Liberal Fascism

Daily Show Reax

There’s some in the Corner too, but here’s a small sampling of the e-mail. From a friend:

Saw your “Daily Show” appearance and I think you should be happy with it. A conservative can’t “win” on Jon Stewart’s show. The goal is to take the ritualized humiliation–the intellectual equivalent of frat hazing–without looking churlish, and you did that.Everybody who hates conservatives can giggle, “Boy, wasn’t it great how Stewart told off Jonah Goldberg”; they get their emotional validation, which is what they tuned in for. But to everybody else who watched–from conservatives to those who are simply fair and open-minded–it was clear that there was more to your side of the discussion than Stewart was going to let you say.(I generally avoid watching Stewart’s interview segments. He’s a gifted comedian, but put him in an adversial format like that and he becomes too much like a liberal version of Bill O’Reilly.)

And:

Jonah:I almost didn’t watch because the whole point of that show is to trivialize and dismiss arguments that he doesn’t like, but it was obvious that he was struggling to make that happen.  There were 4 or 5 edits but you still held your own very well.  The advantage you have over someone like that is they want to attack you, but they don’t really have the patience to deal with your arguments so they will always be open to the “If you had bothered to read my book…” strategem which you employed quite well.   Best regards,

And:

Jonah,

Here in our crappy college apartment about 100 yards off the campus of Baylor University, my roommates and I just caught your Daily Show appearance. You did a pretty good job holding your own, and after the segment was over my roommate summed it up best:

“That was a fun editing job. At least Michael Moore is subtle when he does that.”

Best,

Kevin

p.s. Love the book, I bought one for the week and one for the weekend. 

And:

Hello Jonah,

Let me just start out by saying I’m a liberal(probably ‘classical’ by your definition), I’m a fan

of Jon Stewart, and I haven’t read your book. There, so sycophancy isn’t exactly a charge than can be lobbed in my direction when talking about you and your work. But I found it impossible for me to sit through whatever you call that television appearance – it certainly wasn’t an interview – without feeling nauseated. I’ve read some of the reviews – both favorable and unfavorable, and I’m sure there would be many things that would be worth arguing with you about. But that was precisely the problem with your Daily Show appearance tonight: There was no

substantive discussion at all, and I cannot say with a straight face that you were in any way culpable for that. Maybe the full interview was too long to be aired (though it would have offered Stewart an easy way to help fill up a painfully writerless 30 minutes), but the editing was actually laughable. Stewart did exactly what he derides the mainstream media for doing on a nightly basis: he created worthless sound bites and managed to sidestep a discussion. Or at least that was what the final product looked like.

I’m sure in the next several weeks you’ll be hit from all angles by people who want to discredit your thesis. Maybe it’s deserved, maybe not, but hopefully the controversy will at least breed discussion. The only thing that was clear about tonight’s appearance on The Daily Show was that Jon Stewart couldn’t get past the cover, and that was his fault.

Good luck getting fair airtime,

And:

I thought Jon Stewart was an intelligent guy.  He is either a puppet or too blinded by his own progressive ideals to see the downside of a benevolent dictatorship.  My goodness,  he is so courteous to all the neocon schills he has on his show, and thats how he treats you.  Oh well , thank you for shedding light on this urgent topic. 

 And:

I don’t know what the hell I just watched.I drank a bunch of scotch in anticpation of tonight’s interview with you, and they butchered it.   I just don’t know what happened.  All I can say is that it was the most surreal interview I’ve seen on television.  I’m hoping that, at some point, the full interview shows up on the internets.

And:

onah, I was utterly disappointed with John Stewart’s interview of you or at least the small portion I was able to see.  It reminded me of why, despite Stewart’s great comic genius, I can barely stomach watching him take on any weighty issues with an ounce of seriousness. Based on what I have gathered from reading this blog and listening to your thoughts on other venues, I doubt Stewart read your book and if he did it appears the extent of his analysis ended with his pre-existing view that “liberal fascism” is an oxymoron.  I also thought his statement that you were too concerned with words (or did he say language) was rich, especially considering his lack of concern for them appears to cause much of his consternation. The interview further underlined the two greatest indicators that an individual will be unable to wrap their head around your thesis: 1) a failure to understand the difference between classic liberalism and modern American liberalism or as you rightly called it progressivism; and 2) an inability to comprehend that fascism has a meaning separate and apart from “evil” (or perhaps more truthfully that fascism does not necessarily equal Nazi-ism). I have just purchased your book online and can’t wait to get my hands on it.  I hope your tour brings you down to Bayou Country, though I understand if that’s unlikely. 

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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