Poor Baby

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by Paul Gottfried

However strange it may seem, I’ve begun to pity Jonah Goldberg. Despite the inherited silver spoon in his Beltway mouth, and despite his anointed status as one of Bill Buckley’s handpicked successors, this pubescent verbalizer can go nowhere these days without running into detractors. I wish my acolytes would show this kid some respect and stop accosting him with complaints about his unfitness to consider himself and his buds to be genuinely on the Right.

In the latest outburst of such impudence, a few impassioned defenders of mine ran up to Jonah at this year’s gathering of CPAC, an occasion on which he could be expected to enjoy the adulations of Washington Big Government opponents of Big Government, and proceeded to hurt his self-esteem. Such lack of courtesy boggles the mind! It would be as Castro were scolded upon entering a meeting of the Cuban praesidium (assuming there is one in Cuba). One should be able to expect robots and party flacks to know their place in the scheme of things. Why hold a CPAC meeting and invite Goldberg to participate unless those present can behave as programmed?

Unfortunately not everyone present was sufficiently robotized, and some of the attendees repeated to Jonah my ungracious comments published on LRC and VDARE. The same individuals stressed the fact that LRC now has a better Alexa rating than does NROnline or, for that matter, any other neoconservative website. Being understandably miffed, Jonah blew up seismically, screaming in front of robots and non-robots alike that "Gottfried is only a crank" and that "Alexa ratings have a glitch."

Jonah is undoubtedly right about the "glitch." It is inconceivable that anyone on the Right, except for a crank like me, would look at a non-neocon website, given the fact that those in what David Frum calls the "paleo corner" are vicious bigots who have no place in polite conversation, of the kind that goes on between Jonah and other adolescent, garrulous neocons and left liberals.

I am also appalled to learn that Tom DiLorenzo defended me to someone who told him about Jonah’s recent imbroglio. Jonah, it may be hoped, will pay no attention to this tactless demeanor. As someone who writes books showing that Abraham Lincoln’s statements on race would probably cause David Duke to blush with embarrassment and who (horribilis dictu) assails the scholarship of Dinesh D’Souza, Harry Jaffa, and neocon think tanks from AEI to Claremont, Dr. DiLorenzo is not a person who deserves our respect. Nor am I, until Rupert Murdoch begins to shower me with big bucks — or until the Goldberg Review solicits my contributions.

February 8, 2003

Paul Gottfried [send him mail] is professor of history at Elizabethtown College and author of, most recently, the highly recommended Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt.

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