The Corner


Goldberg to Liberals: Don’t Prove Goldberg Right!

Over at Slate, Michelle Goldberg (no relation) wags her finger at campus liberals for behaving like idiots. She rightly worries (from a left-wing perspective) that all of the anti-free-speech buffoonery will fuel a right-wing backlash, as campus excesses have in the past. She writes:

It could be that when campus activists and their allies hear cocooned white liberals talk about free speech, they think we’re saying, “Stop complaining about bigotry.” As a result, a dynamic is emerging in which being contemptuous of free speech arguments becomes a way to prove one’s radical bona fides.

Conservatives are elated by this. Right-wing news outlets have been covering each new development in the campus speech wars with salacious glee and are clearly enjoying the chance to publish headlines such as “Amherst Students Protest ‘Free Speech.’ ” Republicans relish the opportunity to rail against political correctness on the campaign trail. When Martin, Amherst’s president, issued a statement that was broadly sympathetic to the protesters but also protective of free speech, a parody Twitter account, @AmherstUprising, tweeted, “President Martin statement is another sign that ze doesnt get it. Any mention of defending free speech is a bow to racism.”

Then Goldberg adds this hilarious shot at yours truly:

The right is, unfortunately, right to be delighted. Their movement thrives on a sense of victimization, so having left-wing students actually come out and say that they want to ban conservative ideas confirms all their lurid suspicions about what Jonah Goldberg idiotically called Liberal Fascism.

Never mind that I didn’t coin the term — H.G. Wells did. Never mind that Wells wasn’t criticizing “liberal fascism,” he was endorsing it.

What I love about Goldberg’s argument is that it boils down to: “Hey liberals, stop acting like fascists or you’ll prove Jonah Goldberg right that there’s something fascistic in progressivism.

Beyond that, I think the piece makes some perfectly interesting and insightful points. 


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