California Literary Review

Liberal Fascism? Jonah Goldberg Explains

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January 8th, 2008 at 10:25 am

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg

CLR INTERVIEW: Jonah Goldberg is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and contributing editor to National Review. He argues in his new book, Liberal Fascism, that fascism is primarily a phenomenon of the political left. Below is his interview with the California Literary Review.

Liberal Fascism
Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning
by Jonah Goldberg
Doubleday, 496 pp.

“Fascism” is such an overused word that it has almost become meaningless. How are you defining it in this book?

Definitions vary wildly among academics. I would argue that’s because they can’t bring themselves to place it squarely on the left side of the ideological spectrum and part of the “revolutionary tradition” starting with the French Revolution. So they come up with these sometimes goofy or unwieldy definitions. Some define it by what it isn’t. Other are simply descriptive, focusing on the “anatomy” of one fascist regime or regimes. One problem with that approach is that it is almost impossible to come up with a description of fascism that would exclude, say, Fidel Castro’s Cuba or Joseph Stalin’s Russia. That’s a dilemma when fascism is supposed to the diametrical opposite of Communism. Many simply ignore the problem and keep moving. Gilbert Allardyce, a prominent scholar of fascism, put it well when he said “Put simply, we have agreed to use the word without agreeing how to define it.”

I’ve got a long definition in the book, but a short one would be an instinctual religious impulse – usually gussied-up as a secular or modern ideology – that seeks to impose uniformity in thought and action throughout the entire society. All oars in a fascistic society must pull together. The personal is political because everything goes together. Political correctness is one name we give to such efforts in civil society.

What is the overall theme of Liberal Fascism?

If I had to pick a single overall theme in the book, I would say it’s to rectify the misunderstanding of what fascism is and to highlight the deep historical, ideological and emotional ties between progressivism (now called liberalism) and fascism.

You state that “Woodrow Wilson was the twentieth century’s first fascist dictator.” Would you talk a little about that and the assault on civil liberties that occurred in this country during World War I.

The late sociologist Robert Nisbet once wrote, that the “West’s first real experience with totalitarianism – political absolutism extended into every possible area of culture and society, education, religion, industry, the arts, local community and family included, with a kind of terror always waiting in the wings – came with the American war state under Wilson.” Nisbet was right. Under Wilson, American newspapers and magazines were censored, threatened, harassed and intimidated. The Committee on Public Information, the first modern propaganda ministry, sent propaganda agents across the country – “four minute men” to whip-up war fever. The CPI released a string of propaganda films with such titles as The Kaiser, The Beast of Berlin, and The Prussian Cur. The Justice Department established the American Protective League, literally an army of goons a quarter-million strong at their zenith, who beat up “slackers” and other dissidents, spied on people and performed unconstitutional background checks. In 1920 a salesman at a clothing store in Waterbury, Connecticut, received a six-month prison sentence for referring to Lenin as “one of the brainiest” leaders in the world. Mrs. Rose Pastor Stokes was arrested, tried, and convicted for telling a women’s group, “I am for the people, and the government is for the profiteers.” These are just a few examples of what I’m talking about.

One could probably link the liberal impulse to everything from religion to feudalism to sociobiology. What is the point and what is the importance of linking liberalism to fascism?

Well, for starters, it’s worthwhile to set the record straight. American Conservatism, with its limited ambitions for government, its belief in the imperfectability of mankind, its reverence for tradition and the US constitution and its innate opposition to radicalism are nearly the opposite of fascism. So calling conservatives fascists is not only a slander, but it prevents us from understanding our own political ideals and principles. Second, totalitarianism will never come on a white horse in this country. If it does come it will come with a friendly face. It will fancy itself a form of “progress” and do-goodery. If you use “fascism” as simply a stand-in for “evil” you will never recognize real fascism when it arrives.

The nastiest forms of fascism seem to arise when people are angry and frightened, such as the Weimar Republic. Isn’t fascism a more likely possibility in rust belt America where people are without health care and unable to support their families, than say a socialist European country?

