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Monday, December 24, 2007

Book Selection of the Month: “Liberal Fascism” by Jonah Golderg

This is one I'm going to get.
Happy Kwanzaa — or should I say fascist Kwanzaa? At least, you may come away from this book worrying that all ethnic-solidarity political movements (like the one that concocted Kwanzaa in fairly recent times) smack of the fascist desire to overcome the complexity and confusion of modernity through “solidarity,” whether individualism is to be suppressed in the name of the race, the state, or a revolutionary class.

While readers might disagree about how much of our politically-correct era smacks of fascism, they will not be able to dismiss the much clearer and more explicit ties between the Progressives of a century ago and fascism. As Goldberg documents — in detail that will likely prove excruciatingly embarrassing for many who (like Hillary Clinton) style themselves Progressives today — Woodrow Wilson, Mussolini, and later FDR and Hitler constituted a veritable (and vocal) mutual admiration society (as did fascists and their close kin the Communists until their Non-Aggression Pact fell apart). However, once fascism became associated with the Holocaust, the left scrambled to paint fascism as a right-wing phenomenon and deny that the left itself had ever been entwined with fascism.

Yet it was under Woodrow Wilson — a racist and imperialist precisely because he was a Progressive who wanted to remake and reform the world, eliminating poverty, alcoholism, and low-IQ humans — that war fever and “patriotic” censorship were at their peak in the twentieth-century U.S. Under Wilson, not only were antiwar publications shut down but you could be arrested for discussing the president’s errors in your own home, or for insulting designated “patriotic” organizations, such as the Red Cross.

As Goldberg puts it (with only the subtlest hint of the frat-guy humor we thought we knew him for on, here subordinated to serious scholarship that will surprise his friends and foes alike), the Progressives, such as William James, were always searching for “the moral equivalent of war,” to eliminate individualism in the purifying fire of collective purpose — and sometimes that “moral equivalent of war” turned out, in fact, to be war.

Read the rest.

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