The G-File

What’s That Now?

Dear Reader (and those of you who really should have taken the blue pill),

All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jonah a dull boy.

Whoops, sorry. I’ve been locked up in my snowbound house for nearly a week now, and I’m going a little Shining.

True story: The other night I taught my daughter to go into the kitchen and say to my wife (who was chopping the last of our supply of green vegetables) “redrum, redrum, redrum” in her scratchiest voice while bending her index finger.

My wife screamed. My daughter was confused. I laughed.

Good times.

Truth be told, this is one of our favorite games with Lucy. We often tell her to repeat movie lines, and it’s amazing how funny it is. One of our favorites is when we’re swimming in a pool. Lucy and Mommy knock over Daddy in his floating bed. Then, after Daddy breaks the surface and gasps for air, Lucy proclaims with all the seriousness she can muster: “This was no boating accident!”

Good times.

I’d apologize for the cabin feverishness of this missive, except cabin feverishness (cabin feverosity?) is what readers demand from this odd feature.

The problem is that I’m experiencing the real thing these days. The weather has just been whackadoodle (to use a phrase from the climate sciences). The schools have been closed all week and it looks like they won’t be open again until Monday. My daughter’s seventh birthday party had to be cancelled.

Who knew Mother Nature was that girl in high school me and my friends drenched with pig’s blood at the prom?

What’s That Now?

David Freddoso (formerly of NR, now with the pirate’s cove known as the Examiner) played a little gotcha [BROKEN LINK] with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. the other day. Not long ago, RFK Jr. wrote a typically stupid column in which he lamented that the D.C. area doesn’t have snow anymore. “Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don’t own a sled.”

Uh-huh.

Kennedy told NRO that it’s okay for him to be stupid because all the idiots do it. “Idiots on the right like Rush [Limbaugh] like to point to any cold-weather anomalies as proof that global warming doesn’t exist,” Kennedy says. “They are either deliberately blind to science or trying to protect their corporatist interests.”

Actually, this isn’t what conservatives do, for the most part. The warm-mongers claim all convenient weather as “climate” and write-off inconvenient weather as mere “weather.” They are the ones who are making predictions about Gaia’s intentions. Skeptics merely point out that the actual facts often don’t jibe with the predictions.

This raises two points worth making.

Here Is the First Point

Our political discourse is rife with what you might call tu quoque-ism. Okay, you might not call it that. Tu quoque-ism actually sounds like an unpleasant discharge produced by an intestinal infection of some kind. In fact, odds are you’ll never call it that. But what the hell.

Tu quoque is a Latin term for a certain kind of fallacious argument whereby you dismiss a criticism by saying that the person offering it is guilty of the same charge. Here’s how Wikipedia defines it: “A tu quoque argument attempts to discredit the opponent’s position by asserting his failure to act consistently in accordance with that position; it attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. It is considered an ad hominem argument, since it focuses on the party itself, rather than its positions.”

Here’s an example:

The Couch: “Goldberg, you’ve got to get more exercise.” Goldberg: “Nonsense. You haven’t even moved for years.” The Couch: “That’s right, moron. I am a piece of furniture.”

Or something like that.

We see this sort of thing all the time. Democrats say Republicans can’t complain about Obama’s deficits because Republicans didn’t complain about Bush’s deficits. Never mind that Obama’s deficits are worse. Meanwhile, Democrats complained about Bush’s deficits but think there’s nothing wrong with Democratic deficits because it’s the Democrats’ turn. And so bad behavior becomes democratized.

The most glaring example in recent years has been the Left’s obsession with Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and all the other monsters Keith Olbermann has his interns look for under his bed before he lays his head down on his enormous pillow and goes to sleep. For years, Democrats — particularly the nutroots moonbats – insisted that everything conservatives did was illegitimate and evil. Pick your own examples. Rove running a political operation from inside the White House (cue When a Stranger Calls – “Mr. President we’ve traced the call; that political advice is coming from inside the White House!”), Fox blending opinion and news, the unfairness of talk radio . . . whatever. In each of these instances, the Left’s reaction was to copy what the Right was doing, even as they continued to say that what the Right was doing is evil.