I think you make a fine point. Politically, fascism is indeed a form of populism. It was in Italy and it was in Germany. Huey Long and Father Coughlin were both populists and came fairly close to creating an American brand of fascism (particularly Coughlin). The sort of mass-movement we usually associate with classical fascism usually reaches out to “forgotten men” who feel left-out or run-over by rapid economic and social trends. Richard Hofstadter painted a picture of progressivism as quasi-fascistic and attributed it to “status anxiety” of the middle class. I think we are experiencing a frighteningly populist moment in American politics. The worst practitioner is John Edwards. His “two Americas” rhetoric strikes deeply fascistic chords. Mike Huckabee is another guy who plays this us-versus-them card deftly. Lou Dobbs is another.

One of the scariest moments in recent years, for me, was the controversy over the Dubai Ports deal. We saw, if you will, nationalists on the right and socialists on the left uniting to out demagogue each other over the evils of this supposed foreign peril. Nationalism + Socialism = “Not good stuff.” Again, fascism will come during a moment of broad cross-class agreement, not disagreement. That’s why I am so skeptical with all of this yearning for unity and post-partisanship. Democracy is about disagreements. Tyranny is about enforced agreement. Everyone puts down their partisan differences in North Korea, that’s one reason I don’t want to live there.

Where do you specifically draw the line between an appropriate government program and fascism? Is the forty-hour work week fascist? Social Security? Medicare?

Well, first where do you draw the line between government programs and socialism? Or between government programs and corporatism? I think you can have an empirical debate about policies and draw the lines wherever you like. I’m not trying to use “fascist” the way the left does and simply declare any program I don’t like “fascist” and therefore illegitimate.

There’s nothing in conservatism that says the government can’t be in the business of problem-solving. We might draw the line more narrowly than others about what problems government can or should solve, but I don’t know any conservative who doesn’t think government has important responsibilities to, say, fight crime, insure food safety and the like. Whether I, or someone else, calls those policies “fascistic” has no bearing on whether they’re good, right or legitimate.

But at the philosophical level, I think you can tell when a program or initiative is fascist by the motivating spirit behind it. If there’s a utopian impulse, if a “new age” or “new politics” are being promised, if the government is promising to create a kingdom of heaven on earth or “end” some basic feature of the human condition, then that policy is leaping out of the realm of problem-solving and into the realm of religion.

The United States now has a military presence in 130 countries. Isn’t this effort—to police the world, to mold it to our objectives, to define those who don’t share our views as the enemy—fascist by your definition? Why is this policy—outside of Ron Paul and a few paleoconservatives—embraced by the right?

I really don’t see it that way at all. The British empire performed the task of policing the world. It wasn’t fascist. We are not imposing our vision on 130 countries, we’re helping secure the peace and stability of those countries and maintain trade and economic growth. In Iraq, yes, sure we’re imposing our vision to a certain extent. But that’s hardly a fascistic vision, now is it? Democracy and liberalism are not fascistic. We did not impose fascism on Germany and Japan after WWII, we helped cleanse them of fascism. As for declaring people who don’t share our views our enemies, I think that’s more than a small overstatement, one you hear from smart people all of the time. We haven’t declared France, Russia, Saudia Arabia etc our “enemies.” Though they each, in some respect, don’t share our views. We declared, via the President, after 9/11 that those who help terrorists who attack us will be treated like terrorists themselves. Personally, I have no fundamental problem with that. Maybe it ratcheted-up the rhetoric too high or created problems. But I see nothing fundamentally wrong or fascistic about saying countries who harbor terrorist groups that attack us should watch out. I just wish we were better at implementing that policy.

What is the danger you foresee if this country pursues what you believe is liberal fascism? What is your nightmare scenario?

Well, I should say that I’m not trying to scare anybody. I don’t think the nightmare scenario is likely, only more likely than I am comfortable with.

The twentieth century gave us two visions of a dystopian future, Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984. For a long time it was assumed that 1984 was the more prophetic tale. That made sense. The totalitarianism of 1984 was a product of the age of Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, and Mussolini, the dictators of a continent with a grand tradition of political and religious absolutism. Now Brave New World seems like the more plausible threat. It was a dystopia based on an American future, where the cult of youth defines society. Everything is easy under Huxley’s World State. Everyone is happy. Huxley’s totalitarianism isn’t a “boot stamping on a human face forever,” as in 1984. It’s one of smiling, happy, bioengineered people chewing hormonal gum and blithely doing what they’re told. Democracy is a forgotten fad because things are so much easier when the state makes all your decisions. In fact, the great dilemma for the reader of Brave New World is to answer the question, What’s wrong with it?

