Friday, September 26, 2008

Liberal Fascism...

Okay, so Jonah Goldberg is pretty doctrinaire, and we expect that, but his history is pretty good. I just got three chapters in, and reading a whole chapter about Woodrow Wilson got me agitated enough that I had to set it down. How did such a reprehensible little schoolmaster wind up in the Big Chair?

So I re-read Farnham's Freehold for only the second time (and my first reading was over ten years ago.) I took a completely different message from it the second time 'round, too. The first time I simply took it at face value and was shocked at the rrrracism! This time I was shocked at the racism, too, but in the way the author intended.

That made me recollect that it had been quite a few years since I read Double Star, and that I'd only read it once, too. So I re-read it, and was amazed at how well a piece of 52-year-old SF has held up.

Still not ready to get back into Goldberg, I then picked up James P. Hogan's Voyage From Yesteryear, from back before he went all bugnuts Velikovskian. When I finish it, I'm back into the political book...


Nathan Brindle said...

Yeah, sad about Hogan. He used to be a good writer. Or at least one with some sense.

Anonymous said...

Tam: read LF this summer when on vacation. . don't agree with all of Mr Goldberg's assertions, but he illuminates parts of recent history that have been swept under the rug by the left. . .for obvious reasons. . .really shows, to me, how opportunistic many on the left really are. . also, not mentioned in the book, I believe many on the left were (are still?) manipulated by intelligence agencies that are inimical to the USA . . .

Fudgie Ghost

og said...

Velikovsky hisself probably agrees- but the jury is still out on Immanuel. yeah, WIC doesn't jibe with what we know, but we don't know eveyrthing, either. And Hogan, while he seemed to go kinda wonky, also has some merit to his wonkiness.

Chas S. Clifton said...

The more you know about Wilson, the creepier he becomes.

Votes for women: Against it

Sending American troops in inadequate numbers off on missions for vague ideological purposes (Archangelsk, Vladivostok): For it

Intellectual pomposity of the worst "I know more than you do" kind: Got it.

And ask anyone who really knows how pernicious an influence Colonel House was.

Weetabix said...

It's been ages since I read Farnham's Freehold, so the details are kind of fuzzy. Not sure I remember where it is, either...

Feel like giving us a brief Tamnalysis on the first and second impressions?

docjim505 said...

Have you tried Hogan's "The Proteus Operation"? Excellent sci-fi.

Have to get a copy of "Freehold"; never read it.

Ahab said...

Wait, I just started reading LF myself. Madness.

Brad K. said...

Tam, Really engaging - "Conflict of Honors", Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Or "Balance of Trade" - both in their 'Liaden Universe'.

Silly space opera - "McLendon's Syndrome", Robert Frezza. Or Christopher Stasheff's "A Company of Stars".

"Warrior's Apprentice", Lois McMaster Bujold. Starts a nice series of books. "The Ship Who Sang", Anne McCaffrey, or "DragonSong", or "The White Dragon". Or an sf/fantasy romance - "Nerilka's Story", Anne McCaffrey.

More serious insight: "Enders Game", Orson Scott Card. Or the dark SF "Exchange of Hostages" by Susan R. Matthews.

Grand military sf: "On Basilisk Station", David Weber. First of the lo-ong list of Honor Harrington novels and spinoffs and short story and novella collections. "Hunting Colors", Elizabeth Moon, or "Trading In Danger" or (really good) "Once A Hero".

Recreating civilization, nearly 'men's adventure': "Cross Time Engineer", Leo Frankowski.

Fantasy: Christopher Rowley's "Bazil Broketail". Patricia Briggs "The Hobs Choice". Elizabeth Moon, "The Deed Of Paksennarion" or the three component novels, "Sheepfarmers Daughter", "Divided Allegiance", and "Oath of Gold". Deed mostly qualifies as epic military fantasy.

YA Fantasy: "Wild Magic", Tamora Pierce, or "Tricksters Choice" or "Sandrys Book".

Urban Noir: "Broken", "Bitten", "No Humans Involved", Kelley Armstrong. Patricia Briggs, "Iron Kissed", "Moon Called", "On The Prowl".

I re-read James Blish's "Cities In Flight", a Science Fiction Bookclub version of four of his novels. Only, this time I understood all the Okie and bindle references, to the social upheavals of the Dust Bowl days, to hobos, etc.

The other books I mention, I have read at least four times.

If you get the chance, the book "Forest Gump" is pretty good. Not the Tom Hanks/Sally Field version from the movie, but a good story.

phlegmfatale said...

