‘You Can’t Be On The Wrong Side of History. History Does Not Actually Take Sides’

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The Most Bullying Argument in Politics

editor-commen-deskIs it just me? Or is everybody in the media stealing ideas from Jonah Goldberg these days? I’m not suggesting Dougherty‘s column was inspired directly or indirectly by previously-articulated arguments calling attention to this phrase, to the contrary, Dougherty’s take here is insightful and original. But readers familiar with Jonah’s book will recognize the “wrong side of history” cliche as one of its funniest chapters. And it gives me another excuse to encourage people to read it. (Plus, any orders made through links to Amazon helps support my cigar habit, so there’s that)

As Dougherty illustrates, the verdict of history is never really final. Enjoy. The whole text is here.

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For The WeekMichael Brendan Dougherty  writes:

There is no more bullying or empty piece of rhetoric in political conversation today than to accuse someone of being on the wrong side of history.divine-judgment-2

“To tell someone that the story of history will be the story of their demise is to make a bet on your future power and to make a frightening promise: The arc of the moral universe is long, and those who disagree with me should be impaled on it.”

And yet, we do it all the time. Over the past month, we’ve heard that the Washington Redskins are on the wrong side of history because of their refusal to change their name. Vladimir Putin, of course, is an enemy of the future. Politicians who are against gay marriage, them too. Even poor Scarlett Johansson is set to fall under the opprobrium of tomorrow.

“We invoke the future’s verdict of guilt precisely because we’d like to smuggle back into our politics the moral force of Divine judgment. But our appeals to progress are a pathetic substitute for the concept of Providence.”

These days, the phrase is most often deployed against social conservatives. But in the 1980s, it was often aimed at advocates for strong labor unions, tight industrial policy, and trade tariffs.tyranny-cliche

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

At its most innocent, telling someone they are on the wrong side of history is an assertion that they stand in the way of others who will deservedly soon acquire more power and respect.

But often, the phrase has the ring of a threat. Read the rest of this entry »


Rod Liddle: The Top 10 Most Fatuous Phrases in the English Language

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Rod_Liddle-40x63Rod Liddle writes: Below are a bunch of the clichés, lies, evasions, obfuscations, PC euphemisms and disingenuous balls words and phrases which, in recent years, have annoyed me the most. There are countless others, but these are the ones which for one reason or other stick in my craw. And of course we begin with:

1. Battling my demons 

It was demons who held down that actress/pop singer/reality TV star and rammed four kilos of charlie up her left nostril leaving her with the IQ of an aspidistra and, alas, sans septum. It was demons who injected Philip Seymour Hoffman with skag. The same creatures regularly waylay the former footballer Paul Gascoigne and siphon several rosenbach-the-headache-george-cruikshank-detaillitres of vodka down his throat. And it was demons, a whole bunch of them, who grappled with Brooks Newmark’s penis and ensured it was transmitted digitally to the fictitious woman of his choice. This was my original Fatuous Phrase of the Week, an utterly ubiquitous cliché which serves only to absolve people from responsibility.

2. Vulnerable

It’s official — the most abused word in the English language these days. Today, as used by the whining liberal left, it means anyone who isn’t an able-bodied middle-aged white heterosexual male in full possession of his mental faculties. In other words, about 70 per cent of the population. It is frequently used as a euphemism for educationally retarded, or what we used to call ‘backward’; when you hear on the news that someone was ‘vulnerable’, you have to work out for yourself why. It’s not tyranny-clicheusually hard.

[You’re on the wrong side of history if you haven’t read Jonah Goldberg‘s book, “The Tyranny of Cliches, but you can order it from Amazon]

[The complete text of ‘s article is here, at The Spectator]

3. Diversity 

Something brilliant, to be championed. We all love diversity, don’t we? As used by the left it means ‘lots of ethnic angels-fighting-demons-paintings-wallpaper-pictures-of-angels-fighting-demons-wallpaper-hd-e1405873872626minorities’. Quite often it is deployed to mean precisely the opposite of its original meaning. As in ‘the area is very diverse’, referring to a place populated exclusively by Bangladeshis.

4. Denier

A horrible and recent confection of, again, the liberal left. You can be a ‘climate change denier’, which means you might doubt that global warming will cause quite the catastrophic circumstances — annihilation of all living creatures, earth burned to a crust, polar bears howling in agony — dreamed up by the maddest, gibbering eco-warriors. You can be a ‘sexual abuse denier’, which means you have one or two doubts about Operation Yewtree. The term was appropriated from the Holocaust, of course: the implication being that to deny that absolutely all 1970s celebrities were busy molesting kiddies is on a par with denying that Nazi Germany murdered six million Jewish people. Nice. Read the rest of this entry »