Making the right side of history

posted at 3:01 pm on May 13, 2012 by Karl

The idea pops up in Jonah Goldberg’s new book, The Tyranny of Clichés:

Goldberg *** explained that there “is a certain Marxist sting” to the cliché of being “on the right side of history.” It’s a way, he continued, of “saying to your opponents, ‘hey, look, you’re going to lose this argument eventually so you might as well quit now and stop complaining.’”

Indeed, Marx’s stages of history smack of this sort of determinism. Moreover, given his gig at National Review, it’s not surprising that Goldberg — by way of Burke — alludes to part of the magazine’s mission statement, in which William F. Buckley, Jr. famously proclaimed the mag “stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”

At times, I run the risk of falling into an inversion of this cliché. Less than a week ago, I wrote:

The past century has been one in which progressives have put forth the idea that Soviet communism is what works, that Eurofascism is what works, that Maoism is what works, and that Eurosocialism is what works. The actual history of the past century is one in which Eurofascism was defeated in WWII, Soviet communism was defeated in the Cold War, Maoism has degenerated into a fascism and crony capitalism that only Tom Friedman finds attractive, and Eurosocialism is taking its own road to the dustbin of history. To be sure, voters in the UK and France are resisting, the Germans less so. But fiscal realities will continue to intrude, regardless of which governments they elect. They will eventually figure out what the OECD and IMF already have about the solution to their problems: spending less is the answer.

(More on the degree to which failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes here.) I have also been fairly optimistic about what the current state of the Eurozone will teach Americans:

I am not for doing nothing about the debt ceiling and have written a number of pieces about the need to do something about the public debt at all levels of government. Moreover, it is certainly possible that in a debt crisis, the intransigence of the left could force the federal government to take a tax-heavy approach proven to fail in all those other OECD countries. I tend to think there is still enough of the American spirit around to resist becoming wage slaves to the state. Assuming we can manage to avoid a more statist approach than Canada, Sweden and Finland, it would seem the left ought to have the greater interest in defusing the debt bomb now, as a crisis will likely be tougher on their priorities.

Goldberg’s book, as much as the current political tensions in parts of the Eurozone, is a reminder that good policy choices do not make themselves. Indeed, Matt K. Lewis is very likely correct in declaring austerity “in and of itself,” a political loser today. Unfortunately, simply talking up economic growth is not only insufficient as a policy matter, but also too easily embraced as a political dodge of our debt problem.

History, like policy, does not make itself. One thing the right should grudgingly admire about the left is their relentlessness. The left never stops agitating, “educating” and organizing to push its version of history, even in the face of its evident failure over the past several decades. Excepting Walter Mondale, they rarely run on the promise of massive tax hikes for the middle class — but they never stop talking and writing about the future necessity for them. They never stop writing and talking about their dream of socialized healthcare — and take whatever jumps they can in that direction whenever they have sufficient control over the government.

Non-statists need to be equally relentless, both in pursuing our vision and in confronting the left’s vision. Indeed, non-statists should be even more driven, given the left’s effective control of the establishment media. This structural disadvantage makes our candidates even more important, because for all the of the media’s attempted agenda-setting, campaign coverage (and advertising) still necessarily focuses on the candidates and their messages.

Although I have had my share of problems with Mitt Romney, one of his primary virtues is that he frequently makes the point that Obama is leading America in the direction of Eurosocialism at precisely the moment Eurosocialism is imploding. It is my hope that when Team Obama starts its Mediscare campaign in earnest, Team Romney will lead its response by noting that the do-nothing Obama approach will also end Medicare as we know it — but that the likely result will be the non-innovative, rationed healthcare of Eurosocialism. Even when the left thinks it can put non-statists on defense, we should be working to create the environment in which statism is understood as not “what works,” more tax revenues are a small part of any solution to public debt (preferably from tax reform and consequent growth), and reform of the entitlement state is politically palatable. Many find Romney a weak standard-bearer for conservatism, but he has been willing to carry this banner — and it is a crucial one to carry, not only for this election, but for cycles to come.

