« Tony Snow Plays the Flute | Main | Diminished Capacity: FDA Downsized and Privatized; America is at Risk »

June 29, 2007

Goldberg and Hegel

I think Spackerman is giving Jonah Goldberg too little credit. For all we know, Goldberg is a Hegel expert. A Hegel scholar. No! A gentleman and a Hegel scholar! It's possible that Jonah has nothing but very serious, thoughtful, arguments about Hegel that have never been made in such detail or with such care. After all, he went to Goucher college, and while they don't have a philosophy department, they do have a philosophy and religion department, which includes exactly one course that mentions Hegel:

PHL 219. Nineteenth Century Philosophy (3)

Study of Kant’s epistemology and Hegel’s phenomenology and philosophy of history to show new confidence in reason; Nietzsche’s and Kierkegaard’s responses and the subsequent crisis in confidence in reason and the loss of absolute values that give rise to the issues of modern life. Readings include Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Hegel’s “Preface” to the Phenomenology of Spirit, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, and Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and Repetition. Influence of these works on psychology, social science, religion, and ethics.

It is entirely possible that Goldberg took this course, or one very much like it, while in residence at Goucher. And if spending one fourth of one course on Hegel doesn't give you standing to write books about the man and his ideas, I don't know what does.

June 29, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Come on Ezra. Are you saying that reading a little Hayek, some of the The Marx Reader, and some old issues of National Review doesn't make you an expert on Hegel? I mean, Jonah has been an expert on pragmatism since he read Menand's Metaphysical Club.

Posted by: David | Jun 29, 2007 11:32:58 AM

My favorite example of Jonah the Great Thinker is the following:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/blogs/wolcott/2005/10/conservative_sc.html

(And apologies I'm so lame that I don't know how to format that so it's a direct link).

Posted by: Kathy G. | Jun 29, 2007 11:39:50 AM

I just thought I would provide an example of Goldberg holding forth on pragmatism after reading Menand:

http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg200501070800.asp

Posted by: David | Jun 29, 2007 11:43:59 AM

I was just thinking about Goldberg's Hegel bona fides this morning. I realized, if he's ever learned anything about Hegel, we'd already know. We'd already have seen his bleg. He' would have explaining that he needed to write something about Hegel, but that the _Philosphy of Right_ is a really big book. And so he was wondering if any of his readers were Hegel scholars, and could tell which secrtions of the book to read, or even just explain some of the German words on Hegel's Wikipedia page. It worked for his foray into Spencer scholarship didn't it?

But it seems to me, if we haven't seen this bleg yet, Goldberg can't have started his "research."

Posted by: Scott E. | Jun 29, 2007 11:47:46 AM

To be fair, I spent an entire semester reading the Phenomenology of Spirit with a fairly well-known Hegel scholar and I mostly remember three things:
1) The Master-Slave dialectic.
2) You can disprove phrenology by bashing someone in the head with a brick.
3) Hegel really, really liked his sister.

That said, I think the book would almost be worth the price of admission just to see him stumble through the most basic concepts of the dialectic. Maybe he'll follow it up with "Michel Foucault- Post-Structuralist Philosopher, or Just a Big Poof?"

Posted by: L Boom | Jun 29, 2007 11:58:53 AM

I don't think "You shouldn't be talking about Hegel unless you've spent several years reading his works in the original German, along with the most important secondary sources" is the right angle for the Jonah-mockery to take. If we're not allowed to talk about the works of thinkers about which we are not as knowledgeable as the world's true experts, the public discourse would become a little arid.

The better angle to take would be that Jonah's invocation of Hegel, along with Whole Foods and formerly Mussolini and Hillary Clinton, as a paradigm of "Liberal Fascism" is completely nutso. Which is a claim I am happy to defend, despite not having read The Phenomenology of Spirit in the original.

Posted by: Sean Carroll | Jun 29, 2007 12:07:14 PM

Jonah could have, you know, read some Hegel on his own.

