Monday, January 21, 2008

Sort of like Velvet Fascism

Here's a book I'm looking forward to reading, it being right along the lines of the main thrusts of this blog:

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (Hardcover)
by Jonah Goldberg.

Amazon books leads off with this:

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

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

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

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

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

Then we find a whole lot of reviews: ( 80 customer reviews) . The book gets 37 five star ratings and 24 one star ratings out of 80.

This, By David McCune "self-deprecating and proud of it" , sums it up pretty well: It was inevitable that the review section for Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" would degenerate into the Mother of all Flame Wars. The advance dislike for this book simmered for months, and now the floodgates for negative reviews are open. I'd advise all potential readers of this book to bear in mind how few of the negative reviews appear to reflect a reading of the book.

Or maybe one would feel more attuned to Frank:

By Frank Tanner

This book is poorly written, idiotic, and will only convince the most extreme right-wing person who already has a persecution complex. It's as crazy and irresponsible as all the talk about the liberal media at a moment when cartoonish right-wingers like Bill O'Reilly and Pat Buchanan can get lucrative gigs as pundits despite spewing hateful views and misinformation. What really makes me mad is that when I was searching for an exercise video that the amazon search engine could not find, they asked me if I wanted to buy this book or the new Tom Cruise bio instead. Why is Amazon promoting this extreme right-wing book in this way and why would they think anyone with a brain would want to buy it? I read it afterwards and was stunned by what a horrible writer, weak thinker, and sad propagandist this author is.

So long as the likes of Warren Kinsella and Sid Ryan don't prevent me I look forward to reading this book. The one is a self-confessed censor, the latter a Muslim terrorist panderer. With people like them leading our intelligentsia I just might have lots of time in jail to catch up on my reading. Maybe I'll see you there. No doubt we'll receive counseling between veggie burger meals and Vanessa Redgrave hate-videos. Oh Canada.


new samizdata said...

This book has just made it to the top of my reading list.


Dag said...

Samizdata! What a great pun. Thank you for the big grin.

najistani said...


In order to preserve the crumbling credibility of THE BIG LIE , the British government, and probably other dhimmi governments, are working on ways to gag, censor and and shutdown the counter-Jihadist blogosphere.

There is currently a discusion of how to prepare for these attacks on freedom of expression at and also at

- Najistani

Dag said...

To the best of my understanding, my colleague Charles Henry and I are banned from Infidel Bloggers Alliance as contributor and probably as commentators due to the administrator, Pastorius, not liking me or my opinions. Free speech? I think I must pass on the first link you provide.

I'll try the second.