people do live.

The good news is that, as the Lord teaches, we can judge a tree by its fruits, and so we can discern a man’s real motivations by his actions in the aggregate.  Suppose a man says he’s ordering surf and turf rather than pasta because he’s going low-carb: his claim is plausible only until he orders a slice of cheesecake for dessert.

You made a similar point in my brief discussion with you after your talk in Chattanooga.  In the formal Q&A, you said that leftists really are trying to do good, despite their politics being cancerous.  When people were getting photos with you, I mentioned that, as a secular religion, Leftism could very well have an informal analogue to the Muslim doctrine of taqiyya – a practice of deliberate deceit – since Kurtz’ book makes the case that Obama is part of a movement that hides its real radicalism.  You replied that our job isn’t changing Leftists’ minds but rather persuading the audience:  I still have problems with the idea that we shouldn’t point out the Left’s dishonesty, as it’s not only a kind of preemptive surrender, it results in enabling their deceit and marginalizing the people who are bold enough to point out their deceit.

But you also said that, if Leftists have false motives, debate and Socratic dialogue will bear that out.

It’s not only Leftists whose deceit can be found out through extended communication.  The conservative punditry’s reaction to Trump has been very revealing indeed.

Or, for me at least, the reaction to Trump isn’t a revelation, just a confirmation of exactly the sort of misleading arguments I saw in during the 2012 election, in the fortnight between Todd Akin’s extemporaneous comment that risked alienating moderates and John Boehner’s deliberate actions that infuriated the base’s most attentive activists.

In an interview with a local reporter on August 19, 2012, Todd Akin made his garbled remark about “legitimate rape,” but having watched the relevant video segment, I have never thought the remark was or ought to be career-ending.  It’s common advice that women who want to conceive should seek to reduce stress in their lives, so I can see how someone would think that stress reduces the odds of conception, but no matter how egregiously wrong Akin was on his claim, his basic point was sound:  pregnancies resulting from rape account for a tiny percentage of abortions – and so we can discuss restricting the majority of abortions, since they are performed in less extreme circumstances – and it’s more moral to punish the rapist than the innocent child who happened to result from his wicked act.  The reaction to the Planned Parenthood videos released this year by The Center for Medical Progress demonstrates that it’s the supporters of abortion who have the most to answer for, not their opponents even when they misspeak.

But never mind all that.  The very next day, National Review’s editors called for Akin to drop out of the race, despite having already won the Republican nomination.  Among the pundits, the drumbeat for his head was loud and clear, and the rationale was pretty constant, that the 2012 election was too important to allow this one minor politician to derail the GOP’s efforts.

That was certainly your explanation.  That week, you wrote about Akin’s comment – “idiocy,” “asininity,” “buffoonery,” and even “jackassery” in case you somehow weren’t clear enough about how awful it was – and you gave reasons for everybody else’s high-pitched wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The simple fact is that the theatrical outrage – on both sides of the political aisle – is only partly attributable to the actual outrageousness of Akin’s comments.  Much of it has to do with the fact that Republicans are desperate not to lose a Senate seat they thought they had in the bag (and which could hold the deciding vote on Obamacare’s repeal).  And Democrats are just as giddy about saving the seat – and hanging Akin around Mitt Romney’s neck.

And how did that work out for Romney, distancing himself from Akin?  The Dems’ strategy should have been obvious from that January, when former Clinton advisor George Stephanopoulos pretended to be an objective debate moderator only to raise the absurd specter of government bans on contraception.  Considering how much hay the Left later made out of “binders full of women” – an odd but ENTIRELY innocuous phrase, indicating how Romney made efforts to hire qualified women – maybe his campaign should have tried to take the fight to the Left and thus reassure the pro-life social conservatives that Romney was capable of doing something other than folding at the first sign of controversy.

Your article was published on August 24th, and just four days later, John Boehner presided over a voice vote at the Republican National Convention, for a proposed rules change that would weaken the state parties and the grassroots, both by allowing the presidential nominee to have veto power over state delegations and to allow the RNC to change nomination rules between conventions.

Boehner ignored the point-of-order calls to have a roll-call vote, and despite the fact that there the ayes were not clearly more numerous than the nays, Boehner claimed “the ayes have it” – and video subsequently showed that the TelePrompTer had that conclusion foreordained.  The move was dishonest and despotic, and it’s not the sort of thing the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives would have done accidentally.

It was an outrage, a deliberate outrage, but the silence from the conservative pundits was deafening, except for a few honorable writers like Michelle Malkin, who covered the farce in real time.

Why were Republicans calling for Akin to step down?  Supposedly, the elections were too important; as you put it, they were “desperate not to lose a Senate seat they thought they had in the bag.”

But, if they were so very desperate, why did they risk pissing off the most informed grassroots activists by proposing a rules change that would weaken these activists, then pushing it through by literally lying to their faces while they stood on the convention floor?

“The November election is too important” was apparently just a good reason to bring out the long knives for Akin.  Quite transparently, it wasn’t the real reason.

I would summarize the attack against Akin in this way.

  1. Along with other conservative pundits, NR’s editors opposed Akin’s continued candidacy.
  2. Akin’s continued candidacy threatened to undermine the GOP’s 2012 electoral efforts.
  3. NR’s editors claimed to oppose Akin’s candidacy because it threatened the election.

Point 1 was obvious, and point 2 was at least arguable, but point 3 was a transparent lie:  if the editors were really concerned about threats to the GOP’s electoral chances, they would have been equally vocal in their opposition to Boehner’s continued leadership , which also threatened the Republicans’ victory at the ballot box by enraging the base.

Jonah, I would formulate your argument from your September 4th G-File similarly.

  1. You oppose Donald Trump.
  2. Donald Trump isn’t a conservative.
  3. You oppose Trump because he isn’t a conservative.

Point 1 is obvious, and I think point 2 is equally obvious, though “Trump ain’t conservative” doesn’t imply that some of his stated positions aren’t conservative – OR that there aren’t good tactical reasons for conservatives to support his candidacy.  If Bill Buckley could endorse Joe Lieberman over the Republican Lowell Weicker in 1988, why couldn’t conservatives support Donald Trump over Jeb Bush?

But Point 3 is a joke.

I thought of the same 2012 article of yours that Ben Shapiro cited, and I think his point and your counterpoint miss the big picture.  Shapiro seems to make a congenial call for even-handedness:  sure, Trump isn’t a conservative, but golly maybe we should apply the same standards to other Republican politicians.

The stronger conclusion to draw is that you’re being hypocritical and less than forthright in attacking Trump:  object all you want, but there’s good reason to conclude that you’re not arguing in good faith.

After all, in that 2012 article, you didn’t just write in support of Mitt Romney despite his not being a conservative, you presented that fact as a feature rather than a bug.

Even if Romney is a Potemkin conservative (a claim I think has merit but is also exaggerated), there is an instrumental case to be made for him:  It is better to have a president who owes you than to have one who claims to own you.

This is a clear repudiation of the Buckley Rule to support electable conservative candidates.  There are implicitly two variations of the rule – find the most conservative candidate of those you think are electable, or find the most electable candidate of those who are actual conservatives; the two approaches may not always produce the same result – but you reject both versions to say that the pragmatic, “instrumental” choice is a moderate (read: managerial progressive) Republican who would be “on a short leash.”

You wrote, “If elected, Romney must follow through for conservatives and honor his vows,” never mind how conservatives would force his hand.   Romney is “a man of duty and purpose” who “does his assignments,” so voting for him “isn’t a betrayal, it’s a transaction.”

Now, how the tables have turned.

It’s apparently not possible to support Trump on the expectation that he would owe us conservatives and honor his vows regarding the crucial issue of immigration:  it’s impossible to view a vote for Trump as a transaction, as it can only be an outright betrayal.

