Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg
The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change

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Synopsis

“Fascists,” “Brownshirts,” “jackbooted stormtroopers”—such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst?

Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.

Do these striking parallels mean that today’s liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. We often forget, for example, that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany, and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson, and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.

Fascism was an international movement that appeared in different forms in different countries, depending on the vagaries of national culture and temperament. In Germany, fascism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, it took a “friendlier,” more liberal form. The modern heirs of this “friendly fascist” tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.
 

About Jonah Goldberg

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JONAH GOLDBERG is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and contributing editor to National Review. A USA Today contributor and former columnist for the Times of London, he has also written for The New Yorker, Commentary, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He lives in Washington, D.C.
 
Published January 8, 2008 by Crown Forum. 496 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Liberal Fascism

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FDR and LBJ also practiced a gentle form of fascism, Goldberg insists, and 21st-century fascism is represented by—was there ever any doubt?—Hillary Clinton.

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The New York Times

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Jonah Goldberg argues that 20th-century Democrats are fascists.

Dec 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

The Guardian

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Indeed, he argues that all totalitarianisms - Hitlerism, fascism, communism, Hillary Clintonism - proceed from the same lie: that tyrannical leaders can realise the utopian dream of "creating a better world" (Goldberg's scare quotes), and that when US liberals abuse conservatives as fascists for ...

Feb 14 2009 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

The Guardian

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Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Goldberg Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop ...

Feb 08 2009 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

The Telegraph

It nevertheless provides a glimpse into the extant world of the sectarian left who seem to have been arguing among themselves like ferrets in a sack since September 11, 2001, over the “correct” response to adopt to the new world order without anyone noticing, or caring, very much.

Feb 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

Salon

Conservative Women Still Fighting the Media for a ‘Place at the Table.'” “90 years after the 19th Amendment,” wrote Lori Zingano at RedState, “Democrats are actively seeking to figuratively repeal the amendment” — that is, by promoting “the myth of a wage gap” between men and women and disapprovi...

Jan 08 2015 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

Daily Kos

Fascism is described as a political philosophy which stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Jan 15 2008 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

Norman Stone reviews Thomas Weber’s Hitler’s First War.

Oct 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

In his brilliant new book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg (a colleague of mine) demonstrates how the opposite is the case, that fascism was a movement of the left and that liberal heroes like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were products of what Goldberg calls “the fascist moment” i...

Jan 08 2008 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

Today the book hits shelves in its paperback version (with a new afterword on Barack Obama), which provides an excellent excuse to talk to the esteemed NRO editor-at-large, and to shine a spotlight on an important book, one more time: KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: So how does it feel to have written a num...

Jun 02 2009 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

As Susan Sontag proclaimed in 1967, “The white race is the cancer of human history.” Meanwhile, Enlightenment notions of universal humanity are routinely mocked on the academic left as a con used to disguise entrenched white male privilege.

Jan 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

They may favor government action to bail out the auto companies, but they don’t favor government auto companies.” I love that Klein sees this as something of a knock-out punch.

May 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

Then, once Linker has cleared his throat by attacking conservatives for their rigid and ideological attacks on Tanenhaus’ book he proceeds to….echo most of the conservative attacks on Tanenhaus’ book, albeit with considerable boot-licking.

Sep 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

James Gregor, Michael Ledeen, Ayn Rand, and — as I show in my book — countless contemporary observers of classical fascism agree with my view in whole or in part.

Jan 11 2008 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

David Oshinsky a liberal historian specializing in the McCarthy era has reviewed my book for the NYT Book Review.

Dec 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

The Atlantic has a review of reviews of the Kos book.

Sep 03 2010 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

National Review Online

Please keep sending me tidbits, insights and links to stories of the day that relate to Liberal Fascism (and if you have a time machine, please go back and send me some of that stuff when I was still working on the book!).

Aug 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Liberal Fascism: The Secret H...

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