The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas

Reviewed by Deane Barker tags: politics

This is a sort of snarky book, but still very well-written. The author is tired of clichés that he believes the political Left has “captured,” but which he believes are simply not true. He spends the book deconstructing them.

Some of the clichés the author is upset about (written in the form of what he believes to be the dishonest belief):

  • The Left is non-ideological and only concerned with practical solutions
  • The Constitution is a “living document” that needs to change with the time
  • Social Justice is a good thing
  • Republicans don’t care about the poor
  • Diversity is always better
  • The Catholic Church (and organized religion in general) is evil
  • Violence never solves anything

And so on. There’s something in here to offend every Democrat. The author is a phenomenal writer, but he’s pretty biased in one direction, and he does slip into insults and snarkiness on occasion.

But he also does a really good job of rebutting a lot of arguments that we hear over and over again. There’s a lot of good information in here, much of which I was ignorant of. And he’s a great logician – many of his points are pretty airtight.

I admit that I came away from the book thinking that maybe I should examine things a little more closely, and perhaps question some of the long-held opinions floating around in my head.

In the end, however, it just proves something I’ve always suspected: a smart person who is a good debater can make almost any point palatable. I read this book and was nodding along, but I could put it down, pick up a book by a Democrat that talks about the same points, and nod along to that too.

Does this mean I’m just ideologically weak? Or does it mean that lots of areas of disagreement are murky, and it’s easy to strawman something from the pages of a book when the other side can’t respond.

I wish politics were simple, I really do. And I get uncomfortable when someone I consider to be the on the “other side” makes some really good points.

But, well, here we are.

Book Info

Jonah Goldberg

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