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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 “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. D-6


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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 “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. D-6

30 review for Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

  1. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    here's a little something for the book itself: and here's something for me, to wash the taste out of my mouth after stumbling upon such extreme stupidity and basically wanting to puke after reading this book's synopsis: (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>[ here's a little something for the book itself: and here's something for me, to wash the taste out of my mouth after stumbling upon such extreme stupidity and basically wanting to puke after reading this book's synopsis: (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Owen

    From Roger Griffin: Even if it purports to be (i.e. masquerades as) a thoroughly researched ‘alternative’ or ‘secret’ analysis and history of fascism, Liberal Fascism is to the trained eye a patent exercise in propaganda. Even ‘polemics’ is a euphemism here, implying a provocation to heated debate rather than the attempt to pass off an Ersatz for the real thing. An example of such propagandistic ‘substitution’ is the Nazi attempt to popularize an anti-Semitic variant of jazz to counter the appeal From Roger Griffin: Even if it purports to be (i.e. masquerades as) a thoroughly researched ‘alternative’ or ‘secret’ analysis and history of fascism, Liberal Fascism is to the trained eye a patent exercise in propaganda. Even ‘polemics’ is a euphemism here, implying a provocation to heated debate rather than the attempt to pass off an Ersatz for the real thing. An example of such propagandistic ‘substitution’ is the Nazi attempt to popularize an anti-Semitic variant of jazz to counter the appeal to young Germans of the ‘degenerate’ U.S. original, resulting in grotesque and deeply unfunny parodies which fooled no genuine jazz lover anywhere in the Reich! Goldberg’s book perverts historical and historiographical truth with the scarcely hidden agenda (perhaps the real ‘secret’ alluded to unwittingly in the subtitle) of tarring and feathering with negative, anti-democratic, and inhumane connotations a broad current of reformist policy and social justice campaigns which has for decades been a legitimate current of liberalism within U.S. democracy (and not exclusively the Democratic sector of it). It does so with the blatant aim of making this current guilty (by association) of some of the most heinous crimes ever committed against humanity. It is a work of sustained pseudo-historical calumny and defamation disguised under the (constantly slipping) carnival mask of an ‘alternative history’. Liberal Fascism is to be seen as a mischievous exercise in party-political journalism writ large as a pseudo-academic monograph, its revisionism far removed from that of a legitimate academic exercise in rethinking a basic historical issue from a fresh angle. Rather, its revisionism directly parallels that of the Institute of Historical Review, which produces euphemistic essays in Holocaust Denial misleadingly adorned with full scholarly apparatus, an airbrushed Playboy variant of racist political pornography. Historiographically, Liberal Fascism is, as the insidiously clever ‘Hitler smiley’ within a red cover on its cover semiotically proclaims so blatantly, from start to finish a piece of fiction. It is no more ‘true’ than the Da Vinci Code (and contains for the gullible an equivalently alluring subtext of conspiracy theory). But instead of stirring up latent anti-Christian/anti-Vatican paranoia, it aims to enlist the political passions of neo-Conservatives and Republican fundamentalists with its barely subliminal equation of Obama with Hitler ― an equation that Nazis themselves would actually have found mind-blowing, given their obsession with restoring Aryan purity and white supremacy! The elision of the distinction between progressive or social liberalism with Nazism becomes grotesquely explicit on p. 81 when he claims that Wilson’s followers, called progressives in the U.S., were called National Socialists in Nazi Germany. A sample of Goldberg’s academic fallacies concerning ‘fascism’ Given this situation, it is pointless to expend more than a few ergs of serious scholarly energy on refuting the legion distortions, calumnies, and lies ― both historiographical and definitional ― that pullulate in the pages of Goldberg’s book. Despite its duplicitous format and linguistic register, it is not written as an academic monograph and is hence is not to be judged by academic yard-sticks. If we focus simply on the abuse of the term fascism, the result of the book’s tendentious purpose means that it at no point attempts to treat fascism or the scholarly debate surrounding it seriously from an academic point of view or to make a genuine contribution to comparative fascist studies (had it done so it would not have been devoured by broad swathes of the general public). Symptomatic of this is the blend of obscurantism (borne of perverse propagandistic intent blended with sheer ignorance) and tautology (expressing a deep-seated desire to deceive the reader: the con of neo-Con) surrounding the concept of fascism which is the alleged subject of the book. Obscurantism Regarding the obscurantism, it speaks volumes that only one of the 32 pages referred to in the index under the heading ‘definition of fascism’ (p. 24) actually yields a definition of fascism. When Goldberg refers to other people’s definitions in an early passage citing the work of a variety of academics (including mine), he clearly has no understanding of what I or anyone else actually has meant by the words and certainly has not made it the brief of his researchers to find out, let alone try to find out himself. He cites theories solely to ridicule their abstruseness. In fact, the definitions are reproduced in a section whose sole purpose is to lampoon academic scholarship in a spirit consistent with the generally anti-intellectual tenor of Bushite politics. In so doing, Goldberg deliberately muddies the conceptual waters so as to convince the uninitiated that academics either 1) deny fascism has a meaning and find the term impenetrable (thereby justifying a fresh bid to redefine the term since ‘anything goes’), and 2) offer definitions so impenetrable or contested that it is reasonable for anyone to enter the debate to shed some new light on the term whatever their background and ― lack of ― qualifications to do so. Either way, Goldberg’s radical redefinition is implicitly legitimized. Any unwary or complicit reader duped by/compliant with this line of argument is thus liable to assume it is acceptable and even desirable for a maverick journalistic with no academic credentials (but actually with well-documented anti-Democrat, anti-Clinton, and pro-Bush credentials) to storm into this area with barrels blazing to pepper ‘conventional’ historians with ill-aimed pellets and then force a shot-gun marriage on two political concepts conventionally (at least among ‘progressives’) considered antithetical: liberalism and fascism. Neo-Cons have previously arranged a similarly grotesque marriage between Islam and fascism to beget the abortive concept Islamo-fascism, another attempt to wrest cultural hegemony in a right-wing Gramscian spirit away from a demonized Left and conquer the citadel of ideas for neo-Con fundamentalism. Typical of the misleading, ahistorical analysis that permeates this book is that it presents the debate about fascism as still being hopelessly confused. There was a time, namely between the 1960s and early 1990s, when many academics outside the Marxist camp expressed despair at the prospects of ever finding a broadly consensual definition but this is no longer true and has not been for well over a decade. Symptomatic of this willful distortion of facts is the way he cites my assertion about the ‘welter of divergent opinion’ concerning the definition of fascism without mentioning (there is no endnote) the awkward point that this was written in 1990 (published in 1991) and that it is a statement now radically superseded by the growth of a general acceptance of fascism’s futural thrust towards a reborn national or ethnic order beyond conservative communism, and above all liberalism (in the economic, political and ethical sense). To repeat (since Goldberg perversely writes as if it is not the case): the core of the partial new consensus that has emerged since 1991 (partly, but only partly, as a result of my work in this field) is not that fascism was mainly right wing or left wing, but that it was and remains a revolutionary form of racism/nationalism, one whose sworn enemies include Soviet communism, pluralist liberal democracy and the multi-cultural, multi-faith society celebrated by ‘progressive liberals’. In fact many scholars would today accept Zeev Sternhell’s basic thesis (expounded in his in Neither Right nor Left) that fascism produced various syntheses (including Nazism, though Sternhell denies this) of elements taken from left and right welded into a revolutionary assault on conservative or liberal or democratic society. However, no serious scholar has ever suggested that fascism a) drew exclusively on left wing traditions of state intervention in laissez-faire social and economic politics b) that it did not want to overthrow and replace liberal democracy. Tautology After much misleading rumination aimed at producing a smoke-screen of doubt about the meaning of the term (a bit like a detective story writer laying false clues and offering red-herrings), Goldberg finally offers, Poirot-like, his solution to the mystery. (p. 23) Et voilà: “Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve that common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and therefore defined as the enemy.” He then adds “I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all these aspects of fascism.” [The original in my edition reads “liberalsim”, which perhaps alludes to some secret mobile phone network through which political elites communicate!]. This last, almost throwaway, phrase is the clue that Goldberg has unwittingly left for anyone who wants to get to the bottom of the motivation for the various crimes and misdemeanors against historical truth and scholarly precision he has committed with intent in this book. He has succeeded in dramatically pulling a definition out of the hat that seems to fit his misrepresentation of social liberalism because he deliberately cropped the definition to fit his target, butchering it down crudely to a size where it can be tethered to the Procrustean bed he has already prepared for it in his mind at the outset of the project: an approach methodologically flawed in inverse proportion to its rhetorical and propagandistic effectiveness. The key fallacies of this definition, judged by the broadly prevailing scholarly consensus in comparative fascist studies, are: 1. There is now wide scholarly agreement that fascism exists a) as an ideology of total national rebirth and renewal in anew order, b) as a revolutionary movement bent on overthrowing liberal democratic, communist, absolutist, or conservative authoritarian regimes, or c) as a regime which attempts to inaugurate a new order based on a utopia vision of the reborn national or racial community; 2. The ‘organic unity’ Goldberg alludes to is thus completely at variance with the pluralistic, non-homogenous society which social liberals conceive of as constituting the nation, the ‘unum’ never being welded ‘ex pluribus’ through mass coercion or imposed on it through the abolition of representative institutions or the separation of powers or the state monopoly of the organs and institutions of commercial activity culture, or thought; 3. The ‘national leader’ of fascism is a charismatic one whose authority and legitimacy resides in his person as the spontaneous embodiment of organically conceived nation, national will, and national destiny and is thus utterly incompatible with the U.S. presidential system even at its most corrupt and dynastic: the election of such a leader to power (which only happened in the case of Hitler) is the prelude for the wholesale destruction of the democratic state not just in ethos but in a series of systemic constitutional and institutional changes; 4. Such fascist ‘totalitarianism’ is rooted in a bid to create a social and anthropological revolution anathema to social or progressive liberalism since it means the suppression or destruction of autonomous liberal political and social institutions and the eradication of effective liberal humanist values and the civil society on which their survival and health depends. These are then replaced by a highly centralized state with no countervailing forces, a process promoted and theorized by all fascist ideologues and movements and extensively actualized in very different ways by Fascism, Nazism and the Ustasha State, the last two with genocidal consequences for the enemy. 5. The possibility of ‘imposition’ and ‘alignment’ brought about by any administration which retains democratic institutions and the demonization of ‘enemy’ opposition parties or policies possible in a liberal democratic society, no matter how corrupt, can never be as radical in the measures taken to crush freedom or silence remove perceived enemies as in a fascist regime. To take the three historical examples of such a regime, forced ‘alignment’ involved in the case of Fascism internal exile, prison, internment, assassination and the suppression of opposition parties and freedom of speech. In the case of Nazism and the Ustasha state it involved beyond this not just mass internment, forced labor, and torture in concentration camps, but mass murder and genocide in extermination camps. 6. The ‘political religion’ of fascism alluded to by Goldberg in the first sentence is thus integral to the destruction of liberalism and the inauguration of a national, political, social, and temporal revolution which is incomparably more radical and permanent than in any democratic system with its imposed limited terms of administration and presidency and guaranteed separation of powers and party-political pluralism. Despite not being an academically trained historian, Goldberg is too astute and educated (in a general knowledge sense) not to know or sense all these points. His decision to create a definition which omits any reference to the REVOLUTIONARY dimension of fascist politics so that it can be insidiously stretched to accommodate a caricature of progressive liberalism and Democrat politics thus smacks of Machiavelli and Joseph Goebbels rather than of Thomas Jefferson or J. S. Mill. There are other symptoms of pseudo-scholarship later in the book where ‘facts’ have been deliberately and cynically distorted to serve a revisionist thesis in a spirit worthy of the Holocaust Denier David Irving rather than any genuine academic historian (I will leave comment on Goldberg’s hatchet job on the French Revolution to others): 1. The verbal sleight-of-style which turns Woodrow Wilson into a fascist on p. 80: ‘Fascism, at its core, is the view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union towards the same goals overseen by the state... (Within Mussolini’s concept of totalitarianism) (t)he militarization of society and politics was considered simply the best available means toward this end. Call it what you like ― progressivism, fascism, communism, or totalitarianism ― the first true enterprise of this kind was established not in Russia or Italy or Germany but in the United States, and Woodrow Wilson was the twentieth century’s first fascist dictator.’ Goldberg is actually calling ‘it’ what he likes in a crudely manipulative way. 2. The way (p. 148) he cites Mussolini as independent testimony for the assertion that Franklin Roosevelt was imposing a fascist state on the U.S. (e.g. in the New Deal), implying that they ‘recognized their own’. It would be equally revealing if a critic of Goldberg’s characterization of social liberalism as itself ‘fascist’ cited Stalin or Trotsky as corroboration of his accusation. 3. The elision of fascism of totalitarianism with any movement towards government intervention in society or the economy within a democracy. This lies at the nub of the book’s wilful perversion of historical truth and political scientific theory evident in such passages. Significantly it occurs again without the word being used explicitly in the slightly modified short definition Goldberg gives in his interview for California Literary Review (http://calitreview.com/303): “an instinctual religious impulse – usually gussied-up [sic] 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.” Note the way that this definition is, even more obviously than the original one, not of fascism at all, but actually of totalitarianism, which is now stretched even to embrace the ‘PC’ culture of modern liberal democracy. Goldberg thus abandons any notion that totalitarianism involves state monopolizing or harnessing of political, economic, and cultural power to create a new order in which individual human rights, pluralism and diversity are severely compromised. The idea that the U.S. under FDR was a totalitarian society in this sense is another example of the distortion of language and history that permeates this book (Marcuse accused liberal society of being totalitarian but at least this was based on a consistent Marxist critique of capitalism). The illegitimate stretching of fascism and totalitarianism to embrace progressive liberalism is the hallmark of the illiberalism at the cold heart of Goldberg’s thesis and its bid to demonize democratic and Democratic opposition to the neo-Con travesty of U.S. politics. In the same interview Goldberg states: "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." Note: a) his disingenuous claim that the book sets out to correct misunderstandings about fascism (rather than admitting that it hijacks the term fascism and attaches it to social or democratic liberalism for strictly propagandistic ends; b) his candid admission that he is seeking to establish continuities between fascism and progressive liberalism, in other words that it is tendentious and propagandistic in its very conception. A Polemical Verdict on a Propagandistic Tract Since the journalist Goldberg has appropriated an academic register to attack progressive liberalism, then it is perhaps appropriate for a genuine academic to finish his critique by appropriating a journalistic register to attack the thinly disguised political subtext of this mendaciously and perversely anti-academic and anti-liberal book. Liberal Fascism is a Business Class airport read for those who sit smugly in Priority Lounges and, once airborne, feel a sense of superiority as they sip alcohol in front of the flimsy curtain which separates them from ‘economy class’ fellow passengers whose fate they are likely to share only in the event of a crash (in contrast to The Titanic, where passenger class determined death rates). Its purpose is to airlift complicit readers who feel threatened by the return of a Democratic administration to the moral equivalent of the Cayman Islands. Here they can rationalize their fear and loathing of ‘socialists’ and ‘progressives’, while basking in the satisfaction of having thoroughly ‘earned’ a lifestyle from which the bulk of the world’s population is excluded because, apparently, they have NOT earned it, or, in the phraseology of the L'Oréal advert, they are NOT ‘worth it’. In academic terms the idea of a political force termed ‘liberal fascism’ is not just oxymoronic but moronic. The accompanying ‘history’ is predictably as devoid of substance as candy floss, but one that leaves a sour taste for all those who resist the sweep of its populist diatribe against social liberalism and are not taken in by the crudely travestied and demonized simulacrum of the Democrats it fashions out of a viciously ransacked history. More at http://roger-griffin.blogspot.co.uk/20

