Jonah, We Hardly Knew Ye!

articles of mine send out

certain adolescent the


I couldn`t help guiltily
paraphrasing the Irish nationalist poet W.B. Yeat`s

on the 1916 Easter Rising when I read the

that Jonah Goldberg had been fired as online
editor of what VDARE.COM has been amusing itself by
calling the Goldberg Review.

His oh-so-smooth masters aren`t
saying that, of course. But they wouldn`t, would they?

Here`s the clue: Jonah is to be a
so-called “Editor-At-Large.”
The only two other National Review
“Editors-At-Large” are

William F. Buckley
, who is senile, and former editor
John O`Sullivan – who

was fired, again amid smooth assurances
to the contrary.

It`s long been clear you have to do
something really heinous to be fired at
National Review
i.e. ruffle WFB`s vanity. But surely
the Great Man couldn`t be jealous just because we
jokingly renamed his magazine after its – well, not
exactly brightest, let`s say brashest – new star?

Could he?

Goldberg may be dead/ out. But the
phenomenon he epitomized lives on. I`ve called it

– the transformation of a historic
conservative movement into the right wing of the
permanent government party, sharing its ideology of
therapeutic managerial liberalism.

For example, for the sake of
understanding the contemporary “conservative movement,”
I read very carefully the online version of the

after the midterm election by “NR
Editors” that appears in the November 25 issue of
National Review
. And I came away, like even the
neoconservative publicist David Frum, who appears to
have been hired by NR in the interests of

by the restrained not to say pathetic
character of the new “conservative” wish list.

Thus the “first priority for
was “to ensure that Bush has the
ability to fire and reassign people in anti-terrorism
and that “national security” should
“trump the unions` demands.” Beyond that, it was
thin pickings indeed. Unless there was something I
missed, all that “conservatives” are supposed to push
Republicans to do is “pave the way for a reform of
social security based on private investment,”
is, introduce into the government plan some private
investment aspect, and to link “prescription drugs
[if possible] to a reform of Medicare.”

Needless to say, nothing as deeply
divisive or as rightwing as moving against

affirmative action
and “bilingual
education, or ending the continued invasion across our
southern border is allowed to enter the picture.
National Question issues are not ones that conservatives
should even be tempted to raise – and this after
electing an administration that “NR Editors”
claim, in some generic or structural sense, is

What “NR Editors” really
want the Bush administration to do, of course, is to
create an American empire- but under a different name.

As usual, poor Goldberg has put it
best, or most characteristically. In a recent rambling

[September 24], he browbeat certain bad
guys for “not getting America” and set out to
explain when empires are not empires. His tries to make
the point that the U.S. only looks and smells like an
overreaching empire to those who “don`t believe in
freedom and democracy and free markets”
or who have
trouble grasping that the U.S., when given the “moral
and “power” to be an empire, “has
chosen not to be one.”
He ends with the typically
childish phrase “Hopefully, we`ll teach it how to
pass the same test.”
That`s a reference to a new

Iran, not Iraq. It seems “we” are
going be teaching Iran next.

But it is altogether possible to
believe in ordered freedom and in our original
constitutional framework, as all paleoconservatives do,
and nonetheless believe that the U.S. is becoming an
empire. In my

After Liberalism
which fortunately Jonah will now have time to
read, he will encounter the argument that not all
empires are driven by “material gain.” Indeed, I wish
American imperialism could be adequately explained by
the machinations of oil investors. But it is political
players, e.g. the Zionist global democrats at
National Review
and New Republic, who are its
cutting edge.
(I may say I write this as a supporter of Israel.)

In my view, and in that of foreign
policy analysts

Walter McDougall
James Kurth
, it may be too late to undo American
imperialism. It is a fact of international life that has
resulted from the history of the last hundred years.
What remains to be addressed is how we deal with the
superabundance of our power – prudentially, or like
zealots driven by ideological fixations and domestic
ethnic politics.

Another consideration that must be
addressed: what does imperialism do to the
constitutional design of our country?

Murray Rothbard

Robert Higgs
were both right to stress a general
incompatibility between limited constitutional
government and expanding empires. Imperial crusades make
it harder to counteract consolidated managerial
government. They push forward the cumulative process by
which a once self-restrained regime, based on checks and
balances, is turned into a unified engine of foreign

The American statesman who made
this argument best in the twentieth century was

Robert Taft
. Unlike Goldberg, Taft never described
himself as a “conservative.” But if Goldberg and his
social democratic globalist companions are
“conservatives,” then perhaps I too am not a

In his Blog scribbling (October 2),

of me that “Elizabethtown College`s Harvey
Mansfield he ain`t.”

I can see that Jonah wouldn`t like

Elizabethtown College
, where I teach. It`s a small,
private, liberal arts school, originally founded by

, out here in darkest America. I am here
because, in what is literally a footnote to conservative
history in my book

The Conservative Movement
, I was

a graduate professorship at Catholic
University of America by neo-conservative lobbying. Of
course, this was thirteen years ago – earlier than
anything Jonah can be expected to know about.

Jonah cites Mansfield because he`s
been told he`s OK with the neocons – and because he`s at
Harvard. Mansfield`s father and namesake was a liberal
political scientist at Columbia University. My own
father, by contrast, was the first, and to my knowledge
only, Jewish fire commissioner of Bridgeport,

And this is one further reason that
Goldberg and his pals are drawn to the guy I “ain`t.”
They`re snobs pretending to be “democrats.”

Goldbergism is ultimately about
fawning on the powerful. Why else would anyone write
about politics?

Too bad for Jonah that the powerful
can still get jealous.

Paul Gottfried
is Professor of Humanities at
Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of

After Liberalism

Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory
, and
Multiculturalism And The Politics of Guilt: Toward A Secular Theocracy.

November 18, 2002