HT to Instaputz for this item about the GOP US Senate fight in California. The blog notes that Chuck reviewed right wing columnist Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” (c’mon Chuck, the book has been out for more than a year and you’re just getting around to reading it?….) and gave it 5 stars on Amazon.com just last week.Â To wit, Instaputz believes this alone means: “This transgression should probably disqualify DeVore for public office. For the rest of his life.”
Here’s Chuck’s review, after the jump:
Liberal Fascism: the book American liberals want to burn, November 2, 2009
Jonah Goldberg has written a very important book in “Liberal Fascism, the Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Change.”
Goldberg carefully documents (there are hundreds of footnotes) the close ideological, tactical, and even linguistic connections between European fascists and the American Progressive movement of the late-1800s through Woodrow Wilson’s “War Socialism” and Roosevelt’s New Deal. That this is not well known today is largely due to the American left’s selective amnesia and the Stalinist tactic of labeling as “fascist” any leftwing movement not under the direct control of Moscow. Hence, Moscow even labeled Leon Trotsky and Franklin Roosevelt “fascist.”
In fact, Goldberg points out, that communism, socialism (including Hitler’s Nazi Party, “Nazi” standing for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party), fascism, the American Progressives, and modern American liberals, all stand for the same thing: control in the name of improving society. Mussolini himself, Goldberg reminds us, coined the term “Totalitarian.” At the time, “Totalitarian” wasn’t the bad term it’s come to mean. For Mussolini “Totalitarian” was defined as: “Everything inside the State, nothing outside the State.” A totalitarian world view meant that all is within the State’s interest: religion, health, culture, and even people’s private lives.
In “Liberal Fascism” Goldberg asserts that Hitler’s Nazis can’t be defined solely by their irrational hatred of Jews that led to the Holocaust. Rather, if one strips away the uniquely German aspects of Nazism, or the uniquely Italian aspects of fascism, one is left with a core set of beliefs that elevate the State above the individual – for the supposed good of both.
And what are those core beliefs that Goldberg so readily identifies? From the start, American Progressives and European fascist theorists admired each other and exchanged ideas. From William James to Georges Sorel, from eugenics to the militarization of society (“War on Poverty” anyone? It was William James who penned the “Moral Equivalent of War” in 1906), both the American left and European fascists sought to remake society using crises to urge action to justify bigger government at the expense of individual liberty.
Ronald Reagan had it right in 1981, when he remarked that Roosevelt’s New Deal had much in common with Mussolini’s fascism, including frequent words of praise from Roosevelt’s brain trust directed towards Italy in the 1930s.
So, read “Liberal Fascism” and be confident that, if you’re an American conservative (meaning that you’re a classical liberal) and a modern-day liberal/progressive calls you a “fascist” that they truly have no clue of what they speak.
Reviewer: Chuck DeVore is a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010, a California State Assemblyman, he served as a Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs in the Department of Defense from 1986 to 1988, retired from the Army National Guard as a lieutenant colonel, and is the co-author of “China Attacks.”
Nice plug for “China Attacks,” Chuck’s self-published novel. Huh?
Problem is Goldberg’s premise on Liberals and Fascism doesn’t mesh very well. From David Neiwert’s blog:
“Those who repeat the “Nazis were socialists” claim (ed note: As Chuck DeVore has in the review above) are, in fact, falling for (and repeating) Nazi propaganda from the 1920s.
Mussolini was indeed an active socialist at the beginning of his political career. But he was remarkable for shifting his alliances and adjusting his ideology accordingly as he climbed the ladder of power; and by the time he had completed his climb, he was an outspoken and lethal anti-socialist.
Hitler’s fascists, somewhat in contrast, only adopted a limited socialist rhetoric as a sop to its efforts to recruit from the working class. Hitler quickly jettisoned these aspects of the party as he obtained power, particularly in forming a ruling coalition with conservative corporatists. There was little doubt that Hitler and the Nazis were devoutly anti-leftist: their Brownshirts made a career of physically attacking socialists and communists wherever they gathered, and the first people sent to the concentration camp at Dachau in 1933-34 were socialist and communist political leaders.”
Neiwert also had this terrific post on the book in Crooks and Liars.
Might I put a plug in for Neiwert’s excellent book, “The Eliminationists,” which documents –with hundreds of footnotes — right wing hate speech such as the drivel Goldberg writes about Liberal Fascism.Â I take issue with Chuck’s phrase about the left’s selective amnesia and reference this site that shoots down the myth that Hilter was liberal somehow.Â The vast majority of Hitler’s positions are issues are hard right.Â From this post:
Once in power, Hitler showed his true colors by promptly breaking all his promises to workers. The Nazis abolished trade unions, collective bargaining and the right to strike. An organization called the “Labor Front” replaced the old trade unions, but it was an instrument of the Nazi party and did not represent workers. According to the law that created it, “Its task is to see that every individual should be ableâ€¦ to perform the maximum of work.” Workers would indeed greatly boost their productivity under Nazi rule. But they also became exploited. Between 1932 and 1936, workers wages fell, from 20.4 to 19.5 cents an hour for skilled labor, and from 16.1 to 13 cents an hour for unskilled labor. (3) Yet workers did not protest. This was partly because the Nazis had restored order to the economy, but an even bigger reason was that the Nazis would have cracked down on any protest.
There was no part of Nazism, therefore, that even remotely resembled socialism. But what about the political nature of Nazism in general? Did it belong to the left, or to the right? Let’s take a closer look:
The politics of Nazism -The political right is popularly associated with the following principles. Of course, it goes without saying that these are generalizations, and not every person on the far right believes in every principle, or disbelieves its opposite. Most people’s political beliefs are complex, and cannot be neatly pigeonholed. This is as true of Hitler as anyone. But since the far right is trying peg Hitler as a leftist, it’s worth reviewing the tenets popularly associated with the right. These include:
- Individualism over collectivism.
- Racism or racial segregation over racial tolerance.
- Eugenics over freedom of reproduction.
- Merit over equality.
- Competition over cooperation.
- Power politics and militarism over pacifism.
- One-person rule or self-rule over democracy.
- Capitalism over Marxism.
- Realism over idealism.
- Nationalism over internationalism.
- Exclusiveness over inclusiveness.
- Meat-eating over vegetarianism.
- Gun ownership over gun control
- Common sense over theory or science.
- Pragmatism over principle.
- Religion over secularism.
My last note is to our friends at the Register’s editorial pages.Â The Los Angeles Times may be considered a liberal newspaper by many, especially those libertarians and conservatives in OC.Â But they publish Goldberg’s column in the editorial pages of their paper.Â Its called providing alternative points of view.Â It would be refreshing for the Register to add a liberal columnist to the Sunday commentary section once a week.Â Or is “Freedom” Communications just something reserved for protecting the freedom of right wing speech only?