  3. 5 out of 5

    Varmint

    In a way, it reminded me of a book on dog psychology i'd read a few years back. So many behaviors made sense when when you realize that there's still a good bit of wolf hardwired in. Much of liberalism confused the hell out of me. From F.D.R.'s internment of the japanese, to enviromentalist terrorism, to Sean Penn's almost sexual attraction to Hugo Chavez. It only starts to make sense when you understand the fascist impulse at it's core. A century ago there was one united progressive movement. Le In a way, it reminded me of a book on dog psychology i'd read a few years back. So many behaviors made sense when when you realize that there's still a good bit of wolf hardwired in. Much of liberalism confused the hell out of me. From F.D.R.'s internment of the japanese, to enviromentalist terrorism, to Sean Penn's almost sexual attraction to Hugo Chavez. It only starts to make sense when you understand the fascist impulse at it's core. A century ago there was one united progressive movement. Lenin and Mussolini enjoyed the bohemian culture of Switzerland. And openly admired each other's work. But by the 20's, their success had created a crisis. Many socialists chose to throw their loyalty and support behind the Soviet Union. Those that wanted to work for socialism independent of Stalin's guidance were denounced as "right wingers". The failures of everyone from Mussolini to Trotsky were suddenly blamed on conservatives. Goldberg does an excellent job of correcting this slander. He documents the desire to manipulate, and censor, the contempt for individualism, the racism. And above all, the lust for control that is at the heart of the progressive ideology. Today's liberal has been downbred from the fascist. As different as the timberwolf and the chihuahua. But still not something you'd want to give power to.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

