Preview: Jonah Goldberg Issues Warning to Americans

Within the next couple weeks, I will begin writing a multi-part review of Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to The Politics of Meaning. It is perhaps the most important book since Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. Every American ought to read both.

Here are some very important points:

  1. Fascism is inextricably tied to the American Progressive movement, which was the forerunner of modern liberalism.
  2. Many of America’s formative “progressives”–from John Dewey, W.E.B. DuBois, Clarence Darrow, and Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson–had agendas very consistent, and were themselves complimentary of, classical fascism.
  3. Classical fascism–from the French Revolution to the Bolshevik Revolution to the Italian, Spanish, and German (Nazi) and even American variations–combined nationalism, socialist economics, subversion of individual liberties, and a humanist religious agenda in which the State demanded loyalty,
  4. Fascism is not without precedent in America: Woodrow Wilson, in fact, employed it EXTENSIVELY during World War I in ways that made Joseph McCarthy look like a civil libertarian.
  5. The implications of our past experiments in fascism reveal a stern warning to Americans today: GOVERNMENT IS YOUR ENEMY!

That last point is perhaps the most important. Ronald Reagan, whatever faults he had, was very correct in his inaugural address: government is the problem. His record was not perfect, but when push came to shove he supported more liberties and not less. He didn’t cut the size of government; he did, however, cut the rate of expansion of the government. Contrast that with our current disaster of a President. We had more freedoms on January 19, 1989 than we had on January 20, 1981.

Anyone who believes that government is inherently altruistic needs to read Liberal Fascism. Do not let the title fool you: irrespective of your political leanings, it is the howling reproach to anyone–liberal or conservative–who thinks that big government is anything but a danger to personal liberties and true peace.

In fact, any conservative who reads Liberal Fascism and does not see the dangers of the neoconservatism of Bush and the modern GOP, has a single-digit IQ.

8 thoughts on “Preview: Jonah Goldberg Issues Warning to Americans

  1. I have not read Goldberg’s book, but it sounds like an exquisite form of half-truth misinformation.

    Yes, the liberals are the intellectual cousins of fascists. However, by pointing his finger at the liberals/Democrats, Goldberg directs indignant conservatives away from the equally fascist tendencies of Republicans/neocons.

    The parties’ rhetoric may differ, but in practice they govern in remarkably similar ways. They both believe in big government boondoggles tha limit the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.

    I’m going to throw my vote away on the Constitution Party in November with about two percent of the electorate.

  2. John: Actually, Goldberg makes exactly that case in the book. What he does is first tie the liberals to classical fascism, and then provides a substantial warning to the right, as the GOP is in danger of succumbing to what I call fascism lite.

  3. Two trains, one gong over the cliff at 90 mph, one going the same way at only 60, yet some people still think the trains are going in opposite directions.

  4. Actually, it’s more like one is going at 120 mph and the other is going at 50 mph.

    While the neocon agenda is compatible with certain elements of fascism–especially in terms of its vision of foreign affairs–it is not even close to fascism with respect to (a) the social experimentation, (b) the quasi-religious element, (c) the government crackdown on dissenters, (d) the totalitarian agenda for economic control, (e) the Darwinian approach to domestic policy, and (f) the support for eugenics, all of which were part and parcel of the Wilson Administration.

    In fact, as much as I cannot stand Bush, his domestic wartime record pales in comparison to every one of his predecessors: Wilson, FDR, and even Truman.

    One step further: McCarthy was Mother Teresa compared to Wilson’s attack on Americans.

  5. I’m the husband mentioned in comment #1.

    Yes, the section on the Wilson administration was a real eye-opener. How many movies have there been about the evils of McCarthy, and yet I have lived 36 years and never saw Wilson’s (far more egregious) excesses portrayed or even discussed in the same manner.

    The point about which is worse for civil liberties is arguable. The shame of it is that it’s like a race to the bottom between the two parties. As much as the dems railed against the PATRIOT ACT, I do not expect they will go out of their way to undo it when they find themselves in the driver’s seat.

  6. Shamus: Good point. I expect the dems to support the PATRIOT ACT, because for them it will be a smokescreen for more Wilsonian policies later. Sure, they’ll kick Bush over it now, but when they’re in the Oval Office, they’ll quietly let it slide.

    Just like they’ve handled the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision. In spite of the initial uproar, Congress and the White House have been awfully quiet about that decision. This is because the Supreme Court has now allowed for the premise that the government can seize private property for any reason under the sun. In the process, SCOTUS has rendered the Fifth Amendment meaningless.

    Congress is willing to let that sleeping dog lie.

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