I know that to be considered a respectable independent thinker, and not a partisan hack, I’m supposed to take conservatives seriously.
As someone who is quite clearly not an aspiring young opinion journalist, I don’t share all of Adler’s motivations. There’s a part of me that agrees, of course, especially if we give a broad reading to the word conservative. I enjoy nothing more than taking Burke, Hume, Oakeshott, Hayek, and plenty of other conservatives seriously.
Sadly for young Adler, he’s got a whole different sort of conservative he needs to take seriously to establish his non-hack bona fides. Admittedly, the pickings are slim, but it seems of late many in Adler’s circumstance choose Jonah Goldberg. Now, should I ever start pulling my weight around here and participate fully in the LGM adopt-a-wingnut program, I suppose I might briefly consider taking up Goldberg. But beyond that?
Jonah Goldberg, last week:
I’m sorry, but there is no such thing as a “reasonable” movement to prevent climate change because climate changes by definition. Saying we can prevent climate change is like saying we can prevent tides, tectonic drift, or rain. And no one would say any movement to stop rain is “reasonable.” (I’m harping on rain because I’m a big CCR fan and I need to justify this post’s headline).
Of course, Adler probably (hopefully?) means something else when he says “climate change” — like “catastrophic climate change” or those super-freezing lightning fast hurricanes in The Day After Tomorrow. But that’s not quite the same thing, now is it? Adler, like many, seems determined to portray any deviation from the Gore-line to sound inherently unreasonable.*
If you have fear you might make the mistake of taking Goldberg seriously at some point in the future, print this out and post it above your computer. When the temptation strikes, just re-read these two paragraphs. It’ll also come in handy if you ever need to explain the concept of sophistry.
I’d suggest some sort of penalty for taking Goldberg seriously, but it’s obviously its own punishment.
*in fairness to Goldberg, I’ve taken him a bit out of context here. This post comes across as a lot smarter if you include the section about misremembered CCR lyrics.
…..John Holbo’s got Goldberg down pat: “When attacked, hop from foot to foot as necessary, keeping a serious expression on your face. With luck, you will be able to generate the mistaken impression that you haven’t been knocked flat, by rights.”