I think we see all sorts of developments on the horizon, and much closer to us, that point in that direction. The old 1984 model rationalized dictators who fed the poor (much like Hugo Chavez). In the Huxlean world we’re heading toward, the biggest problem with our poor people isn’t hunger but morbid obesity. We have scientists at major research universities trying to figure out why conservatives are, in effect, so sick in the head. Bloombergism, with its “for your own good” sensibility is a much bigger threat than any kind of Wilson-like crack down on civil liberties or incipient Orwellian fascism. We’re going to nicey-nice ourselves into oblivion, enjoying it all of the way down. That’s my nightmare scenario.

  • JB

    The British empire not fascist ? OMFG, Of course it was. look at what they did in India and Pakistan pre WWII, they used gas on Iraqi’s in Faluja right after WWI. Remember Lawrence of Arabia – our problems in the middle east are a direct result of decisions made by british corporations, Look at what they did to the Irish and Scots in the mid 1800’s. The Opium Wars in China, And all of this for the benefit a few monopolist export companies, like the east India company, who held sway in parliment, and the nobility system that remained in place until WWII.

    Despite producing great libertarians like John Locke, and J.S. Mill , these men stood in stark opposition to the status quo.

  • jl

    JB – No, they were not fascists. Remember that fascist doesn’t mean “a person who does things I don’t like.”

  • Jim

    JB-
    Whether the British Empire was fascist or not (which it wasn’t)is not the point, and picking out one weakly arguable point in an overwhelmingly convincing book is a display of your ignorance, as well as your use of profanity. Your reference to John Locke and John Stuart Mill as Libertarians further emphasizes your misunderstanding.
    The point of Goldberg’s book, which is clearly expressed even in the brief dialog above, is that the attitudes and behaviors of historically defined ‘Fascist’ movements more closely resembles the attitudes and behaviors of modern Liberals/Progressives than it does Conservatives, and his book overwhelmingly makes the case.
    If you’re a libertarian, (which your response leads me to believe you realy aren’t) stay out of the fight and enjoy the book. If you’re a liberal, as I suspect, choke on it.

  • Stan

    We should start with basics when doing history and not believe grand schemes, as Goldberg has done; grand-narratives are only as good as the ideology they represent. Why doesn’t Goldberg emphasize the role of Gramsci (one of the few who survived criticizing Stalin to his face, a fascist who wore the cloak of a “Communism”) and other socialists and their role in trying to give support to the working classes before and during the time of Italian fascism? In fact, Mussolini, a fascist, imprisoned Gramsci, a neo-Marxist, a socialist (a forefather of liberal thought). During fascist Germany the members of the Frankfurt School, well-known at the time for the neo-Marxist social research, had to flee Germany or commit suicide (in the case of Benjamin).

  • Jim

    Stan,
    One would e confused to call Goldberg a ‘beginner’ at history, but what is your point, anyway? Goldberg mentions Gramshi twice in his book, probably more historical credit than he deserves. Gramshi was a physical invalid and mentally inert. By playing both sides of the fence, he was able to keep himself alive and out of prison for longer than would have been expected for a man of his stature playing two sides against each other between Soviet and Italian socialist movements. It didn’t last forever. Gramshi was a threat to Mussolini and the state precisely because Gramshi could be considered more loyal to Stalin than he was to Mussolini. Fascist movements are well known for eating their young. The Frankfurt School had to flee for precisely the same reason, because they unwisely chose to use the now-dead religion of psychoanalysis as a basis to determine that anyone who didn’t believe in Marxism must be in need of psychotherapy. Ironically, they ended up at Columbia University where they were free to pursue their abstract nonsense free of Hitler’s watchful eye. Gramshi can hardly be thought of as a father of liberal thought, more like a sperm doner. But he did promote the concept that psychological disease best infects a society by infiltrating the ‘elite cultural institutions,’ like Columbia University, where the Frankfurt group provided the injection.

  • John Bryans Fontaine

    LIBERAL FASCISM IS ORWELLIAN DOUBLETHINK

    In a ‘Salon’ interview, Jonah Goldberg described his book, ‘Liberal Fascism’ as Revisionism; thus to Goldberg, Revisionism is Truth. This is the same as saying that Freedom is Slavery, or that Ignorance is Strength.

