Chapter by entertaining and informative chapter, Goldberg methodically hits all the lazy buzz phrases and straw men we’re familiar with (diversity, middle class, social justice, dissent). Better still, though, Goldberg drops the scales from our eyes (at least mine) with some that might’ve slipped past us (slippery slope, dogma, pragmatism). At the close of each chapter Goldberg’s deconstruction is so scholarly and complete, no one who isn’t intentionally manipulating our language will ever hear this nonsense in the same way again. You’re also loaded for bear the next time some Lefty tries to shut down debate by whipping out this age-old but admittedly effective arsenal (and shutting conservatives up — the tyranny — is a big factor in why these clichés were invented in the first place).
Let me back up just a moment to ensure I’m not misunderstood. There’s nothing dated about “Tyranny.” For as long as the Left uses rhetorical nonsense, Goldberg’s book will be required reading — which means “Tyranny” is and always will be a vital work. My point is that the timing of the release couldn’t be better. In other words, you buy a copy, read it over the summer, and come out for the Labor Day presidential push much better prepared for what will be the key battle in this election: the verbal jiu-jitsu of lies we’re about to have to cut through in order to persuade a few thousand independent voters to come our way (by the way, Goldberg gives the lauded political “center” a delicious shellacking).
But politics and elections and argument and debate aside, the primary reason to recommend “Tyranny” is The Writing. I should send Jonah a bill for the three yellow highlighters his prose cost me. Goldberg is not only the rare writer with a real voice (who makes you burst into laughter regularly), but his ability to persuasively bring together history and wit and quotes from “Animal House” into incredible packages of knowledge and insight makes “Tyranny” a page-turner you don’t want to end.