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Goldberg *** explained that there “is a certain Marxist sting” to the cliché of being “on the right side of history.” It’s a way, he continued, of “saying to your opponents, ‘hey, look, you’re going to lose this argument eventually so you might as well quit now and stop complaining.’”

Thank you Mr. Goldberg for putting it this way. I’ve been hearing “the right side of history” a lot since Obama’s sham SSM “evolution” and I’ve been befuddled by it. Every time I heard it, I thought — so we’re supposed to make decisions today based on what the future will be (yes, one woman actually said 100 years from now SSM is going to be legal and you don’t want to be the one history remembers as standing in the way of it). What about the here & now? Seems a tad more urgent to me or there will be no future. But it was repeated so often that I thought maybe I just wasn’t “getting it.” Nice to know it is those making the argument who are full of it.

Dark Star on May 13, 2012 at 3:13 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

..you’re working too hard. Get some lie-down. It’s Mother’s Day; I am sure your mom would love to see you.

The War Planner on May 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

“what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.”

-renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

It’s an almost identical position and expression to the Obama shot below – except Obama has beatified by the out-of-focus seal into a saintly icon, and you probably had no objection to that. You see what you want to see.

sistrum on May 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Any comment about what Karl wrote, OBot?

JPeterman on May 13, 2012 at 3:27 PM

One thing the right should grudgingly admire about the left is their relentlessness. The left never stops agitating, “educating” and organizing to push its version of history, even in the face of its evident failure over the past several decades.

and so its been for 100 years. FDR would be shocked that Obama threatened to not send seniors their checks since his vision was that the retirement fund would be out of reach of crass pols. Keynes would probably be unhappy to be associated with today’s greedy little pols who invoke his name

To be fair to conservatives, the leftist media makes agitating for freedom tough…liberty is not in their value system. Nor is fiscal prudence. Jerry Brown can announce that CA budget 16B in the hole and there will be crickets in the national press…more fun to talk about the progress and promise of our first Gay President.

Another example of looking elsewhere for salvation in Japan Inc in the 80s…theory Z, etc…right before the lost decade or two.

But Romney gave a good speech at Liberty U. Is good at the telepromter…much better than barry’s ping pong style. (barry may have gotten better, i haven’t watched him for a while)

r keller on May 13, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Sorry to be an English teacher, but the sentence, “(More on the degree to which failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes here.)” would be more clear if it read, “(More here on the degree to which failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes.)”

Unless you read the link, you might think that failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes here in the United States. On it’s face this doesn’t make much sense, but it could still be interpreted that way.

bugsy on May 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM

you boot lickers outta come up with more original stuff than calling everyone an obamabot.

don’t forget kiddies, mitty gave us conservatives the finger. he doesn’t need us this election cycle.

i’m just giving him the finger back.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

You should really end that with a sarc tag.
People might get the wrong idea.

Count to 10 on May 13, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Dems think that they can repeal the Law of Gravity. All they can do is pretend that the hard facts of life can be dismissed and convince enough gullible constituents that it’s true to keep them in power. But Congress never passed the laws of physics or economics and Congress can only ignore them for so long. Sadly, the price to pay for borrowing from the future to float on the clouds today is a long, rapid drop. That is what “future history” will have to say about the Obama administration.

MJBrutus on May 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

And I’m giving you the finger now. Enjoy.

MJBrutus on May 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

don’t forget kiddies, mitty gave us conservatives the finger. he doesn’t need us this election cycle.
renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

When did that happen?

Count to 10 on May 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

don’t forget kiddies, mitty gave us conservatives the finger. he doesn’t need us this election cycle.
renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

When did that happen?

Count to 10 on May 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

When on of the voices in renalin’s head told him it did.

Dark Star on May 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM

“I know that I am leaving the winning side for the losing side, but it is better to die on the losing side than to live under Communism.”
- Whittaker Chambers

The problem is that too few of our political leaders are willing to make the moral case for the superiority of capitalism and free markets; instead, most make pragmatic arguments. (It “works” better.) This may result in some short-run victories, but unless we are able to argue on the basis of principle, the battle will ultimately be lost.