Posted by: Alexander Dietz | Jun 29, 2007 12:09:15 PM

Sean, true enough on your first paragraph. As a pundit you can write about whatever you want. But if you are pretending to write a scholarly work, a "very serious thoughtful argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care," then you might want to actually know something.

Posted by: David | Jun 29, 2007 12:13:43 PM

Did Hegel ever come up in the Day by Day cartoon?

Posted by: gorillagogo | Jun 29, 2007 12:19:45 PM

You mean that if someone didn't study a subject in college, he's not allowed to write about it? Interesting perspective.

Posted by: ostap | Jun 29, 2007 12:41:15 PM

The truly pathetic thing is, as world-historically awful as Jonah's book promises to be, it probably won't be the worst wingnut book of this era. I mean -- just look at the competition: Ann Coulter's ouevre. Dinesh D'Souza's Enemy at Home. Fred Barnes' Rebel in Chief. John Podhoretz's Bush Country. Midge Decter's book-length mash note to Donald Rumsfeld. The rash of frothingly paranoid Hillary-hating books (pick any one of them). And on and on . . .

Face it -- even Jonah would have to work pretty hard to suck harder than those.

I wonder what the all-time worst wingnut book of this era will be? Whatever it is, it could certainly lay claim to being among the worst books ever written at any time, in any place.

Posted by: Kathy G. | Jun 29, 2007 1:04:37 PM

As David said, the issue isn't Goldberg's choice of topics or his credentials. It's more an issue of reconciling his claim to serious scholarship ("very serious thoughtful argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care" is a verbatim quote from Goldberg about his book) with the fact that the man is intellectually lazy and well, not the sharpest tool in the shed to begin with.

For those who didn't check the Wolcott link, here's a quote from NRO where Jonah asks for research assistance:
"WANTED: HERBERT SPENCER EXPERT [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm working on a chapter of the book which requires me to read a lot about and by Herbert Spencer. There's simply no way I can read all of it, nor do I really need to. But if there are any real experts on Spencer out there -- regardless of ideological affiliation -- I'd love to ask you a few questions in case I'm missing something."

I'll go out on a limb here and say that treating second hand info as primary research material isn't exactly the hallmark of a great thinker. It's not like he needs to read everything (or even should), but he should be able to figure out himself what he does and doesn't need to read on his own. He's just asking to be spoon-fed info when he should be able to do what any good undergrad can do and find it himself.

Posted by: L Boom | Jun 29, 2007 1:08:08 PM

What makes you folks think Goldberg's book will be about Hegel at all? It's pure marketing claptrap: "From A to B", where A is something serious, scholarly and slightly intimidating to a layperson, and B is a modern, preferably pop-culture related.

Do you really think his book used to be about Mussolini and Hillary? And now it's going to be about some philosopher (please forgive my ignorance, I'm a hard-science man myself) and a overgrown food co-op?

Posted by: verplanck colvin, pe | Jun 29, 2007 1:10:29 PM

Look ostap. It is one thing to study something and become a political pundit and then later, over time, develop areas of expertise in policy. It is another to not study philosophy or Hegel and then go and write a book about him. Would you read a book on Constitutional Law by someone who hadn't gone to Law School? A book on Science from someone who had never studied Science? Of course, Jonah's book isn't only about Hegel, but if he is going to claim to make a serious contribution to the study of fascism then people will expect him to have read the literature--and if his argument in any way is dependent on Hegel, than he will have to have done some serious research on Hegel. Having taking a class at college would at least indicate he knew where to start and had some guidance. As it is, Jonah appears to be an auto-dictat, which is fine, Lincoln was too, but Lincoln wasn't writing books on fascism. Obviously, we should all support people learning on their own, but if you are going to make a serious academic argument, it helps to have an academic background.

Posted by: David | Jun 29, 2007 1:10:34 PM

You mean that if someone didn't study a subject in college, he's not allowed to write about it? Interesting perspective.

Of course he's free to write about it. Just as others are free to point out that he's ignorant of the subject and has no expertise. Try again.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jun 29, 2007 1:12:32 PM

I get up each morning, look in the mirror, and say, "I'm smarter than Jonah."

