Liberal Fascism

Liberal Fascism

The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

Book - 2007
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"Fascists," "Brownshirts," "jackbooted stormtroopers"--such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst?

Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term "National socialism"). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities--where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.

Do these striking parallels mean that today's liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.

Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, it took a "friendlier," more liberal form. The modern heirs of this "friendly fascist" tradition include the New York Times , the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385511841
0385511841
Characteristics: 487 p. ; 25 cm

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a
ArcticAndy
Sep 20, 2017

A difficult read - rambling and repetitive - not recommended.

a
abalzer
Apr 12, 2017

Should you endeavor to read "Brick of a text" Godspeed. Starts off well for the first several hundred pages then rambles on and on. It actually induced a headache.
markjstewart

l
lukasevansherman
Feb 08, 2017

After the historic and polarizing (and possibly apocalyptic) election, there was an outpouring of hand-wringing, mea culpas, and incredulous "What the (expletive) happened?" by liberals and those on the left. We left coasters were told that we underestimated or overlooked the rural voters in the flyover states and that we were in bubbles of our own artisinal making. And we were told that we those who were out of touch and exhorted to understand white anger and white despair. I think it's a bit of a B.S. argument, but I took their point and decided to read a book from the right. Jonah Goldberg's a columnist, writer, and editor at conservative Bible "The National Review." His book's title is meant to grab you, as is the picture on the cover of a smiley face with a Hitler mustache, which also lets you know that this book is not going for subtlety. His contention is that the word "fascist" is carelessly and frequently thrown around by liberals, but, in actuality, the roots of fascism are more leftist than conservative. A-ha! Liberals are the real fascists. I agree that the word is used recklessly and that
"The parallel between the reformation of American universities in the 1960s and what occured in Nazi Germany runs even deeper. Deconstruction is a direct and unapologetic offshoot of Heidegger's brand of existentialism, which not only was receptive to Nazism but helped foster it."

redban May 05, 2015

Left and Right are poor analogies. The measurement should be Horizontal or Vertical power structures. Horizontal is democratic, Vertical is authoritarian.

So yes, so-called Left movements like Stalin and Mao are still Vertical power structures, the "Left" is meaningless, it is not a worker dictatorship when the workers are still oppressed, they are oligarchical so really they are "Right" regimes. (Right, as in Conservative, as in conserving the status quo power structures, which traditionally have been quite vertical, i.e. feudalism, The Church).

Free Market lovers like commenter EuSei fail to grasp that the market has changed drastically from Adam Smith times (Smith, ironically, did not practice Free Market principles when he turned a blind eye on the interventions to destroy sustainable farming, the forced conversion to urban wage workers, i.e. "primitive accumulation").

Capitalism is ruled by banks, the stock market, and speculation; all this has flourished drastically since the times of Adam Smith. The market is grossly manipulated, it is the very nature of Capitalism, what else do you expect when the bottom line is profit, when accumulation of wealth (and thus power) is the goal? The creation of greater inequality and a more-Vertical power structure.

n
naturalist
Mar 17, 2015

champion of Ann Coulter's revisionist history: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/people/jonah-goldberg
see also . . .
Big Lies : the Right-wing Propaganda Machine and How it Distorts the Truth
Joe Conason 1954-
Thomas Dunne Books, 2003, hc, 245 pages, ISBN-10: 0312315600, ISBN-13: 978-0312315603

EuSei Jun 15, 2012

Very well documented, easy to read, fascinating book. Even the ones who are well informed will learn something from Mr. Goldberg's book. It is shocking to see that most people believe, for example, that the Nazi were “far right”! Yet Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) stands for National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party. And since socialism is a leftwing economic system, it should be obvious to anyone who cared to look beyond the lies perpetrated by the Left that the Nazi were lefties. In this case life imitates art, and like in Huxley’s Brave New World: “Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth”… Fortunately Mr. Goldberg’s book helps debunk this and many other myths. Together with "The Black Book of Communism" this book is a must read for anyone—Left of Right! NOTICE: Attempts to censor (“Report this”) my comments will be fiercely fought under the aegis of American Libraries’ beloved principles: Freedom of Speech, Freedom to Read, Intellectual Freedom.

4
4Kansas
Jan 19, 2012

Full of great information, but hard read. See also Reviews.

t
Tom_Aquinas
Mar 07, 2010

Skimmed, but not read in detail.

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