The Atlantic has a review of reviews of the Kos book. It’s chock-a-block with Liberal Fascism bashing, mostly from people who I suspect haven’t read it, plus activist Matt Yglesias who claims to have read it but has A) a very deep personal grudge against me and B) is an admitted fan of lying for political ends. His own hyper-partisan book famously bombed, barely breaking out of triple-digit sales. So maybe he still has some issues related to that as well. But that’s neither here nor there.
I haven’t read the Moulitsas book, but I suspect the real differences are pretty obvious. While I do not smear all of my political opponents as monsters (people who say I do this, again, have either not read the book, are too blinkered to understand it, or are lying), it seems pretty clear that’s exactly what Kos sets out to do. Kevin Drum does what he does a lot of late, barrels toward a polemical point without looking for the facts. Celebrating the integrity of liberals, Drum asks “Did Liberal Fascism get any similarly incendiary reviews from mainstream conservatives writing in any of America’s premier mainstream conservative publications?”
Max Fisher, the author who accepts all of this “Goldbergian” nonsense at face value, doesn’t bother to check. Well, the answer is yes. Commentary gave the book a negative review. So did the Wall Street Journal. National Review’s own review by Paul Johnson was kind of flat. The Weekly Standard’s review was positive. Reason’s was mixed. The American Conservative’s was harshly negative (although really dumb, too). The only unabashed raves from top-tier conservative publications were Ronald Radosh’s review in the New York Sun and perhaps RJ Pestritto’s in the Claremont Review of Books. There were other raves as well, from Tom Sowell, Daniel Pipes, Vox Day, et al. But, contrary to Drum’s implication, conservatives did not form ranks and cheer. Liberals, however, did form ranks and whine about it without dealing with it seriously (with very few exceptions).
It appears that’s what they’re still doing.
Update: From a reader:
Jonah,I read your book, and I would humbly argue that I understood it. And from that perspective it makes me sad to read these rants in The Atlantic. It seems tragic to me that these people who would be quick to appoint themselves serious thinkers, could dismiss an effort like LF with little more than a rhetorical hand wave. How tragic that their minds are so obviously closed. I think it’a clear that it says much more about them than it does about you or LF.
When I read it, I was a little annoyed that you went so far out of your way to add repetitive disclaimers. I think you said something like “I don’t mean this to imply that today’s liberal are the same as these horrible people.” so often that it actually hurt the narrative of the book. After the fourth or fifth time I found myself saying “OK Jonah Jeez… I get it already… no connection.” But apparently you could have published a book which said nothing else and it still would have been indicted by the liberal intelligencia.
If you can really know a man by his enemies, what does it say about you that your enemies are so pathetic?
Have a nice weekend.
Oh I don’t know that all of my enemies are pathetic. I have respect for a few of them. But yes, the reader touches on one of the really annoying ironies of this seemingly endless argument. Many sympathetic readers, and reviewers, hated the repetition of my numerous disclaimers to the effect of “I’m not saying liberals today are monsters” while liberals, most of whom haven’t read the book, insist that all I do is say “liberals today are monsters.” It’s vexing.