Liberal Fascism

So when we last left off, we were discussing Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. I’ve covered some of the themes that jumped out at me here and here and will wrap it up now.

With Preston’s permission, we may start a Six Meat Buffet Book Club. Any of you Buffet fan(s) interested?

If the French Revolution was the ideological father of modern statist models, it was Otto Von Bismarck’s fascist Prussia that provided the blueprint.

Does this description of Bismarck’s leadership seem familiar today?

Bismarck’s motive was to forestall demands for more democracy by giving the people the sort of thing they might ask for at the polls. His top-down socialism was a Machiavellian masterstroke because it made the middle class dependent upon the state. The middle class took away from this the lesson that enlightened government was not the product of democracy but an alternative to it. Such logic proved disastrous little more than a generation later. But it was precisely this logic that appealed to the progressives. As Wilson put it, the essence of Progressivism was that the individual “marry his interests to the state.”

(p. 96)

You don’t really need democracy? Here, let me give you these shiny beads.

So while today’s liberals railed on about the non-existent “Bush regime”, it turned out that Bismarck’s fascist model was partially implemented the United States. Not surprisingly it happened on a Democrat’s watch. Bismarck fan, President Woodrow Wilson, actually brought fascism to the United States.

Self-described progressives-as well as as the majority of American socialists – were at the forefront of the push for a truly totalitarian state. They applauded every crackdown and questioned the patriotism, intelligence, and decency of every pacifist and classically liberal dissenter.

Fascism, at its core, is the view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union toward the same goals overseen by the state. ”

Call it what you like – progressivism, fascism, communism, or totalitarianism – the first true enterprise of this kind was established not in Russia or Italy or Germany but in the United States, and Woodrow Wilson was the twentieth century’s first fascist dictator.

This claim may sound outrageous on its face, but consider the evidence. More dissidents were arrested or jailed in a few years under Wilson than under Mussolini during the entire 1920s.

Mussolini’s critics harangued him – rightly – for using his semiofficial Fascisti to bully the opposition and for his harassment of the press. Just a few years earlier, Wilson had unleashed literally hundreds of thousands of badge-carrying goons on the American people and prosecuted a vicious campaign against the press that would have made Mussolini envious.

Wilson didn’t act alone. Like Mussolini and Hitler, he had an activist ideological movement at his disposal. In Italy they were called Fascists. In Germany they were called National Socialists. in America we called them progressives.

The one common thread uniting all liberals throughout modern history has been their desire for a kind government which not only meets all their needs, it also provides their moral guidance (think social justice).

Over the years and across different cultures, there have been differences in progressive positions on militarism, race and imperialism but in all cases they have been movements of the “people” bent on changing human behavior to make a “better” society.

Speaking for myself, but perhaps from a conservative perspective, I see that people generally seek more power from themselves. You see evidence of this in Cuba, every Sunday on Meet the Press and at your homeowner’s association meeting.

Conservatives recognize this and see government as a “necessary evil” and would like as little of it as possible. Even assuming the best of intentions, millions spent on public housing still ends up financing dozens of Tony Rezko’s and producing very little actual good, for example.

The liberal really believes the opposite. Caring is shown through the government, good behavior is legislated and democracy is truly secondary to having leaders who feel your pain.

A good look at history show how this almost always ends, but it will always be better next time.

Liberal Fascism really shines in the chapters on FDR, the myth of JFK and the real fascists of the 60s. I still recommend you read it. But I’m done posting on this for now.

15 comments on “Liberal Fascism

  1. I would not be shocked to see a “crisis” at election time that renders the country “temporarily” unable to conduct an election. Certainly, a “crisis” can be contrived by the media at the drop of a hat; what makes this so effective is that the level of “education” (indoctrination really) provided by the socialist education system here in the US that makes the majority of citizens unable to be more than compliant sheep. Didn’t the “temporary” federal income tax find its establishment during the 2nd term of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency, as a response to the crisis of funding WWI?

  2. I’m getting a lot out of this book. Usually I devour a book and go on to the next one, but this takes a while to chew, and I need a glossary.

    I must have missed all the DING! turn the page, because you’re way ahead.

    One interesting note though. Our public schools are based on the Prussian model. They do seek to get into every cranny of your life too. I was amazed at the insidiousness of the whole enterprise after reading Dumbing Us Down by John Gatto when my kids were toddlers.

  3. I’m down.

    I’m reading The Party of Death by Ramesh Ponnuru…especially timely since Obama’s decree that we should give millions to overseas abortion clinics.

    I’ve got Ann Coulter’s “Guilty” up next. And then Bernie Goldberg’s “A Slobbering Love Affair”.

  4. Great point AG. Looking for a “crisis”? Let’s try Global Warming.

    And remember that MTV a***hole in 2004? He actually started a Don’t Draft Me campaign to scare kids into not voting for Bush.

    Maybe I’ll start a Don’t Kill My High Schooler, Obama campaign in 2012.

    Michele, that’s right. “Kindergarten”. Sorry, but the book club idea started when I was about 2/3 the way through.

    What do you guys want to pick up next? I’ll wait this time.

  5. Ooops…Michele. I think you misread my “I’m down” comment, my Tennessee gal. “I’m down” in SoCaleese means “I’m in”.

    Meaning if we want to do the book club thing, I’ll go along.

    I’ve already got those two books I mentioned on my bedside table ready for reading. I know Coulter will make us all laugh, and it’s on sale for $15.99 at Target.

  6. Sounds fun to me. And thanks, enjoy what you have to say too…well mostly: I KNOW I was warned but I still got a lil’ vomit in my mouth when I had to go and witness “the forbidden tingle!”

    Slobbering love affair next on yer list?

    BTW, anyone considering Ann Coulter’s “Guilty” I can tell you it is one of her best. Had tears in my eyes laughing in the first couple chapters, especially.

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