Words to the wise

Becky Fenger Fenger Pointing

Last month best-selling author Jonah Goldberg made an appearance in Phoenix, to the delight of his many fans. He is the founding editor of National Review Online, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Los Angeles Times columnist (which caused songbird Barbara Streisand to huffily cancel her subscription.)

In his latest book, The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Rig the War of Ideas, Goldberg argues that despite pretending to be otherwise, liberals are indeed ideological. Supposedly "objective" journalists, academics and "moderate" politicians peddle some of the most radical arguments, he says. CNN talk-show host Piers Morgan "is carrying enough water for Barack Obama to be Gunga Din," he laughed.

Then there are groups like the World Health Organization which recently rated health care systems around the world. It's no wonder the United States ranked 47th by their measurements, when having hospitals that were best at "redistributing wealth" was a key to scoring high. "My sense is that the folks at WHO are not exactly Milton Friedman acolytes," he ventured.

Goldberg's first book, Liberal Fascism, was a number one New York Times bestseller, and he told us this new book is the liner notes for his first. "The best definition of fascism in America today is a conservative who's winning in an argument," he said. When liberals keep criticizing the right for being ideological, they are forgetting that "ideology is merely a checklist of one's priorities and principles."

Instead of pushing the "can't we all get along" argument, he reminds us democracy is about disagreement, not agreement (something to keep in mind when demanding that candidates make nicey-nice while campaigning.)

It's so refreshing, after all the whining of the Occupy Wall Streeters, to hear someone defend capitalism, which he calls the best system in the world for cooperation. "The problem with capitalism is that it's so good at what it does that it doesn't feel like it," Goldberg opined. He adds that capitalism is really the only anti-poverty program that has ever worked. Touché.

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Arizona's Department of Health Services Director Will Humble will decide this week whether to add migraine headaches, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of ailments that qualify a person to use medical marijuana. Under the provisions of Proposition 203 which voters approved in 2010, the qualifying physical and mental conditions can be ever expanding.

According to reports, over 28,000 sufferers so far have opted to participate in the program by getting a card authorizing their use of pot. The state estimates that adding the above conditions would expand the rolls by 15,000 to 20,000 users.

I wonder if folks who are contemplating applying for a card are aware that to do so will imperil their use of a firearm. Since the federal government still regards the use of marijuana as illegal, I would think long and hard before signing on to a program that jeopardizes use of my .38s for sport and safety. A word to the wise.

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OK, where were all you Scottsdally'n's last Saturday morning when you could have been at the McCormick Golf Resort to listen to 8 of the 11 candidates for Scottsdale City Council? I was impressed with some of the newcomers to the field, and wished more folks had been there to learn which 3 they want to guide their city.

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Quoteworthy: "Consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually."

~ Abba Eban Israeli diplomat, politician and author