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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Suicide of the West: a review

The Z-man reviews Jonah Goldberg's Suicide of the West:
I decided to give the book a read and write a review, fully expecting to use it as a segue into some points about Burnham, Buchanan and the state of the Right. The rest of the book’s title sums up the entire neocon argument since Trump came down the escalator.The rather mild push-back against cosmopolitan globalism we have seen the last two years has been treated like the end of the world. My assumption going in was that it was going to be the long play version of every Weekly Standard editorial since 2016.

I was wrong. This book is terrible in ways that I did not expect. The terribleness starts in the introduction, which is written in the jocular style you would expect from a short blog post about a television show or a movie. In fact, he relies on quotes from movies to make his points. When you pick up a book with the pretentious title “Suicide of the West” it better read like a serious book. I was reminded of the German word fremdschämen, which loosely means the shame you feel when seeing someone humiliated or embarrassed.

Added to that is a superficiality that you see when someone is uncomfortable with the material. The introduction is a rambling and shallow discussion of religion and human nature, which somehow veers into a discussion of the movie The Godfather. When he gets into his discussion of human nature, it’s obvious that he is way out of his depth and he knows it. Frankly, it reads like something submitted by a freshman coed. If he had dotted his i’s with little hearts, it would have been more authentic.

The book is really three books. The first part is just rambling nonsense about human nature that would embarrass anyone on our side of the great divide. The second part is a grammar school social studies book. The third part feels like it was written by a committee of people not on speaking terms with one another. Big chunks of it undermine his claim that the revolt against cosmopolitan globalism is the end of the world. Even accounting for my own deep skepticism about his motives, it is a surprisingly weak argument.
I was planning to read it when I was distracted by the unexpected need to read Jordan Peterson's books. Now, I'm not sure I'll bother. It's a strange title, though, considering that Goldberg, through the societally destructive policies he endorses, is cheering on the very suicide of which he writes. It is not "the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics" that is "Destroying American Democracy", it is women's suffrage, immigration, and secularism that have already destroyed America.

Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, Identity Politics, and Christianity are the only way America will be restored.

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48 Comments:

Blogger Dave May 12, 2018 5:20 PM  

The Z-man does us all a favor, unlike the "entire tribe of neocon grifters".

To make matters worse, the entire tribe of neocon grifters have tumbled out of their clown car to promote the book. David Brooks calls it “Epic and debate-shifting.” Yuval Levin says, “More than any book published so far in this century, it deserves to be called a conservative classic.” The Weekly Standard treats it like a newly discovered part of the Torah.

Blogger bob kek mando - ( your mom always did like me best ) May 12, 2018 5:27 PM  

you remember how Hillary keeps getting all these book publishing deals?

yeah.

totally about the quality, intelligence and expected sales.

Hillary is a goy how made good.

Blogger Resident Moron™ May 12, 2018 5:28 PM  

Dear Fellow White People,

I have a message for you:

"RESISTANCE IS USELESS!"

Yeah, I really need that. Thanks, Big Nose.

Blogger Mr. Bee May 12, 2018 5:34 PM  

Well, at least the muslimization of the west will take care of the women's suffrage thing.

Blogger tublecane May 12, 2018 5:35 PM  

I'm still surprised* by the appearance of "nationalism" in that litany of Conservatism, Inc. bugaboos. If someone told you in 2001 conservatives were against tribalism and "identity politics," you wouldn't bat an eye. But nationalism? Since when?

Trump deserves our unending thanks for compelling to strip off their masks. But is this a case of Trump pushing them to the left on the National Question, or is it one of those secrets they did feel the need to tell us all these decades?

I suppose it might depend on whether you're talking to a parenthetical conservative.

*Not really, but for rhetorical purposes.

Blogger Salt May 12, 2018 5:43 PM  

Is it the here and now, or the this time shall be different which keeps the mistakes on the front burner? Rome didn't spring to existence out of thin air. It had civilizations prior from which to learn, but didn't. How can America be restored anymore than Rome could be restored? If they couldn't bring themselves to sink the boats, do away with their deep state, when they had the chance, what chance does an (((enlightened))) West have? Putting the early kibosh on it only lasts so long before Plan-Z must be implemented.