Just Sayin on May 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Dark Star on May 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM
Count to 10 on May 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM
MJBrutus on May 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

you boys outta rent a room and watch fox news together.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

don’t forget kiddies, mitty gave us conservatives the finger. he doesn’t need us this election cycle.

i’m just giving him the finger back.

renalin

Oh most pure and brave Conservative, do enlighten us how we are to make amends!

chimney sweep on May 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Since someone above brought up social change, I will state that I do think there is a difference between educated predictions and pretending that the future is going to be as you wish it to be. For example, as long as she remains free and unconquered, it is extremely unlikely that the USA is going to revert back to the mindset that existed before either the civil rights era or the sexual revolution . I have yet to hear someone make a good argument to the contrary. Just wishful thinking. There is always the possibility of losing a war, a collapse, and so forth, but if those things don’t occur, reasonable predictions can be made using various models and a bit of common sense.

Entitlements, tax policy, and so forth are an entirely different story. There is quite a bit swinging that goes on there in most modern nations. The American people can be convinced that the right is, er, right.

McDuck on May 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Oh most pure and brave Conservative, do enlighten us how we are to make amends!

chimney sweep on May 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

I suspect it involves voting for the socialist. That’ll show Romney for sure!

Fenris on May 13, 2012 at 4:04 PM

And I’m giving you the finger now. Enjoy.

MJBrutus on May 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

WTF? Bruti giving someone not named KJ the finger? Stop the world I wanna get off.

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

You’re gonna have to get used to President Romney’s sneer, but of course you know that.

Rational Thought on May 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Also, I absolutely agree that we need to be every bit as relentless as the left. Push, push, push. Don’t give up. We can win the economic war if we don’t give up.

McDuck on May 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Sorry Lance. Some pots just can’t be stirred.

MJBrutus on May 13, 2012 at 4:12 PM

in my afternoon rummaging thru the intertubes I see that Ann Romney had a op/ed on motherhood for Mother’s Day.

The left, all primed for action, leaped with glee to tear her asunder like the jackals they are.

The op/ed is here

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-05-10/ann-romney-mitt-stay-home-work-mom-grandkids/54862378/1?AID=4992781&PID=4166869&SID=186o0wqazaozw

The horrified response (yes, Goodwin’s Law) at MSNBC here

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/up-with-chris-hayes-panelist-compares-ann-romney-with-hitler-and-stalin/

My point is simply that the left is always in attack mode. Always. Pettiness, Pettifoggery, Tasteless. Always tear tradition down. Always.

Just like trolls everywhere, it is who they are

r keller on May 13, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Since when is Willard Romney an anti-statist!?

This is the failed single-term former governor who delivered RomneyCare, a program of policy functionally identical to ObamaCare with all its new rules, new taxes, its mandates, and its assumptions about the use of the coercive power of the state to deliver progressive goals like universal coverage.

This is the same Willard Romney who stands with Obama to oppose the House Republicans on the student loan issue, and who even now conspires to reverse himself on immigration.

casuist on May 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Here. Alls I know is that I want y’alls buddy obama gone in November. At this point, I don’t care who makes him gone.

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:20 PM

You’re gonna have to get used to President Romney’s sneer, but of course you know that.

Rational Thought on May 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

probably. under romneycare, open borders and continued entitilements i’ll be working till i’m 70. no different than obama.

won’t matter to me either way if those are the choices.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

don’t forget kiddies, mitty gave us conservatives the finger. he doesn’t need us this election cycle.
renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM

When did that happen?

Count to 10 on May 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

When on of the voices in renalin’s head told him it did.

Dark Star on May 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM

BEST Post in this thread YET!

Yes – renalin IS an “Obamabot” or, at Best, a PaulNut – and PaulNuts are just Obamabots that support Obama’s re-election in a SNEAKIER way……..

He AIN’Y no “Conservative”…….

williamg on May 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

won’t matter to me either way if those are the choices.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

Yes, but at the very least, Romney looks like you.

I am assuming.