    In political circles, there is probably no word more misused and misunderstood than "fascism." Goldberg's exhaustive review of the sources and ideology of fascism prove, once again, that popular meanings are often diametrically opposed to the actual facts: that fascism has historically been a malady of the left, not the right, though there have been a few right-wing fascists, though they are nothing compared with the Mussolinis and Hitlers, both statists and corporatists par excellence. The book In political circles, there is probably no word more misused and misunderstood than "fascism." Goldberg's exhaustive review of the sources and ideology of fascism prove, once again, that popular meanings are often diametrically opposed to the actual facts: that fascism has historically been a malady of the left, not the right, though there have been a few right-wing fascists, though they are nothing compared with the Mussolinis and Hitlers, both statists and corporatists par excellence. The book made me see that the unbridled "statism" of the social left, with a nanny-state government in the offing, is the closest thing we Americans have seen of true fascism, and that realization is chilling. "Anyone who would give up freedom for security deserves neither," said Benjamin Franklin, and he must have been talking about modern liberalism, which seeks to make the state an object of religious worship, the individual an endangered species, and self-reliance a quaint antiquity. Fascism, American style (with a smiley-face) is alive and well in a country that seeks to mandate federal healthcare and seatbelt usage. A good antidote would be to read Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead," as a refresher course on what it means to be an American: a rugged individualist who asks nothing of others except the right to live one's life as one wishes. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    It’s hard to fully express the horrors of this book. The English language simply doesn’t have the words to truly convey the madness, the irresponsibility, and the laziness that went into the writing and publication of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. From his feeble grasp of history to the rampant, naked, ugly partisanship he displays, Liberal Fascism is simply one of the worst books written by a modern American author this side of NAMBLA publications. Let’s start with Goldberg’s understanding o It’s hard to fully express the horrors of this book. The English language simply doesn’t have the words to truly convey the madness, the irresponsibility, and the laziness that went into the writing and publication of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. From his feeble grasp of history to the rampant, naked, ugly partisanship he displays, Liberal Fascism is simply one of the worst books written by a modern American author this side of NAMBLA publications. Let’s start with Goldberg’s understanding of history. The main purpose of Liberal Fascism, Goldberg argues, is to disprove leftist arguments that conservatives are fascists and instead demonstrate how fascism is more akin to American liberalism than conservativism. However, it is the way that Goldberg “proves” this claim that does the most to discredit his authorial voice. Goldberg spends chapter after chapter cherry picking areas of similarities seen between modern American liberalism and fascism. One of his more ridiculous examples being that the Nazis endorsed organic food and Hitler was a vegetarian (like liberals today) proving that liberals are really the intellectual cousins of fascism. While this form of argument creates long lists of “evidence” it does little to demonstrate a cohesive argument. Any political ideology can be mutilate enough to “prove” similarities with modern political parties and groups. This sort of argument leads to the misuse of the word fascism that Goldberg himself decries so severely. For example, using Goldberg’s logic, one could argue that fascists supported a powerful military, “proving” that any American politician who supports strengthening the army is secretly a fascist. Obvious this is a ludicrous claim, but it is the sort of idiocy that Goldberg happily and cheerfully embraces as a definitive argument. Another serious flaw in Goldberg’s book is his argument that liberalism provided the intellectual roots of fascism. In order to provide this, Goldberg argues that fascist ideological foundations demonstrated strong socialist tendencies. In this argument, Goldberg is partially correct. The Nazis, for example, advocated some socialist policies in their early years. However, the problem with this line of arguments is that Goldberg conveniently ignores the role of fascist ideological programs. While the fascist may have advocated some leftist and socialist policies, they never meant for these to guide their actions, and this is one of the biggest problems with Goldberg’s book. The author completely ignores the ACTIONS of fascists and focuses instead on their political platforms that predated their rise to power by decades. In his rush to brand leftists and socialists as secret fascists, Goldberg conveniently ignores the anti-socialism and anti-communism of the fascist parties. He leaves out the fact that the Communist Party was the first to be banned by the Nazis following their seizure of power and he ignores the fact that the socialists were the only party in Germany to oppose the Enabling Acts, which granted Hitler dictatorial power. Fascists banned trade unions, opposed free speech, and despised the individualism and the concept of individual civil rights that are some of the hallmarks of liberalism. Goldberg takes old speeches and propaganda, originally written to gain working class supporters, that was never acted upon and treats it as though it is the most important aspect of fascism and fascist regimes. Finally, Goldberg’s naked partisanship destroys the shred of credibility he might have presented in his book. His motivation in writing this book was to get back at the liberals who called Bush a Nazi. However, in his mad rush to discredit liberalism and an outgrowth of fascism, Goldberg is guilty of the same crime of those liberals he hates, casually and baselessly painting a political opponent as a fascist. Every page of Goldberg’s book demonstrates the ugliness of his political views. In the end, the only thing Goldberg succeeded at is creating a grotesque parody of an academic work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Total Stars = 3 Entertainment: +.5 Stars Education: +1 Star Readability: +.5 star Innovation: +.5 Stars Inspiration: +.5 Stars Good points made by the author. 1. Fascism is a misused term that is often unfairly applied to conservatives. The word is clearly ill-defined and poorly used. It is not right to call our fellow citizen’s by these terms. There are plenty of other good ones to go around (if you need to resort to name calling). Of course name calling is not going to bring anyone around to your Total Stars = 3 Entertainment: +.5 Stars Education: +1 Star Readability: +.5 star Innovation: +.5 Stars Inspiration: +.5 Stars Good points made by the author. 1. Fascism is a misused term that is often unfairly applied to conservatives. The word is clearly ill-defined and poorly used. It is not right to call our fellow citizen’s by these terms. There are plenty of other good ones to go around (if you need to resort to name calling). Of course name calling is not going to bring anyone around to your side of an argument last time I checked. It might sell a few books though. 2. The “left” has an appalling history in some areas just as much the right. Racism, war mongering, and suppression of freedom can come from either direction. Wilson was a great example of that. I think this should serve as a good warning against imposition of values upon others, and to look for the log in your own eye before you point out the splinter in your neighbors. While there is a historical cross to bear for the left, there could have been more admissions of the rights sins. It just seemed like piling on after a while. There is plenty of blame to go around on both sides. 3. From a historical perspective Nazi’s and Fascists were on the left , not the right. This was fairly educational in that is not how most people understand it. Blame public education I guess. I always wondered about the “National Socialists” thing. Maybe we should just eliminate the left-right labels and stick to issues? Where he missed. 1. Jonah insists on making his own definition of Fascism and applying it to Liberals/Progressives. He is justly offended when Conservatives are labeled as Nazi’s and Fascists, but creates his own definition to label hurl the epithet right back at his opposition. He completely leaves out militarism, nationalism and racism to make his definition fit liberals. This seems to be intellectually dishonest (the fancy way of saying you are full of crap). Also the way he repeatedly brings up items like the Nazi’s promoted organic farming, and says “I am not saying because liberals favor that they are like the Nazi’s”. It seems like he was since he feels compelled to repeat it so often. 2. I can’t pin it down exactly, but I think he has cherry picked a lot of items to make his case. That is fine, and I think he admitted as much, but it was rather half hearted. Howard Zinn was more forthright in his admission of bias. If you want to chuck stones at people’s houses you have to admit you are doing it. 3. I think he sticks too much to the right wing dogma. Here is an example. Page 262 Jonah says : “What is today called liberalism stands, domestically, on three legs: support for the welfare state, abortion, and identity politics. Obviously, this is a crude formation” Abortion and the welfare state are the primary goals of the left? The right doesn’t have identity politics? That seems like the typical diatribe of the right wing. We have a lot more significant issues facing us that impact our lives everyday. Maybe someday we’ll stop with name calling and rousing the base and get together to figure out how to solve our country’s problems. I think the saddest thing I have seen is a statement that this one guy made. He said only reads books from the right wing and he thought this book did a fine job sticking it to the liberals, and that he never reads anything from people with opposing views. It’s people like that insist they are always right that make me fear most for the future of America, be they from the left or the right. Personally I prefer to find out if I am wrong and will always question if my judgment is off. I believe the term is called learning.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Those who've read many of my reviews will note that this gets one of my infrequent 5 star ratings. I highly recommend this book...to all thoughtful readers. While there are those who will immediately feel that it's not for them I humbly suggest you at least try it. I don't think you'll be insulted or angered. I'll say a bit more below. This book was actually extant when George Bush was still president so it probably isn't as current as it might be, sadly. I've been familiar with it for some time Those who've read many of my reviews will note that this gets one of my infrequent 5 star ratings. I highly recommend this book...to all thoughtful readers. While there are those who will immediately feel that it's not for them I humbly suggest you at least try it. I don't think you'll be insulted or angered. I'll say a bit more below. This book was actually extant when George Bush was still president so it probably isn't as current as it might be, sadly. I've been familiar with it for some time but have never moved it up the reading list for a serious and complete turn at my mind till now. The writer (as well as your reviewer) is not a total fan of President Bush, I say this lest the time period put some off. It's important to note however (I think) that no president in the last 50 years has been called a fascist as often as President Bush. I remember all the posters and posts of the President with a Hitler mustache on his lip or a swastika behind him...so the timing might be apropos. I've heard the word "fascism" used and slung about for years (usually by those on the political left at those on the political right...though even the use of the words "left and right" here are usually incorrect). Most of the time the people using it really have no idea what it means. In this book the author takes a look at the historical record and shows some "inconvenient truths"... The book is well researched. It uses and gives supported facts to lay out the history of fascism, what it is and how it has descended to us today. Lest someone is getting angry let me say, the last chapter in the book goes over specifically where in the modern conservative movement facets of fascism are found. Throughout the book we get a look at where and even how facts, I suppose I should say, "certain facts" have been "airbrushed" out of history. The book is well constructed, intelligently written, thought out supported by documented facts and not hard to read or follow. It is written in a consistently civil tone throughout. I know that many here who look at this are on the political left however I simply suggest that you consider this. Maybe if nothing else look at it as I did when I read Saul Alinsky. Even if you continue to disagree you might want to know what the other side of the political spectrum thinks. 5 stars, highly, highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    (Note that the listed title is wrong. It is actually "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning") This is a fascinating book. Jonah Goldberg traces the history of "Fascism", from Rousseau through Bismarck, the Progressives, Woodrow Wilson, Mussolini, FDR, the Nazis (remember, "Nazis" is short for "National Socialists" - look at the Nazi party platform: environmentalism, animal rights, organic food (Hitler and many of the top officials were (Note that the listed title is wrong. It is actually "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning") This is a fascinating book. Jonah Goldberg traces the history of "Fascism", from Rousseau through Bismarck, the Progressives, Woodrow Wilson, Mussolini, FDR, the Nazis (remember, "Nazis" is short for "National Socialists" - look at the Nazi party platform: environmentalism, animal rights, organic food (Hitler and many of the top officials were very strict vegetarians), nationalization of industries, confiscation of business profits, large-scale expansion of "old age welfare", etc. - they were most emphatically left-wingers, *not* right-wingers!), LBJ and the radical Left of the 1960's, and through the Liberal Democrats of today (who insist on calling themselves "Progressives" again). Despite the fact that today the term "Fascist" has come to mean "anyone the Left doesn't like for any reason", historically, Fascism has actually been a product of the political Left. The "welfare state", so beloved of "Progressives", was originally an invention of Mussolini. As opposed to the explicitly atheist Communism, Fascism itself is a pseudo-religious cult of the state, where the government replaces God as the image of fulfillment. It is through the government that peoples' lives are given meaning, and the government may do anything for the "general good". In order to continue to fuel the growth of government, fascists require a constant stream of crises. Wilson had WWI, but other fascistic leaders had to use other crises as the "moral equivalent of war", in order to mobilize people and reduce the resistance of the populace to taking commands from the government. FDR used the Great Depression; LBJ had the misfortune of coming to power at a very good time, so he had to invent out of whole cloth the so-called "War on Poverty" to mobilize people to acquiesce to his "Great Society" programs. Modern "Progressives" pretend that everything is "for the children" to attempt to achieve the same effect. The book is heavily footnoted, providing clear proof of Goldberg's claims. It is hard to deny that the Nazis were left-wing socialists when their party platform (reproduced in the book's Appendix) reads like something that could mostly be printed on a Hillary or Obama campaign website. It is also very clear that, not only did Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson and FDR admire the Fascist governments of Mussolini and Hitler, they did so openly and specifically. Letters, articles, and speeches by Progressives, Wilson, FDR, Hitler, and Mussolini openly stating their mutual admiration for each others' policies are also cited. Given the rampant historical illiteracy of today, books like this are sorely needed. It is an excellent counter to the revisionist history of the modern Left.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    Sorry, Gave this a try. Complete hogwash written by a alleged intellectual for the purpose of rewriting history into a form of right-wing political correctness. Most liberals are vegetarians (a lie right there). Hitler was a vegetarian. Therefore Liberals are fascists. Think I'm kidding? Read the book. As for me I only got a third of the way through it and won't even bother to rate it. Sorry, Gave this a try. Complete hogwash written by a alleged intellectual for the purpose of rewriting history into a form of right-wing political correctness. Most liberals are vegetarians (a lie right there). Hitler was a vegetarian. Therefore Liberals are fascists. Think I'm kidding? Read the book. As for me I only got a third of the way through it and won't even bother to rate it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    Poor Jonah Goldberg! He's a Jew, but he makes his living flattering and defending wealthy Gentiles, many of whom inherited huge fortunes they did nothing to earn. These people don't want to hear anything bad about the selfishness of the rich. They can't abide any criticism of Catholicism, or Christianity. And they certainly don't want to explore any connection between Hitler's anti-Semitism and the traditional teachings of the Catholic church. So here's Jonah, trying to come up with something cl Poor Jonah Goldberg! He's a Jew, but he makes his living flattering and defending wealthy Gentiles, many of whom inherited huge fortunes they did nothing to earn. These people don't want to hear anything bad about the selfishness of the rich. They can't abide any criticism of Catholicism, or Christianity. And they certainly don't want to explore any connection between Hitler's anti-Semitism and the traditional teachings of the Catholic church. So here's Jonah, trying to come up with something clever, to prove liberals are un-American. Why not . . . compare them to Hitler! This whole book is full of silly comparisons that sound clever but really mean nothing at all. "Woodrow Wilson had a whole committee devoted to investigating the best way to make wartime industry more efficient . . . and Adolph Hitler had the same kind of committee in Nazi Germany!" Or else it's something like, "Franklin Roosevelt tried to control the amount of waste factories were dumping into American rivers . . . just the way Hitler wanted to control the amount of waste Germans factories were pumping into German rivers. But give the state enough power to keep rivers and lakes clean and pretty soon they'll be murdering millions!" The comparisons Jonah doesn't make are a lot more interesting than the stuff that's in his books. For example, why couldn't he have done some research on the history of Nazi rhetoric? Something like, "when Julius Strasser said 'all Jews are dirty rats' in 1934, he was actually quoting the 15th century Bishop of Cologne, who said, 'let us drive these filthy Jew rats from our city!'" But Jonah's not looking to go into the real history of anti-Semitism in Christian Europe. He's no crusading truth teller. He doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds him. He just wants to make nice with the boys from the country club. So maybe someday he can be just like them. Good luck with that.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Winston Jen