Blogger wreckage May 12, 2018 5:43 PM  

Well, they're in a pickle being against nationalism and tribalism at the same time.... that only leaves imperialism of the big 3 human organizational patterns.

Probably not a bug.

Blogger wreckage May 12, 2018 5:48 PM  

@6 the West has the great advantage of not being an empire, but a series of nation-states. In the fight between Imperialism and omni-Nationalism, the "fall of Rome" scenario might not be ideal, but it still results in the end of Empire and the ascendancy of the Nation.

There's a lot of inevitable winning to be had when all you're doing is advocating the collapse of the artificial and the return of the long-term viable. Also note that the USA, unlike ancient Rome, can feed itself; the collapse of its imperial trade will not result in a horrific die-off.

Blogger Don't Call Me Len May 12, 2018 6:06 PM  

I have yet to hear a coherent explanation, much less a plausible one, of how "nationalism" could possibly be a threat to a country's internal democracy. Unless, of course, you concede the reality of 7 billion Americans, yearning to be on the dole.

Blogger weka May 12, 2018 6:26 PM  

Goldberg needs to go to his homeland: for we all need to go back. Petersen is more important, for his homeland (Canada) is the most converged country of the English speaking world, and his mild criticisms are deemed hate speech.

Though he only sees the truth through a scanner darkly. Working on his fanboys is much more productive than the political junkies who read Goldberg to feel smug as the barbarians reave their neighbourhood.

Blogger tublecane May 12, 2018 6:30 PM  

@Don't Call Me Len- That's easy. "Democracy" means whatever you think is good politics. If someone does sonetgsom you don't like--even if a majority of the electorate is behind it--they are undemocratic by definition.

Blogger Karl May 12, 2018 6:31 PM  

There's a pretty brutal review over at Thermidor as well.

http://thermidormag.com/progressivism-on-steroids-the-conservative-anti-humanism-of-jonah-goldberg/

He makes some pro forma, Burkean noises about the importance of virtue, and the indispensable role of family and civil society in inculcating virtue in the people at large. He has the nerve to tack on these disclaimers after having denounced, in the strongest possible terms, the very "coalition instinct" that motivates people to form families and enter into civic association, to begin with. Do people who would rather see a job or contract go to someone they never met through impersonal merit-based bidding procedures and whatnot than to their own children and relatives really want to form families? Are people who prefer strangers and foreigners above those they know and trust, who live in the same neighborhood, have the same ancestry, speak the same language, follow the same religion, work in the same industry, etc. likely to form robust civic associations? If the answer is "no"- then are civil society and the family corrupt and corrosive? Goldberg already answered in the affirmative as clearly as he possibly could have...

Blogger VFM #7634 May 12, 2018 6:31 PM  

"This book is terrible in ways that I did not expect... In fact, he relies on quotes from movies to make his points."

Looks like we can safely declare Jonah a gamma.

Blogger MickDundee May 12, 2018 6:31 PM  

“When I saw that Jonah Goldberg’s next book was titled “Suicide of the West” I was reminded of that reaction by the old paleocons. The title is, of course, a deliberate reference to James Burnham’s classic text. Then there is Patrick Buchanan’s classic book, Suicide of a Superpower. Of course, it is also hints at Oswald Spengler’s classic The Decline of the West. For a neocon lightweight to pick such a title and topic, well, it suggests it is another deliberate swipe, by Goldberg, at an ideological enemy.”

Blogger pyrrhus May 12, 2018 6:38 PM  

I suspect that Goldberg knows he is pushing poison, but he can't resist those checks from the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch Brothers....

Blogger Lyon May 12, 2018 6:46 PM  

"It is not "the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics" that is "Destroying American Democracy", it is women's suffrage, immigration, and secularism that have already destroyed America."

