Despite a bad cold and a harrowing venture through Canadian customs, editor and columnist Jonah Goldberg joked his way through some serious issues on Tuesday night. His lecture, entitled “Why the ‘War on Terror’ is the Wrong War,” was presented by Zionists at U of T as part of their first-ever Freedom and Democracy week on campus.

“People need to be worried about real threats to democracy in Canada,” said Zionists at U of T co-president Arielle Rabinovitch.

After plugging his recent cover in National Review, a prominent conservative opinion journal that featured the mild-mannered headline “Bomb Canada,” Goldberg echoed the long-term fears of Rabinovitch and Zionists at U of T.

“Voting itself is not democracy,” he said.

Goldberg denounced many myths associated with neo-conservatism, and addressed the issues in Iraq as part of an ongoing overuse of clichés and moral relativism.

“We’re not in a war on a tactic,” he said, referring to his title point. “We’re in a war against a specific ideology, a specific group. But we have been trained to think that [that kind of war] is bad.”

Goldberg suggests that the focus on weapons of mass destruction when going into the war was the one element that all sides could agree on and unite over.

“But when do we ever boil an important decision down to one factor?,” he asks. “We don’t think, ‘I want to buy a red car,’ or ‘Ooh, I’d like a house with windows.'”

Zionists at U of T wants to eliminate similar oversimplifications in the popular opinions about Israel. “We just want to express the truth as it is,” said co-president Patrick Adler.

That was one of the things that prompted the recent name change for the group, which was formerly known as Betar-Tagar. Rabinovitch and Adler said that the previous name was not inclusive enough to cover the many members from different faiths and backgrounds.

Goldberg once again echoed the opinions of the Zionists co-presidents when offering his final advice on the problem.

“There is a cottage industry starting that said the problem is just Islam [in general], but Islam used to be very diverse, and it is being purged [by a few extremist groups.] If we’re going to have a hope we need to let the diversity flourish.”

Stay up to date. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, sent straight to your inbox:

* indicates required