    Goldberg also lied about his being a neo-liberal. He is absolutely a neo-conservative.

    Hitler was anything but ‘a man of the Left’ because he thought that everything about the Left, from Liberalism to Socialism ( conventionally defined ) as well as Communism, was a product of the Jews.

    The Right-wing Lie which Goldberg and other conservatives spread, that Hitler was a Socialist or a Leftist is Orwellian doublethink. The truth is that Hitler believed that Socialism was a Right-wing ideology and that Marxist Jews had turned Socialism into opposite of Nationalism.

    Munich speech, April 12th, 1922

    1. ‘NATIONAL’ AND ‘SOCIAL’ ARE TWO IDENTICAL CONCEPTIONS. It was only the Jew who succeeded, through falsifying the social idea and turning it into Marxism, not only in divorcing the social idea from the national, but in actually representing them as utterly contradictory. That aim he has in fact achieved. At the founding of this Movement we formed the decision that we would give expression to this idea of ours of the identity of the two conceptions: despite all warnings, on the basis of what we had come to believe, on the basis of the sincerity of our will, we christened it ”National Socialist.’ We said to ourselves that to be ‘national’ means above everything to act with a boundless and all-embracing love for the people and, if necessary, even to die for it. And similarly to be ‘social’ means so to build up the state and the community of the people that every individual acts in the interest of the community of the people and must be to such an extent convinced of the goodness, of the honorable straightforwardness of this community of the people as to be ready to die for it.

  • John Doman

    John Bryans Fontaine – had you actually read the book, you would know that the term “liberal fascism” was actually coined by the socialist author H.G. Wells. As for Hitler being left-wing… Well, he despised religion, was into animal rights, thought that the government should control everything (including the family) and taxed companies and corporations heavily. Sure doesn’t sound like a right-winger to me…

  • John Bryans Fontaine

    John Doman:

    Far from despising religion, there are many references to God and Christ in ‘Mein Kampf’ and Hitler’s other writings. From the same speech of April 12th, 1922:

    And finally we were also the first to point the people on any large scale to a danger which insinuated itself into our midst – a danger which millions failed to realize and which will nonetheless lead us all into ruin – the Jewish danger. And today people are saying yet again that we were ‘agitators.’ I would like here to appeal to a greater than I, Count Lerchenfeld. He said in the last session of the Landtag that his feeling ‘as a man and a Christian’ prevented him from being an anti-Semite. I SAY: MY FEELING AS A CHRISTIAN POINTS ME TO MY LORD AND SAVIOUR AS A FIGHTER. IT POINTS ME TO THE MAN WHO ONCE IN LONELINESS, SURROUNDED ONLY BY A FEW FOLLOWERS, RECOGNIZED THESE JEWS FOR WHAT THEY WERE AND SUMMONED MEN TO THE FIGHT AGAINST THEM AND WHO, GOD’S TRUTH! WAS GREATEST NOT AS SUFFERER BUT AS FIGHTER. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before – the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago – a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people. “

    That H.G. Wells coined the phrase ‘Liberal Fascism’, doesn’t make it any less Orwellian. So what if Wells had one crazy idea? The sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard had hundreds.

    And Hitler being an animal right’s activist? First, he enjoyed breakfast sausages. Second, where in his speeches does he mention animal rights? Do you actually think that the German people would have become agitated over animal rights?

    This raises a question: How do animal rights, Social Security, or Gun Control help ‘aryans’ take over the earth then or now?

    As to Hitler’s relationships with industrialists, they backed him with vast sums of money to help get him and the Nazis into power. And once in power, the Nazis outlawed Unions.

    Hitler and the Nazis wanted the Germans to rule the planet so, in order to achieve this insane plot ( as well as their basic nature ), the Nazi government controlled everything.

    Right-wing governments control or controlled everything in Saudi Arabia, as well as other mid-eastern nations, apartheid South Africa, and any number of banana republics.

    Again, Hitler despised all aspects of the Left because he associated these with the ‘world-wide Jewish conspiracy’

  • Scott

    John Bryans Fontaine –

    The first item you posted doesn’t contadict anything in Goldberg’s book. Considering the raison d’etre for his writing it was to lay to rest a lot of false assumptions in the left’s historical narrative [which lead to misunderstandings such as yours} perhaps you should try actually reading it.