This is obvious. And it is no small comfort that it appears, both to me and my kind, to be so.

Blogger MickDundee May 12, 2018 6:52 PM  

(((Tribes and Walls))) for me but not for thee, goyim.

Blogger Dexter May 12, 2018 7:00 PM  

Lawrence Auster called Goldberg and NRO "the teeny cons" because they were fundamentally un-serious.

WF Buckley, for all his faults, cannot be imagined quoting The Simpsons to make his points.

Blogger tublecane May 12, 2018 7:14 PM  

Janes Burnham was a neocon, before the term existed. Though he definitely wasn't a lightweight, and he was much better than most other Trotskyite infiltrators.

You'd think Goldberg could come up with a clever twist. Or unclever, like Suicide of the Best, or whatever. Something different, at least.

But no, he just rips off Burnham. Reminds me of the recent Nat Turner movie straight ripping off D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

But that was an example of "I'm de captain now." Goldberg's is a loser's lament.

Blogger Michael Maier May 12, 2018 7:50 PM  

I am still pissed hours later reading that crappy "trans are people" NRO piece.

Piss on NRO and Goldberg.

Damned traitors.

Blogger seeingsights May 12, 2018 8:03 PM  

I've read some of James Burnham's writings, including _Suicide of the West_, around 25 years ago. I haven't read Jonah Goldberg's book _Suicide of the West_.

Based on what I've read about Jonah Goldberg's book, this is my interpretation: Goldberg's book is an example of "controlled opposition", like the efforts in putting Jordan Peterson as an intellectual leader of the political Right. Goldberg's book--based on what I get from reviews and comments--does not point out the causes for the suicide of the West. The causes for the suicide of the West is the West moving away from the pillars which made it robust. My pillars are a little bit different from Vox Day's: Christianity, the nation state, and capitalism.

Blogger Mr. Deficient May 12, 2018 8:29 PM  

@1

Even with putting on my conservative cap, too suggest any goldberg book is better than any Steyn, Sowell, Dalrymple etc is fucking insane.

Blogger Phillip George May 12, 2018 8:47 PM  

Secularism fathered junk science.

Has anything buggered local economies like the global warming hoax?

Blogger Dexter May 12, 2018 9:08 PM  

You could think of his book as further evidence of the death of the West - i.e., the West's ostensible chief defenders (the conservative movement) are inept, poorly educated charlatans incapable of constructing a coherent argument.

Blogger D. May 12, 2018 9:34 PM  

I saw this at City Journal and just lol:

"Civilization, If You Can Keep It

Jonah Goldberg delivers his magnum opus."

https://www.city-journal.org/html/civilization-if-you-can-keep-it-15901.html

Blogger LRN_News May 12, 2018 9:40 PM  

I’m really tired of these idiots whining about “Identity politics” and “individualism” as if it they have a clue what they are talking about.

Even radical lolbertarian “individualists” are collectively advocating and promoting for the advancement of their ideology. A collective group of liberalist individualists collectively organizing and gathering in opposition to collectivism. Makes perfect sense...

Blogger Snidely Whiplash May 12, 2018 9:42 PM  

@seeingsights,
The West flourished long before the creation of the Nation State.

Blogger David The Good May 12, 2018 9:55 PM  

VFM #7634 wrote:"This book is terrible in ways that I did not expect... In fact, he relies on quotes from movies to make his points."

Looks like we can safely declare Jonah a gamma.


The question is: does he do all the voices when he quotes movies?

Blogger tz May 12, 2018 9:55 PM  

Christianity - Christendom - can be established without nationalism, but it will be the more generic and weaker, spiritual version. A Christian Japan will never be Western Civilization. I'm not even sure that outside of European civilization you can have a Christendom. Christendom baptizes what is there, it doesn't change the foundation.

We need the European nationalism, even when they battle in a form of sibling rivalry, to restore Christendom.

The Christian, European, or at least Europhile PEOPLE need to express their specific populism.

