NRO’s Jonah Goldberg recently accused libertarians of defecating on cultural tradition, but now it seems that he’s excreting his social agenda on the small government half of the conservative movement. Fortunately, Reason‘s Nick Gillespie was up to the task of defending libertarianism (while passing out free t-shirts) during that battle, but the war rages on. In an effort to paint the late Barry Goldwater as a fag-hating Christian Coalition wannabe, Goldberg chooses to beat up on John Dean for this:
The Bush-Cheney White House, Dean assures us, has betrayed the Goldwater tradition: “Bible-thumping, finger-pointing, tongue-lashing attacks on homosexuals are not found in Russell Kirk’s classic conservative canons, nor in James Burnham’s guides to conservative governing.”
Goldberg’s article trashes Goldwater’s granddaughter for her HBO documentary “Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater,” which I seriously hope isn’t some sort of sexual euphemism. As I haven’t seen it yet, I’ll refrain from speculative commentary on the topic. If Goldberg is correct in that the film portrays Goldwater as some sort of extreme bedwetting liberal, I’ll certainly stand by Goldberg in defense of Goldwater against such charges.
In the meantime, Goldberg seems to feel that Goldwater was some sort of socially intolerant bigot. In a recent Playboy article, Dean suggested something Goldberg should perhaps dig into a bit.from my review of Dean’s article:
Dean, a self-identified Goldwater conservative, took a stab at answering these and related questions in his article entitled “Radicals on the Rise.” Using the work of Bob Altemeyer; who penned Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Enemies of Freedom: Understanding Right Wing Authoritarianism and The Authoritarian Specter; Dean took a look at the personality traits of some conservatives. He found that the following common traits tend to exist among right-wing authoritarians:
These men and women are typically conventional in their ways and highly religious with moderate to little education; their prejudices (particularly against homosexuals, women and religions other than their own) are often conspicuous; they are mean-spirited, narrow-minded and intolerant; they are uncritical in their thinking regarding their chosen authority and therefore hold inconsistent and contradictory positions; they are prone to panic, highly self-righteous, moralistic and punitive; they throw the book at others when punishing; and they have little self-awareness.
He stated that Altemeyer told him this group would “attack France, Massachusetts or the moon” if the president pushed the idea. His critique of socially dominating authoritarian leaders was more damning:
They are typically dominating men who constantly seek personal power for themselves; they have an amoral view of the world; they intimidate and bully as a matter of course; they are faintly hedonistic and generally vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, and dishonest; they are highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic), mean-spirited, militant and nationalistic; they tell others what they want to hear, will take advantage of suckers, and they often create false images of themselves to achieve their goals.
He then brought to our attention the truly scary people: the ones who score high on both the authoritarian and the leader scale. He categorized Karl Rove as a right-wing follower and Bill Frist as a socially dominating authoritarian. Obviously, Hitler was the prototypical example of one who scored high on both scales. Dick Cheney served as a more recent example of a “double high.”
What Goldberg doesn’t seem to understand is that he’s one of those authoritarians Dean, Altemeyer and evenillustrate. Goldberg is a bright guy and he seemed to be on the verge of “getting it” with this statement:
Still, what confuses many people is this idea that social conservatism and small-government conservatism are inherently at odds. They surely can be “” and I’d love for this administration to channel more of Goldwater’s libertarian sentiments.
Goldberg lost it when he pulled up this quote from long before Goldwater’s libertarian epiphany, though.
But Goldwater understood something this crowd doesn’t. “It is impossible to maintain freedom and order and justice,” he declared in 1964, “without religious and moral sanctions.”
Perhaps if Goldberg had lived under Taliban rule for a few years, he’d be willing to give up those religious and moral sanctions he finds so dear.