Monday, September 13, 2010

Jonah Goldberg is Getting Dumber

Today Jonah Goldberg "argues" that 
 There’s a powerful upside to the downside of higher education: conservative students tend to come out of universities sharper, more self-confident and more ready to rumble in ideological debates because as members of a disfavored minority, conservative students have their preconceived notions tested every day.
Obviously, there’s no shortage of sharp liberal students on college campuses, but even the sharpest ones get a lot more of their education passively, because they largely agree with what their professors and textbooks say. Their prejudices and convictions are more likely confirmed, not tested. They can go with the flow never questioning the received wisdom because the received wisdom is what they brought to the classroom in the first place.
Meanwhile, conservatives — and right-leaning libertarians — must swim upstream. Some can’t handle it. Others simply avoid courses where their philosophical views might create headaches. But the righties who stick it out, graduate with four years of Socratic learning under their belts.
 Those unfavored minority conservatives have their beliefs tested, liken global warming, but they emerge stronger because they have to fight continually to prove that global warming is figment of your imagination and, besides, you shouldn't try and do something about it because of sun spots. Or they learn how to prove over and over again that Obama is too a socialist, fascist,  baby-eating, secret Muslim, who is probably gay.

Meanwhile those liberals are all ready surfeited with knowledge about global warming and so they just nod their heads to what they already know and never get the gumption to even consider that Liberalism and Fascism are the same thing.  Sheeple.

What, exactly, do Conservatives think goes on in a university classroom?  Herr Professor Doktor Stalin Lenin  von und zu Marx stands in front of his willing acolytes and leadenly intoning the tenets of Marxist Leninism, except when its Maoism.  Furthermore, is Goldberg's demonstrable inability to think critically about nearly[1] anything evidence that he went through an educational system run by Conservatives?

Goldberg prints a long response from an allegedly Conservative, Evangelical professor that is a marvel of nonsense. For example:
Conservatives, by contrast, don’t think, “[Evil laugh.] How can we keep the [discrete and insular minority] down for a few more decades?” but rather, “I’m not sure it CAN be fixed, and we sure as heck need to think about unintended consequences and our own limited resources before we throw taxpayer money at it.”  The better among us follow that thought up with, “What can I personally do to change things for the better?  If I am the change I seek, why do we need the government as middleman?”
See what he or she did there?  If you ignore the progress the Civil Rights Act and related Federal legislation accomplished, you can argue that social problems can't be tackled through legislation but one can hope that Nice Guy Eddies will stop being racist pigs. The problem, he seems to think, is the insularity of a group not the legal structures that limited their full entrance into citizenship.  Plus and also, notice how legislation making it illegal to discriminate amounts to throwing money at a problem.  Here is a perfect example of a Conservative not sharpening his or her arguments because he or she faced continued intellectual assault as a undergraduate and graduate student.

[1] He's not especially good at it but his writing on movies, tv, and popular culture more generally is better than his seriously serious stuff on everything else.

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