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 29, 2007 1:20:27 PM

Sanpete: Better looking too I bet.

I am not a Jonah scholar, but I have not seen him discus, much less mention, Hegel in anything he has written. More to the point, however, his use of Whole Foods has been declared to be a bit of a non sequiter. Based on that tidbit of information, it is entirely possible Jonah does not know anything about Hegel. He likes the "heh" sound(cf. Glenn Reynolds)...Hitler, Hillary, Whole Foods..Hegel..he needed someone other than Homer or Hemingway..

Posted by: Mudge | Jun 29, 2007 1:59:56 PM

Ah, give the poor guy a break. He probably got the idea from Monty Python:

The Philosopher's Song

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.
Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume
Schopenhauer and Hegel,
And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach
About the raising of the wrist.
Socrates himself was permanently pissed...

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away;
Half a crate of whiskey every day.
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
Hobbes was fond of his dram,
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart: "I drink, therefore I am"
Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker but a bugger when he's pissed.

Posted by: litbrit | Jun 29, 2007 2:35:22 PM

When I read that Jonah went to Goucher I discovered a residual synapse of sexism deep in my 51-year-old brain -- that boys who go to women's colleges like Vassar and Goucher are wusses. But Jonah's hardly a convincing counterexample.

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel | Jun 29, 2007 3:25:36 PM

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjdmNTZjNTg1YWFjMWZkYTE5MDdjNDFiZTBlZTI0OGU=

Goldberg on Hegel:

"In 1990, Francis Fukuyama wrote a brilliant essay for The National Interest (the best foreign-policy magazine in the world without a centerfold) entitled "The End of History?" He followed it up with a book, The End of History and the Last Man. (Personal trivia: By successfully faking having read this book in an interview, I got a job at the American Enterprise Institute. I finished the book later.)

While Fukuyama's thesis was widely misunderstood by a lot of people, it's actually a pretty simple idea (it's the explanations that are complicated). History, according to a Hegelian interpretation, has been a long series of bloody arguments about the best way to organize society. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the intellectual and moral collapse of socialism-totalitarianism, liberal democracy won that argument and thus ended capital-h History. (Just to be clear: when I say "liberal democracy" I mean liberal in the Lockeian, not the Ted Kennedy, sense.)"

Posted by: David | Jun 29, 2007 4:23:18 PM

My mom went to Goucher. She is not Jonah Goldberg.

Posted by: Jake | Jun 29, 2007 4:34:39 PM

I'll go out on a limb here and say that treating second hand info as primary research material isn't exactly the hallmark of a great thinker.

There are notable academics (say, the odd expat Harvard history professor) who farm off their primary archival research onto graduate students, because they're busy with other work (or, say, the odd AEI/Heritage meeting). But having lackeys for the dull task of poring through German government memos is a bit different from farming off the task of reading an author's major published works.

I get up each morning, look in the mirror, and say, "I'm smarter than Jonah."

Ah, but that's missing the point. To paraphrase Alexander Pope, it's no crime to be an idiot, but to persist at being an idiot after being told of one's idiocy, and an idiot for profit at that, is unseemly.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Jun 29, 2007 4:39:17 PM

I get up each morning, look in the mirror, and say, "I'm smarter than Jonah."

Really?

Posted by: Jason G. | Jun 29, 2007 6:40:26 PM

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
钢托盘
木托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
南京托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
杭州托盘
成都托盘
武汉托盘
长沙托盘
合肥托盘
苏州托盘
无锡托盘
昆山托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
南京托盘
南京钢制托盘
南京钢托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘

托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
塑料托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘
托盘
托盘
托盘
钢托盘
铁托盘
钢制托盘
塑料托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
木托盘
塑料托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘

托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
木制托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘
托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
铁托盘
塑料托盘
木托盘
纸托盘
木塑托盘
柱式托盘
波纹板托盘
镀锌托盘
南京托盘
上海托盘
北京托盘
广州托盘


托盘
钢托盘
钢制托盘
托盘
塑料托盘

Posted by: judy | Oct 8, 2007 8:22:01 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.