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:27 PM

He AIN’Y no “Conservative”…….

williamg on May 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Or perhaps ritalin just can’t stomach voting for another McCain. I know I can’t. But I will do it anyway.

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

casuist on May 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

watch out. mitts posse will starting calling you an obamabot in 1…2…3

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Even when the left thinks it can put non-statists on defense,

Romney’s a statist as well, just nto as blatant and heavy-handed a one as Obama is. Come on. He attacked Perry from the left on entitlement spending, and you really think he’s some reformer? Please.

ddrintn on May 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM

You’re gonna have to get used to President Romney’s sneer, but of course you know that.

Rational Thought on May 13, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Not unless he’s going back to Bain or something.

ddrintn on May 13, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Yes – renalin IS an “Obamabot” or, at Best, a PaulNut – and PaulNuts are just Obamabots that support Obama’s re-election in a SNEAKIER way……..

He AIN’Y no “Conservative”…….

williamg on May 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Good grief. That tactic’s going to be trotted out probably beyond November 6. The only defense of Romney is to call dissenters O-bots? LOL Weak.

ddrintn on May 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:34

God I love the smell of liberal desperation.

min-renalin, you need a raise. ask for one.

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 4:42 PM

better. a two-fer

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 4:43 PM

watch out. mitts posse will starting calling you an obamabot in 1…2…3

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 4:37 PM

I don’t know how they do it in Russia, comrade, but here in America we count down, not up.

:-D

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

The actual history of the past century is one in which Eurofascism was defeated in WWII, Soviet communism was defeated in the Cold War, Maoism has degenerated into a fascism and crony capitalism that only Tom Friedman finds attractive, and Eurosocialism is taking its own road to the dustbin of history.

Little Bammie: “This time, you’ve got me.”

slickwillie2001 on May 13, 2012 at 4:48 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

There is a special kind of Visceral Partisan CONTEMPT and Hatred that certain members of The Left have. People like Larry O’Donnnell and Chris Mattheews and Rosie. Carvilled doesn’t have it – but Stephanopolous does.

It is a Pure, Distilled Concentration of all of the Hatred a Human being is capable of mustering – PLUS some. It exists in these people NOT because they philosohpically DISAGREE with their “target”, but because their “target” represents the PATH that prevents THEM from being in power and being the ones who can SHOVE PEOPLE AROUND WITH IMPUNITY – and TAKE THEIR Money!! They had this level of contempt and hatred for BOOOOOOSH for that reasone.

LOOK at renalin’s comment above – THAT is what this kind of CONTEMPT and HATRED looks like when it squirts out of their blackened souls.

williamg on May 13, 2012 at 4:50 PM

I don’t know how they do it in Russia, comrade, but here in America we count down, not up.

:-D

Lanceman on May 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Da comrade. LOL. btw i’m hispanic. hate obama. can’t stand mitt. he did everthing in his power to stop Sarah from running.

he’s on his own now.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Ronald Reagan:

“This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Whereas Mittens doesn’t see any problem with letting the Government elites dictate our economic decisions, just as long as they reside in the nearest State capital and not the National capital. He is every bit the Statist that any other democrat politician is, he just wears a red tie.

Buckshot Bill on May 13, 2012 at 5:17 PM

…he did everthing in his power to stop Sarah from running.

he’s on his own now.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

LOL..now that’s funny. You should be thanking him for sparing Palin a 20 point defeat being swept into the dustbins of history in Nov 12.

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM

LOL..now that’s funny. You should be thanking him for sparing Palin a 20 point defeat being swept into the dustbins of history in Nov 12.

HumpBot Salvation on May 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM

In exactly what world would Mitt Romney have a chance of beating Obama, but Palin, who has actual supporters and the ability to generate real enthusiasm without having to outspend her rivals 10:1, would somehow lose by 20 points? Obama could eat a live dog during the presidential debates, and he wouldn’t lose by 20 points to anyone in the GOP.

Buckshot Bill on May 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Buckshot Bill on May 13, 2012 at 5:37 PM

delusional. how many in a 2 3/4 load 00?

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

timing

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Tough to find on the web isn’t it?