    You may not like what the book has to say and you may have substantive disagreements, but in the very least your critique of it will be based in reality.

  • Jim

    To John Bryans Fontaine:

    I’m not going to be as kind to you as John and Scott have been because, for one, like Goldberg I’m tired of being called a fascist by the likes of ignorant fools. Like Goldberg points out, people like you see everything they don’t like as “fascist,” even though your political liberal/progressive history is straight from fascism.
    In you’re mind, I’m sure you’ve even come to equate the term “neoconservative” with Nazi. In fact, that’s why liberals invented the term, so they could do jst that. Which means you called Jonah Goldberg a Nazi, so you’ve got this coming.
    So, that’s the best you can do? Goldberg’s book is 400 pages long plus end notes, yet you don’t take one quote from the book and try to deconstruct or contradict it? That would be more like your kind, wouldn’t it? Then you could completely dismiss it in your own mind. Instead, you repeatedly cite one speech by Hitler made eleven years before the Nazi’s even came to power, when Hitler would say anything to anyone to take power? For that matter, who cares what a sociopath like Hitler had to say for or about himself at that point. If you think Hitler was so religious, look at what he did AFTER he got to power.
    You should understand about saying whatever is convenient; as long as you do you can continue to hang out at Biff’s coffee shop and pretend you’re educated.
    Then you spew the same “Orwellian” garbage you’ve been indoctrinated with all your life and don’t have the courage to challenge for yourself. I suppose you still believe in the Kennedy “conspiracy.” How ’bout Bigfoot?
    You’re completely brainwashed! Revision is truth when what you’re revising is a lie, like the one you’ve been living.
    You obviously haven’t read Goldberg’s book. I doubt if you ever will read it, because like so any others of your kind, you don’t have the guts to admit when you’re wrong. You just tell yourself another lie.
    I know it’s going to be tough for you, but why don’t you try reading the book. I know it’ll be tough reading for you. It makes anything George Orwell ever wrote look like a pamphlet. Then you won’t have to try to contradict it with what your liberal teachers taught you in junior high school.

  • JLM

    You know, when someone ascribes Hitler’s motivations to his ‘Christianity’ you know you are dealing with someone who is incapable of making a rational argument based on facts. Hitler hated Christianity, but was perfectly willing to use it as a political tool. Because he did use it as a tool, anti-religious liberals like to associate Christianity with Hitler as a way to shut up Christians. However, Hitler expressed a desire to ‘deal’ with Christianity once the war was over, and was more explicit in various private communications in this hatred of Christ and Christianity as a ‘weakling religion’ and as an invention of the Jews. In one case he bemoans the fact that Germany fell into Christianity instead of something like the ancestor worship of the Japanese, which he thought would have suited his purposes infinitely better. He would have even preferred Islam over Christianity according to that letter, which was to Himmler I believe.

  • JLM

    It’s was also amusing to learn that Hitler ‘tarred’ Jews with that most denigrating term: ‘Capitalist’. Those ‘capitalist Jews’! Sounds exactly like modern ‘progressive’ liberalism to me!

  • David

    Once again we fall back into denigrate each other’s viewpoints with labels and ideology – us versus them.

    Mr. Fontaine, have you indeed read the book or are you basing your opinions on a knee-jerk reaction to “Liberal Fascism”? Jim, your responses are down-right Fascist in nature. Spewing invective at an opponent doesn’t make them more receptive to you viewpoint – it only reinforces their preconceived notion that you are ignorant and intolerant – the only point you have managed to communicate to me thus far.

    Personally, I’m an elitist – a neat trick for a third-generation Irish kid from the wrong side of the tracks. I’ve seen nothing recently that suggests the average American is more intelligent than a sack of hammers. Conservative, Liberal, Communist, Fascist, or Saurian – I care not what name the governors take, as long as they actually govern.

    In the seventies I was an avowed Democrat. A personal encounter with the operations of the Carter presidency cured me of that. Regan was my hero and savior in the eighties. The heir apparent was a disappointment. And his progeny was a disaster.