    Jonah begins his book by equating fascism with totalitarianism, of the kind warned against in Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. What he appears to be railing against is paternalism on a grand scale, where the government controls everything "for our own good." And yet, despite railing against liberal paternalism, he ignores the socially conservative paternalistic fascism that is the result of extreme right-wing Christianity. He decries college students who can see "nothing wrong" with th Jonah begins his book by equating fascism with totalitarianism, of the kind warned against in Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. What he appears to be railing against is paternalism on a grand scale, where the government controls everything "for our own good." And yet, despite railing against liberal paternalism, he ignores the socially conservative paternalistic fascism that is the result of extreme right-wing Christianity. He decries college students who can see "nothing wrong" with the dystopian ideals detailed in Brave New World. Is this really such a bad thing? I would wager that most people would willingly surrender their free will if it meant an end to all suffering inflicted by human beings. In reality, it would only lead to the EXERCISE of free will that harms others. Hardly a high cost to pay, wouldn't you say? Some talking points: What's more important, lower crime or lower taxes? Yes, Brock Lawley (TheAtheistAntidote), I am referring to you here also. What's more important, the right to CHOOSE when where and how to die, or the "right" to force everyone to flee for Europe, or die "naturally"? What exactly is wrong with educating children and parents about healthy dietary requirements, and then allowing individuals to make their own informed decisions? I certainly can't think of anything wrong with democracies based on informed consent. Can anyone? The only saving grace in this book is how Jonah focuses on paternalistic tyranny from both wings of politics. What he forgot to do is address how theocracies in the Dark Ages initiated fascism by murdering innocent "heretics" "for their own good." Unless you wish to learn more about history (and a cherry-picked version at that), avoid this agenda-driven pile of feces. The actual signs of fascism, which Jonah seems to be unaware of, are the following (from Dr Lawrence Britt): 1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause 4. Supremacy of the Military 5. Rampant Sexism 6. Controlled Mass Media 7. Obsession with National Security 8. Religion and Government are Intertwined 9. Corporate Power is Protected 10. Labor Power is Suppressed 11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment 13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption 14. Fraudulent Elections These are far more common among conservatives, especially the religious right.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Pimpinella

