Bumper Sticker Liberalism





By Mark Goldblatt
Broadside Books, $14.99, 196 pages

Parents Magazine used to have a movie review section. Films of all kinds were reviewed and if one seemed totally against everything the magazine stood for, yet had some redeeming social value, it was considered to be “good of kind.” Mark Goldblatt’s Bumper Sticker Liberalism almost makes it into that category. However, being a liberal myself, that’s as far as this reviewer is willing to go. The book is a full-out, no mercy, take-no-prisoners polemic. The demolition is skillfully done in both technique and style. Goldblatt starts by conjuring up a close-call caused by an aggressive, rude, dangerous Prius driver sporting what could be described as a zero population growth bumper sticker. That is just the first of a legion of stereotypes manufactured in aid of his central thesis which is that not only are liberals stupid and ignorant, they’re evil as well.

Straw man arguments, stereotypes, and extreme comparisons and more are all used. My favorite was the attempt to minimize the torture at Abu Ghraib by comparing it to the 1305 practice of drawing and quartering and the1593 use of the rack. That’s going the extra mile. If you are of one mind with the author, you will revel in the self-affirmation. If, however, you are like me, open-minded and tolerant, you’ll realize that the other 53 percent of us need a literary treat, too.

Reviewed by Norman West

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