By: Thomas Kenna
A Profile of Jonah Goldberg
Despite what you may have heard, Jonah Goldberg can, in fact, buy pants. And while President Trump may be quick to critique his pants-purchasing capabilities, Goldberg’s contributions to ideological conservatism, on the other hand, are difficult to dismiss. In the nineteen years that Jonah Goldberg has been writing for National Review, he has brought humor, wit, and relevance to conservative commentary. Goldberg is a Senior Editor at National Review, and he was the Founding Editor of National Review Online. This is where Goldberg publishes his regular “Goldberg File,” now called “The G-File,” column. He often opines, in “The G-File” and in general, about political and cultural issues. His works are also published in The Los Angeles Times and USA Today. In addition to this, Goldberg is a Fox News contributor and frequently appears on the “All-Star Panel” section of “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Goldberg is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Moreover, Jonah Goldberg is a New York Times #1 bestselling author. His first book was published in 2008 with the title Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change. It comes from the charge that political commentators often make against those with whom they disagree: that they are “fascists.” Goldberg sought in this book to examine what fascism is and where it comes from. He discovered that fascism was a global, collectivist movement in the early twentieth century, and its ideology did not die with the National Socialists (Nazis) in the 1940s. Their ideology is actually shared by today’s American progressives. From the book’s description: “The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.” While fascists of yesteryear and contemporary progressives are both adverse to individualism, they are different in the way they express their beliefs. While Hitler and Mussolini fermented racist nationalism, today’s progressives are much “friendlier” in tone. Goldberg’s second book, published in 2012, was titled The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas. It was inspired by his lectures to college students. He was annoyed that during the Question & Answer part of his lectures, students would ask him questions using clichés or oft-repeated aphorisms. He disliked that these phrases hid the fact that the students did not really know what they were asking or talking about. He argued in the book that behind such mindless clichés is an unnoticed liberal ideology. He also makes the case that when liberals, like Barack Obama, describe themselves as “objective” or “pragmatic,” they are being intellectually dishonest and hiding their underlying ideology.
While the works of some essayists can be very boring to read, Goldberg’s columns are often laced with references to popular culture. Here’s a passage from his latest G-File column:
“Puck from the Real World and Richard Hatch from Survivor proved long ago that compelling a**holes are better than boring nice people. As far as I can tell, all of the Desperate Housewives are horrible people. But here’s the thing. Asininity is in the eye of the beholder these days. Which brings me back to Roy Moore.”
It’s easy to comprehend why thousands of people anticipate his subsequent articles, considering his humorous tone and understandable prose. While conservatism may have a reputation as the worldview of awkward, nerdy white guys, Jonah Goldberg makes it fun and relatable.
The current President of the American University College Republicans, Robbie Rosamelia, was Goldberg’s intern at the American Enterprise Institute in the spring of 2017. He said, “Jonah Goldberg is one of the smartest and effective figures in the conservative movement today. Throughout my internship with him at AEI, I learned more about the philosophical and historical roots of the conservative movement. Jonah Goldberg made discovering this history simple and fun. His humor and wit are unrivaled. With such ease, he can turn whacky things that liberals say into pithy arguments for why conservatives are better-suited to actually help people. Most importantly, he taught me that to be a truly convincing and effective communicator of conservative ideas, you have to have fun. We can go on and on about why our math adds up better than our opponents or that we are the most fiscally responsible, but Mr. Goldberg instilled in me that we must be able to make truly human, moral arguments that people can relate to and feel as though they are included in. This is a lesson I will always carry with me.”
Just as his G-File columns are concluded with an update on his dogs, this profile must conclude with a discussion of Jonah Goldberg’s’ dogs. Zoë is a Carolina dog, a breed indigenous to Georgia and South Carolina. She was adopted in January 2014. Pippa is a Springer Spaniel. He wrote of them, “they are inseparable friends.” Discussing his dogs in the way that he does is just one of the many ways he makes conservatism more human and more relatable.
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