Why Goldberg Wrote Liberal Fascism

(And why we will never see an honest response to scathing liberal critiques of the book)

The idiocy of the book’s central thesis has been done to death, and justly so.  The book is, however, more than a weak attempt to project the right’s own deplorable tendencies onto their opponents.  That’d be us.  Its all a big game of “They did it too!”.

This shouldn’t be too surprising.  Remember when it became painfully (so painfully) clear Bush and his administration had lied us into Iraq?  Do you remember the squeals of “Clinton lied too!” coming from the dregs of the conservative media and blogosphere?  Whenever we discuss race relations in this country, Republicans are quick to jump to the fore with examples of liberal racism.  Conservatives are desperate to lose the stigmas their glorious past has weighted them down with.  And the biggest cross of all is fascism and the terrible violence of nazi Germany.

I decided to head over to Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism blog, and I found an exchange that illustrates this motivation quite clearly.  Let’s start with a comment from an anonymous reader:

My thought is, many well-intentined but not well-read liberals vaguely define the past as “right-wing” and the future as “left-wing”. If they look at any figure in the past, even one they otherwise admire and respect, and find they disagree with him about something, they can just comfortably say, “Well, since he was in the past, he’s going to have some unpleasant right-wing aspects. If he lived nowadays, he’d know better about X.”
Catch that?  Its a double whammy.  Conclude liberals are magnificently ill equipped to understand history, and also, slide in an implied attack on the nature of progress (heavily suggesting its really far more of a right wing phenomena than one might suspect).  One could find plenty of interesting things to say about just this “well-intentined” statement, but let’s move on to Jonah’s response (emphasis mine):
I think this is exactly right. This comes up several times in my book. Below are a couple examples. From page 22 of the book:
    One objection to all of this might be: So what? It’s interesting in
a counterintuitive way to learn that a bunch of dead liberals and progressives
thought this or that, but what does it have to do with liberals
today? Two responses come to mind. The first is admittedly not
fully responsive. Conservatives in America must carry their intellectual
history—real and alleged—around their necks like an albatross.

The ranks of elite liberal journalism and scholarship swell with intrepid
scribblers who point to “hidden histories” and “disturbing
echoes” in the conservative historical closet. Connections with dead
right-wingers, no matter how tenuous and obscure, are trotted out as
proof that today’s conservatives are continuing a nefarious project.
Why, then, is it so trivial to point out that the liberal closet has its
own skeletons, particularly when those skeletons are the architects of
the modern welfare state?

Jonah Goldberg, faced with the legacy of one of histories greatest monsters, has written a book to try and pass the blame onto the very people who courageously fought back.  His argument is false on its arrogant face, making the oft-expressed mistake that the nazis were socialists, and hence leftists.  He is never going to acknowledge he is wrong, or allow intelligence to escape the language of his replies and sneak into the substance.  There is no substance to speak of.

There is only a deep seated need to separate his political identity from one of the most hated enemies of humanity’s survival to walk the planet.

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33 Responses

  1. History is trivial until it is re-written and used as a weapon against one’s enemies. Interesting…

  2. But remember, his is a serious argument in a long book, so we must consider it…

    False.

  3. I think Jon Swift said it bes on his blog, more than that, he enlisted the help of some useful conservative kittens to explain what the book is really all about.

  4. It’s ridiculous because obviously you go to the right enough you get nationalism and fascism, and you go left enough you get socialism and communism. Theres no need to call the left fascist when you could just call them socialists or communists. Although luckily I think most people in both parties are pretty far from both. It’s like because the nazis use socialist in their names it makes them socialists. I would say true conservatism (classic liberalism) is neither fascist or socialist because you need more government control for either of those two systems. But I think we all know most conservatives today are just neo cons who preach small government until they have the power, then allow the money to be funneled to the rich. But i am pretty stupid and could be completely wrong.

  5. That’s probably a bit over simplified but hey what can you do

  6. But I do think communism and fascism have similarities. Both promote the whole over the individual rights. Both are government power grabs. Basically two different systems of achieving the same means of war, by creating an enemy real or not. Usually probably not. Ultimately I think on a political spectrum they meet.

  7. It is no wonder the establishment utilises this projection, they did after all persecute the left after WWII while recruiting many hundreds if not thousands of Nazis. Domestically and abroad.

    Brian, conservatism is not liberalism, classic or otherwise.

    The drive for small government without a redistributive phase (of both wealth and power ie democracy) is simply a con to allow the weathly to maintain their accumulated capital. That’s why it is subtly pushed (often under the shiny guise of ‘libertarianism’ which in the working class is like a turkey voting for Christmas, that’s of course if anyone says ‘working class’ which seems verboten in mainstream discourse) and gets repeated by so many Americans who think socialism is a perjorative synonym for tryranny. An end result of the post war purge and cultural manipulation still apparent from the ‘red scare’.

