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The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas

Jonah Goldberg. Penguin/Sentinel, $27.95

Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg, the best selling author of “Liberal Fascism,” is set to stir controversy as his new book “The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas,” hits the stands on May 1.
With an agenda to lambast liberal rhetoric, Goldberg does not mince words in lacerating liberal thought processes, while attempting to dismantle what he notes as the progressive myths.
Goldberg, a Fox News contributor and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, presents a biased view and generates controversy over the portrayal of Gandhi, the iconic Indian leader.
Indian Americans and Indians worldwide are in for a shock as Goldberg repeatedly portrays Mohandas Karmachand Gandhi as unstable, irrational and hypocrite.
Goldberg finds Gandhi as advising Jews to commit hara-kiri in Germany, citing that, “Even after the war, when the full extent of the Holocaust was being realized, Gandhi never recanted his position that, ‘the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife.’”
Goldberg alleges in his book that, “Gandhi was in many respects the pioneer of exploiting Western self-loathing.”
Goldberg claims that Jesus asked his followers to carry swords while Gandhi didn’t and he states, “For many pacifists, “What Would Gandhi Do?” is a more important question than “What Would Jesus Do?””
Although Goldberg does accept the fact that Gandhi was “one of the most idiosyncratic world leaders in modern memory,” he goes on to describe that in the pursuit of “his capacity for self denial,” Gandhi “took to sleeping with naked women (including his own grandniece).”
Goldberg recounts the episode when Gandhi, “refused to let British doctors give his wife a life-saving shot of penicillin, ostensibly on the grounds that she should not have an alien substance injected in her body,” concluding, “His fastidiousness was a death sentence for her.”
In the same vein, Goldberg highlights the acceptance of “quinine when he (Gandhi) himself later contracted malaria.” Goldberg adds that Gandhi “let British doctors perform an appendectomy on him, another alien intrusion to be sure.”
Another controversy is generated with Goldberg alleging that in the movie, Gandhi, “audiences are led to believe that his first hunger strike was to protest the British police’s horrific slaughter of a crowd of peaceful Indian protestors,” while actually “Gandhi’s first hunger strike was devoted to protesting a British effort to grand the Untouchables -- India’s lowest and most oppressed caste -- greater rights and freedoms, including providing them with access to a form of affirmative action.”
“That wouldn’t play as well on the big screen alas,” laments Goldberg.
Overall, Goldberg concludes, “Gandhi’s accomplishments were great, but absent the context of a liberal empire, he would have accomplished little or nothing.”
In his new book, Goldberg does an excellent job demonstrating his grasp of liberal clichés and demolishing them, but his examples, used as a means to reach the end, leave the reader with a bitter taste and wondering if it was worth being iconoclastic.

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