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June 28, 2007

Guilt By Association

Man, these political Magic cards are perfect for every occasion. Answering critics as to the content of his increasingly embattled, and hilarious, book, Jonah Goldberg writes, "Brad Plummer [sic] is having predictable good fun with it. Of course, he doesn't really seem to know what he's talking about (oh, and it's not like it's news to me that the owner of Whole Foods is a self-described libertarian but maybe the German obsession with organic food and environmentalism, for two examples, is news to Plummer). But that's okay, it's what I expected."

Now that's what I call a very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care. And via Julian comes the perfect response:

Guiltbyassoc

June 28, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

So now it's the German obsession with organic food and environmentalism that's suspect? Not the mythical Nazi obsession with them, but the German?

There's a hell of a lot more tolerance in this country for anti-Semitism, racism, even the Nazis themselves than there is in Germany. Yet the Germans are still pretty serious about environmentalism.

Posted by: Stephen | Jun 28, 2007 12:01:38 PM

This stuff about the book is surreal. I keep expecting to link to the original post and see that it's somehow taken out of context, but then I get to the original link and there is no particular context that explains why a grocery store is featured in a book about Nazis

Posted by: ChrisB | Jun 28, 2007 12:40:13 PM

Evidently, for Jonah Germans and Nazis are synonymous. This is a nice bookend for his contention that socialized medicine works in Europe due to the "homogenous character" of those "cultures". Whereas it is unsuited to the "polyglot" population of the US.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jun 28, 2007 12:41:29 PM

That's actually a playable card. A bit out of flavor for black, it would make more sense as red.

Posted by: Karmakin | Jun 28, 2007 12:47:20 PM

More evidence for my theory that the biggest difference between liberals and conservatives is the degree to which they understand fundamental logic.

The Nazis were bad because of what they did. Therefore, by Jonah's reasoning, anything the Nazis did is automatically bad. In fact, he takes it a step further -- the non-bad things they did must be somehow the cause of the bad things they did.

Organic foods drove the Nazis to genocidal madness!

I blame the spinach. Look what it did to Popeye.

Posted by: PapaJijo | Jun 28, 2007 12:47:35 PM

"...the German obsession with organic food and environmentalism..."

Hah! I alluded to this in the previous thread. Goldberg is borrowing his argument chiefly from Anna Bramwell, who notoriously slandered the environmental movement by linking it to the Blut und Boden current in German fascism. (Bramwell's accusation still occasionally shows up in the talking points of pro-industry anti-environmentalist shills in the US. Presumably that's where Goldberg picked it up.) In answer: Yes, some Nazis, a minority current, had agrarian, anti-industrial views, drank carrot juice, were vegetarians & health cranks, etc. But no, the contemporary environmental movement neither gets any of its ideas from German radical right ecologism, nor is similar to it in any meaningful way. It's a specious argument, just dumb enough for Goldberg to bite.

And it's worth repeating that Bramwell was herself active in UK neofacsist circles. In this she's similar to other precursors of Goldberg's thesis.

Posted by: K | Jun 28, 2007 1:17:51 PM

Idiot! Stupid-face! Dummy!

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 1:31:02 PM

It took you months, Sanpete, but you've finally figured out the spirit of blogging. Welcome aboard.

Posted by: Cyrus | Jun 28, 2007 1:51:13 PM

Magic.
And politics?

You got peanutbutter in my chocolate!

Posted by: Anthony Damiani | Jun 28, 2007 2:31:53 PM

Sanpete, I've never been able to comprehend your bizarre belief that Jonah has some kind of inalienable right to be engaged with and taken seriously. He has not earned such a privilege. Rather, he deserves to be mocked, and we do so with abandon. Also, it's fun.

The more you blithely decide to take seriously and engage any right-winger who appears, simply because he or she demands it, the more the right-wing will throw up progressively stranger and more warped right wingers, confident in the assurance that they will be validated and taken seriously by mature, serious people like Mr. Sanpete. You really need to stop validating the anti-social and anti-intellectual behavior of people like Jonah. Mockery and ostracization are perfectly valid means of accomplishing the goal of removing them from infecting serious discourse.

Posted by: Tyro | Jun 28, 2007 3:03:49 PM

your bizarre belief that Jonah has some kind of inalienable right to be engaged with and taken seriously.

Exactly. If he wants to be taken seriously, let him stop talking in absurdities.

You don't have to be Aristotle to recognize the formal logical fallacy in Jonah's argument:

Hitler was a Nazi.
Hitler was a vegetarian.
Ergo, all vegetarians are Nazis.

Posted by: rea | Jun 28, 2007 3:14:44 PM

I've never been able to comprehend your bizarre belief that Jonah has some kind of inalienable right to be engaged with and taken seriously.

Never suggested such a thing, least of all here.

You really need to stop validating the anti-social and anti-intellectual behavior of people like Jonah. Mockery and ostracization are perfectly valid means of accomplishing the goal of removing them from infecting serious discourse.

I validate whatever I think is valid, no more. I haven't validated anything in this thread.

You think threads like this have some serious purpose, and accomplish some good. I think they're generally dull (in the way throwing rocks at a wall ten feet away is dull), unfair, full of hypocrisy and other unappealing and harmful features, and accomplish nothing that can't be accomplished better in other ways.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 3:23:40 PM

You think threads like this have some serious purpose, and accomplish some good. I think they're generally dull (in the way throwing rocks at a wall ten feet away is dull), unfair, full of hypocrisy and other unappealing and harmful features, and accomplish nothing that can't be accomplished better in other ways.

So you chose to post on a thread denigrating a particular individual's opinions in order to protest said denigration by in turn denigrating the opinions of everyone who posts on the thread.

