Sunday, November 23, 2008

Liberal Fascism

Well, it took six months on the library waiting list, but I finally got to check out Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. While the title sounds like it is intended to be inflammatory, like most of Ann Coulter's book titles, it is actually the author's argument that modern liberalism in fact shares much in common with European fascism.

The first chapter (which I just barely finished) is intended to explain what he means when he uses the term fascism and why most people's notion that Nazism is the defining example of fascist political philsophy is inaccurate. When we think of fascism today we think particularly of Nazism's institutional racism (particularly anti-semitism) and extermination camps. However, Italian fascism under Mussolini and Spanish fascism under Franco (both of whom nominally supported Hitler) were effectively indifferent to race. In fact, a disproportinate number of Jews supported Mussolini's fascist reforms. Jews were only ousted from the Italian government when Mussolini was pressured by Hitler. The extermination of Italian Jews only began after the Nazis invaded Italy in 1943. Franco categorically refused to hand Spanish Jews over to Hitler and even eliminated Spain's 1492 Edict of Expulsion of the Jews. Nevertheless, both Mussolini's and Franco's regimes were clearly fascist (Mussolini had actually coined the term).

I found the following paragraph from the book to be a succinct explanation of why modern liberalism is indeed a fascist philosophy (the remainder of the book is a defense of this thesis). It also clearly sets forth (with more eloquence than I can muster) what really bothers me about modern liberal philosophy:

"Again, it is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian-or 'holistic,' if you prefer-in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend 'nontraditional' beliefs. Just as with classical fascism, liberal fascists speak of a 'Third Way' between right and left where all good things go together and all hard choices are 'false choices.'"

1 comment:

  1. I still say that was Satan's plan from the beginning!



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