Liberal Fascism : The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
"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.
Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . A wholly impressive book.
Posted December 11, 2008 by PeterB , AnchorageA daunting read - you'll need to cross-reference to have the tools to defend arguments you will undoubtedly come across with the Starbucks Snobs - but undoubtedly one of the most important and hard hitting books when it comes to uncovering political ploys and tearing out the heart of the liberal hypocrisy I've read.
Comparing the "progressive" movement to their (denied) communistic and socialistic roots. Quite fascinating.
2 . Wow, indeed
Posted October 28, 2008 by cornellstanley-connect , St LouisThis book is difficult to read, but very informative. If you are curious about what fascism really is, this is a book you need to read. Liberals tend to call Conservatives fascists, but there is never any good definition for fascism, and there is certainly nothing that ties Conservatism to fascism. This will be an important book for people in the forseable future. "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it". Another reviewer on this site stated he was a conservative, but that rings pretty hollow.
3 . wow
Posted February 28, 2008 by somedude , ChicagoI teach English and Social Studies, so it's not often I recommend that people give up reading altogether, but you'd probably be better informed about the world if you just watch Deal or No Deal. I've voted for Republicans and am conservative on some issues, but this book made me think conservatives are idiots, and may make me more liberal in the long run.
January 07, 2008
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