    Because who doesn't love overly contrived bullshit? Because who doesn't love overly contrived bullshit?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    First off, goodreads' got the subtitle wrong, it's "The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." This is an incredible book. Some people will be turned off by the provocative title and cover, but don't be fooled: this isn't some Ann Coulterish tome of cleverness, shock value, and name-calling. This is a history book. Goldberg underlines his points with sound research and analysis, and digs up many surprising ideological commonalities between the modern Ameri First off, goodreads' got the subtitle wrong, it's "The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." This is an incredible book. Some people will be turned off by the provocative title and cover, but don't be fooled: this isn't some Ann Coulterish tome of cleverness, shock value, and name-calling. This is a history book. Goldberg underlines his points with sound research and analysis, and digs up many surprising ideological commonalities between the modern American Left, and the family of ideology that claims Fascism, Nazism, and Totalitarianism in its tree. "We're going to take things away from you for the common good." Who said that? You might be tempted to say Il Duce himself, but that came from none other than New York's junior senator Hillary Clinton. The muckrakers of the early twentieth century blew the whistle on abhorrent conditions at meatpacking plants and forced the industry to be regulated, right? Think twice. The big businesses wanted government to regulate them so that they could screw the little businesses, a fact that few muckrakers acknowledged, but somewhere along the line that dropped out of the history textbooks. All in all, it is a provocative, engaging, and eye-opening read. Anyone who is interested in politics should read it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    More than 10 years later this set of definitive "eyes" stands the test of interesting times. You can see the descendant in the ancestor. Very clearly. Others have said it better in review particulars and it is too long. But the epithets against the author and the logic of observations by posters themselves concerning this author's copy! This brand of method -vilified spewing and distorted in "reaction" snark - it's entirely telling in itself. Being older, I do remember some of these early outcom More than 10 years later this set of definitive "eyes" stands the test of interesting times. You can see the descendant in the ancestor. Very clearly. Others have said it better in review particulars and it is too long. But the epithets against the author and the logic of observations by posters themselves concerning this author's copy! This brand of method -vilified spewing and distorted in "reaction" snark - it's entirely telling in itself. Being older, I do remember some of these early outcomes and attitudes of the principles' followers in the title. They are easily recognizable in the Left politico USA today. Close relatives. Perhaps with even less verbal and tolerance manners. Not an easy bar to get under, but they've certainly succeeded in some of the reviews for this book. Group "think" described as it was and as it is. Quite well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    This book is brilliant. It is a look at many aspects of U.S. and World history you THOUGHT you knew. You may be surprised. You will certainly be educated. This isn’t a book you read casually. You will find yourself underlining, cross-referencing, and annotating this book as you go. I was frequently cross-referencing other sources, both for varying perspectives, and to review people and events for which the author presumed background knowledge. Even so, I did not find the process cumbersome or te This book is brilliant. It is a look at many aspects of U.S. and World history you THOUGHT you knew. You may be surprised. You will certainly be educated. This isn’t a book you read casually. You will find yourself underlining, cross-referencing, and annotating this book as you go. I was frequently cross-referencing other sources, both for varying perspectives, and to review people and events for which the author presumed background knowledge. Even so, I did not find the process cumbersome or tedious. You may actually find yourself reading late into the night. The insights and revelations just keep coming. You will see correlations with historical events and current political trends and attitudes that will keep you awake at night. No one should be allowed to register to vote in any election until they have read this book. Addendum, 05/15/08; I've been going back through this book again, reviewing my notes and highlights (I know, I'm neurotic...). And, at the risk of being accused of engaging in hyperbole, I have to say that Jonah Goldberg is a genius, and this is one of the most important books I have ever read. Many books are llike popping Junior Mints and swigging Diet Coke at the movie, compared to Goldberg’s candle lit gourmet meal, served in an elegant private suite with a view of the ocean and a warm fire, with your one true love and a live string quartet providing ambiance, where course after course inexplicably exceeds the last and you never feel too full. When I first read the book, I was a little impatient to get to current issues as the author was establishing historical perspective, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, in the first chapters. However, as he continues to make his case, and to relate more contemporary events and issues with these historical precedents, the staggering realities just jump off page after page, grab you by the collar, and shout, “do you not see what this is and where it’s going?!” Since reading this book I can’t watch the news, read the paper, or listen to political commentary without seeing parallels with the socialist and/or fascist agenda so clearly illuminated in it’s pages. Please, please, please read this book. It will change your understanding of our world.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    As Jonah Goldberg says, having heard to many times how blithely Conservatives are equated to fascists, he set out to prove the philosophical, ethical, and historical continuity between the modern liberal who makes such accusations, and concrete fascism. He makes the point that the word itself doesn't mean much except a synonym for evil with a connotation of the Holocaust. His thesis seems to be that liberalism or progressivism, socialism/Bolshevism and Fascism are all intellectual heirs of a few As Jonah Goldberg says, having heard to many times how blithely Conservatives are equated to fascists, he set out to prove the philosophical, ethical, and historical continuity between the modern liberal who makes such accusations, and concrete fascism. He makes the point that the word itself doesn't mean much except a synonym for evil with a connotation of the Holocaust. His thesis seems to be that liberalism or progressivism, socialism/Bolshevism and Fascism are all intellectual heirs of a few philosophical errors, namely, that man is perfectible through human agency, that a human utopia is not only within our reach, but is attainable through a simple reordering of social structures, and that the individual good is always subject to the good of the whole. Gets better with every page you turn.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    I've got my new bumper sticker- "Fascist: what liberals call people with whom they disagree." Finally, some validation for conservative theorists! Hilter was NOT a conservative, nor was Mussolini. They were BOTH liberal, socialists and our current day "Progressives" owe much to their tactics, every bit of which echoes the Hitlerian machine. It is very frustrating that conservatives are labeled as fascists in such a way that is purely fascist in its modus operandi. Those who spout that rhetoric & I've got my new bumper sticker- "Fascist: what liberals call people with whom they disagree." Finally, some validation for conservative theorists! Hilter was NOT a conservative, nor was Mussolini. They were BOTH liberal, socialists and our current day "Progressives" owe much to their tactics, every bit of which echoes the Hitlerian machine. It is very frustrating that conservatives are labeled as fascists in such a way that is purely fascist in its modus operandi. Those who spout that rhetoric & claim conservatives that try to push for welfare reform, stem abortions, or even "God forbid" foster competition is schools are "fascist," DO NOT know their history or are blind to the past by their own self righteousness. Those in the "masses" that believe their propaganda are likewise ignorant. America has been on a slippery and sickening slope of increasing fascist doctrine since Woodrow Wilson's day, but unlike the militaristic European expression of such doctrines, ours is a "smothered by mother" version, where the ignorant masses are too weak to govern themselves. According to the Left, we need the State to give us direction and meaning. Individual community spirit is not correct, only a State/ Federal maternalistic, "lovingly" imposed Religion of the State is legitimate. Individualism is to be crushed; small businesses that do not walk in lock step with "progressive" politics and policies are simply crushed. Big business isn't bad, so long as it pays off the politicians and pays homage to them through lobbying and excessive butt-kissing. Sound like all we've heard about conservatives? Yes? We'll, read the book! I just wish conservatives had the moxie to stand up and shout down Mother with some good old fashioned "Paternalistic," "I'm sorry, I know this is going to hurt for a bit, but it is for your own good" tear down of Big Government intrusion. I don't want to love the government, I just want it to leave me and my family ALONE to pursue the happiness through the OPPORTUNITY guaranteed us in the Constitution. It never promised happiness, and any do- gooder who thinks government CAN and WILL create happiness is deluded, at best. The poor will always be among us, and there are protections in place to help most, but the Government can not help all & make everything equal. Not even every dime in the world could do that. Poverty and social differences are not just about money, they are about mindset. And I am sick to death of the smiley faced fascism of the Left wanting to do everything to help me feel better, and even worse, the masses that willingly give up their autonomy for Government handouts instead of working their butts off to improve their own state. There is AMPLE opportunity, AMPLE education, AMPLE outreach. We cannot help all, for not all WANT to be helped. Father knows what Mother does not. I know this became a bit of a rant, but there is so much to frustrate the true, classical liberal in today's climate of poltical stupidity dripping from the current Socialist/ Progressive/ Liberal ideology that crushed individual spirit and growth in favor of Personality Cult "group think." And I just got back from 7 days at Disney World! ;) Read. Read. Read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacki

    A history of American/European politics. The main thing I learned from this book: The political spectrum can not easily be divided into Christian vs. atheist or intellectual vs. uneducated or rich vs. poor. Fascism is about using government to create an ideal or evolved state, at the cost of freedom or taxes or what have you vs. than minimizing or restraining government and letting society evolve on it's own. Fascism isn't about racism, or Nazis or military power. So a lot of liberal action and A history of American/European politics. The main thing I learned from this book: The political spectrum can not easily be divided into Christian vs. atheist or intellectual vs. uneducated or rich vs. poor. Fascism is about using government to create an ideal or evolved state, at the cost of freedom or taxes or what have you vs. than minimizing or restraining government and letting society evolve on it's own. Fascism isn't about racism, or Nazis or military power. So a lot of liberal action and progressive ideas fit into this, but what Goldberg fails to mention is that many Conservatives do as well. The book is unabashedly written from a conservative viewpoint. I thought the subject matter was interesting, but I thought the author's analysis of past ideologies wasn't clear enough. Mainly his terminology was explained fully enough for me, and I'm not a politics buff, so I kept having to look up some of the political terms. If you took political science and actually liked it, this book would be a breeze. If you don't like FDR or any of the 20th century democrats, you're in heaven.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont

    The F Word I don’t suppose there is any word with less real meaning now than ‘fascist’. Indeed, I begin to wonder if it ever had any meaning. It has a purpose, yes, but that’s quite different. It serves as an insult, an f word greater than the f word, the more frequently used the more meaningless it has become. I suppose there must have been a time when “you fascist b******d”, actually meant “you fascist b******d”, in the sense that one happened to belong to a political party which actually had The F Word I don’t suppose there is any word with less real meaning now than ‘fascist’. Indeed, I begin to wonder if it ever had any meaning. It has a purpose, yes, but that’s quite different. It serves as an insult, an f word greater than the f word, the more frequently used the more meaningless it has become. I suppose there must have been a time when “you fascist b******d”, actually meant “you fascist b******d”, in the sense that one happened to belong to a political party which actually had the word ‘fascist’ in its title. The other word was mostly a matter of pure speculation…or personal knowledge. So, you may wonder, what has brought this on? That’s simple: my right-wing holiday reading, sorry, make that my ‘fascist’ holiday reading, included Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism – the Secret History of the Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning. It was published over a year ago and I imagine it’s been exhaustively reviewed (there is a perfect storm on Amazon), so forgive me for covering old ground. The first thing that struck me was the title, not the Liberal Fascism part but the rest. It trumpets in with dramatic promise and then limply fades away into what is for me a rather empty abstraction, knowing nothing at all about the ‘politics of meaning’. There is a story here. The book was actually in preparation when the outcome of the Democratic primaries for the 2008 presidential election had still to be decided. It’s rather a pity in a way that Goldberg’s expectations were not met, because Liberal Fascism –the Secret History of the Left from Mussolini to Hilary Clinton is far more provocative in every way! So, before you’ve even opened a page, you already have a flavour of the contents – it’s another polemic, though far more scholarly and far less shrill than Ann Coulter’s Treason, which I read immediately prior to it. As a polemic I found it not just enjoyable but highly informative. I was never sure whether to trust Coulter or not, as some of her wilder statements are unreferenced, a mistake that Goldberg does not make. Let me give you one small example. When Mussolini was still a leading member of the Italian Socialist Party, and editor of Avanti, its national daily, he also published Utopia, a theoretical journal named in tribute to Thomas More, whom he considered to be history’s first socialist. For me that is particularly revealing because I believe Utopia, and by that I mean Thomas More’s Utopia, to be the first fascist text in history! Liberal Fascism is a right hook, and a powerful one, delivered against the left by an author who is a well-known conservative commentator. As conservatives have long been the recipients of the f word, Goldberg decides to return the favour, throwing it back with considerable panache. The title of his book comes from a now forgotten address H. G. Wells gave to the Oxford Liberal Club in 1932, calling for “Liberal Fascisti and enlightened Nazis”. For Wells ‘enlightenment’ could come from the radical right or the communist left, since both offered effective alternatives to the perceived failures of ‘bourgeois’ democracy. This is the essence of the thing: communism and fascism are twins, both collectivist movements of the left, both opposed to classic laissez-faire liberalism, both opposed to the freedom of the individual. In a hybrid form they find expression in movements, again invariably of the left, that seek state solutions for social problems, all those who would magnify the power of the state in everyday life, even into the most intimate areas of personal choice. All those who would, if you like, politicise and manage everyday life, beginning in the American context (and the book is chiefly set in an American context) with President Woodrow Wilson, a fascist before fascism! So, where does the ‘liberal’ fascism come from? Goldberg’s argument here is that we need to get away from limited perceptions of the nature and consequences of ‘classic’ fascism, usually taken from the standpoint of the Holocaust, and look, rather, at an evolving set of political techniques and practices. He makes it clear that those on the American left, particularly in the 1960s, could be just as thuggish as the biggest Nazi thug, but the essential drift has been towards ‘niceness’ – that paradise will no longer be postponed if only one does as one is told, if only one recognises that the state knows best, that nanny knows best. It seems to me that this is where the book is at its most effective, exposing so much of the cant and hypocrisy on the state-loving, do-gooders of the liberal establishment. I agree that his targets, from JFK to the Clintons, are perfectly beastly, but he has a tendency to let his hate unman him at points, the argument breaking down into a empty and somewhat repetitive rant, particularly towards the end. My own position here is a simple one: I’m conservative and right-wing, not in the sense that I oppose change – I most assuredly do not -, but in the sense that I believe that there has to be a direct relationship between means and ends. My admiration for Edmund Burke is as unlimited as my contempt for Jean Jacques Rousseau, the father of modern isms. I hate communism as much as I hate fascism; I hate liberalism as much as I hate both. But perhaps it really is time to move beyond the labels. I recently discovered some impressive words in Cursed Days, the journal of the Russian writer Ivan Bunin, who had more reason that most to hate the vile ideologies that overwhelmed European civilization in the last century. In 1919, as he was on the point of leaving Russia forever in the wake of the communist takeover, he wrote; "I am not of the left or the right. I have been, am, and will be an implacable enemy of everything that is stupid and divorced from life, of all that is evil, false, dishonest and harmful, whatever its source." And so it should be. Goldberg’s book is an amusing intellectual squib but life is too short to trade vacuous insults forever, to continue to use a word whose returns have been diminished to the point of zero. I think I shall call my next dog Fascist. Just imagine what fun it would be to shout Fascist! Fascist! across Hyde Park. Somehow I don’t think mother would approve. :-)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Fellows

    I really wanted to like this book. The first bit, comparing the dinki-di fascists of Europe with the stated aims and documented actions of Woodrow Wilson and the early 20th century Progressives that shared his ideology, makes a good case. There are some excellent quotes of mutual admiration back and forth across the Atlantic, and Goldberg lifts the rock on a nasty squirming mass of human rights infringments and creepy propaganda from Wilson's war administration. The section dealing with FDR is le I really wanted to like this book. The first bit, comparing the dinki-di fascists of Europe with the stated aims and documented actions of Woodrow Wilson and the early 20th century Progressives that shared his ideology, makes a good case. There are some excellent quotes of mutual admiration back and forth across the Atlantic, and Goldberg lifts the rock on a nasty squirming mass of human rights infringments and creepy propaganda from Wilson's war administration. The section dealing with FDR is less convincing - Goldberg has a bad tendency to pile on brief quotes out of context that reminded me uncomfortably of Evangelical 'Bible Study' programs I was exposed to in high school. For example, this quote of JBS Haldane's is introduced into a discussion of the Progressive attitude to eugenics: "The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism ... the formula of Communism 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' would be nonsense if abilities are equal." Only someone steeped in the race-obsessed society of the rebel North American colonies would leap to the conclusion that this quote has anything to do with eugenics at all. Somewhere in his discussion of LBJ's Great Society Goldberg jumps the shark. The brush of 'liberal fascism' is applied more and more broadly until it nearly mirrors the use of 'fascism' by the Left to mean 'anything I don't like'. This section reminded me the treatment of the same period in Allan Bloom's "Closing of the American Mind" - which is not a good thing. The problem is that *some* of the aspects of fascism so clearly shared by Wilson and Roosevelt with Mussolini are also shared by the postwar progressive enterprise; some are not. The missing aspects are illustrated with reference to groups that thought LBJ was the devil incarnate. It doesn't make sense. It is like saying you have seen a tiger when you have really seen a tabby cat *and* a zebra. A problem I had at the end was that Goldberg does not seem to recognise anything as 'conservative' except a narrow 'classical liberalism' which does not have any characteristics distinguishing it from libertarianism. Not that I could see, anyhow. The idea of a social conservativism that might validly be interested in using the power of the state to provide a minimal level of support for the disadvantaged and enforce traditional social norms, in the absence of an established Church and class structure to do those things, is to him a chimera; it is 'statolatry' and just another manifestation of fascism. This blind spot might not be his fault. He comes from a country where conservatives were expelled or driven underground in a utopian revolution (to such an extent that William Marina, writing in 1975, can say that it is a "widespread, persistent, and dangerous myth" that they ever comprised a significant part of the population!) leaving libertarians and progressive idealists holding the fort. Goldberg briefly draws a distinction between a 'good, conservative' American revolution and a 'bad, radical' French revolution, but this is untenable. If you violently sever your connections with a country that is universally considered to be the most free, the most classically liberal, currently in existence, in order to make a polity that is more free and classically liberal, is that conservative? Is it not instead utopian, an example of the perfect being the enemy of the good? If, instead of forming the political institutions of your new polity on incremental modifications in the directions of freedom and classical liberalism of the existing ones, you create de novo an experimental system modelled most closely on republican Rome, is that conservative? Is it not instead wildly radical and utopian? The American revolution let the genie out of the bottle and began all this trouble. IMHO. I found the wit and sparkle of Goldberg's briefer works in National Review almost wholly absent from this book. Which was a great pity. Finally, Goldberg doesn't like "Dead Poets Society". This tragic discovery will haunt my dreams forever. :(

