Sunday, January 25, 2009

Liberal Fascism Explained
by: Amanda Busse, January 16, 2008

Conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg is tired of being called a fascist. In his latest book, Liberal Fascism, he fights back against the term that those on the right are often saddled with, reminding readers that the original fascists leaned more toward the left.

Goldberg, the editor-at-large for National Review Online, argues in his book that fascism under Benito Mussolini and Nazism under Adolf Hitler came from the same intellectual source as Progressivism, the birth-mother of American liberalism. The term �liberal fascism� comes from a speech made by author H. G. Wells when he told a group of Young Liberals at Oxford that Progressives must become �liberal fascists� and �enlightened Nazis.�

�I�m not saying today�s liberals are Hitler�s cousins,� Goldberg said at his first discussion of the book held at the Heritage Foundation. �They�re more like his grand-niece once removed.�

The author claims the point of the book is to give an accurate definition and history of fascism, a word which he asserts is commonly misused.

�Many modern liberals and leftists act as if they know exactly what fascism is. What�s more, they see it everywhere�except when they look in the mirror,� Goldberg�s book reads. �Indeed, the left wields the term like a cudgel to beat opponents from the square like seditious pamphleteers.�

The side of fascism he attributes to American liberalism is not that associated with the works of George Orwell or the racism and genocide of the Holocaust. It is much less brutal, �smiley-face fascism,� as he puts it. He asserts that liberals hold political principles which are similar to those found in many fascist regimes. They have a desire to form a powerful state which coordinates a society where everybody belongs and everyone is taken care of; where there is faith in the perfectibility of people and the authority of experts; and where everything is political, including health and well-being. Apparently, the Nazis were strong promoters of organic foods and animal rights, fought against large department stores, and promoted antismoking and public health drives.

�The Nazi war on smoking would make Michael Bloomberg�s heart jump,� Goldberg jokingly said.

According to Goldberg, fascism has a long history in American politics, spanning back to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Goldberg even finds fascist tendencies within the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton as each tried to create an �all-caring, all-powerful, all-encompassing� state. His book traces more recent signs of fascist ideology in the economic ideas of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore.

So how did fascism become associated with the political right? Goldberg claims this stems from the propaganda surrounding Marxism. In the 1920s, fascist ideas were popular among the American left as many saw Italian Fascism as a �worthwhile experiment.� The German version that emerged in the 1930s had considerably less appeal.

�The American left essentially picked a different team�the Red team,� Goldberg writes, �and as such swore fealty to communist talking points about fascism.�

At the same time, Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, found it beneficial to label all ideas which he did not agree with as fascist; this included socialists who were disloyal to Moscow and, of course, the political right. Those loyal to his social doctrine also began to see communism and fascism on opposite ends when, as Goldberg asserts, both are in fact socialist in nature.

Goldberg asserts that Liberal Fascism is different from fascism of the past because today�s left are pacifists rather than militarists; their plan is to nanny, not to bully. Still, he warns that this method can be just as politically hazardous.

�Simply because the nanny state wants to hug you doesn�t mean it�s not tyrannical when you don�t want to be hugged,� Goldberg concluded...�

Amanda Busse is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Limbaugh Responds to Obama [Byron York]

According to an account in the New York Post, President Barack Obama yesterday told Republican leaders, "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." With George W. Bush now off the stage, it may be that Obama and some of his fellow Democrats view Limbaugh, and not John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, or any other elected official, as the true leader of the Republican opposition. This morning I asked Rush for his thoughts on all this, and here is his response:

There are two things going on here. One prong of the Great Unifier's plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan. He is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me. And who knows? Are ideological and philosophical ties enough to keep the GOP loyal to their voters? Meanwhile, the effort to foist all blame for this mess on the private sector continues unabated when most of the blame for this current debacle can be laid at the feet of the Congress and a couple of former presidents. And there is a strategic reason for this.

Secondly, here is a combo quote from the meeting:

"If we don't get this done we (the Democrats) could lose seats and I could lose re-election. But we can't let people like Rush Limbaugh stall this. That's how things don't get done in this town."

To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts. It would allow a majority of American voters to guarantee no taxes for themselves going forward. It would burden the private sector and put the public sector in permanent and firm control of the economy. Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.

Obama was angry that Merrill Lynch used $1.2 million of TARP money to remodel an executive suite. Excuse me, but didn't Merrill have to hire a decorator and contractor? Didn't they have to buy the new furnishings? What's the difference in that and Merrill loaning that money to a decorator, contractor and goods supplier to remodel Warren Buffet's office? Either way, stimulus in the private sector occurs. Are we really at the point where the bad PR of Merrill getting a redecorated office in the process is reason to smear them? How much money will the Obamas spend redecorating the White House residence? Whose money will be spent? I have no problem with the Obamas redoing the place. It is tradition. 600 private jets flown by rich Democrats flew into the Inauguration. That's fine but the auto execs using theirs is a crime? In both instances, the people on those jets arrived in Washington wanting something from Washington, not just good will.

If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of the trillion dollar debacle.

One more thing, Byron. Your publication and website have documented Obama's ties to the teachings of Saul Alinksy while he was community organizing in Chicago. Here is Rule 13 of Alinksy's Rules for Radicals:

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."