Media

Jonah Goldberg: A Comfortable “€œConservative”€ in the Belly of the Beast

January 06, 2011


It is a world historical event when Jonah Goldberg”€”one of our most prominent conservative intellectuals, judging by his book sales and his almost daily TV appearances”€”weighs in on gay marriage. Jonah is not some obscure academic or archivist grinding out research articles on ancient Mesopotamian linguistics. He is a frequent guest on Good Morning America and the talk shows of Chris Matthews, Glenn Beck, and Jon Stewart. His dense tome on how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are offshoots of Hitler and Mussolini climbed to the top of The New York Times bestseller list within eight weeks of its publication and is now regularly quoted in the European “€œconservative”€ press as the last word on Obamaism’s Nazi-fascist origins.

For those who might have mistaken Jonah for a Neanderthal defending 1950s lifestyles, it is important to note that he’s a progressive conservative, one who briskly and happily moves with the times. Although like other conservatives he presumably believes in immutable “€œvalues,”€ Goldberg is quite willing to reconsider his moral positions depending on their relative popularity in the American media. Attacking Democratic administrations for deficit spending and Nazi-like policies is one thing; insulting presently favored victimized minorities is another, and Jonah doesn”€™t want to get too far out lest he sink into right-wing fever swamps.

Thus, he dutifully went after Rand Paul during the Kentucky senatorial campaign for raising limited objections to the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s public-accommodations title. Jonah defended the entire government-surveillance paraphernalia that the far-reaching Johnson Administration act created as the “€œbeginning of our economic freedom.”€ The usually painfully PC Rand Paul was seen as having “€œassociated himself with bigots”€ for even questioning whether the 1964 act went too far by unleashing government administrators and class-action lawyers on those accused of discriminating against blacks and women.

Now Jonah is offering his thoughts on gays as “€œmainstream”€ bourgeoisie, thoughts so refreshing that the Los Angeles Times has praised them as “€œsurprising in a conservative journalist.”€ Supposedly journalists have never heard such oracular views coming from the conservative movement, despite the fact that media-certified conservatives such as David Brooks, Dick Cheney, David Frum, and John Podhoretz, among others, have already expressed the same opinions. Perhaps they have not stated them loudly enough for the Los Angeles Times to notice. Like Goldberg, these cognoscenti have recognized that gays are expressing “€œconservative values”€ when they seek to marry each other and wish to serve openly in the American military.

“€œI personally prefer gays or just about anyone else to government bureaucrats, and especially to those engaged in modifying social behavior.”€

What Goldberg has added to this endorsement by way of David Brooks is the notion that gays are now so conservative”€”that is, bourgeois”€”that they are “€œsimply too mainstream for liberals.”€ He refers to nice gay couples who have adopted Asian children and to those gays depicted on TV programs who are “€œhardworking bourgeois couples.”€ Our culture and social developments are giving the lie to “€œsome bohemian identity-politics fantasy of homosexuality”€ and showing us that gay unions can and should mean “€œtraditional marriage.”€

Although Jonah doesn”€™t explicitly condemn those who resist gay marriage, he clearly sympathizes with his yuppie buds on the other side. He editorializes on behalf of what he calls gay marriage’s “€œinevitability.”€ It is “€œcruel and absurd to tell gays that living the free-love lifestyle is abominable while at the same time telling them their committed relationships are illegitimate, too.”€ Goldberg seeks to make us all rejoice with him and David Brooks at the arrival of “€œthe homosexual bourgeoisie.”€ For true conservatives this should be “€œgood news.”€

Without being shockingly indelicate, one might bring up the anti-bourgeois behavior displayed by Goldberg’s newly found “€œconservatives”€: for example, the frequent and costly vandalism that gay advocates, many of whom were presumably gay, inflicted on the property of religious denominations that supported California’s proposition to ban gay marriage. Gay advocates also threatened religious leaders who supported this project. Perhaps I shouldn”€™t mention the inexpressible vulgarity that is common at Gay Pride Parades, seeing that the neocon New York Post helped destroy a New York gubernatorial candidate for daring to notice this indecency.

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