LOPEZ: Would you add Sandra Fluke to the hero-worship chapter?
GOLDBLATT: The Fluke Martyrdom — I mean, it’s amazing she even survived Rush Limbaugh saying bad things about her — came after my book went to press, but she clearly belongs in the chapter on the Left’s history of misguided hero worship. She’s not a murderous villain like Che or Mumia. The obvious precursor is Anita Hill — another telegenic professional victim who became a feminist icon. I think Mark Steyn has Sandy pegged right. She’s a cliché-spouting, early-middle-aged schoolgirl who wants the government to buy stuff for her. Unless she winds up as Rachel Maddow’s substitute host on MSNBC, I can’t imagine her 15 minutes will drag on much longer.
: Is your book meant to be a challenge? A call to a new rigor in our political conversations?
GOLDBLATT: First and foremost, it’s meant to be a funny book about a serious subject. It’s not a treatise, Heaven knows, and it’s not a clarion call. Naturally, I’d like to see more rigor in political debate. But not everyone is equipped to engage in rigorous political debate — in many cases, just because they’ve got too many other things on their mind — and I wouldn’t want to exclude them from the conversation.
When I was sending out e-mail announcements for my book, a writer friend replied, “I’ll pass on the political book, that stuff is just nonsense, a waste of time for me, a hobby for angry folks.” That’s exactly wrong. Yes, there’s often anger in politics. Yes, there’s often ignorance. Oh, and there’s lots and lots of bad logic. But politics is who we are, our commonality. I might think Michael Moore and Bill Maher are buffoons, but they’re part of the conversation. You want them in the mix.
I don’t mean to get too preachy about it, but the back and forth between conservatives and liberals — between those who defend the tradition and those who push for change — is the republic. It’s the res publica, the public thing that defines us collectively. You want conservatives to win most of those debates because you want a stable society. Plus, the majority of changes liberals want are either pointless or dangerous. But a nation in which conservatives overwhelmed liberals would be stagnant. It wouldn’t adjust well to the dynamics of an evolving world. Liberals may deserve an occasional tweaking, but they’re still good to have around.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.