First off, sorry for the light (i.e. nonexistent) posting - long day, long story, long nap. Blogging in earnest will resume tomorrow.
However, I do have a couple of small items - well, not necessarily small in stature, just small in length.
Let's start with Jonah Goldberg. No, really. I've been following the travails of Liberal Fascism for a while, still refusing to read the book. I can now fall back, comfortably, on my old retort that I tend to avoid items on the New York Times bestseller list - where Liberal Fascism is now #1.
That perhaps shocking (though "relentless sales job" comes to mind) turn of events is supposed, in a Goldbergian view, prove the book's worth, where success (again "relentless sales job") serves as the most recent substitute for actual seriousness. Every couple of days, I stop by Jonah's blog on the book, hoping a) it will finally be interesting and b) provide some of the more amusing snark I've come to appreciate the guy for... sadly, no.
However, today I caught sight of a series of complaining posts about a review by Michael Tomasky, which led me to Tomasky's multi-page takedown of the book. As I consider Tomasky a genius (since before moving to New York, when he was at The Village Voice, muckraking the Giuliani years), I had high hopes going in... and they were amply met: the review is one of the most solid critiques yet:
However much or little Goldberg knows about fascism, he knows next to nothing about liberalism. Anybody familiar with Liberalism 101 grasps that there is something deep within liberalism, from its earliest beginnings, that prevents it from degenerating into fascism, and that is its explicit recognition that the state must serve both common purposes and individual liberty. Liberal theorists from John Locke to Cass Sunstein, with hundreds in between, have addressed this point. It is absolutely central to liberal theory and liberal practice. We do believe in such a thing as the common good, yes we do. We want more of it, and we want a democratic leader who will summon us to believe in it, who will locate for us the intersection of self-interest and common interest at which citizens can be persuaded to participate, together, collectively, in a project larger than their own success. But where that collective urge crosses the line into coercion, well, that is where liberals--I mean liberals who know something about liberalism--get off the train, and do their noncoercive best to derail it.