Banned at 312 Bank Street? Or, “Courage: The Greatest of Virtues.”


While I’m an unapologetic creature of the left, whenever my friend Ken thinks a column by Jonah Goldberg might interest me, he forwards the link.

Obviously I tend not to agree with every point made by the National Review’s senior editor, and sometimes with none of them, but usually there are ample thought-provoking nuggets.

So it is with this installment, which includes ruminations about empathy and cowardice, and words and dictionaries …

The truth is that I don’t object to new words or even new meanings being breathed into them. I know that will happen. What bothers me is that no one seems to appreciate that the new meanings destroy the old ones for all time, and sometimes those meanings are worth keeping.

… as well as a central observation about honesty.

The only real litmus test for me is whether you take a position because you think it will advance conservative ends and that you are making your argument for it in good faith — i.e., that you’re not lying. Telling the truth is a form of courage, arguably the first form, and courage is the greatest of virtues.

Goldberg quotes Kevin Williamson, who also is speaking about conservatism.

And we should be ashamed of ourselves if we come to accept this kind of dishonesty in the service of political expediency. If conservative ideas cannot prevail in the marketplace of ideas without lies, they do not deserve to prevail at all.

This applies on my side, too.

Here in New Albany, local Democrats fancy themselves as somehow “left,” though seldom willing to explore the actual perimeter. As I await their decision to display some/any merchandise at the party’s vending stall in the marketplace of ideas, it strikes me as ironic that Jeff Gillenwater made mention of all this just the other day.

I’ve lived in New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana for more than a decade now. Throughout that entire tenure, the local Democratic Party has staunchly refused to take any position on any local issue. Save the occasional jab at a local or state Republican, they have focused almost entirely on federal issues. To the extent that any locals have raised concerns about that, they’ve been derided as unreasonable malcontents and radicals. Now that the party has a federal candidate who’s been asked about local issues, though, a lot of the very same people insist that strict jurisdictional guidelines must be followed; locals should only respond to local issues, federal responds only to federal, etc.. If these people get any more hyper-hypocritical about all this, we’re going to have to find a new way to measure such things just to try to keep up.

Fewer lies, more courage. Not exactly earthshaking, and not to mention probably impossible for so long as Adam “The Muzzler” Dickey’s calling the party’s neutered shots, but it would be pleasant for a change to read about ideas from Gahanites.

Do they have any?

The link: Courage: The Greatest of Virtues, by Jonah Goldberg (National Review)