Identiy is the most subtle. Christians are not of this world. Their kingdom is in heaven, though they can provide graces and blessings. The USA was once a single huge embassy populated by citizens of the city of God, even if still fallen. But they are still elves among orcs.

This is also another failure of the civic nationalists. The foundational creed of the USA is the bible and natural law view of it and nature. The constitution is merely words, and when wonders why it fails, it is because it is the distillaton of something more profound, not a mere rulebook, even when the plain words are distorted.

Angles who are Christian, or the germanic "Jury" style law when added to Christianity will recreate the Magna Charta, the US Declaration, Constitution, and Bill or Rights and more. Even those who know and adopt the olde english jurisprudence plus christianity.

I've over-used "cargo-cult", but it still applies. Without the graceco=roman law tradition, plus the germanic juries and that form, plus christian morality, you will only end up with at best a schematic, diagram, set of rules which will be a mere cargo-cult because the motions will be meaingless.

Blogger tz May 12, 2018 9:57 PM  

Put differently, the USA, or the remnants are sailing toward Numenor trying to re-establish it, and cannot sail farther west to the undying lands. Numenor is as close as we can get. But then we are still subject to corruption and sin.

Blogger Chris Lutz May 12, 2018 10:02 PM  

@Tubelcane - I did a little searching after hearing about J. Goldberg's book. He's been against nationalism for quite awhile. I figure most of the neocons are. They simply don't announce it too loudly.

Blogger Rocklea Marina May 12, 2018 10:07 PM  

Even radical lolbertarian “individualists” are collectively advocating and promoting for the advancement of their ideology. A collective group of liberalist individualists collectively organizing and gathering in opposition to collectivism. Makes perfect sense...

The Wanker Racing Teams of The Lobster Hierarchy.

Blogger VFM #7634 May 12, 2018 11:05 PM  

"The question is: does he do all the voices when he quotes movies?"

@David the Good
I guess we'd find out if he makes an audiobook version.

Blogger tublecane May 12, 2018 11:09 PM  

@26- I may have said this before, but the way I understood conservatism's problem with "identity politics" in the past is that they despised it for the same reasons they profess to despise multiculturalism. That is, because they're in favor of the Melting Pot and the U.S.A. being monocultural. They don't want factionalism, except on ideological grounds. And maybe not even then, but more on vague, indefinable grounds.

That, plus they considered Democratic identity coalition-building an illegitimate form of single-issue voting. Because there's no way blacks share 95% of eachother's interests. You can't boil personhood down to the fact that you're female.

Furthermore, many interests are mutually exclusive. That's true of class, regional, ideological, and other interests, as well. But it's especially true of interests related to identity, because that's the one thing you can't change.

This is is idiocy, of course. When you get down to it, conservatives were wishing voting blocs weren't a thing. Guess what, they're not going away. Neither are differences of "identity."

In one small sense they were onto something, because the only thing holding the Democratic Coalition of the Fringes together is hatred for Whitey. That can't last forever. Though I suppose decades of dominating Washington is plenty enough to justify a political strategy.

Anyway, it didn't occur to me until years later that conservatives looked down upon identity as such. (Or pretend to.) They want us to be, what? Interchangeable Consumption Units? Abstract Economic Men? A bunch of Mr. Spocks? That's ridiculous.

It's like trying to be colorblind in a world full of racists. Even if it were a good thing (it isn't), it's stupid and self-destructive. I didn't used to know conservatives were that self-destructive.

Well, they are and they aren't. They are if you assume they're trying to win and mean what they say. If they have other goals and are Big, Fat Liars, that's different.

Blogger tublecane May 12, 2018 11:10 PM  

@31- There is deception at the heart of Conservatism, Inc. and neoconnery, much remarked upon by Vox himself. It can surprise even cynical people.

OpenID simplytimothy May 13, 2018 1:06 AM  

"If he had dotted his i’s with little hearts, it would have been more authentic."

https://www.dafont.com/heartland-regular.font?nb_ppp=50&text=iglue

Goldberg's "The Tyranny of Cliches" sits mostly unread on my shelf. I bought it after reading his seminal "Liberal Facism". "The Tyranny of Cliches" reads like somebody just mailing it in in order to make a buck and it was not worth my time to read past the first chapter.

