Book Review: The Tyranny Of Cliches by Jonah Goldberg
I gotta admit it right up front: I’ve always been a fan of Jonah Goldberg’s ability to turn a phrase. I’m a subscriber to his weekly NRO newsletter, and was sad to see that he had really toned down his humor when he wrote Liberal Fascism (though, to be honest, it’s not a topic given to jokes).
However, I’m glad to report that in The Tyranny of Cliches, Jonah’s trademark sense of humor shows through yet again, though sparingly.
Jonah begins with an explanation of how, as the subtitle has it, “liberals cheat in the war of ideas” by using cliches as a debate tactic. He also dives right into unpacking and debunking the ideas behind cliches with an examination of “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
After taking on several cliches in the introduction alone, he then proceeds to take on quite a few others — cliches that anyone who’s spent much time debating lefties online or in real life will be very familiar with. He doesn’t just explain himself, he reaches back to other authors, and the book is replete with footnotes to his sources — and on the Kindle edition, the web links are of course clickable.
As a historical book about how these cliches came into being, the book is valuable on its own, but it’s the debunking that will make every conservative want a copy of this book. It will give any conservative debater the tools to demonstrate how hollow most lefty cliches really are. This will be valuable not because lefties will stop using the same old cliches — I seriously doubt that will happen any time before the Last Trumpet sounds — but for pointing out how nonsensical those cliches are to people who don’t follow politics on a daily basis (who I call non-political-wonks).
All in all, I am very glad I purchased this book, and encourage any conservative to grab a copy for themselves. With Jonah’s humor dotting it, it’s far from a dry read, and it provides a wealth of information.