  8. To a certain point people should be allowed to get rich. They provide a service we need or want at a price we are willing to pay. Hence they work hard and come up with a good idea, they can make money. But when you say we should steal from rich to give to the poor, that is a form of collectivism, not individualism/ Basically today the banks in collusion with the government have a monopoly on creating money, which is really where most of the problems start. That is what creates inflation and devalues the dollar, which are a result of the same thing, more money in circulation. While at the same time congress doesnt raise taxes, atleast not as much as they spend(except through inflation, an invisible tax), because that would get them voted out of office, but they still spend money they dont have that the fed kindly prints up for them for a small service fee, because that gets them re elected. we have a form of monopoly capitalism. not true competition capitalism, which benefits society.

  9. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. _ Thomas Jefferson

    “I sincerely believe … that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” jefferson

    “All the perplexities, confusion and distresses in America arise not from defects in the constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.” john adams in a letter to jefferson

    [The] abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit…. In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holdings illegal, as was done in the case of gold…. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves…. [This] is the shabby secret of the welfare statist’s tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the ‘hidden’ confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights.” alan greenspan

  10. Oh Brian! Enjoy!

  11. ok……what are you trying to say…

  12. Sounds like another Ron Paul bashing brian. Even though you give credible sources it’s the fact that it’s what Ron Paul believes (not your sources) that discredits your sources.

    I was asked on this site “is there a state Ron Paul can actually win in” and after watching the Louisana debacle (days latter still no definite winner but looks like Paul) and the non-mention in the media of his second place in NV, it becomes more apparent that to point the question would be to ask “is there a state in which he will actually be allowed to win”?

    Yea fuckin yea I know conspiracy right. The debate tonight was more censoring by not mentioning him and not placing his picture with the other candidates for the commercials leading up to the debate to the ridiculous disproportionate amount of received questions compared to men of lesser candidate status. This country is screwed and just getting stripped now. It’s not easy to remove a stripped screw. Good luck to all of us.

  13. “The drive for small government without a redistributive phase (of both wealth and power ie democracy) is simply a con to allow the weathly to maintain their accumulated capital.”

    First off this wasn’t intended to be a democracy, ever!

    “A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good).”

    “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.” – ARISTOTLE

    “Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time.” – E.B. White

    “Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.” -Gandhi

    That covers my gambit of credible sources.

  14. The funny thing is you can find pages of quotes from jefferson and others on the subject and why it is such a danger. They tried a fiat currency and take a guess what they got? Runaway inflation! what a shocker. Hence they wrote gold and silver into the constitution.

  15. Liberals hate this book, because it will expose them for who they really are.

    How many people here have actually read this book? If you have not, then please hold off all criticism and reviews. Otherwise it’s like someone giving a review of Moby Dick by just reading the title and discussing it like they actually know what the author wrote about.

    It’s a typical liberal move, yell and scream about something without knowing all the facts or contents.

    Moby Dick is a book about the porn industry, right?

  16. No Jake it exposes old Jonah for what he is, a moron. Why pay for a book that is 1) a smear job, 2) a contradiction in terms.

    The man doesn’t know what a definition is, why should I trust him to tell me the truth. Has he been right about anything? The answer is that his record is 0-100, and that is a poor record indeed.

    Please tell me what revealed truths old Jonah has uncovered?

    As for “typical liberal moves” you obviously have never seen or heard Limbaugh, Beck or O’Reilly.

  17. “As for “typical liberal moves” you obviously have never seen or heard Limbaugh, Beck or O’Reilly.”

    It’s all so apparent. For every right mouthpiece there is a left mouthpiece. For every mouthpiece there is an agenda to be followed and that agenda is to split the parties thereby splitting the people. The effect of this parting is a lack of cooperation of the people to unite against the wrongs being perpetrated against the citizenry.

    There has been created a rift. It has become more important to smaller minds to be party loyal than country loyal. We are and will be feeling the effects of this separation for many years to come if people are going to keep siding with their party over their people.

    Good luck!

  18. Since I am not a member of either, I would agree with you. But this had to go beyond spreading the blame to one side or the other. We have to confront these jackholes, or else they go unchallenged and unhinged.

    Sad state of affairs….

  19. Michael D, show me the liberal radio hosts who match Limbaugh. Show me the tv talk show hosts who match O’Reilly. Not everything is balanced.

    Jake,
    Just writing a book doesn’t make you credible. If I wrote a book called “Why people named jake are serial killers”, would you find it so easy to say “just read the book?”. Goldberg’s argument is not an honest one. As ralfast said, its blatantly a contradiction in terms.

    Its just another case of conservatives projecting their own problems onto their perceived enemies.

  20. If a Democrat/Independent presidential candidate had at least a few similar views, I would seriously consider supporting this person. Am a diehard Republican, no, but I do stand firm with my principals and values.

