Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Liberal Fascism

Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism is a highly readable and well-researched book, and yet I can sum it up in two sentences:

1.) Progressives in all their political incarnations from the Jacobins to the Nazi's to the Fascists to Communists to Socialists to crusaders for the Social Gospel share a common ideological heritage and a murderous history.

2.) A little fascism is okay, as long as one agrees with the Glorious Leader's - or whatever social do-goodism suffices for a moral imperative - stated goals and it's for the right reasons.

Most any libertarian* not named Noam Chomsky could have saved you the trouble of reading Goldberg's book and told you the same thing. In the meantime, progressives of whatever ilk go about blithely increasing the power of government in the Pursuit of Heaven on Earth or some other enlightened vision of the perfectability of Man** and virtually no-one asks:

So what happens if the wrong Glorious Leader gets power?

It's not like Goldberg lacks for examples of totalitarianism run amok. Every abuse of liberty from the Reign of Terror to Buchenwald to the gulags and the unconstututional excesses of virtually every president - Republican or Democrat - since Wilson's abortive fascist experiment has followed in the Progressive goosestep. How he reaches the conclusion he does seems to me like a cognitive disconnect on his part.

All that said, I recommend Liberal Fascism. That Goldberg reaches a flawed conclusion doesn't mean I don't appreciate the service he has done in laying out an easily followed argument that modern American liberals - who are really anything but - and conservatives are really fruits of the same ideological tree. Scoop Jackson and Patrick Moynihan would have been perfectly at home in today's Republican Party. Unfortunately, libertarians aren't.

*that is a "classical liberal," or presumably a Randian. I really need to reread Ayn Rand. I suffered through The Fountainhead and a large chunk of Atlas Shrugged in high school - trust me, it wasn't part of the curriculum - but I wasn't ready for the ideas - probable - or maybe it was only because I was already radicalized to the left. Hey, this was 30-odd years ago; I thought Nixon was a righty. We grow too late smart and too soon old.

**In the collective, of course. Damned few people seem to be interested in perfecting themselves.

Labels: , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]