    The line between Democrat and Republican politicos is hazy and best and nonexistent at worst. Politicians are only interested in winning the next election. The only candidate willing to take a public stance – and keep it – is Ron Paul; and his chance of getting into office is about as good as mine.

    Call it a wasted vote if you want, but Paul has my write-in this November – I’d rather “waste” it than vote for the “lesser” of two evils. Or the way this election is shaping up, the brighter of two fools.

  • http://www.myspace.com/seraphim24 Daniel Moir

    Look. In private letters Hitler condemned Christianity, in speaches he used it as a tool. Hitler was, at his core, a panderer, keeping his real feelings private while beating the drum of “the great Christian lie” in order to get people to march in line. This man did everything in his power to come to power. I believe Hitler was a politically unique phenomina, full of contradictions, and manipulations. This is what is recorded in history. This is what it was. Hitler was indeed more to the left than the right, but to classify him by today’s definitions is short sighted. He was neither, and both, and he was the utimate flip flopper and panderer.

  • http://drudgereport Oregonpapa

    Ayn Rand said it as well as anyone:

    “The Fascists and Communists are nothing more than two rival gangs fighting over the same territory.”

  • Erin

    I see all these arguments but Fascism means central forced control.
    State ran Medicaid is a good example. Whether I agree with it or not I am forced to pay into it…forcing someone to do anything is fascist. Taxes as a whole are actually fascist.

    This is what politics looks like on a graph

    Fascism

    Left centrist Right

    Liberalism

    Liberal fascism is an oxy moron. Thats like saying left rightism.

    Thought I would share…I am very angry socialists stole my word (liberal)…now the best I have is libertarian which is so varying it means a million things.

  • http://www.davidunleashed.com/2008/07/14/97-copies-left/ David McInnis

    This is such an important book I will purchase a copy for anyone that has a desire to step into the light. This is a real offer which is currently limited to the first 100 requests. More details at my blog.

    http://www.davidunleashed.com/2008/07/14/97-copies-left/

  • http://matrixwealthtrader.com Noah

    Let me help you all (especiall Erin) understand something. If you go as far left as you can go, you get complete government control. If you go as far right as you can go, you get no government. So use just a tiny bit of logic you get, far right = anarchy or no goverment, far left = tyranny or complete government control. For you College indoctrinated… I mean… educated liberals let me make it simple. Left = more government control. Right = less government control. Therefore, “right” can never be fascism; it can only be anarchy or complete lack of government. It’s called linier progression (moving a long a line). So logic tells any one capable of thinking critically / logically that Fascism is in fact, a left or liberal or progressive or what every B.S. politically correct name you want to give it, form of government. Duh!?

    So wake up America and realize any politician claiming their “government program” is going to fix any problem is in a sense a fascist, they are for more government control. Why can’t you all see that in fact, the “hero of human and women’s rights” Bill Clinton is in fact, a fascist, as is the “hated” George W. Bush. They both have given us more (remember more government = left) government control. In other words it has been many, many, many years since we have had a True conservative or “right winger” in the government. All of those conservative / righties liberals love to hate were in fact lefties or liberal. Yes that’s right, they all wanted and gave us more government. They may have been to right of you but they were not true conservatives!

    Any self-respecting conservative or righty would not stay in Washington longer than 8 years and would never vote for or accept the golden parachute pay, pay raises, retirement and benefits packages that congress has passed for its self. They (the true conservative) would remember they are in Washington as a PUBLIC SERVANT and would accept reasonable pay to survive while SERVING and then go back to their real life as a farmer or business owner. They would believe in supporting themselves and contributing to society through their goods, services and providing jobs. Remember, George Washington and many of the founding fathers had to be virtually coerced to SERVE in public office.

  • http://rkdpolitics.blogspot.com Arkady

    A lot of people here are desperately trying to sound intelligent by regurtating pieces of useless historical knowledge into disproving 400 pages of work.

    DO yourlsef a huge favor and read the book, then come back with useless examples and see how they hold up. Some of these points are laughable.

  • Basil Griffiths

    Mussolini was a leading member of the Italian Socialist Party before starting his own Fascist Party. Laval the Prime Minister of the collaborationist Fascist French Vichy Government was a former socialist. Sir Oswald Moseley founder of the British Union of Fascists had been a Minister in the first UK Socialist government. Quisling, traitor and founder of the Norwegian Fascist Party, was former Defence Minister in the Socialist government of that country. Much of the Nazi anti- capitalist propaganda could well have graced the stated views of any left wing party. QED.