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Freeman

    My son, a far-right conservative loaned me this book and I was fascinated with it. I'm a history buff with middle of the road views and started the book with much enthusiasm. The book's discussion of fascism, Mussolini and Hitler is written in a brilliant almost breezy style by a highly intelligent man who has clearly researched his subject thoroughly and is well read. I wondered a little at his saying Hitler is a left-winger but then it's just a matter of definitions. Right? His history of the W My son, a far-right conservative loaned me this book and I was fascinated with it. I'm a history buff with middle of the road views and started the book with much enthusiasm. The book's discussion of fascism, Mussolini and Hitler is written in a brilliant almost breezy style by a highly intelligent man who has clearly researched his subject thoroughly and is well read. I wondered a little at his saying Hitler is a left-winger but then it's just a matter of definitions. Right? His history of the Wilson presidency was a revelation to me, I had not been aware of how repressive the Wilson era was. At this point I trusted Goldman. Now I don't know what to believe about Wilson. As I got farther into the book it began to seem to me he was critical of "liberals" and "progressives" and never mentioned conservatives. When I got to his discussion of McCarthyism he disappointed me. This is something I know a little about. To quote Goldman "...a few Hollywood writers who'd supported Stalin and then lied about it lost their jobs in the 1950's. But nothing that happened under the mad reign of McCarthy remotely compares with what Wilson and his fellow progressives foisted on America." As if this makes it okay. McCarthy, an opportunist rabble-rouser with presidential aspirations was willing to ruin careers to advance his ambitions. Further the appropriately named House of Unamerican Activities' witch-hunts is one of the most shameful periods in American politics and a stain on the Republican party. Many people thought communism might have answers during the dark days of the depression and to dismiss the matter as a few Hollywood writers who'd supported Stalin and then lied about it and lost their jobs is simply another injustice heaped on young men who were searching for answers during a time our economic system appeared to be collapsing. They represented little or no danger to America. The investigation into the army was, mercifully, the beginning of the end for McCarthy when Joseph Welch successfully challenged his character. I continued reading for a while but I finally gave up on him after I got to his tepid attempts to drag Roosevelt's name through the mud. I thought Jonah Goldberg had written a scholarly, intelligent history book. He has not, he has written more of the biased and unfair conservative propaganda I so often find during my research. Besides I still don't know what fascism is. What's more what am I going to tell my son? He is passionate on the subject and mailed me this thick book in an attempt to open my eyes to the truth and save me from myself. He has high hopes here. This is a matter close to his heart. I wish I had never heard of Jonah Goldberg.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tim Pendry

    This is an insightful but ultimately flawed polemic from a traditional American conservative who identifies, with some justification, the 'fascistic' tendencies within American progressivism. Unfortunately, he over-eggs his pudding, is highly selective in his evidence and he clearly does not understand the European philosophical tradition very well. The book is not going to be of enormous use outside America except in one respect - his criticisms of the third way progressive mentality do hold up This is an insightful but ultimately flawed polemic from a traditional American conservative who identifies, with some justification, the 'fascistic' tendencies within American progressivism. Unfortunately, he over-eggs his pudding, is highly selective in his evidence and he clearly does not understand the European philosophical tradition very well. The book is not going to be of enormous use outside America except in one respect - his criticisms of the third way progressive mentality do hold up surprisingly well in the context of the Blair phenomenon and its European cognates. The flaws are a shame because some of what he says is important and needs to be said more often - that various forms of statism (which he rather stupidly insists on lumping under the fascist label) have many things in common and that these are bad and stupid things. One of the things they certainly have in common is a methodology of acquiring power within a democracy and maintaining it. Many of those methods are deeply dishonest and corrupting. I am persuaded, for example, by Goldberg that Woodrow Wilson was a fascist 'avant la lettre' not merely because of the brutal techniques used under war socialism but because his ideology was one that cohered with the fascist moment in Europe. Indeed, it has to be said that the early Mussolini comes out of a comparison with Wilson rather well. Similarly, the circle of academics, old war socialists and progressives around FDR (whose New Deal looks less impressive with each passing decade) seem to have had some disturbingly authoritarian and corporatist characteristics well in tune with what was happening in Europe. Goldberg reminds us that the inclusion of the labour unions in the New Deal coalition meant a major step back for the black population through their exclusion and that it was policies designed to keep prices high for farmers that helped throw many blacks off the land and into the ghettos. We fast forward to the 1960s and to Goldberg's real 'bete noire', the baby boomer liberals - with his special 'bete' being Hillary Clinton who he clearly loathes (we have Harriet Harman!). He is surprisingly kind to Bill as if sub-consciously commiserating with him. Again, his insights are good if his choice of evidence increasingly selective as he nears the election for which he was writing (2008). He is right that the hard left of the student movement showed distinctively proto-fascist, indeed proto-Nazi, traits, that identity politics is dysfunctional and brutal, that the Big Society has not achieved its purposes and has neutered innovation in the working population and that much of the Americal liberalism that emerged out of that era shared with progressivism and with some forms of fascism the fervour of a religious awakening. His most powerful insight is that the difference between the progressive-fascist moment in the first half of the century and the liberal-progressive moment in the second half was one almost of gender orientation. True fascism was highly masculinised (as a live white male, I cannot but see in irrational moments its aesthetic attractions) but the baby boomer liberalism that emerged as neo-progressivism in the age of Clinton and Blair was deeply feminised - not just feminist but matriarchal in its desire to create a all-encompassing nurturing state. His marker for this is a common conservative complaint - the intrusion of public aspiration (whether for a strong nation or that 'no child should be left behind') into private and family life. That intrusion is at the heart of the phenomenon that puzzles feminists - the conservative female who still turns out to vote for Mitt Romney. Without soft liberal males, feminism would not stand a chance in the modern world. Again, he has a point. A form of matriarchal fascism of a nurturing kind on the Left does seem to have displaced a patriarchal fascism of a forceful kind on the Right yet with many remaining similarities in form and function. Here, in the UK, the last Labour Government had an uncanny ability to fail to help the most seriously disadvantaged (we think of the care homes scandals) in its efforts to 'help' the general run of the population, a community which probably did not need much more than some increased income and better schools and hospitals. The social engineering aspects of fascism and progressivism do seem very similar and, prior to the later love of war and racism, there is sometimes more (in terms of respect for actual human autonomy and private liberty) to be said for early Mussolini than late Blair. From this stimulating perspective, the book is worth reading as a series of 'detournements', reversals of accepted history that are mostly but not always entirely plausible. Unfortunately the weaknesses of this polemic overwhelm its insights and stimulating analyses. As polemic, it is so partisan as to caricature itself after a while - it eschews context for effect and repeats some points like a sledgehammer required to crack the complacency of some angry right-wing nuts and get them to engage. We have to pass over much of this in silence but the total and often accurate critique of American (and by implication British) progressivism is ruined by Goldberg's refusal to be detached in that criticism. Instead, while criticising the Left for creating a new secular religion (a fair criticism), he seems desperately to want us to see Christianity as some kind of noble victim or higher cause lost to the 'nice Nazis'. This is laughable but is typical of the American transcendentalist (or is it human) mind-set that needs to believe in some nonsense or other by its very nature. He is, of course, writing before the hideous appearance of Christian politics at its most rampant under the aegis of the Tea Party (a direction in which our UKIP threatens to go if Farage loses his ranting grip and the conservatives fail to connect with the wider population). Seen in that light the book looks at best naive and at worst as villainously manipulative as its opponent. American cultural politics mystify the rest of the world as so much sound and fury that seems incapable of dealing with fundamental economic, welfare and security problems. Our concern in the UK is with infection from either camp so American lack of self-knowledge becomes our problem quite quickly. Goldberg, despite his thesis being laid out with insightful anecdotes, collapses into a puddle of ideology. One leaves this book deeply saddened that this great country is divided between two broad sets of partisan fool, neither of which really seems to understand the difference between private belief and public order (though Goldberg nudges in this direction before he loses himself in partisan position-taking).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    With a Hitler-esque smiley face and the title "Liberal Fascism" gracing the cover, a casual political observer might view Jonah Goldberg's new tome as a work of contradictory hyperbole. But after reading the introduction, it becomes clear that Goldberg is laying out a serious and somewhat-scholarly argument that modern American liberalism is a sibling of the Fascist movements that swept Italy and Germany prior to World War II. His central thesis is that, while "fascism" is a political movement w With a Hitler-esque smiley face and the title "Liberal Fascism" gracing the cover, a casual political observer might view Jonah Goldberg's new tome as a work of contradictory hyperbole. But after reading the introduction, it becomes clear that Goldberg is laying out a serious and somewhat-scholarly argument that modern American liberalism is a sibling of the Fascist movements that swept Italy and Germany prior to World War II. His central thesis is that, while "fascism" is a political movement with no agreed-to definition, it can best be summarized as "the religion of the state." The book's title comes from a speech by socialist author H.G. Wells, and the cover illustration was suggested by George Carlin during the course of an anti-Bush tirade. Part partisan-polemic and part historical exposition, Liberal Fascism looks at the philosophies that fed into American progressivism (from the French Revolution to the writings of Georges Sorel) and argues that the same beliefs underpinned the European fascists. Jonah Goldberg does not argue that fascism is inherently evil; he asserts that it is similar to the economic planning and government interventionism that are advocated by progressives and modern liberals. He also tries to dispel the belief that fascism and communism are polar opposites; fascism is a nationalist-socialism while Leninist communism takes more of an internationalist flavor, but Goldberg argues that both are populist and leftist movements. In response to Sinclair Lewis's anti-fascist "It Can't Happen Here," Jonah Goldberg points out that it HAS happened here. Whether you call it Wilsonian war socialism, the New Deal, the Great Society, or Compassionate Conservatism, America has often strayed from its founding principles of limited government in the form of "smiley-face, nice fascism." The book's strongest suit is the fascinating history it dredges up, exposing historical facts that have been swept under the rug (such as Nazi animal-rights laws, or Rexford Tugwell's admission that the New Deal was a logical extension of Hoover Administration policies.) But the demands of brevity and the need to selectively choose historical facts to fit the thesis often erode the historical discussion. Goldberg often speaks in generalities and omits concrete examples when making his points. His chapter on "Liberal Racism" and eugenics could have benefited by talking about America's flirtations with imperialism at the turn of the last century, particularly in regards to the Philippines. In spite of its partisan pretenses, Liberal Fascism is an entertaining and educational read. The hyperbole suggested by the cover is kept in check repeatedly throughout the text with sober assessments and monologues on the points the author wants the reader to take away. I give it four of five stars, but I'd only recommend it to libertarians and conservative believers in small government. Jonah Goldberg argues very effectively that the Italian and German fascist movements sprang from the same progressive ideals that were active in America, albeit with a twist imposed by the cultural conditions that existed in Italy and Germany between the World Wars. While he attempts to label fascism as a movement of the political left, he inadvertently demonstrates how the labels of "left" and "right" are utterly devoid of meaning in our society.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    I want to post some of the content that really grabbed me. First, from chapter 1 (Introduction: Everything You Know about Fascism is Wrong): The reason so many progressives were intrigued by both Mussolini’s and Lenin's “experiments” is simple: they saw their reflection in the European looking glass. Philosophically, organizationally, and politically the progressives were as close to authentic, homegrown fascists as any movement America has ever produced. Militaristic, fanatically nationalist, im I want to post some of the content that really grabbed me. First, from chapter 1 (Introduction: Everything You Know about Fascism is Wrong): The reason so many progressives were intrigued by both Mussolini’s and Lenin's “experiments” is simple: they saw their reflection in the European looking glass. Philosophically, organizationally, and politically the progressives were as close to authentic, homegrown fascists as any movement America has ever produced. Militaristic, fanatically nationalist, imperialist, racist, deeply involved in the promotion of Darwinian eugenics, enamored of the Bismarckian welfare state, statist beyond modern reckoning, the progressives represented the American flowering of a transatlantic movement, a profound reorientation toward the Hegelian and Darwinian collectivism imported from Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. (page 12). Goldberg argues that the French Revolution was a fascist revolution. He argues that what made the French Revolution the first fascist revolution was its effort to turn politics into a religion. It is no longer controversial to say that the French Revolution was disastrous and cruel. But it is deeply controversial to say that it was fascist, because the French Revolution is the fons et origo of the left and the “revolutionary tradition.” (page 13). One of the themes that he traces throughout the book for fascism is that it is revolutionary. But Goldberg well recognizes that fascism will look different in America because of our history. And in America, where hostility to big government is central to the national character, the case for statism must be made in terms of “pragmatism” and decency. In other words, our fascism must be nice and for your own good. (page 15) One of the problems is that there is no one standard definition of fascism. So Goldberg provides the definition that he will work with throughout the book: Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspect of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action,k whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism. (page 23) It's a well-researched and well-argued book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gene

