Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jonah Goldberg on "Pragmatism"

Heard him on the radio this morning, and what he said was pretty brilliant. I may have to order his book.

This is really, really close to excactly what he said:

You hear it from liberals all the time, "I don't believe in labels. We need to move beyond our partisan differences. We need to move beyond our philosophical divide." Do they EVER say "And so for the sake of unity and bipartisanship, I'm going to abandon all of my principles and agree with you."? No one ever says that. People always say, you should drop YOUR philosophical differences with me and get with my program.

In his Philidelphia speech, Barack Obama said that we need a new Declaration of Independence, free from ideology, small-thinking, prejudice and bigotry. So "ideology" is now in the same list as small-thinking, prejudice, and bigotry?

Obama said he wants to take ideas from anywhere across the ideological spectrum, "but we do know one thing: that Government is the only solution". That is a kind of pre-emption. That is a way of saying about anyone who disagrees with him "oh, he's just an ideologue." "He's small-minded". When he said of people in rural Pennsylvania who bitterly cling to their Sky Fairy and Boom Sticks instaid of joining on with his program -- what he was saying is that anyone who holds a position contrary to his own is suffering from what the Marxists call "false consciousness" - that his position isn't ideological, his position is just common sense, it's pragmatic, it's non-ideological. And anybody who disagrees, well those are the people who are sort of crazed and warped by their crazy ideological and philosophical theories. And that's profoundly unfair in a democracy. It's not the way you're supposed to have a debate. You're not supposed to say "well, if you hold a position that's different from my own, then you're kind of loopy". Let's look at the arguments on their merits.
Never mind that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself, you know, the one he says is out of date ... is ideology.

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