  • Nicotinegun

    Hitler was a Leftist. His views were not of tradition and norms of the country. His views were nationalistic=LEFT His views were that of change=LEFT His views were that of violance=LEFT His views were that of lies based on myth=LEFT

  • joy

    Noah,
    I agree with you complety! You did an excellent job of explaining the political spectrum.

    I would like to add that Hitler believed in reincarnation. His religious beliefs most mirrored the new age movement.

  • Elizabeth

    I think Jonah got his knickers in a twist over his definition of fascism. It’s very straightforward, really:

    Fascism is the political expression of ultramontanism, a stance of the post-1870 Catholic Church which regarded modernity as the enemy and yearned for a political order where a strong nationalist central government will reinstall order, stamp out socialist sedition and restore the independence of the Church. Hence the political regimes of Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain are fascist.

    Socialism is the belief that a revolutionary state should overthrow the old ‘capitalist’ regime and replace it with a benign bureaucratic equalization. Hence Stalin’s Russia and Castro’s Cuba are socialist.

    Both fascism and socialism are totalitarian regimes, but there are very different in objectives and orientation. Fascism is reactive, it tries to go back in time and cancel out modernity. Socialism is progressive, it wants to go forward and create a new social order.

    It helps if we don’t confuse the two.

  • ron from Texas

    Contra Rush Limbaugh, history’s actual fascists were not primarily known for their anti-smoking policies or generous social welfare programs. Fascism celebrated violence, anti-rationalism and hysterical devotion to an authoritarian leader

    Interesting comments. I have not read the book but I have seen the video presentations of Goldberg and find what he has to say quite reasonable and well-researched. I think those that are critics of him may miss the fine points of definition he offers.

    I am a conservative. So conservative that I find much of the republican party in America to be too “progressive” for my tastes. For decades, I have had to listen to every pundit and their cousin crap on the evil republicans. And, to be fair, many a conservative republican has wanted to inflict their sense of religion on the law, either by codifying their religious sensibilities into law, or denying laws based on their religious opinion, such as the ongoing debate over gay marriage. To forbid gay marriage is a religious opinion. I am not opposed to it and I don’t want the govt. in the bedrooms of people. I also don’t want them in my wallet, firstly. Conservatives do best when they curb spending and keep their mouths shut. We do best when we uphold the constitutional freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion (which could also be freedom from religion, something that some republicans are lousy on), life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This is the right to live your life free and make your own decisions. It is not however, as statists would like to think, a guarantee of equal results simply by the reason you exist. You have the right to go to college if you can afford it. You do not have the right to take someone else’s money to go there. Nor are you guaranteed that you will graduate. You must earn that yourself. That’s how conservative I am.

    But liberals, at least the garden variety armchair liberals, start from a desire to see that all people do well. Admirable and totally impossible. You get what you earn. I’ve tried to explain it economically. If you have the owner of a company and his employee and pay each of them the same rate of pay, the owner will still make more. Why? The employee is only working 1500 hours a year. The owner’s job is 24/7/365 or 61,320 hours per year. Subtract 8 govt holidays and two weeks vacation and it’s still 60,792 hours. But even then, the owner has to consider his business. And liberals think that the employee should make almost as much as the owner without having the stress that is the 24/7/343 (discounting holidays and vacation) job. Why should one person be robbed of the fruits of his labors by another?

    So, what happens when some don’t want to give up for what the liberal wants? Well then, especially in a democracy, the liberal turns to the force of law to take from the earner to give to another. What do you call that?

  • jay

    Facism and Communism are not diametrical opposites!!!!!!

  • Bas

    Hi there,

    What about the patriot act?

    Now that’s what I would call fascism.

    It was passed by republicans and democrats alike, under a republican president, who I would never accuse of having leftist or liberal sympathies.

    Or what about Guantanamo Bay?

    That’s a bit more than “saying countries who harbor terrorist groups that attack us should watch out”, don’t you agree?

    Greets from Europe (there are still 20 nukes in my backyard that are controlled by the American governement and no one has any saying about them, huray for liberty and democracy! )

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