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:
- Fascism is inextricably tied to the American Progressive movement, which was the forerunner of modern liberalism.
- 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.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.