It couldn’t be a shrewd calculation, even one you personally reject; it’s only “catharsis masquerading as principle, venting and resentment pretending to be some kind of higher argument.”

(Masquerading? Pretending? Please tell us more about your insistence that you’re arguing in good faith while you indict the readers’ motivation, making the insinuation of bad faith or – at best(!) – a Marxist-like false consciousness.)

About Trump, you wrote, “If I sound dismayed, it’s only because I am.  Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter.”

But this was four years after your trying to make the case for Romney, who also failed on both counts.

You now urge your readers to “consider the fact that for the last five years no issue has united the Right more than opposition to Obamacare,” and to consider Trump’s praise for single-payer, but earlier you wrote in support of Obamacare’s state-level predecessor, a Republican candidate who never renounced his support for the single most repellant feature of Obamacare, the individual mandate.

You say Trump isn’t trustworthy on being pro-life, and you’re probably right, but Romney changed his mind twice on the issue, late in his life as a politician, when the only plausible explanation for being against abortion, then for it, then against it is political expediency.

You say that, like Newt Gingrich, Trump has serious character flaws, but Romney proved to have a fatal flaw in the arena of partisan politics, a capacity for being harmless to his enemies and treacherous to his friends, as seen in the scorched-earth tactics he deployed against conservative challengers in the primary race followed by the predictably disastrous Mr. Nice Guy routine in the general election.

In 2012, a managerial progressive ran for the presidency, the conservative base opposed him in favor of pretty much anyone else, and you tried to convince the base that supporting him was a “transaction” worth making:  “such a bargain may just be necessary before judgment day comes.”

Now, another managerial progressive is running, the conservative base supports him, and you write that maybe we should “stop the movement long enough for me to get off.”

What happened?

You mentioned Newt Gingrich, and that reminds me of the last time National Review’s editors and writers just lost their gourds in an effort to derail a candidate they didn’t like.

I think Mark Steyn had a strong position, that a race between “Tweedlemitt and Tweedlenewt” presented a choice not worth making, between two progressives neither of whom would be up to the challenge of what we’re facing.  Myself, I think Newt had an edge, because he was a fighter with an actual record of conservative political accomplishments – the Contract with America, deficit reduction, and welfare reform – but Steyn’s position was understandable and honorable.

That wasn’t the case with National Review, whose editors transparently tried to clear a path for Mitt Romney with the prominent “Against Gingrich” editorial and the Marvin the Martian cover; with the former, the editors also threw Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann under the bus, while saying that the statist Huntsman and the long-shot Santorum were still worthy of consideration.

NR then committed the most disgraceful act imaginable, publishing Kevin Williamson’s despicable cover story ostensibly about Mormonism:  while NR was firing the race-essentialist atheist John Derbyshire for being politically incorrect, it trumpeted Williamson’s slander against Christians who recognize that Mormonism falls far outside of small-o orthodoxy, smearing us as unhinged and uninformed hypocrites and doing so with an explicit eye toward Mitt Romney’s electoral chances.

During the 2012 election season, Glenn Beck explicitly stated that only racial animus could explain a person’s simultaneous support for Gingrich and opposition to Obama, never mind the basic difference between the two men’s understanding of America, the former growing up as an Army brat and writing books about restoring and saving America, the latter surrounding himself with Marxists and domestic terrorists and proclaiming the need for the country’s fundamental transformation.  Now, The Federalist’s Ben Domenech writes that Trump is leading the Republican Party toward “white identity politics for the American right.”

It’s clear that, in both cases, plenty of other pundits are willing to go guano loco, but NR seems determined to take the lead in embarrassing itself and destroying what’s left of its increasingly useless reputation.  National Review was never as hysterical over Obama as it was over Gingrich, and those who missed Williamson’s cover story on Mormonism cannot have missed his recent series of petulant freak-outs against Trump.

I keep wondering, why?  Why the hysteria over these two candidates?

  • Is it cultural?  Between Newt and Trump, I wonder if the problem is just a visceral reaction to the larger-than-life personalities of two loud iconoclasts.   Trump is filthy rich, but he’s so déclassé, and Newt is a career politician whose style never fit in with the rest of the DC establishment.
  • Is it personal against Trump?  Is it that crack on July 8th about your not being able to afford pants?  Is there an unstated rule that pundits can mock pols with wild abandon (“witless ape,” Kevin Williamson on Trump, June 16th), but politicians can’t punch back and must treat our oh-so respectable media with deference?
  • Is it arrogance?  Is it the sneering presumption that the chattering class is always right, that those of us who dare disagree with some select group of pundits are not merely opposed to those particular intellectuals but are inherently “anti-intellectual”?
  • Is it Trump’s threatening the grand plans of the GOP establishment?  The Conservative Treehouse credibly argues that the RNC has gamed the primary process to ensure a victory for Jeb Bush under the guise of a fair and wide-open election, but Trump has completely sabotaged their plans.  Was Gingrich threatening to do the same thing in 2012, and is the real problem with Trump the possibility of things going well and truly off-script?
  • Or is it Trump’s threatening the establishment’s agenda on the key issue of immigration?  You mention your 2006 support for a border wall, but you seem determined to discredit the loudest voice for sanity on immigration, and I don’t think your G-File even alluded to the subject.

Others are clear in their desire for amnesty.  In supporting Rick Perry’s in-state tuition for illegals in Texas, Kevin Williamson wrote in 2012 that the illegals “have to be on their way to becoming legal permanent residents of the United States.”  Ben Domenech has repeatedly played the race card against those who believe in enforcing immigration law, accusing us of hating “dirty brown people.”  And – in a recent syndicated article reprinted by National Review – George Will actually compared enforcement to the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

Today’s big government finds running Amtrak too large a challenge, and Trump’s roundup would be about 94 times larger than the wartime internment of 117,000 persons of Japanese descent. But Trump wants America to think big. The big costs, in decades and dollars (hundreds of billions), of Trump’s project could be reduced if, say, the targets were required to sew yellow patches on their clothing to advertise their coming expulsion. There is precedent. [The emphasis mine, the lunacy is entirely Will’s.]

(He invoked the Holocaust to denounce the meaningful enforcement of reasonable and necessary immigration laws: I frankly don’t care what great things George Will has written in the past, I don’t see how you can say that the conservative movement cannot possibly embrace Trump while National Review makes space for this son of a bitch.)

(On the other hand, at least he didn’t quote an old joke by Bob Hope.  God only knows how condescendingly Will would have been criticized for that.)

This would be the real irony, that pundits are invoking conservatism to attack the conservative position on immigration, and yet they are acting like Leftists in playing the race card to promote the Leftists’ dream of amnesty.

You say Trump’s popularity is damaging conservatism.  Never mind the damage you invited by trying to cajole conservatives into supporting Romney:  what about the GOP leadership in Congress?

The American people gave the Republicans first the House and then the Senate to challenge Obama’s radical agenda, and the politicians have betrayed both the base AND their stated platform at every turn.

The fiscal conservatives see that government spending is out of control, but in the wake of the historic midterm elections, the Republicans weakened the power of the coming reinforcements with the Cromnibus bill, and the leadership has shown that it’ll fight for corporate welfare like the Ex-Im Bank when it’s too cowardly to use the power of the purse and risk even a partial shutdown of non-essential government functions.

The social conservatives are appalled by the revelation that Planned Parenthood is run by monsters in human form, sociopaths whose cold cruelty can hardly be exaggerated, but McConnell says that Congress will refuse even to contemplate the simple and obvious act of defunding the world’s largest abortion provider until after Obama’s successor is sworn in.