How sensible.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jun 28, 2007 3:35:21 PM

[I think threads are] unfair, full of hypocrisy and other unappealing and harmful features

Well, that's where we differ-- the unfairness, hypocrisy, and features that we regard as "harmful" in polite company is part of the appeal. But if you think the threads are so terrible, then why do you participate?

Unfortunately, Jonah is not properly mocked and derided in the public media forums in which he is invited to participate and speak. We might as well engage in some grass-roots mockery where we can in an effort to make such derision of him mainstream, I say.

Posted by: Tyro | Jun 28, 2007 3:45:20 PM

I understand what you're saying, Karmakin, but it's close enough to Engineered Plague to fit properly in black.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 28, 2007 3:59:41 PM

I actually made some political magic cards myself back in high school. I'm feeling mildly jealous of the creators of these cards, because everybody thinks they're cool and at the time I just felt like a dork.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jun 28, 2007 4:02:01 PM

One of the real funny things here is that, under the Nazis, the Germans never ate real butter- they ate margarine made from coal. So I'm guessing that a German interest in organic foods might be more of an anti-Nazi thing.

And- God bless him- here's Sanpete again, with his message that posting on blogthreads like this is pointless. That would totally explain why he posts that every day on some blogthread.

Can we ever admit that Jonah is the well-dressed equivalent of the crazy guy on the street corner raving gibberish? It might be cheaper and easier to just give the crazy guy a good suit and a make-work job than it is to find a medication that will keep him sane. As Jonah proves, sanity is overrated.

Posted by: serial catowner | Jun 28, 2007 4:03:13 PM

Well, that's where we differ-- the unfairness, hypocrisy, and features that we regard as "harmful" in polite company is part of the appeal.

Very true. That doesn't make them less harmful.

But if you think the threads are so terrible, then why do you participate?

You don't distinguish protest and participation? I didn't join in the piling on here; I mocked it (which, apart from its mildness, ought to appeal to you).

Jonah's case illustrates my point well enough. Ezra had another of these threads (Jonah is his arch-enemy, it seems, and a well chosen one if this is kind if challenge he seeks) a few months ago complaining about Jonah appearing on NPR's Talk of the Nation to discuss global warming. He railed and had fun and completely missed the mark, and the mob joined in and did the same, even before Jonah went on the air and actually made some very sensible points in explaining his op-ed about the economics of global warming. What could have been a serious discussion about a serious point was worse than useless: it actually contributed to people not hearing and understanding. Liberal? No.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 4:10:26 PM

Sanpete, giving jokers like Jonah a public forum in which he is allowed to articulate conservative talking points from a position of rank ignorance is harmful. That you expend your energy worrying your little head about the harm Ezra's threads cause shows that you have an extraorindary inability to prioritize.

If I want to hear someone provide some insight about the economics of fighting global warming, I'd be happy to hear from an economist with a background in environmental issues or vice-versa. Is Jonah "I don't know about this issue, but my gut tells me..." Goldberg and the people who invite him on are to be derided for their damage to the serious public discussion of policy. For years, people have acted as enablers as empty headed talking heads masquerading as "policy pundits." Why you think that Jonah or any of these other clowns deserve to be taken seriously is beyond me-- maybe you think that it's better for the public if we just "act polite" when someone comes on TV or gets a column in the LA Times. After all, our media gatekeepers have spoken! These are Serious People!

Posted by: Tyro | Jun 28, 2007 4:29:36 PM

You don't distinguish protest and participation? I didn't join in the piling on here; I mocked it (which, apart from its mildness, ought to appeal to you).

He protests mockery by engaging in it. How very reasonable. Of course the mockery objected to is targeted on ideas rather than name calling but that's a mere detail.

He railed and had fun and completely missed the mark, and the mob joined in and did the same...

The mob?
Evidently there is no distinction between ridicule and a lynching.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jun 28, 2007 4:56:17 PM

Again, Tyro, there are better ways to deal with whatever harm might come from Jonah than worrying your little head about it in threads like this at Ezra's blog. You're making high excuses for what's really little more than a chance to exercise some of our baser emotions, ones that typically interfere with serious public discourse.

I think Neal Conan beats you on pretty much every score when it comes to promoting serious public discussion. What Jonah said was very much worth addressing seriously. That apparently is beyond you, but that's the point. You only see your caricature of Jonah, not what he actually says, even when he says something worth hearing. People are more complex than your black/white color scheme allows (perhaps a problem Jonah has as well).

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 5:06:08 PM

Again, Tyro, there are better ways to deal with whatever harm might come from Jonah than worrying your little head about it in threads like this at Ezra's blog. You're making high excuses for what's really little more than a chance to exercise some of our baser emotions, ones that typically interfere with serious public discourse.

How do comments here interfere with serious public discussion? You don't like the tone? Fine, but climb down off your high horse there buddy and stop with the pseudo-Joe Klein routine. We're just having a bit of sport the Mr. Goldberg probably will never see. It's five minutes of fun out another dull day.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 28, 2007 5:17:24 PM

How do comments here interfere with serious public discussion?

Colonel, my comment was actually about our baser emotions, not the comments. I think I already explained the rest.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 28, 2007 5:23:22 PM

Fine, but climb down off your high horse there buddy and stop with the pseudo-Joe Klein routine.

I think you're dealing with someone who imagines himself in the role of Atticus Finch.

Posted by: W.B. Reeves | Jun 28, 2007 5:24:42 PM

Colonel, my comment was actually about our baser emotions, not the comments. I think I already explained the rest.

Conservatives have been making their points via base emotion for years and we always hear how we shouldn't engage them because it will lower the tone of the debate. Well, up until the last election they were winning with that strategy and I'm not going to continue to pretend to be above it if it means losing elections.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Jun 28, 2007 5:34:03 PM

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