An Excellent Propagandist

You just have to give Jonah Goldberg credit for his skills as a propagandist with this op-ed. He starts out with an example which many will agree with:

Remember this? “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical….”

Younger readers may not remember the opening to “The Outer Limits,” a pretty good sci-fi rip-off of “The Twilight Zone” (and they may have only a fuzzy understanding that TVs used to have knobs to control the horizontal and vertical). But as they read the news these days, maybe they can find a new appreciation for the creepy feeling of powerlessness that opening once gave viewers.

For instance, California is proposing revisions to its housing code that would require all new or remodeled homes to have a “programmable communicating thermostat.” Equipped with special “nonremovable” FM radio receivers, these devices would allow state power authorities to set the temperature in your home as they see fit. Ostensibly to manage demand during “price events” and other “emergencies,” you would basically cede control of your home’s heating and air conditioning to the state (when and if state officials wanted to exercise it).

Assuming he is correct on the facts, Goldberg will have people agreeing with him, right or left. However should you go along with his logic there is a slippery slope of irrationality. He moves on to criticize various “nanny state” proposals and still sounds sane. I can’t even object to him knocking a few politicians, especially as he goes after ones from each party.

Somehow all of this leads to comparisons to Nazi Germany. Now, while I do have qualms about banning tobacco, I also understand the hazards of second hand smoke. We might agree or disagree with advocates of “nanny state” policies but their supporters are hardly the same as Nazis. Such name calling is ridiculous when those on the left call George Bush a fascist, and it is now ridiculous when Jonah Goldberg makes the same claims about liberals in his recent book. This is clearly his goal as he even tries to hide the fact that Hitler came from the extreme right in referring to his “socialist economy.” Personally I object about equally to both socialist and fascist economies, but to those who follow Goldberg’s train of thought there’s little distinction between a Democrat and a socialist (or a fascist).

On second look, Goldberg’s attacks are not aimed equally at Democrats and Republicans. He only mentions Republicans like Huckabee and McCain who have strayed from the orthodoxy of the conservative movement. He has no criticism of the conservatives who defend preemptive war, illegal wiretaps, ignoring habeas corpus, torture, and the Patriot Act. Now these are positions which are truly similar to fascism. Even Dick Cheney’s energy task force carries a strong resemblance to fascist economic policies with government and business managing the economic and writing the rules together.

In moving from some rational arguments to the absurd, Goldberg certainly does prove himself to be a master propagandist. Such skills are high in demand among fascist movements.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    ME says:

    Such name calling is ridiculous when those on the left call George Bush a fascist.

    If he quacks like a fascist, and walks like a fascist….

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