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:47 PM

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

What are you asking? How many pellets?

Buckshot Bill on May 13, 2012 at 5:47 PM

5:51

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:51 PM

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Again, what are asking?

A 12gauge round should have 8 “00″ pellets if it has a wad, if not, then typically 9. But I’ve seen a lot of variation, seems to depend on the brand as much as anything else. Plus handloading can be all over the place. I’ve seen “00″ and “000″ put together even.

Or are you asking about something else?

Buckshot Bill on May 13, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Well squib, expect Palin to heartily endorse Romney. Because, as you said, she puts the country first.

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:58 PM

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:58 PM

And now with the Harry Potter references, you are really out there for a troll. Oops, I guess I just made a HP reference too.

Buckshot Bill on May 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM

chuckle

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 6:15 PM

The past century has been one in which progressives have put forth the idea that Soviet communism is what works, that Eurofascism is what works, that Maoism is what works, and that Eurosocialism is what works.

Contemptible nonsense from Goldberg.

lexhamfox on May 13, 2012 at 6:33 PM

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM

when mitt gives you his 2 3/4 load, are you thinking of Sarah?

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM

when mitt gives you his 2 3/4 load, are you thinking of Sarah?

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM

wrong magazine cover.

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 6:39 PM

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Sarah lives rent free in your corpus callosum eh sport? LOL

you can crawl on your belly with mitt loser. i’m standing tall with Sarah.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 6:43 PM

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Well Mr. 2’1″. Should help you kiss her arse when she campaigns for Romney.

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Liberal desperation – such a sweet, sweet scent.

BHO Jonestown on May 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Liberal desperation – such a sweet, sweet scent.

BHO Jonestown on May 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

yes and no. Eerily reminiscent of someone needing a diaper change.

WryTrvllr on May 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

mittens: yuck and ick!

Pragmatic on May 13, 2012 at 7:45 PM

The past century has been one in which progressives have put forth the idea that Soviet communism is what works, that Eurofascism is what works, that Maoism is what works, and that Eurosocialism is what works.

Contemptible nonsense from Goldberg.

lexhamfox on May 13, 2012 at 6:33 PM

You have a Pickwickian way of redefining “absolute truth” as “contemptible nonsense.”

ebrown2 on May 13, 2012 at 8:05 PM

what a sneer on romneys puss. you can almost hear his jackboots crushing some poor prols neck.

renalin on May 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

…I’m too late with the finger, and piling on…so put your face right up to your screen…so I can moon you!

KOOLAID2 on May 13, 2012 at 8:07 PM

When someone plays “English teacher”:

Sorry to be an English teacher, but the sentence, “(More on the degree to which failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes here.)” would be more clear if it read, “(More here on the degree to which failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes.)”

It is correct Internet protocol to point out their own mistakes, right?

Unless you read the link, you might think that failed European “austerity” has relied on taxes here in the United States. On it’s face this doesn’t make much sense, but it could still be interpreted that way.

I thought so.

JamesS on May 13, 2012 at 9:49 PM

don’t forget kiddies, mitty gave us conservatives the finger. he doesn’t need us this election cycle.

i’m just giving him the finger back.

renalin

Oh most pure and brave Conservative, do enlighten us how we are to make amends!

chimney sweep on May 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

November will show you the door.

Most important election in our lives and the establishment forces Mitt on us. Mitt was not elected as a real Republican he just used the ticket. In my book Mitt is a Liberal Democrat just slightly to the right of Reid and Obama. I will never accept him as a Republican. I’m sorry but deciding in 2005 to become a Republican to run in 08 for President is the most Arrogant thing I have seen in my lifetime.

My worst nightmare is actually Mitt winning and destroying any chance of freedom in America for a generation.

Steveangell on May 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Goldberg *** explained that there “is a certain Marxist sting” to the cliché of being “on the right side of history.”

Heard Shepard Smith use this cliche to chastise opponents to gay marriage last week. Hmmm…32 states out of 32 have voted to ban it. So I guess Shep is betting on the come.

Christian Conservative on May 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM