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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Liberal Fascism Quote #1

The major flaw in all of this is that fascism, properly understood, is not a phenomenon of the right at all. Instead, it is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left. This fact--an inconvenient truth if there ever was one--is obscured in our time by the equally mistaken belief that fascism and communism are opposites. In reality, they are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to dominate and control the same social space. The fact that they appear as polar opposites is a trick of intellectual history and (more to the point) the result of a concerted propaganda effort on the part of the "Reds" to make the "Browns" appear objectively evil and "other" (ironically, demonization of the "other" is counted as a definitional trait of fascism). But in terms of their theory and practice, the differences are minimal.
One of the things that continually amazes me is the easy characterization by those on today's political left of American conservatives as fascist, or trending towards fascism. It makes no sense, no sense at all. American conservatism is characterized by the championing of limited government, certainly less government than we have today. Today's political left is characterized by the desire for more government, always more. If fascism is closely intertwined with totalitarian government, then, it seems clear that it is today's political left that trends fascist, rather than American conservatism.

There'll be more quotes in the days ahead. I'm reasonably sure that Mr. Goldberg won't mind too much. If anything, they should help him sell a few more copies of his excellent book.

That book provokes some of the most entertaining reactions, by the way. Whenever I argue along these lines, someone will pipe up and say, "Oh, that's right out of Goldberg's Liberal Fascism," as though merely noting that constitutes a refutation. I note that as a rule, they don't bother trying to refute the book. My personal opinion is that they can't. It is well-researched and reasoned, and so far, none of the people who try a summary dismissal of the book give any evidence whatever of having actually read it. It does annoy me, though, that people act as though I never thought that fascism was a variety of socialism before I read this book. I read a pretty fair amount of Mein Kampf--not all of it, Hitler was a beastly bore of a writer--and to the best of my recollection, it was riddled with socialist claptrap, and, of course, the very name "Nazi" is an acronym standing for, in German, "National Socialist German Worker's Party." Kind of a dead giveaway, if you ask me, the sort of thing today's left keeps trying to explain away and just can't. At any rate, the ideas in this book weren't new to me, it's just handy to have all the material in one volume, and I'm glad the "used" price finally came down to where I didn't feel guilty for buying a copy.

This book, and Blacklisted by History, which came out in the same general time frame and details the enormous proof that Joe McCarthy was not a paranoid wingnut, but was in fact correct when he charged that the U.S. government at the time was riddled with communists and Soviet agents, are books that just aggravate the daylights out of the left. In the space of one year, the left was deprived of the ability--at least, if the audience is even a little informed--to call conservatives fascists and/or McCarthyites and keep a straight face.

If for nothing else, that was a glorious year.

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