Jonah Goldberg

According to investigative reporter Peter Schweizer, Chomsky, the avowed hater of capitalism, set up a special trust to hide his millions in personal wealth from the taxman. This from the guy who inveighs against a tax code full of "complicated devices for ensuring that the poor -- like 80 percent of the population -- pay off the rich."

Stone, a notorious booster of Cuban socialism, owns numerous properties around the world. During an interview at his Santa Barbara, Calif., Spanish colonial villa, Architectural Digest asked about the contradiction between his anti-capitalist schtick and his lifestyle, he replied that he wouldn't fall for the guilt trip. "That's a Western Christian trip."

The bowel-stewing hypocrisy notwithstanding, what's amazing is how the same dreck is recycled as new, fresh and courageous. Charles Beard's "An Economic Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution" will be 100 years old next year. Its attack on the founders as greedy white men was wrong then, but at least it was relatively original. Today, college kids regurgitate the same nonsense -- and professors applaud their rebelliousness. Except what or whom are they rebelling against? Not the faculty or the administration.

Hackneyed left-wingery is not only treated with respect on campuses (though most mainstream academics aren't as left-wing as Zinn or Stone), it is repackaged daily by Hollywood and celebrated by the mainstream media.

The self-styled rebels of Occupy Wall Street received overwhelmingly positive coverage in the mainstream media in no small part because the liberal press thinks authentic political expression for young people must be left-wing. The regurgitation of hackneyed '60s slogans pleasing to the ears of aging, nostalgia-besotted baby boomers elicits squeals of delight. Meanwhile, Tea Party protests were greeted as dangerous, odd and deserving of hostile journalistic scrutiny.

And yet the kitsch of leftism still works its magic. In huge numbers, young people think they're rebelling when all they're doing is playing their assigned part and lending energy and, often, votes to a stale, regimented form of statist liberalism that often disappoints and never satisfies.

I don't expect young people to become conservatives, though if you want to see a true rebel on campus, seek out the pro-life Christians. But is libertarianism really too much to ask? Championing economic liberty will tick off your professors, and you can still be a libertine on weekends. And if you get rich, you won't be a hypocrite for defending your villa.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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