Ed Driscoll

Life In The Laissez-Faire Wild West

In his best-selling Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg wrote:

Like the editors of the old Soviet encyclopedias who would send out updates to instruct which pages should be torn out, American liberalism has repeatedly censored and rewritten its own history so that the “bad guys” were always conservatives and the good guys always liberals.

In The American Spectator W. James Antle III writes that you can see this phenomenon at work in Sam Tanenhaus’ latest article:

I’ve been prodded to read and comment on this Sam Tanenhaus essay pronouncing conservatism dead. Tanenhaus is a smart guy who knows quite a bit about the conservative movement, much more than most liberal writers. But I’m not terribly impressed by his eulogy for the right. Uncharacteristically, Tanenhaus makes little effort to understand conservatives on their own terms. Instead we get embarrassingly tendentious liberal cliches like this:

Today, the situation is much bleaker. After George W. Bush’s two terms, conservatives must reckon with the consequences of a presidency that failed, in large part, because of its fervent commitment to movement ideology: the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy; the blind faith in a deregulated, Wall Street-centric market; the harshly punitive “culture war” waged against liberal “elites.”

This completely airbrushes out the “responsible” center-left’s initial support for the Iraq war, the fact that the biggest “deregulation” relevant to banking was signed into law by Bill Clinton, the left’s own role in the “harshly punitive ‘culture war'” (which side imposed their will on the electorate via the courts?), and of course any distinctions between Bush’s crony capitalism meets Sarbanes-Oxley meets bailouts and the laisezz faire wild west of Tanenhaus’ fevered imagination.

Read the rest here; related thoughts from Orrin Judd.