The hawks recognize that it’s reckless in the extreme to allow Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, especially while they openly desire our destruction and the destruction of our allies, but the Republicans gave Obama the authority to do exactly that, even while pretending to fight with what futile power they didn’t surrender.

From stopping Iran’s nuclear program to thwarting Obama’s illegal amnesty, the Republicans talk a good game during election season and do nothing with what power the voters subsequently give them – and at times, they do worse than nothing, what Ace of Spades calls “Failure Theater” and what Andrew McCarthy calls “Surrender Then Play-Fight.”

Their behavior is a treacherous attempt to deceive the American people, and it means that the entire political apparatus is dishonest:  one party pretends to be moderate while being run by stealth radicals, and the other party cooperates with that radicalism while pretending to resist it.

McCarthy acknowledges the context of Trump’s high poll numbers, recognizing that the kabuki feeds the “anger that is the wind beneath Donald Trump’s wings.”

Why is McCarthy the only one?

More to the point, Jonah, you write, “The case against the GOP establishment is not the case for Trump, no matter how much it feels like it is in your head or your heart.”

You may be right about that, but the conservative argument against the establishment is AT LEAST as strong as even the pragmatic argument for Trump.  The establishment is causing AT LEAST as much damage to conservatism, to the Republican Party, and to the nation.

Why aren’t you guys demonstrating as much outrage against them as you are against Trump?

McCarthy is a notable exception in his series of coolly written but eviscerating takedowns of the Republicans in Congress, but most of the writers at NRO issue only the mildest disapproval toward Boehner and McConnell; you guys reserve your contempt and unhinged rage for Trump and his supporters.

Until you share our entirely justified fury against the GOP Establishment – our righteous anger against their consistent duplicity – your readers will have good reason to doubt that your opposition to Trump is rooted in a principled defense of conservatism.

Conservative principle might remain a good reason for you to oppose Trump, but we’ll all know it’s not the real reason.

And I will remain justified in reading your work warily, no matter how much I like you personally and appreciate your earlier writing.

Most sincerely,

Lawrence Bubba Beasley, writing at Stubborn Things as John Kirke

John R.W. Kirke is a pseudonym of a Christian husband, father, and engineer who has written elsewhere under other names, including “Lawrence” in the comments at National Review Online. He remains deeply moved by the unpublished memoirs of Professor D. Kirke (1888-1949). • (2252 views)

John Kirke

About John Kirke

John R.W. Kirke is a pseudonym of a Christian husband, father, and engineer who has written elsewhere under other names, including "Lawrence" in the comments at National Review Online. He remains deeply moved by the unpublished memoirs of Professor D. Kirke (1888-1949).
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47 Responses to An Open Letter to Jonah Goldberg

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I was stunned by your rejecting Christian sexual ethics – the call to chastity, i.e,, sex only within lifelong marriage between a man and a woman, and celibacy otherwise – dismissing the standard as explicitly immoral and irrational, or as you put it, “cruel and absurd.” 

    Wow. Did he really say that? How is Jonah not just another invading Progressive hoping to (for whatever reason) weaken or overturn tried-and-true standards? Granted, Dennis Prager shares some of the same views. He believes that people should sleep with each other to see if they are compatible before marrying. But at least his is a pragmatic view meant to strengthen marriage, not weaken it.

    Jonah, if he said something like that, has proven himself to be an insurgent. Is there a sort of Christian-averse secular left-leaning Jewishness that drives him more than old-fashioned American conservatism? I think it’s a legitimate question.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Is there a sort of Christian-averse secular left-leaning Jewishness that drives him more than old-fashioned American conservatism? I think it’s a legitimate question.

      I think there is a very good chance of this. Clearly, a large percentage of Jews have a negative gut-reaction to anything which might have to do with Christianity. I suspect this is due to the fraught history of Jews in Europe.

      There is also the historical aspect of being “the chosen people” which may contribute to a certain cultural arrogance.

    • ladykrystyna says:

      Hi, Brad! Sorry to be off topic here. I just sent you an e-mail. If you would be so kind as to read it and give me your thoughts. It’s very important and involves a possible hacking incident and personal information that has been obtained by someone I don’t think I know.

      I’m hoping you might have some insight.

      Thank you.

      Place looks great. 😀

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Hi, LadyK. I looked at what you sent me and can’t say that I understand what’s going on. But you’re address is not stored here and I’ve never heard of that one screen name you mentioned.

        Tell CC I’m still waiting on the book review of Kevin Williamson’s book. 😀 And feel free to contribute whenever you’d like. That’s what we’re here for.

        • ladykrystyna says:

          Thank you so much for getting back to me. I know my address isn’t stored, but we shared e-mails and I think my last name showed up there. But you don’t recognize the name so that leaves that out. Ah well.

          I’ll figure it out somewhere.

          Basically, this guy is a semi-troll over at NRO. He’s tolerated. One of our other posters, who you may remember, Mother of 4, did have surgery recently. What made this guy think that I knew anything else personal about her, like even what frickin’ state she lives in, I have no idea. So he sends me this money to get it to her. I’m just flabbergasted. And Disqus doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it. So I may have to go to the authorities. From what I can tell, unless someone I know gave him my last name (no one has my address, but some have my last name), he hacked into something to get it. I’m just trying to cover all bases. Thanks for your help.

          I should come here far more often. I do notice that I don’t receive any e-mails regarding people replying to my posts though (I noticed that in the past and I may have been stupid enough not to mention it, probably figuring it was my fault.). Glad I checked here to see that you responded. 😀

          I’ll tell CC. I was supposed to review The Liberty Amendments! LOL. Oops.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I wish Mother of 4 well. Last time I had any contact with her was when I invited her over here…and got sort of a rude rebuke. Oh well. I still wish her a speedy and complete recovery.

            If this guy sent you actual real money, it sounds as if there might be some kind of ring self-organizing in order to help her. Sounds like a good thing. If this is so, let me know and someone (you) could write an article about it and solicit contributions to whatever PayPal account is set up for her…if that is indeed happening.

            I try to have nothing to do with Disqus. Hate that horrible piece of software. I remember about 3 or 4 years ago when NRO used some great software. But they got rid of it. A shame.

            Tell CC that a proper review of Levin’s “The Liberty Amendments” would get her off the hook. Levin’s got a new book that just came out that sounds interesting as well. I keep trying to find time to read the free Kindle sample of it, but haven’t quite go there yet.

    • ronlsb says:

      The Christian sexual ethic is totally rooted in the Old Testament, so whatever Jonah’s aversion to it is can not be attributed to his Jewishness.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Could be he’s just tracking with the culture and with the money. No man is an island. At some point, even if one is technically correct, if everyone else believes something different then there is little market for a sort of mainstream opinionating, which is about all NRO can ever hope to achieve now. They are no longer trend-setters.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        The Christian attitude toward marriage is not rooted in the Old Testament or the Talmud.

        For Jews, marriage is not a sacred bond. Divorce is completely acceptable and all a man has to do is to give his wife a document advising her of the divorce. He needs to give no reason. The woman cannot do the same to the man. This is clearly stated in the Talmud.

        This one of the reasons Christian marriage is so special in the history of the world. Women were given a type of security they did not have when the man could simply walk away.

        I have seen some of the results of such divorces in Asia where Muslim men simply say, “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you,” and it is done. A woman is left pretty much on her own or dependent on her family for help.

        Be that as it may, you think a modern secular Jew’s view on sex is rooted in the Old Testament?

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Very interesting, but religious Jewish marriage is still purely heterosexual. They get that from Genesis (which was also Jesus’s source on the issue).

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            but religious Jewish marriage is still purely heterosexual.

            True, but that has been the case for marriage in every other culture as well.

