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The tyranny of clichés

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“Diversity is strength.” “Violence never solved anything.” “We are only as free as the least free among us.” We’ve all heard these feel-good, liberal-minded clichés – maybe even spouted them ourselves during a Thanksgiving dinner argument. But what do they really mean?

Author Jonah Goldberg’s new book aims to shoot down the straw man of accepted political thought and expose the reality behind over-used tropes of the left. Goldberg considers these stand-ins for reason as self-delusion at best, dangerous camouflage for a radical agenda at worst.

He considers Barack Obama one of the most egregious offenders; by casting himself as a disciple of reason, concerned not with dogma and ideology but with “what works,” Goldberg maintains, Obama is leading America further down the path of self-destruction. Liberals need to examine the ideas behind their words, writes Goldberg, and stop convincing themselves that their non-ideological stance is nothing but a ruse.

What clichés do you hear – from either side – that drive you up a wall? Which ones do you find yourself using too often, or too carelessly?


Jonah Goldberg, Author of "The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas (Sentinel)"; founding editor of the National Review Online; Los Angeles Times columnist, Fox News contributor