    This was a very impressive book, and I learned a great deal from it. Beginning with providing a working definition of fascism as seen in the governments formed by Mussolini and Hitler, it proceeded to show how progressivism under Woodrow Wilson and beyond shared some of the same assumptions and goals. It wasn't a cheap shot at the Democratic Party, and it wasn't trying to say that progressives in the US would take this nation where Nazi Germany ended up heading. Instead it showed that there can This was a very impressive book, and I learned a great deal from it. Beginning with providing a working definition of fascism as seen in the governments formed by Mussolini and Hitler, it proceeded to show how progressivism under Woodrow Wilson and beyond shared some of the same assumptions and goals. It wasn't a cheap shot at the Democratic Party, and it wasn't trying to say that progressives in the US would take this nation where Nazi Germany ended up heading. Instead it showed that there can be a smiling sort of fascism that similarly tries to unite the country in a spiritual quest toward greatness through government action. I was appalled by the violations of 1st Amendment liberties that occurred in both World Wars because of this fascist mindset. Goldberg continues to show how both modern liberalism and conservatism sometimes fall back into fascist tendencies. It was a timely warning with the 2016 elections around the corner. Beware of pragmatists who are populists trying to use the government to give meaning to society. It is a form of idolatry and a replacemnt of what should be the true source of value and meaning in nation, race, or science. I am increasingly convinced that these true spiritual interests are best served not by a government trying to fulfill them, but by a government small enough to allow individuals and freely associating individuals to pursue them without hindrance or restriction. This was the kind of republic our founders envisioned and what we would do well to try to recover.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I really don't know what I think of this. I liked at least the first half of it a lot; it's written in an engaging style, and it contains a lot of whitewashed history and things I just flat didn't know. It also really turns the way you view the world on its head; or rights it, depending on how you look at it. On the other hand, the second half is more uneven and starts to get a little repetitive. I also found it kind of poorly organized; we'd be trucking along talking about JFK and LBJ and then I really don't know what I think of this. I liked at least the first half of it a lot; it's written in an engaging style, and it contains a lot of whitewashed history and things I just flat didn't know. It also really turns the way you view the world on its head; or rights it, depending on how you look at it. On the other hand, the second half is more uneven and starts to get a little repetitive. I also found it kind of poorly organized; we'd be trucking along talking about JFK and LBJ and then suddenly we're back talking about Woodrow Wilson again and I would have to back up a few pages to figure out how we got there. By the end part of me was almost saying "All right, I get it, bad, everything is bad, everything I know was wrong, I got it, are we done yet?" I recommend it mostly because you'll be shocked at how much of what you know really is wrong and how you've been seeing things through a broken prism this whole time without even knowing it. I just...was really bored by the last 100 pages, but I think that could have just been that I was ready for a new book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ray Wilkins

    That European Fascism was a product of the Socialist movements sweeping across Europe is clear even without Goldberg's research. What Goldberg does is dive into the details and underlying philosophies that drove both Mussolini and Hitler and how American Progressives were influenced by both men. From a rejection of individualism in favor of collectivism, the desire to create a new world order, and the infatuation with Eugenics, Progressives share a legacy that is rooted, not in classical liberal That European Fascism was a product of the Socialist movements sweeping across Europe is clear even without Goldberg's research. What Goldberg does is dive into the details and underlying philosophies that drove both Mussolini and Hitler and how American Progressives were influenced by both men. From a rejection of individualism in favor of collectivism, the desire to create a new world order, and the infatuation with Eugenics, Progressives share a legacy that is rooted, not in classical liberalism, but rather the totalitarianism of fascism.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    Thoughtful, careful, well researched, and devastating.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Devlin

    As a reader of Goldberg's columns and a lover of his nerdy wonkish newsletter, I was surprised at the scholarly quality of the book. For people who study history his insights aren't wholly new, but he integrates them well and brings much greater power to the synergy of fascist thought. Progressives, socialist, nazi's are all fascists of a certain stripe. Progressives of the happy face - for your own good, socialists for the workers of the world, and nazi's fascists of race. All these groups look t As a reader of Goldberg's columns and a lover of his nerdy wonkish newsletter, I was surprised at the scholarly quality of the book. For people who study history his insights aren't wholly new, but he integrates them well and brings much greater power to the synergy of fascist thought. Progressives, socialist, nazi's are all fascists of a certain stripe. Progressives of the happy face - for your own good, socialists for the workers of the world, and nazi's fascists of race. All these groups look to the State to exalt their plans. The belief in the State is tantamount, and even encouraged, as a religion. Historically, those who now consider themselves liberal need to come to grips with their forbearers who argued for eugenics in law and policy. The group who advocated for organic food, better health regimens, love and protection of nature, hostility to capitalism, actively attacked bankers, and were race conscious were the Nazi's. That these policies would now be indistinguishable from the majority of those on the Left should be chilling to all. Sure I might disagree here and there: Seeing JFK being sold as a fascist leader: virile, manly, demigod- begs the question how else could he have been sold, and Goldberg's look at movies and culture is interesting but suffers from the over analysis myopia that any "ism" approach to art describes.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    My first thought was "isn't this self-evident?" About a third of the way through, "so what of it?" But I got through it and the weight of evidence (if evidence is the right word) is extraordinary. Quite an effort by Mr. Goldberg. Still, while I understand that some use "fascist" in a name-calling non-argument argument kind of way, I'm not convinced that any serious person would disagree with anything put forth in the book. It's all rather self-evident and I'm not sure I can make anything of it. B My first thought was "isn't this self-evident?" About a third of the way through, "so what of it?" But I got through it and the weight of evidence (if evidence is the right word) is extraordinary. Quite an effort by Mr. Goldberg. Still, while I understand that some use "fascist" in a name-calling non-argument argument kind of way, I'm not convinced that any serious person would disagree with anything put forth in the book. It's all rather self-evident and I'm not sure I can make anything of it. But it was certainly quite interesting.

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