Liberal Fascism was a work of (suppressed) history, of documented facts...facts and history that kept Goldberg's philosophical tiger-beat side in check.

We will see if Goldberg will hit the woodshed and educate himself. I don't think he will. This is a man who cites "Groundhog Day" as his philosophical touchstone. In the meantime, twice is coincidence...




Blogger Resident Moron™ May 13, 2018 2:49 AM  

Jihadi knifes five in Paris; Macron insists France will continue to import hostile aliens in the name of freedom.

Nine dead in three church bombings in islamic Indonesia.

Suicide of the West?

Borders, says Shylock.

Fucksake.

Blogger Unknown May 13, 2018 2:49 AM  

Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, Identity Politics, and Christianity are the only way America will be restored.

Populism, nationalism and Christianity will probably help, but tribalism and identity politics will not defeat women's suffrage, immigration and secularism. They'll probably dice up the United States along rhetorical lines but reach their terminus over trade and labor costs.

Blogger SciVo May 13, 2018 6:36 AM  

I'm assuming that the whole book can be distilled down to "I find your nationalism vaguely threatening, no matter how mild and positive -- but I can't clearly articulate why, because that would mean admitting that I'm not one of you, and I have a good grift going here so I don't want to go where I might actually feel belonging."

Blogger Resident Moron™ May 13, 2018 7:56 AM  

from the 4chan thread:

"responsibilities shared in accordance with capabilities"

This old thing. Recognise it?

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

"there is nothing new under the sun."

Blogger English Tom May 13, 2018 9:27 AM  

You call it democracy I call it conocracy. As Orwell pointed out, in any human system there's a few at the top, more in the middle and the rest at the bottom.
However, when you are ruled by (((rootless cosmopolitans))) people like Jonah, then you get major problems.

Blogger English Tom May 13, 2018 9:29 AM  

He should have called it: the murder of the West by (((unknown forces))).

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia May 13, 2018 9:32 AM  

I always liked Jonah, the way you like a snooty class clown. I always thought he'd be a great guy to sit with in the backyard, smoke a Cuban, and have a snifter of Remy Martin.

Jonah is a guy whose career arc should give hope to the C student in high school who has no choice but to go to some shitty college to "find his way." And I have no problem with anybody leveraging his intellectual and social connections to get in the door and try to "make it" after you've largely been a dumb fuck.

I enjoyed "Liberal Facism." It was a book that needed to be written.

But now? I won't by "Suicide." For all his native smarts, his blinds spots are simply gigantic, and the verbal cleverness is oh so boring. He is dead to me now.

Blogger Dexter May 13, 2018 9:39 AM  

@43 When you have family connections like Jonah, you don't have to go to a shitty college, and your career arc is all set. I don't know how his career gives any hope to people who don't have connections...

OpenID bgkoranburner May 13, 2018 11:22 AM  

strip off their masks. But is this a case of Trump pushing them to the left on

They are simply of the left controlled opposition. Bill C said the same things as TRUMP about immigration but the only wetback he wanted deported was Elian Gonzales.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia May 13, 2018 12:11 PM  

Dexter wrote:@43 When you have family connections like Jonah, you don't have to go to a shitty college, and your career arc is all set. I don't know how his career gives any hope to people who don't have connections...

Well, he did go to a shitty college, and was by his own admission a dumb fuck pre-college.

And I think you can be be dumb fuck growing up and STILL make it without connections. I wonder where VD would place somebody in the socio-sexual hierarchy who believes the opposite?

Blogger tublecane May 13, 2018 4:10 PM  

@41- See also:

Political Parties, A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy by
Robert Michels.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants May 14, 2018 4:47 PM  

Liberal Fascism was a ridiculous, factually lacking bunch of BS.
It didn't get any better when Dinesh D'Souza rehashed it and published his version in the last year or so.

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