One problem with this is that, when the Left aped a paranoid caricature of what the other side was actually doing, the practice actually became worse the second time around. Democrats concoct the most cynical and dastardly interpretation of Republican actions possible and then adopt the same practices. But any criticism of the Democrats’ behavior is dismissed as “hypocritical” in a bonfire of tu quoque-ism. Yes, yes, Republicans are guilty of this stuff, too. But it really does seem like the Democrats have become unhinged in this regard.

Regardless, the upshot is that partisans on both sides feel justified in doing the very worst things they accused their opponents of doing, even though the accusations weren’t accurate. It’s not merely tit-for-tat-ism, another highly technical term, but that’s part of it. It leads to things like Robert Kennedy Jr. (admittedly a dim bulb even for a Kennedy) seeing nothing wrong with defending himself on the grounds that all the idiots are doing it. Never mind that his facts and his interpretations are wrong. The only thing he gets right is that he is, in fact, an idiot.

Oh, That Second Point.

I can’t remember exactly why this second point belongs here, and I’m too lazy to scroll up and reread what I wrote to figure it out. But, anyway, I’ve been thinking about whether it pays to be right early. Whatever the real state of the climate may be, skeptics have certainly been right on the basic point that their skepticism is justified. The global-warming industry is imploding from scandals created by its own dishonesty and exaggerations. See our latest editorial, or my column, or Steyn’s Corner posts for more on all that (and of course you should be hitting refresh on Planet Gore like a cocaine-study monkey, not just for the heat of exercise but for the light of reason). And yet it’s not like elite institutions are beckoning skeptics back into the fold.

Or forget global warming. I certainly have as I’ve been breaking down our furniture and throwing it in the fireplace.

For a year, conservatives have said that Obama’s problems largely stem from the fact that he’s campaigning for a job he already has. Now, after the facts are glaringly obvious, liberal pundits are starting to say the same thing. And lo, behold, the argument is being hailed as some sort of brilliant, novel insight.

Yet, as far as I can tell, no one on the left is saying, “Hey, the conservatives are on to something.”

Or take John Edwards. I’ve written some very harsh things about John Edwards over the years because I, like countless other conservatives, could tell that he is what social scientists call “full of sh*t” and an awful person. I once wrote something to the effect of: “No serious person I know thinks Edward would have ever gotten into politics if he’d been burnt by acid as a teenager.” I remember some idjit left-wing blogs went beserk about what an idiot I was. Not only did they not get the joke, they insisted that John Edwards is the most sincere, caring, decent, honest, wonderful, shiny-happy-neato-peachy-keen, pretty person this side of a Teen Beat centerfold (I’m quoting from memory). Now, it’s clear that John Edwards is to decent politics what crack whores are to nunnery. And yet, in all of the commentary about Edwards, no one says, “Hey, conservatives had a point all along.”

It’s a bit reminiscent of all those liberals who insisted that the Cold War was a simpler time because we all agreed on the nature of the Soviet Union.

Is there are a larger point? I’m sure there is, but I don’t really want to spend my last moments of warmth on such bitter topics. I fully expect to be encased in an ice tomb any minute now, so I should turn to happy thoughts.

Ah, TV, You’ll Never Let Me Down

Which brings me to TV. I think I’m going to be writing more about TV in this space in the coming weeks. I’ve got a billion-bajillion deadlines coming up, and I kind of need to conserve the punditry for columns for a while. So, expect more of this sort of thing.

Just FYI, I haven’t watched Caprica yet, but I will. Eventually.

The American What Now?

Oh, one last thing. While working on my column about Audi’s “Green Police” ad, I learned that, according to Wikipedia, the band Cheap Trick is known in Japan as the “American Beatles.”

That’s just awesome. And I should know. In Cameroon, I’m known as the American Jonathan Swift. Not the famous writer Jonathan Swift, but the Jonathan Swift who once moved to Cameroon to try to sell snow-cone machines.

Why, just this morning I was telling the imaginary bartender at this abandoned resort I’m staying at, “Little slow tonight, isn’t it? HAHAHAHA!”

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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