The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Book review: Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg
Conservatives are used to leftists calling them fascists. In his new book, Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg reveals that the true fascists in our midst just might be on the left side of the political spectrum. In an interview with Western Standard radio, Goldberg discussed his book and also delved more deeply into matters of political philosophy. This review, titled "Does liberalism equal fascism?", is based not only on Liberal Fascism, but also on the answers its author gave in response to some concerns the interviewers had with his book.
"Goldberg is not calling all liberals--and certainly not all modern liberals--Nazis. However, his book does describe many of the ideas American liberals favour--from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson--as examples of fascism. Fascism with a friendly face, perhaps, but as authentically fascist (in their own way) as Adolph Hitler, who according to Goldberg should be considered a 'man of the left.'
Goldberg agreed that Canada was an example of liberal fascism--the fascism that comes with a friendly face. ...Modern conservatism, liberalism, and fascism each attempt to bring about a heaven here on Earth. A different heaven in each case, for sure, but each its own picture of a timeless, unquestionable (and ultimately inevitable) state of perfection.
Those who stand in the way of the end of history should be marginalized and demolished. In Canada, this impulse to immanentize the eschaton takes the form of hate speech laws that aim to completely eliminate racists from society but are now being used to stifle legitimate debate about, for instance, radical Islam..."
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With all respect to Jonah Goldberg, it was Dr. Petr Beckmann in his monthly "Access to Energy" who began to use the term "fascists of the left" with reference to university "activists" in about 1975.
Posted by: Zog | 2008-03-05 2:31:32 PM
Please. With all due respect. "Liberal fascism" is not a new idea.
And coming from an intellectually lightweight conservative fascist (neocon) Goldberg is hardly worth a look, much less a read.
I continue to be astounded by the ongoing interest on this site for all things neoconservative. According to your statistics, your site has been sinking in popularity for some time now. Neoconservatism is a conversation about par with a circle jerk. I note the same dozen people post here all the time.
Time to broaden our horizons, no?
Posted by: Pierre Murphy | 2008-03-05 3:41:16 PM
Wow! "immanentize the eschaton" were not words I ever came across in the expired Eaton's catalogue that graced our farm outhouse. So much for that phase of my liberal arts education. However I could not find eschaton in my Concise Oxford Dictionary either. I can only infer that you must mean somehow making inherent the "doctrine of death" to apply to free speechers who insist on saying what we think on racial matters. I somehow do not think writers who express themselves in sentences including those words will be getting many feelers from editors looking for clear expression and thinking to fill their empty magazine pages.
Posted by: Bob Wood | 2008-03-05 3:46:45 PM
"According to your statistics, your site has been sinking in popularity for some time now. "
Isn't the honesty refreshing?
"I note the same dozen people post here all the time. "
Nice to meet you, too. The meetings start at 8. Please bring refreshments.
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-03-05 3:55:25 PM
Pierre: You need to visit the site more often. The site is intended as a conversation between conservatives and libertarians. If you take a look at recent posts, you'll find sympathy for Ron Paul, for Marc Emery, as well as antipathy for both. That's the nature of this site. It isn't "conservative," "neo-conservative," or "libertarian." It is a venue for all of those views, and others (like "objectivist").
That makes it difficult for some who like to think of news outlets as only one particular point of view. So be it.
The website did decrease in readership after the magazine stopped publishing in print. Over the last month, our numbers have been steadily increasing. Since I have access to our statistics both through typepad and through our website management, I'm curious to know where you are getting your statistics from.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-03-05 3:55:38 PM
With all due respect, I don't think it's fair to characterize the Western Standard as "neo-conservative." Its contributors include hawkish libertarians, peace-loving libertarians, social conservatives, and, yes, some neo-cons.
You'll find both positive and negative posts about Ron Paul, for example. You'll find a great deal of support for legalizing (some) drugs, but also a lot of dissent.
Consider the following article:
Yes, it's one of mine. And, as a libertarian (someone on the right) I take a pretty strong stance in favor of aboriginal rights, which in my experience is typically only something the left talks about, let alone endorses.
Isn't that an example of the sort of horizon broadening you suggest we seek out in your post? Maybe you don't agree with the thesis of my article, but I don't think it falls in the category of the typical "neo-con circle jerk."
And Bob Wood:
As I note in the review, the phrase "immanentize the eschaton" was popularized by the late William Buckley to refer to certain political ideologies that attempt to bring about "heaven on earth" through public policy. Goldberg suggests both modern liberalism and modern conservatism possess this characteristic to some degree (although, of course, they visualize heaven differently.)
Sorry that wasn't clear from the excerpt I posted from the review. It isn't my phrase, but we did discuss it in the radio interview with Mr. Goldberg.
Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-03-05 3:57:55 PM
I note the presence of some libertarians here. I also, as a classical liberal myself, with many conservative values, find beyond risible the notion of "hawkish libertarians".. That term collapses itself, as I myself collapsed laughing at the "SOME" neocons being on here comment!!!!!!!! lol
Posted by: Pierre Murphy | 2008-03-05 4:10:30 PM
Here are some other stories that demonstrate the diversity of views to be found on the Western Standard:
A generally positive article on Marc Emery, Canada's "prince of pot":
A philosophical piece on the meaning and limits of freedom of speech from a well-respected Canadian professor:
A critical assessment of Ezra Levant's defense of free speech in his testimony before the Alberta Human Rights Commission:
A piece on government waste and corporate welfare in Canada:
That's not even going into what's been posted on the Shotgun. Those who would attempt to reduce the Western Standard to a strictly "neo-con rag" have their work cut out for them.
Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-03-05 4:12:45 PM
Why do you people bother to even engage the likes of "Pierre", or care what he thinks.
He is exactly the kind of leftist fascist as pointed out in the book.
Note his disgust at even talking to us mere "mortals", his cynicism and hatred dripping as he throws names and titles around.
The only opinion that is relevant in his elitist mind is his.
Posted by: deepblue | 2008-03-05 7:57:08 PM
Well said deepblue. By the way neocons has become the code term for Jews.
Posted by: Alain | 2008-03-05 11:38:38 PM
I recommend the book. It's an eye-opener in every possible way.
Even though, in a way, I think that Goldberg has stretched a point in order to sell the books.
As I see it, both modern American leftism and fascism share many similiarties because they're both siblings of socialism.
Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-03-06 1:11:09 AM
And their common ancestor is an acceptance of the theory of evolution.
Both marxism and various forms of fascism are utopian viewpoints based on the belief that human nature can be ‘evolved.'
That would be achieved by already-evolved (ie smarter) human beings passing laws which controlled ‘bad' or unacceptable characteristics of the inferior.
Just think through what is meant by the phrase ‘master race.'
Saw Goldberg on Glenn Beck and he pointed out the reason for the happy face on the cover is that these types of utopian totalitarian political philosophies seem very appealing and friendly on the surface.
The 20th century has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that these attempts to ‘evolve' human nature are abject failures.
Human nature is what it has been for tens of thousands of years and it's up to each individual, not the state, to monitor his own conduct and mature at his own pace.
There will always be rebels without a clue among us, but they will never be eradicated through human dictum on a political system adopted from a flawed scientific theory.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-03-06 10:04:27 AM
Set You Free,
a) Totally not picking a fight, just curious...
b) I generally subscribe to the ideas put out by folks like Ken Ham at Answers In Genesis who use a traditional ~6,000 year chronology based on torah scholars' read of the timelines etc.. Just wondering who you read/study who has a timeline where there's no evolution but still "tens of thousands of years". Presumably a minimum of 20,000 to be tens, plural. I know the current Pope when he was a cardinal taught some stuff like this, but I wasn't able to find any material on it.
Posted by: Steve Tsuida | 2008-03-06 10:19:25 AM
Thanks for your interest and opportunity to debate this fundamental question.
Obviously, the 6,000-year chronology does not stand up to scientific scrutiny and puts in question the Catholic dogma of Papal infallibility.
In the interests of disclosure, I am an Orthodox Christian, an apostolic chuch which seeks spiritual truths. One of its principles is ‘render onto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and render onto God what is God's,' the original tenet which separates the realm of church and state.
Framing of the evolution question as ‘religion vs science' based on the Scopes Monkey Trial is a total red herring. A court decision by a jury of 12 hillbillies cannot change fundamental Laws of Nature.
Pure religion is not the enemy of the theory of evolution. Much like the theory of global warming, the real enemy of the theory of evolution is scientific fact.
The fact remains that there has never been proof that one species ‘evolves' or transforms into another.
If that were possible, then human males could transform into human female and vice versa based on the premise that 99% of genetic material is the same among both human sexes.
The theory was floated long before the advent of DNA research, which has clearly demonstrated how difficult it would be to change genetic blueprints.
I could give you quotes from Karl Marx and Adolph HItler about their admiration of Darwin's theories and how that theory could be applied into the political sphere in their attempts to evolve human nature if you'd like.
One other thing about the Big Bang theory. I've never been able to understand how the know universe can be created by a destructive event.
But, hey, what to I know? My interest and pursuit of the truths inherent in the rhythms of human spirituality are often criticized as fairy tales. Ignorance is bliss for some, I suppose.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-03-06 10:44:17 AM
Yup, I was just wondering whether you subscribed to a model where there was biological macroevolution and a long history, or only microevolution and a short history, or some hybrid of/alternative to that.
And yep, Scopes wasn't a lab, and it wasn't necessarily a trial about the science either. It was a case about local school policy but people decorated it with scientific significance.
BTW, great article challenging our assumptions about the physics of the big bang here at AiG's website. Real scientific questions like where did the mono-poles go, where's the missing antimatter, and why aren't there any Population III stars?
Anyway. That was off topic.
Posted by: Pattern Recognition | 2008-03-06 11:09:53 AM
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