I feel like a moron when I see how much you read. It's NOT that I'm drooling over shoe-adverts 24/7, but that I have to read slowly or I just can't absorb it. Anyway, I think that's the thing about you I most envy.

Billy Beck said...

Goldberg's book is tragic. It is appalling that it was necessary to write the thing, and despite repeated efforts, he can barely apologize for his own logic.

{shrug} It's about as good as it gets, these days.

theirritablearchitect said...

"I feel like a moron when I see how much you read."

Yeah, me too, and as you can see, she's up to about 3 books a day, now.

I'm lucky if I can squeeze in three chapters every two to three days from whatever I'm reading.

Bob said...

Farnham's Freehold is definitely difficult to explain to people. I have the edition with the Freehold roadsign on the cover.

Alan said...

I find something new every time I re-read a Heinlein. Occasionally it's something I've missed previously, but more often it's because I've changed.

They age well because the stories are about people, not technology, and people don't change.

Rabbit said...

When I read Farnham's Freehold, it pissed me off. In fact, I have to say, it's the worst case of red-ass I've gotten from reading a work of fiction. I was mad for days. Then I figured out what RAH meant. It's still one of my favorite of his novels, exclusive of the usual ones.

I read Ender's Game this week, for the first time, if you can believe it. I can tell Card used to be a liberal from that, irregardless of what he considers himself now. I couldn't work up any Righteous Indignation about xenocide from reading it, but folks say I'm wired funny.


DirtCrashr said...

Since I was raised as a lefty collectivist by religious Socialists, reading Goldberg was practically a clairvoyant experience.

My brother went all Velikovsky just out of Truthery spite against the Halls of Science, but I think he's recovered now.

Anonymous said...

May I submit for your consideration that Woodrow Wilson was the Barack Obama of his day.

Minus the suntan, of course.

John A said...

re Brad K., or more generally SF which includes a wide range of interests including politics, you can get a good start without spending a great deal of money -

*Baen Free Library*

which includes some of Brad's recommendations. t includes some current titles by major authors as well as classics.

And of course, there are several "WWW...Gutenberg..." sites (US, UK, AUstalia...) offering works of almost any interest which are no longer in copyright.

Hobie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joeronin said...


voice dictation software...(it got me through grad school)

and to all the good fiction let me add
Will Thomas's victorian detective novels
John Sandfords's Kidd novels
All of the Oxford History of the United States volumes
Schuck and Wilson's Understanding America
Frederick Lewis Allen's Since Yesterday and Only histories of the 20's and 30's

Tam said...

Brad K.,

Bujold, McCaffrey, Card: Check, check, and check. :)

Read the whole Honorverse by Weber except the stuff done with/by Eric Flint. With the exception of the original 1632, Flint just doesn't do much for me.

Did the whole Paksenarrion cycle as well as a few others by Moon, too.

My SF library may not be as extensive as my roommate's but it's still probably over 750 volumes. :)

I will check into some of your other recommendations, thx!

Stretch said...

I found Farnham's Freehold did not age well for me. Read it when first published and was only 2 years from doing duck-and-cover at school 'cause of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I think that made me focus more on the shelter-survival rather than social aspects of novel. Re-read it this past winter. Struck that power vacuum filled by surviving Muslim culture. Not pleasant to think about as large segments of Western Society slowly evaporate. Time to re-read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Always good to know how to run a revolution.

rickn8or said...

How can you only read Heinlein's stuff once??

I get something new every time I re-read one of his novels. It's sort of like visiting with an old friend.

Tam said...


Oh, most of it I have read many times, but there are a few that I've only read once or twice.

CaptainAttila said...

Your reaction to LF is bad enough, my wonderful sense of timing had me reading The Forgotten Man last weekend.

Don Meaker said...

I try to read one book a week. They tend to be technical. But I did reread "Ender's Game" and thought something along the lines of 'When will Bill Whittle put this into a screen play?'

Weetabix said...

I dug out and begand the re-read of Farnham this weekend (not quite finished yet).

I found the matter-of-fact discussions of incest moderately disturbing.

The warnings against what happens to man in a de jure situation of inequality of the races didn't strike me as hard as they probably did people in 1964. I've frequently thought most people feel much better about themselves when they feel superior to someone else. He was kind of preaching to the choir on that one for me.

I haven't quite finished it yet, so I won't spoil anything for anyone who still needs to read it.

Ponse is lecturing him on how Hugh hurried Ponse's plans right now.

Harman said...

If Liberal Fascism is unnerving, The True Believer by Eric Hoffer is downright terrifying.

Billy Beck said...

harman: try Leonard Peikoff's "The Ominous Parallels".

It freezes my spine to page through that thing these days.