There was this blog dust-up last week involving Jonah Goldberg, Andrew Sullivan, and Ross Douthat all kicking around some ideas from a David Brooks column and since two of the participants are smart, interesting writers it made for good reading. Goldberg wrapped things up: "[Ross is] biased toward new ideas, I'm inclined toward being a stick in the mud." Ross let things go at that, but the difference, clearly, is that Goldberg -- like a lot of people drawn to the conservative movement -- is drawn to it specifically because a faux-Burkean fussy aversion to "new ideas" provides a decent cover for the fact that he lacks the capacity to grapple with actual ideas.
Which is fine. His role in the conservative movement is as a propagandist -- smugly policing the ideological orthodoxy, slandering the opposition, and offering up brilliant sophistry like this reply to Ben Adler's assertion that NR's Planet Gore blog is "devoted entirely to stopping any reasonable movement to prevent climate change." Are you ready? Here's Goldberg's counterargument: "there is no such thing as a "reasonable" movement to prevent climate change because climate changes by definition. Saying we can prevent climate change is like saying we can prevent tides, tectonic drift, or rain. And no one would say any movement to stop rain is 'reasonable.'"
Yes, Jonah, we surrender! Your powers of deliberate obtuseness are too strong for us liberals!