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The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas Hardcover – May 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sentinel HC (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595230866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595230867
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jonah Goldberg is the voice of the post-Reagan conservative generation."
(-JOHN PODHORETZ, editor, Commentary magazine)

"Goldberg draws on both the Great Books and popular culture to rip apart the commandments of the modern therapeutic society. Behind all the feel-good, come-together mush, Goldberg finds the age-old driving forces-power, profit, and plain old ignorance. The dissection of these feel-good assumptions is informal and light, but the conclusions are deadly serious-and chilling." 
(-VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, senior fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

"What can one say to the self-proclaimed 'independent' who never has nor ever will vote other than Democratic; or to the wise soul suggesting, of any conflict at all, "the truth must lie somewhere in between"? Mr. Goldberg reminds us that one must stand up and demand of the muddled and supine either an absolute declaration of their principles and acknowledgment of the results of actions having flowed therefrom or a straightforward admission of their intransigence in refusing a concise reply."
(-DAVID MAMET, bestselling author of The Secret Knowledge)

"Whether you love or hate what he has to say, you've got to love the way Jonah Goldberg says it."
(-MARCO RUBIO, U.S. Senator, Florida)

"The puncturing of pretensions and disruption of lazy thinking are extra base hits in journalism.  Doing so with humor and originality on every page qualifies Goldberg's work as a grand slam."
(-MITCH DANIELS, Governor of Indiana; author of Keeping the Republic)

"Straw man down! In the PC prison yard of accepted political thought, Jonah Goldberg has just shivved progressivism. Bold, brilliant, and bursting with humor, every page of The Tyranny of Clichés is right on the money. If you thought Liberal Fascism was good, wait till you read The Tyranny of Clichés --it is fantastic!"
(-BRAD THOR, bestselling author of Full Black)

"Everyone says 'think for yourself' but very few people do. In The Tyranny of Clichés, Jonah Goldberg reveals how we've become trapped by ideas we think we understand but don't. A must read."
(-VINCE VAUGHN, actor and producer)

About the Author

Jonah Goldberg’s first book, Liberal Fascism, was a number one New York Times bestseller. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the founding editor of National Review Online. He is also a Los Angeles Times columnist, a Fox News contributor, and a member of the board of contributors at USA Today. The Atlantic named him one of America’s fifty most influential commentators. He lives with his family in Washington, DC.

Customer Reviews

Jonah Goldberg is an entertaining writer.
Phil Eubanks
And he is very witty as well, which makes this book not only educational, but fun to read.
Girl Reading
This book is an enjoyable read from beginning to end!
C. Di

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 160 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm only halfway through reading this (just got it yesterday and I have 3 kids under 7 years old, so I'm doing quite well), but I figure if 18 people who haven't got past the cover can give it cliché-filled one-star reviews as part of their contribution to the culture war, I can be excused for offering my opinion based on a partial read.

I must say that this book is really engaging. Thoughts which I have tried to put into words for years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, are presented in all their entertaining eloquence here by Jonah. For example, the defense of economic liberty as an inherent good or the indictment of people who shun "ideology" while they are simply bursting with ideas to improve society. He manages to provide depth, succinctness and wit in appropriate balance on these and other topics.

What it comes down to for me is that ideology should be discussed more in politics. I blame us for the fact that it's not. Politics is a market like any other, where a successful business has to sell what people want to buy. If they're peddling clichés instead of intelligent defense of their ideologies, it's because we've been buying it. As a nation, we haven't taught our children to understand freedom's intrinsic value or to think critically about ideas and policies. Our government-run educational system has produced people who don't know how to digest anything meatier than a cliché. It's time to teach them how. Don't accept muddy logic from friends and loved ones. Gently, but firmly, urge them down those mental pathways they have all but forgotten how to tread. Make them defend their principles if they can and be prepared to defend yours.
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194 of 227 people found the following review helpful By E. Harkins on May 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I think it's hillarious that the reviews of this book are largely 5 stars or 1 star. In reading the reviews it's easy to see why...the leftists hate it and the more conservative folks appreciate its content. Not surprising too that the negative reviews are dismissive and nastier and generally don't refute the author's views, just rail against him. Let's see, who bills themselves as more tolerant than all others in the world today? It's awful to be judgmental unless judging conservative ideas and books. Got it. I know the rules of popular culture today, but I find it amusing and soooo predictable whenever I see it. This is a good book and the left's hatred for it just proves that point. The truth hurts, when you're on the wrong side of it.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the most frustrating aspects of modern political discourse is the inability to engage with Progressives / Liberals in discussions or debates using well-formed arguments and reasoning. Why is this so? Because you will quickly get a shorthand reply using hackneyed declarations and clichés that are supposed to stand in for an argument. They are supposed to be some kind of self-evident truth, and debase the standing of their opponent to even be discussing the issue. For, example, how could there possibly be anyone for religion in the public square. Everyone knows that Separation of Church and State is in the Constitution, for heaven's sake - er, something's sake. Except that it may not be as clear or as traditional as the Liberals seem to think.

Jonah Goldberg, who wrote one of my favorite political books, "Liberal Fascism": http://www.amazon.com/review/R1E3MQQ04S4IJ5/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm now gives us another treasure. He shows how Liberal discourse is debased by the use of these standard tropes about diversity, religion, ideology, pragmatism, social justice, the Living Constitution, and a lot more.

We get history lessons and cultural analysis on how these standard statements came into being, what they used to be about, and how they have been transformed and recycled into modern politics as a way of stultifying discourse and shutting down any possible opposition or questioning of the Liberal Agenda. The history lessons are vital because any number of thoughtful writers have pointed out how dangerous it is to live our lives based on "facts" that just aren't so. And Goldberg delivers these clarifying lessons with such style and humor that they are downright entertaining. Honestly, you will find yourself chuckling.
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120 of 144 people found the following review helpful By David McCune VINE VOICE on May 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Jonah Goldberg's first book, Liberal Fascism, he wrote against type, at least to a degree. For all of the controversy surrounding it, the book was scholarly almost to a fault. Goldberg, who made his name writing the hip and irreverent "G-file" for National Review Online, himself described Liberal Fascism as having "strong tannins". There were over 500 references, but, significantly, I don't think his couch was quoted once. In other words, while it was at times humorous, the serious nature of the topic of fascism and Goldberg's meticulously scholarship made for a bit of a dry read. Goldberg produced a great and important book, but he threw his fans a bit of a googly. Well, his scholars pen has now been exchanged for, if not a rapier wit, then perhaps (as Brad Thor put it) an intellectual prison shiv. If Goldberg needed to write Liberal Fascism as a first book to prove his bona fides, he finally lets `er rip in The Tyranny of Clichés.

If you are the sort of person who loves a good political discussion, you have no doubt at times been stymied by one of the clichés the Goldberg deconstructs. These are passed off in conversation as conventional wisdom, essentially immune to challenge. Heck, sometimes they are even taught in schools. However, much like the Wicked Witch of the West facing a bucket of water (that's for the Flying Monkeys out there), they melt on contact, in this case with facts and logic.

Probably the biggest of the clichés is the trope that a progressive ideology is really just "pragmatism". After all, who is against pragmatism? Time and again he exposes the effort to insinuate this idea or another as not an ideology but rather common sense. Ideologies are debated. Conventional wisdom is immune from such thoughtful consideration.
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More About the Author

JONAH GOLDBERG is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and contributing editor to National Review. A USA Today contributor and former columnist for the Times of London, he has also written for The New Yorker, Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.