            Hell, even the queer Greeks realized the logic and need for marriage between a man and a woman. Odysseus went back to Penelope.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Yes, I’ve noted this before. I know of no culture prior to the past few decades that had any place for homosexual marriage (and I’ve never seen anyone cite one), though there were a few odd cases of such perversion, particularly at the top levels. The Greeks were as sympathetic to homosexuality as any culture, but they married women and admired their top “companions”, such as the famous Phryne (whose perfect beauty was examined in court).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I had know idea of that difference, Mr. Kung. Maybe I’ll become a Jew so that I can discard women at will. But first I’ll need the discardable women. They seem hard to come by. 🙂

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            You could also become a Muslim and have a “temporary” marriage so that your libido will not damn you to hell for having sex outside of marriage. That whore, or I should say prostitute as it sounds higher class, at the Mayfair in London makes for a good short term wife.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    when you write that “good manners” require you to call a man “she” if that’s his wish.

    Goldberg shows his leftist politics in this. Is it good manners to call someone “God” if that’s his wish? I have no problem calling a man Clarice if that is what he wants, but it is insane to call him a female. That is a lie and the acceptance of such lies under the guise of “manners” is dishonest. It is destruction of language which is what the left wants. Up means down, white means black, and on and on. In the end words only mean what the left wants them to mean and logic necessarily goes out the window in order that logic can no longer be used in argument. This is totalitarian thinking and Goldberg is an ass for accepting it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Goldberg shows his leftist politics in this. Is it good manners to call someone “God” if that’s his wish?

      Great point.

      This is a long article and it will be a while until I can read it all, so I’m just skipping along. Thanks to Mr. Kung for finding this bit. Again (and I do trust Lawrence), my first reaction is, Did Jonah really say that?

      That is just an incredibly stupid thing to say. It’s as vacuously touchy-feely, multi-culti, “tolerant,” non-judgmental, kumbaya Progressive as you can get. Any man who dresses as a woman deserves at least smirks, not respect. It’s not my job to normalize someone’s perversions or mental issues.

      Nor is it my job to tar and feather them. A certain amount of due tolerance (not in the form of forced praise but freedom from unreasonable material punishment) is the American ideal. Still, what is reasonable material punishment is to not allow practicing homosexuals to be Boy Scout leaders, for example.

      Jonah has clearly lost his mind and his ability to articulate a common-sense position about these things, let alone a conservative position. And I’d feel better thinking he’d lost his mind rather than the alternative — that his views are simply driven by monetary interests.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Jonah has clearly lost his mind and his ability to articulate a common-sense position about these things, let alone a conservative position. And I’d feel better thinking he’d lost his mind rather than the alternative — that his views are simply driven by monetary interests.

        I take the darker view.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          You know, I’m a bit chagrined by all this, Mr. Kung. Oh, I think it’s commendable for Mr. Kirke to set the record straight and show the moral and intellectual corruption that has seeped into the supposed conservative press.

          On the other hand, why are we even bothering about Jonah Goldberg and what he thinks? I mean, it’s pretty obvious now he’s moved way Left. It’s pretty obvious now that many conservative sites, including National Review Online, serve the Republican Establishment and pure monetary interests rather than a conservative ideology.

          I’m pretty sure Jonah is a nice guy. But as Dennis parses the issues (and I quite agree), this is all the rage these day. People are nice, but not good. Or, as I would say, they are nice, but not wise…or brave…or truth-telling…or just…or reasonable…or forthright.

          So by all means, let’s slap Jonah around for the stupid views he now holds. And yet let’s also see him (and perhaps Lawrence has done this somewhere in his long article that I have not yet read all the way through) as part of a larger problem. I don’t want to tilt at Jonah-like windmills after all. We could change his mind tomorrow about things and that wouldn’t change the backdrop of the culture.

          But I’d feel better if people who are as obviously as intelligent as him joined the forces of reform rather than the forces of Progressive decay. But at this point, it is what it is. I wish Jonah well and hope to hell we can attract some brilliant conservative writers here who will (obviously) do their writing for other than monetary gain (not that compensation for one’s efforts is a bad thing…still waiting for the Koch brothers to write that $100,000 check which I can then use to “spread the conservative wealth”).

          • Rosalys says:

            “People are nice, but not good.”

            There is the the true crux of the matter. The left has learned that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. And, “…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

            Although now considered archaic, one of the original definitions of the word nice was wanton or dissolute ( ); in other words, to be called nice wasn’t necessarily a nice thing! I think that with the “wolves in sheep clothing” demeanor of too many people on today’s political stage that it is time to revive the old definitions.


      You’ve nailed it, KFZ – or as I have said before, Goldberg was corrupted by watching too much television. However slowly and subtly, he began to accept the Left’s poisonous premises, and here he is, poised to praise transgenderism. He thought SSM was no big deal; I doubt he has yet realized how determined the Left and radical gays are to make criminals of those who will not say that gay “marriage” is good.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Very good point. The asylums used to be full of people who thought they were someone (or something) else. Now, instead, we expect everyone to pretend that those who formerly would have been inmates are instead the new reality.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Trump probably is just another progressive, and so his candidacy probably isn’t worth considering, except that there is one conservative argument for Trump:  if every other candidate cannot be trusted in their opposition to amnesty for illegal aliens, it may be worth supporting Trump. 

    Rush mentioned this morning about the debate that Trump has moved everyone else right…at least in their rhetoric.

    but I do see that it’s a tempting trade-off in light of the treacherous leadership in the Republican Party:   if the alternative is an establishment choice that will betray the base on literally every major issue, it may be worth the risk to support a candidate who might keep his promise on one fundamental issue.

    I think that’s an excellent analysis, Lawrence. Perhaps only Jeffrey Lord has been as clear-headed in describing the situation. All that the Republican Establishment and their scripting lackeys can see is one of the great unwashed who threatens to spoil the suppose intellectual superiority that they believe drives their place in the sun. They don’t see how they are so full of it, many of them have become the Gerald Fords of our day, knee-jerk apologists for business-as-usual.

    It’s one thing to oppose Trump because of X, Y, and Z. It’s another to do so while ignoring the elephant in the living room which is the amoral (at best) Republican Establishment and their mindless mouthpieces who see no RINO, hear no RINO, smell no RINO when it comes to Bush, Romney, McCain, McConnell, Boehner, etc. Where is the outrage at the clear betrayal of the base by the GOP Establishment?

    But they find plenty of outrage for Trump. But Trump is not the problem. He is not the one who has been constructing the horrible edifice that now threatens to topple this country.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Their behavior is a treacherous attempt to deceive the American people, and it means that the entire political apparatus is dishonest: one party pretends to be moderate while being run by stealth radicals, and the other party cooperates with that radicalism while pretending to resist it.

    Ha! So true. So very well said.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    In the formal Q&A, you said that leftists really are trying to do good, despite their politics being cancerous. 

    That’s quite a regression of beliefs, from wisdom to a kind of cloudy kumbaya view of the world. One of the things Dennis Prager boldly comes clean abut is that he says he used to think the right and the Left had the same goal, just different methods. He has since admitted they have completely different and inherently contrary goals.

    Whether the goals of the Left are “trying to do good” is a separate subject. But clearly, only a truly ignorant or pandering person could say such a thing, especially if you already knew that this person was a clever fellow, as Jonah is. Again, I’m assuming that Lawrence’s characterization is correct.

    It’s a silly thing to say, because there’s little doubt that Hitler, Stalin, or Mao thought that what they were trying to do was good. Rare is probably the person who thinks he’s trying to do bad in the long run. Individual acts? Sure, we all know those times when we’re trying to get away with something and think we probably can…and in so doing don’t bother to try to rationalize our acts (although probably most of the time people do).

    To assume “Leftists really are trying to do good” is to neuter one’s own views. How can you really oppose the other if you consider their acts and beliefs arise from goodness? How, especially, do you do so as a conservative by caving into a mere trick of language? (Call it “good,” that’s all it takes.)

    This self-bamboozling is the “religion,” if you will, of RINO Establishment Republicans. They’ll never find a reason to build a wall, make a judgment of others, or draw a line in the sand. For them, they find all kinds of ways to avoid that, including the somewhat narcissistically-driven idea of “they’re all just trying to do good.” They’ll “unite,” “embrace,” “empathize,” and “reach out.” But they will not pit their ideas against the other and say their ideas are demonstrably better.

    Are the people at Planned Parenthood trying to do good? Is Obama trying to do good? John Roberts? Charles Manson?

    As you see, this kind of amoral vacuous ideology is part and parcel of this sort of secular-RINO-Establishment Republican culture that is tantamount to a religious view. It’s the way they see the world. Or it’s at least how they say they do…there is money to be made rolling over and pandering to the larger culture.

    No doubt there are people who “are trying to do good” but are just completely uniformed and thus their actions are more foolish and unintentionally destructive than they are consciously malevolent (though how to tell the difference is anyone’s guess). But as they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse. And trying to topple entire economies and institute oppressive socialism in order to “save the planet” can hardly be excused because you can say that these people “are trying to do good.” It’s thus an almost completely meaningless phrase.

    Has Goldberg become this dumb or has he simply resorted to this lowest form of un-intellectual pandering to sell books, gain TV face-time, etc? I don’t know. But we know from past experience he is very intelligent and very clever.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I believe that more traditional liberals do indeed have very similar goals to conservatives; the differences are minor, and often a matter of which goals have higher priorities. What Goldberg fails to see is that the New Left corrupted and eventually took over liberalism, turning it into a totalitarian Orwellian cult of power and state-worship.

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


    That was a very good piece. Sadly, if your true object was to have a reasoned discussion with Goldberg, I believe you will be disappointed. Does anyone doubt that Goldberg, Will, Williamson and most of the others at NRO are anything but political whores for the Wall Street/K Street Axis?

    Trump has upset their usual RINO puppet show by pointing out that the puppets are hollow vessels which are, in fact, controlled by the hands of others.

    He infuriates the lying plutocrats and their lackeys by mentioning out loud, the reality that everyone can see on a daily basis, i.e. the country is being overrun by illegal immigrants and the flood of legal immigrants has lower the salaries of American workers.

    He is destroying political correctness which is the weapon used by the Left and establishment Republicans to stifle discussion on these and many other subjects. He is saying what millions are thinking and may now gain the courage to say out loud.

    He drives them crazy because he doesn’t care what Romney, Rove, the Bushes, Will, the Harvard Club and others think about him. He doesn’t want to join their club. He had bigger and better clubs.

    He is an outsider who cannot be bought and this causes the gnashing of teeth in RINO establishment precincts.

    Even if he turns out to be anything but a conservative, we can hope that he will destroy, at the very least, a part of the establishment RINO plutocracy and its lackeys. In the culture war which has been raging, not only have conservatives had to face a vicious foe on the Left, we have also had to unmask and root out the Quislings in our midst. Trump is helping to make this easier.

  7. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    Thanks for writing this, whoever you are! A very thoroughly investigated and documented take-down on NR in general and Jonah in particular.

    I don’t read Will anymore, as I was grievously insulted by him and am more than disappointed with him. Similar to my feelings about that jerk John Kerry after he called me a baby killer.

    You others have posted some interesting comments to this brave article. I’d like to ad that the whole affair just makes me sad, and of course angry. I started reading NR when Derbyshire was at his peak and Jonah was delighting many with his unusual G-File. My trepidation about Buckley’s enterprise began when they fired Coulter, then Derbyshire, neither of them deserving of such treatment. Now, Jonah has gone to seed in the beltway, apparently. Lately, Williamson has inserted a Trump slam into every piece he writes, whether it’s germane or not. I discontinued my subscription to NR with a heavy heart. It reminded me of the point I reached when I canceled Scientific American after uncounted years of satisfaction, because it became a megaphone for all types of leftist cant.

    Hope Jonah mans up and responds.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I canceled Scientific American after uncounted years of satisfaction, because it became a megaphone for all types of leftist cant.

      Isn’t that the truth. In retrospect, we could see Marxism/atheism/dumbshitism coming through the magazines.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Anyone raised in certain tribal beliefs is likely to stay in them unless he has a reason to change. I was liberal and stupid (redundant, I know) when I was young. I just didn’t know any better. I absorbed the culture I was in. My mind wasn’t on politics or anything more important than the usual stuff when you are in your late teens and twenties.

    But something changed. I was never ideological about anything when younger. I just assimilated some basic tenets which, as I later learned, were based in Marxism (ultimately). But a fish swimming in the water he is born in doesn’t see the water.

    I probably went through several stages. I got interested in philosophy, religion, culture, and politics in my mid to late 30’s. No one ran over my cat. I wasn’t fired with unjust cause by some libtard boss. I didn’t lose a girl to a girly-man libtard rival. No trauma. No zealotry even. It just became interesting to me, in stages, that there was a world brewing out there — a world I was partially steeped in — that was false. A lie. In fact, a very big lie.

    The journey continues. And I can understand people being stuck in the fishbowl they were born into. We all gain our cues from culture, and if the only culture you’ve known is a libtard culture, then all its tenets will not only seem normal but will seem the only possible way to understand and order things. Now I know different, of course.

    What I find harder to imagine is people, such as Jonah, making the journey backward. It’s always possible that his conservatism was merely a conservatism of convenience, a business opportunity. There is no shortage of people like that in the world. But he was, at one time, so good at parsing things using a conservative lens that he was either the best faker ever, or he actually did think and believe in a conservative way.

    And now he doesn’t think that way. I don’t know what prejudices he has accrued. I do know that if one wants to go libtard, it’s easy enough to see Christians, white males, the usual suspects, as knuckle-dragging uncouth intolerant red necks of the great unwashed. And certainly what all of the Establishment has in common is not only the desire to be elites but the belief that they are better than others.

    One can appreciate another man having a different point of view. But when that view radically changes, and with no apparent good reason, that is reason to be suspicious of the cause….and the original supposed adherence to the old beliefs. Certainly I’ve changed my mind on some major issues. And most of that has come from learning more and easing off on my ingrained prejudices and emotional reactions. Having taken part in this process, it has led me to conservatism. The house is now, more or less, built upon rock, not sand. So it’s hard for me to now believe it’s possible to go libtard having built a house upon rock.

    So what’s going on with this guy? It may be as simple as following the money. Or maybe something has happened in the background that rocked his world in some way that we don’t know about. It’s also possible that his apparent atheism has left him a bit of a hollowed-out shell. I assume he’s not a Christian or a practicing Jew. And we all reach that age (especially if we have had some losses as he has) when we are looking for something more.

    And conservatism isn’t a religion and isn’t meant to be one. I’m speculating, of course, and could be way off the mark. But is he reaching for what Dennis Prager calls the world’s most dynamic religion (Leftism)? It’s possible. Jonah’s complete reversal on things such as homosexual marriage need to be explained (as do other things). His article way back when did not do so and was disingenuous and evasive. So we’re left to this very day to try to understand and perhaps use Occam’s razor and suppose it’s simply all about business opportunities.

    But maybe it’s something more. The corruptive influence of atheistic Marxism should not be discounted. “Love me, love me, love me” could be said to be the call of the Left. Those looking for a cult or a tribe, for meaning they can’t find in religion, really have nowhere else to go. And if they need comfort, if they need love, Leftism does offer an earthly kumbaya. It’s not very deep, but it is something. All can instantly be a part of the great human family, and put away all divisions and be accepting. And ultimately this attitude is about the desire of love and acceptance for oneself.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, live in a world that is a bit more complicated. Love, yes. The need for meaning and acceptance, yes. But not at the expense of the integrity of truth, wisdom, good tradition, and authentic hope. We know without a doubt that the GOP is now a rotten party. It is, at best, amoral. It stands for power and money. There are a few people in the party who still have a vision of America as America was intended, but they are the minority and they are considered enemies to be defeated (unlike the Left which is to be compromised with and treated with respect).

    You can’t live in and around that kind of corruption without having it effect you. That’s what I think from afar, having very little information and going by my gut.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    You replied that our job isn’t changing Leftists’ minds but rather persuading the audience: I still have problems with the idea that we shouldn’t point out the Left’s dishonesty, as it’s not only a kind of preemptive surrender, it results in enabling their deceit and marginalizing the people who are bold enough to point out their deceit.

    Another great point.

    It’s interesting that a common trait amongst the RINO Establishment is surrendering in the culture wars…and, of course, coming up with baloney rationalizations for why this is good.

    I’m not sure why so many have lost even a desire for the idea of right and wrong, better and worse…for setting basic boundaries. But I’ve seen that first-hand amongst the highest of the high in terms of the Republican Establishment. They wish to “reach out” to everyone. In practice this means surrendering to them and never stating a position. There are no bold colors being painted.

    It’s the adult’s job to use wisdom and experience to impart unto their children better ways of doing things. This same principle extends to philosophies and ultimately politics. Conservatism, for one, is a general philosophy which attempts to be a guide for politics (and other things) that takes advantage of what works as opposed to what doesn’t. And that sometimes requires hard-and-fast boundaries.

    In this youth-oriented and entertainment-oriented culture that more and more praises and rewards victimhood and low-mindedness, the rewards for playing the adult are less and less. But that’s all the more reason that adults are needed. This is not the time to just say “Hey, whatever works for you.” There are a lot of things that are not working today. We should point them out and offer a better way. We shouldn’t flinch from this duty. And we should pretend that we are somehow being compassionate, wise, or tolerant if we do not and just say anything goes.

    I think Jonah, for whatever reason, has lost that ability to look another human being in the eye and say “You ought not to do that.” The moral foundation of the RINO Establishment has very much been rotted out, reduced to clearly vacuous feel-good slogans.

    Wisdom is not easy to achieve. But that should be one of the prime pursuits of those who write and claim to be conservative.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I think a key point here is the belief that voters don’t want candidates to be too harsh in their criticisms of others. Thus, Goldberg might conceivably realize just how wicked modern liberals are (though I doubt it), but he would stlll say that it’s inexpedient to say so. Apparently he must think that Democrat ads showing Paul Ryan throwing granny off a cliff have hurt them with the voters. I would like to know what his evidence for that is — or does he simply fail to make the connection and realize that his argument makes no sense?


    Great piece, John! I think you’re the first to point out the similarities between NRO’s response to Trump now and their response to Newt Gingrich in 2012. You ask, “Why the hysteria over these two candidates?” I’d like to take up that point, if I may.

    First, the underlying emotion in both cases was obviously sheer panic – they obviously thought something important was about to be lost. In 2012, I think it was clearly the view that Romney had a real chance of beating Obama whereas Gingrich had none. As it happens, I agreed with that view if not their methods: the Democrats employ the finest hatchet men taxpayer money can buy, and they’d have had their flensing knives out for Newt the minute he was nominated. At the time, it looked like Romney could defeat Obama in the debates, whereas Newt deployed his blunderbuss rather indiscriminately (remember “Right-wing social engineering?”).

    But that was 2012, when without a real Conservative alternative many of us agreed that we should hold our noses, vote for Romney, and at least the economy was sure to see some improvement. The discontent of the base was evident, but it had not yet reached fever pitch. (Note the quick rise of Rick Perry, who opportunistically had entered the race to the relief of many who agreed with Steyn about the uninspiring choices with Mitt vs. Newt. Indeed, Perry was very much the Donald Trump of 2012, but he flamed out when his lack of preparedness was revealed.) By 2016, much had changed.

    First, the Romney campaign flopped miserably, and I won’t rehash it here. Second was the long series of sell-outs and betrayals by the GOP Establishment, the first of which (starting arbitrarily at that time) was the attempt to rig the whole nominating process in favor of the Establishment John mentioned (and a much-underreported story). I won’t even try to catalog all of them here, but it’s clear that open warfare broke out between the E-men and the Party’s base, and many Conservatives vowed there would be no repeat of 2012: if the E-men managed to nominate Jeb! or someone like him, Conservatives would stay home for the general election.

    Then came the parade of the non-Jeb! candidates, who overall were a colossal disappointment, especially on the vital issue of immigration (detailed, of course, in A Review of the Likely 2016 Republican Candidates). Please excuse the apparent self-promotion, but my despairing conclusion was evidently shared by a good many Republican voters, for the distance between them and these candidates was great enough that even a “witless ape” like Donald Trump had wits enough to drive a truck through it, and the Trump campaign was launched.

    So who or what was so threatened by this that NRO went into panic mode again? It seems that just as in 2012, their conclusion was that victory in the Presidential election would have been at hand if not for Trump. This is a highly-questionable conclusion for a number of reasons – the large number of other candidates and the distinct possibility that Trump, if nominated, would win the general election being just two of them. But this is the only explanation for all the vitriol directed both at Trump and his supporters. You can almost hear them saying, “They’re messing everything up!”

    The concern for a Republican victory as opposed to a Conservative one speaks volumes as well.

  11. Rosalys says:

    Mr. Kirke, your article is outstanding! I’m sick and tired of be taken advantage of and then tossed aside like so much flotsam. To paraphrase Ronaldus Magnus, “I’m not leaving the Republican party. The Republican party is leaving me!”

    The Republican party is the party of stupid. They are so stupid they can’t (or won’t) understand why their base is so freakin’ outraged at them.

    I might prefer someone like Ted Cruz as the next president; but the way I look at Trump is, he at least seems to like America, at least is talking seriously about the third world invasion of our country by people who don’t like America and what to do about it. In a race between Hilary and Trump it’s a no brainer. I’ll gladly go to the polls and pull the lever for Trump!


    Update: Jonah just came out against Ben Carson’s courageous answer to what was probably intended by the media as another trap, the question about a Muslim President. Carson answered, bravely (in these multicultural times) and correctly that Islam was incompatible with American freedom. Well, that didn’t sit too well with Goldberg, who maintains that Carson got it all wrong..

    Here is part of my response:

    “Notice how he has absorbed the Left’s multiculturalism, for his comments imply that Islam is a religion like any other religion, that all religions and belief systems have equal value, and that therefore anyone who thinks a Muslim shouldn’t be President is showing an “animus” for that faith (“irrational” is implied) rather than acting as a patriot trying to preserve America as a free nation, something utterly incompatible with Sharia.

    American Conservatives are by definition trying to conserve those ideas and institutions which made America great; Sharia is not one of them and is in fact the death of freedom. Back in his Sept. 5th G-file, Jonah wrote that “if this [Donald Trump’s candidacy] is the conservative movement now, I guess you’re going to have to count me out.” The truth is that we Conservatives didn’t count Jonah out of the Conservative movement – that would have been beyond our powers – he counted himself out when he embraced one too many of the Left’s moral/cultural assumptions.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One thing Carson’s multicultural critics fail to consider is that there are many things in this world that are undesirable (such as the Klan marching down your street) that are nevertheless legal (if the people elect a Muslim president, we’re stuck with the consequences of their stupidity). Another is that Shariah law is incompatible with Western civilization (and anyone who disagrees should be asked if they favor the de facto legalization of rape), and the Muslim doctrine of taqiyya makes it dangerous to trust them.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Update: Jonah Goldberg is an idiot. It’s quite obvious that “Muslim” and “President of the United States” are incompatible (as we’re likely seeing now). Sharia and the Constitution just don’t mix. Why is that so hard for people such as Goldberg to understand?

      Good whack at Goldberg with the multiculturalist line, Nik. But I’ve scratched Goldberg off my list of serious people. So at this point, I don’t see the point at tilting at Goldbergian windmills. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate your report. It’s valuable seeing how deeply dysfunctional much of the “conservative” press is. And we need to understand what is going on.

      But in the future I’ll dedicate maybe a pair of brain cells, if that, for dealing with this kind of stuff. This site (if it has a future) will bring together not the best and the brightest (for NRO is rampant with such types) but the real and the relevant. I tire of the daily soap opera of people for whom their clever brain is used like a plaything — to amuse and construct any notion, just because they can.

      Granted, we have to still deal with the fact of the indoctrination that has been done for at least the last 40 years. Multiculturalism is the reigning paradigm. There is a general refusal to differentiate.

      And although it’s certainly possible that someone of Arab descent could make a good president (or one of Lebanese descent, or Egyptian descent), no Muslim (if he or she is actually a Muslim) could ever, or should ever, be an American president. If Goldberg can’t learn the lesson of Obama (who is not an American by nurture, whether Muslim or Muslim sympathizer), then when will reality ever get into his brain? Anti-Americanism isn’t a good fit for any office in America, let alone the presidency.

      America is an idea that is different from anything in the Muslim world. The two concepts are incompatible. Maybe that’s shocking in the multiculti corridors that Goldberg inhabits, but it’s the truth nonetheless.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      That Goldberg has absorbed multiculturalism is only to be expected. He is, after all, Jewish. And if one looks at the history of this phenomenon, many Jews have been at the vanguard of the movement. I believe there are clear historical reasons for this to be the case. The strings of tribal identity are still strong in most people and this is particularly the case in a people which claims to have maintained unity for over 5,000 years.

      Never forget multiculturalism goes back to the internationalist views of Bolshevism/Communism. The Comintern was founded with such views in mind. These views have been refined by the Frankfurt School which has been largely responsible for the multi-culti garbage which has been spewed out for the last fifty years, or so.

      These views were not spread to strengthen Western culture, rather they are propagated to weaken the foundation on which Western culture is based, i.e. Christianity. Why this should be the goal would take longer to explain than I have at the moment. But never forget that there is an ever present fear in the hearts of many Jews that the dominant culture could turn on them and if Christianity is weakened to the point of being the same as every other belief then Christianity and its adherents will not be able to do the Jews much damage. Why else would left wing Jews work with Muslims, a group of people largely sworn to their destruction? Clearly their fear or hate of Muslims is less than that of Christians and Christian culture. We are all captive to our history.

      This is a shame as no country in history has been so friendly to Jews as America has been. (The myths about the golden age of the Abbasid and Umayyad Calaphates notwithstanding.)

      Of course, there are many other people who desire to destroy Western culture, but few have had the influence that the Jewish people have had.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Reflecting what Dr. Carson said about anyone running for president (shouldn’t prefer Sharia, for example), when picking writers for StubbornThings I’ve had a pretty simple filter. It looks like this:

        + Don’t hate America.
        + Don’t be politically correct
        + Do be more than just a scold
        + Do show your love for this country
        + Do be inquisitive and original and not just a pre-recorded tape regurgitating sound bytes
        + Do have at least a passing understanding of conservative philosophy
        + Do at least have a passing understanding with the rotten roots of Cultural Marxism and its branches
        + Do have a sense of humor
        + Aim for excellence
        + Be able to communicate

        That’s pretty open-ended and probably should be tightened a bit. But it’s a guiding principle. If you’re here you should every day be trying to get just a little more informed…and that doesn’t necessarily mean being *politically* informed. Mr. Kung reminded me the other day of a great quote by Breibart: “Culture is upstream from politics.” So, as far as I’m concerned, if you haven’t red “Tom Sawyer” then do so and that would rate far higher with me than scouring the headlines of NRO or reading the lastest political book. I have to admit, the daily drama of politics tends to bore me. We should aim a little higher.

        No doubt many Jews have an animus with Christianity, not always without some reason. But the fact seems to be, if you are born a Jew, you are filled to the gills with Leftist beliefs. It’s taken in with mother’s milk. One has to specifically make a journey to conservatism. I don’t have statistics, but I would guess 70% of Jews (whether religious or secular Jews) are indoctrinated into Leftism as a matter of course.

        Dennis Prager has done a wonderful job (along with Rabbi Lapin) of walking back from naive and destructive Jewish leftism to conservatism. And not only have they walked back, they have made peace with Christianity. From what I gather, these two guys are rare people. They are good Jews but not angry Jews. They are very religious Jews but find a way to not only make peace with Christians but to find common cause with them.

        Dennis still has his issues. Like Michael Medved, I think he’s prone to reverting to his earlier beliefs. What’s going on with Jonah? Who knows. But I’d like to think that if my own views changed on something, I’d be honest withy you as to why (even if they weren’t particularly good reasons). This is what they call reasoning, articulating, or just plain telling someone what’s on your mind. At this point, no one knows what is on Goldberg’s mind. He isn’t very forthcoming. All we can do is say that it looks like he’s either back-sliding or finding common cause (for whatever reason) with the more secular, atheistic, Progressive culture.

        And that’s fine. We all have to swim in that culture. The difference is, I wear a wet suit. Some obviously don’t.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          One thing I would add to your excellent list is the necessity of being able to communicate. This is one of the advantages Trump has over most Republicans: as an experienced showman, he knows how to communicate with people, and they all too often have no such skills. This is one reason why they never accomplish anything. (The fact that they continue to behave as if they expect the synoptic media to inform the public honestly and fairly instead of learning that instead they will propagandize it on behalf of the Obamacrats doesn’t help, either.)

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            One thing I would add to your excellent list is the necessity of being able to communicate.

            I totally agree, Timothy. I’ve amended my list. That is a very big item.

            My eyes glaze over every morning as I’m scanning the blogs and articles around the net. People need to learn how to communicate. And I think one of the main problems is shyness or the fudge factor. It takes me very few words to say “Pope Francis’ religion is Leftism, not Catholicism.” And from there I can make my points. But rightly or wrongly, you know where I’m coming from. My point is not half-hidden or scattered through various unconnected paragraphs as readers struggle to figure out where I’m coming from.

            So many articles these days don’t have a concise point of view that is developed. Articles wander all over and you wonder sometimes what the hell the point is.

            Being clear and concise is very important (an inherent part of communication). And I think many people are not because they’re sort of skirting around the subject and don’t want to state it bluntly. But I’ve got to go with Dennis Prager here who stresses “Clarity over agreement.”

            And, of course, many writers are just sloppy or narcissistic, seemingly unable or unwilling to put themselves in the place of the writer and ask “Why would anyone want to read this?” It’s a challenge we all face. But thanks for that very important amendment.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          No doubt many Jews have an animus with Christianity, not always without some reason. But the fact seems to be, if you are born a Jew, you are filled to the gills with Leftist beliefs. It’s taken in with mother’s milk. One has to specifically make a journey to conservatism. I don’t have statistics, but I would guess 70% of Jews (whether religious or secular Jews) are indoctrinated into Leftism as a matter of course.

          Below is a link to an excellent piece by Richard John Neuhaus on the Jewish, particularly the intellectual Jewish, reaction to Christianity in America. I had never seen this before, but came upon it when looking for a piece with Rabbi Lapin in it.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I read a bit of that, Mr. Kung, but couldn’t commit to the whole thing. It was way too long. I will, however, give the definitive opinion, and it will be much more concise…well, sort of:

            Many Jews hate Christians just as many blacks hate whites. I think it’s a common prejudice, one that it’s not safe to talk about. Some of this hatred from Jews has found expression in Marxism and other atheistic pursuits. Not only Christianity is rejected, but all of religion. Some of this is driven by ego (it became fashionable among the wanna-be elites to sneer at the religious) and part of it is anger at God for having less of a life than they can be thankful for.

            Either way, this trendy atheism is a disengagement from the big questions and is simply more institutionalized grievance. Jews, Christians (or former Christians), and all sorts have fallen for this secular (aka “atheist”) mindset.

            Meanwhile, as Christians became the all-purpose scapegoat for the ills of society, Christians themselves became dumber. Led by sometimes farcical religious leaders, they were led down the road to everything but a deep and meaningful engagement with the core essence of their religion (note the Pope, for example, who is more Marxist than Christian in his beliefs). At the same time that Christianity was under attack for being low-brow, it more and more itself became a fortune cookie philosophy somewhat deserving of scorn (although that scorn had other motives than improving the faith, of course). People forget their own faith and it was reduced to various things, including a “social gospel” or a “prosperity church.” Or, more often, it was denuded by political correctness and just the lack of a desire to dig deeper.

            Some of this, of course, was the result of a sugar-rush culture, made up of short attention spans and a desire for instant and ever-present entertainment. Paul would be aghast that “church” had become little more than a house of entertainment.

            Quick: Name a religious leader whose last name isn’t Graham who is a person of integrity and espouses authentic Christianity. Well, you may know more than I do, but I offhand can’t think of anyone. Christianity has been debased by various forces. And even for many who desire to go deeper, their “religion” has often become little more than “Smiles, everyone, smiles” as the theme of “nice” has overtaken every other consideration, reducing the essence of Christ to a glib self-help seminar.

            This nation cannot function with an irreligious people. People must be connected somehow with the Source of all things, ever mindful to make sure they do not take the Lord’s name in vain and reduce him to their mere internal ego wishes. But we do need some kind of connection or we cannot be the people we were meant to be, nor can we build the kind of nation America was meant to be.

            And most Christians having been neutered in terms of taking their faith to the public square (having accepted absurd opinions about what supposedly the “separation of church and state” actually means). Nor do many understand that there is indeed a type of separation. We are to be a religious people but we have a secular (that is, not theocratic) government. But religious (specifically Christian) expression is supposed to be the norm. Why? Well, if only because nature abhors a vacuum and without this expression that space will be filled quickly with the kinds of sick secular culture that we see tearing this nation apart. It’s your choice. You can have thoughtful prayer or a culture constantly raining stupid things like rainbow Doritos.

            This is why StubbornThings is friendly toward Christianity (but hostile toward the evil of Islam, and absolutely mindful of the rock that Christianity is built partially upon…Judaism). The only truth you need to know in the overall is Proverbs 9:10. On the other hand, the only truth the vulgar, thoughtless, and mean secular culture knows are such stupid fortune-cookie slogans as “diversity,” “tolerance,” or “multiculturalism.”

            Secular Jews may not like it. Atheists may not like it. But without a mindfulness of God, this nation cannot be this nation. And we were meant to be better than France or China or India. That is a heavy burden, one that cannot be carried either by atheistic secularism, namby-pamby Christianity, or hard-line fundamentalist Christianity. Wisdom is the watchword and there is almost nothing in this culture that nurtures that. That’s a problem. A very big problem.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Not only Christianity is rejected, but all of religion. Some of this is driven by ego (it became fashionable among the wanna-be elites to sneer at the religious) and part of it is anger at God for having less of a life than they can be thankful for.

              In the same piece Neuhaus writes;

              Jewish thinkers who are determined to denature Christianity often do so because they view Christianity as a threat. Perhaps just as often, they do so because they are as alienated from Judaism as they are fearful of Christianity, or even more so.

              I think this is a very important observation. Fear is one thing, but there is more to it. Perhaps the violent rejection of and attack on Christianity has its roots, at least partially,in this alienation from their own roots. A sort of lashing out at others in the sense of “misery loves company.”

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I think the main appeal of Darwinism, even though there is no good evidence for it regarding anything but small stuff, is that it relieves us of any type of obligation. We can be the atomized creatures of perfect personal pursuit, with not even an obligation to nation or tribe, let alone a Creator.

                This is no new thing, and isn’t even a particular Jewish thing (other than Marxism). But certainly many Jews have run from their special obligations as the chosen people.

                That’s a heavy burden and one can say hasn’t been borne well. Moses isn’t gone five minutes and the Jews are building a golden calf. Christians do the same thing. They have built their share of crystal palaces.

                If the Jews were specifically chosen to bring a light to the world, they may have badly fumbled that in regards to Jesus. It’s easy to forget that this was a Jewish movement and did end up bringing to much of the world what Dennis Prager calls “ethical monotheism.”

                But Jesus was denied by the Jews and the Christians eventually denied the Jewishness of their own movement, sanitizing it and corrupting it into eventually a sometimes simmering hostility to the Jews. Of course, the message of Christianity transcends ethnicity, and is meant to. But central to Christianity is the Incarnation and that Incarnation was into a Jew.

                Maybe the Monty Python film, “Life of Brian,” best describes what people tend to do with religion. And you have to wonder sometimes why a Creator would even bother.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              To be fair, one reason why many Jews tend to hate Christians can be summed up in the phrase “Christ-killer” (which some may recall from Fiddler on the Roof, at least the movie version).

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I don’t think anyone is trying not to be fair. But I think for a long time now, many Jews have gotten away with hiding under the title of “victim” while (as in the case of Karl Marx) working hard to wreck Western civilization.

                No one here is trying to paint a stereotype. Life is complex. Some Jews have been victims. Others have been wreckers of civilization. Others (such as Rabbi Lapin and Dennis Prager) have been not only a credit to Jews but a credit to human beings, in general. And others (such a Jonah Goldberg) seem to be reverting to a kind of ill-considered or simply market-based milieu of secular thinking.

                A general theme here is that many Jews have turned either rabidly secularly or have morphed their Judaism into what is little more than Leftism…with Moses, at best, being an afterthought. This is similar to what is going on in many Christian churches where Christ is turned into a sort of Che Guevara and the emphasis isn’t on sin but on “diversity,” “tolerance,” and multiculturalism. And rather than the development of one’s character (an immaterial thing) being the point, the emphasis is on “stuff.” “Social justice” measures man and the societies he lives in not in terms of moral aspects but purely material aspects. This blinds rubes such as the Pope who even George Will acknowledges doesn’t know the first thing about how to reduce poverty and has policies that would only increase it.

                Sowell also clearly sees this issue in The Left Has Its Pople. It’s a sorry day to be a Catholic these days, just as it is a sorry day to be an American with this America-hating Marxist as president. Beelzebub is having a field day.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I thought the discussion made clear that there was some historical foundation for the Jewish fear of Christianity.

                But I find your use of the term “Christ-killer” interesting.

                No doubt this was used in the past.

                And I have heard the phrase thrown out as a reason some Jews fear and loath Christianity and as a condemnation of Christianity itself. (particularly Catholicism)

                But I have never heard anyone accuse the Jews in such terms. And I am not a young man. Perhaps I have been singularly lucky to live among enlightened and open people.

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