    If you actually watch or listen to O’Reilly or Beck (Limbaugh is a little out there) with an open mind, they do make good points, based on facts. They are open to debates solely based on facts. If a guest just rambles for example about global warming and has Al Gore as their source, well of course they lose all credibility. Time and time again, a liberal will not debate based on facts, but only on emotion.

    Ralfast said:
    “No Jake it exposes old Jonah for what he is, a moron. Why pay for a book that is 1) a smear job, 2) a contradiction in terms.”

    I would say you probably purchase the NY Times and that would make you a hypocrite.

  21. If you actually watch or listen to O’Reilly or Beck (Limbaugh is a little out there) with an open mind, they do make good points, based on facts. They are open to debates solely based on facts. If a guest just rambles for example about global warming and has Al Gore as their source, well of course they lose all credibility. Time and time again, a liberal will not debate based on facts, but only on emotion.

    This is an interesting, and tired, gambit. The equation of liberalism with emotion, and “conservatism” with reason. (Even though, ironically, liberalism aims to expose all social institutions to the yoke of reason, whereas conservatism is supposed to be an appeal to the wisdom of tradition–in other words, a non-rational argument.)

    And yet, every time I see someone make this claim, they never provide evidence or examples. I guess the closest they come is naming a scapegoat, such as Al Gore. But, of course, their reaction to Gore is ultimately emotional in nature and not rational–indeed, why would citing the former vice President mean one loses all credibility? Heck, even a libertarian skeptic can get done with the Gore (http://www.affdoublethink.com/archives/2008/02/25/i_want_to_belie.php)

    Anywhow, since you began your post with an invocation of values and principles, what, sir, are they? What good point has Glenn Beck made, in your estimation?

  22. I do watch O’Reilly, and a little Beck. He mixes good points with ludicrous points, facts with distortions and blatant lies. A little sugar helps the medicine go down (in this case, poison).

    A man who cuts off those who disagree so readily is not a man interested in honest debate.

    The idea that liberals debate based on emotion is utter bullshit. Got evidence for that? Of course not.

    What on earth would make you say that about Ralfast? Does anyone here purchase *any* newspapers? What makes you think if they do, that Ralfast specifically would buy the NYTimes?

  23. There have been some tremendous reviews of Jonah Goldberg’s steaming pile of crap. Dave Neiwart, cited in the first link, has done a fantastic job demolishing Goldberg’s thesis with thousands of words of carefully cited historical argument. Mike Tomasky rings in the new month with another fine review at the New Republic:

    http://www.tnr.com/booksarts/story.html?id=d6977c2f-4788-468e-8f63-2e92109320fe&p=1

    There is also a nice treatment of the book in American Conservative:

    http://www.amconmag.com/2008/2008_01_28/review.html

  24. Why would I buy the NY Times after Judith Miller and Michael Gordon? That ones is weak, and considering the recent track record of the NYT, false to boot!

    And by the way, I don’t traffic in such emotional appeals as fear of Muslims (Islamofacism), fear of Liberals (calling them Liberal Fascist), gays (the so called homosexual agenda), Armageddon (that one explains itself) or a dozen more appeals to emotion (mostly fear, ok, fear all the time).

    Funny thing is Jake, your only argument boils down to “I know you are but what am I”, that may have worked for Pewee Herman (before the cinema incident), but it doesn’t cut it with rational people.

    And neither of those three gentlemen have ever met facts they could not twist. I even doubt they ever met reality. They make up their own facts.

    They can’t handle the truth….and apparently neither can you!

  25. Dan,

    I agree, writing a book doesn’t make anyone or anything right. But the content is interesting to say the least. I would take the time to read a liberal book, just to see what it’s all about. I would give it a chance before completely shutting the door on the content or it’s message. This is the biggest mistake liberals make, they do not study their adversary well enough. Liberals just try to force their ideals down your throat.

    Ralfast said:
    “We have to confront these jackholes, or else they go unchallenged and unhinged.”

    I find this somewhat of a contradiction of terms. Let’s see, liberals want to question the actions of government most of the time, BUT they also want to create more government.

    Come on, are you kidding me?

  26. I agree, writing a book doesn’t make anyone or anything right. But the content is interesting to say the least. I would take the time to read a liberal book, just to see what it’s all about. I would give it a chance before completely shutting the door on the content or it’s message. This is the biggest mistake liberals make, they do not study their adversary well enough. Liberals just try to force their ideals down your throat.

    In what way is it interesting?

    Jonah would have more people “giving him a chance” if there wasn’t abundant evidence that he’s not engaging in a good faith argument. This evidence stems form the mountain of historical evidence he either ignores or downplays in making his argument (which has been detailed in review after review after review; if you do not want a “liberal” review, check out the one from American Conservative).

    Jonah is making an extraordinary claim that goes against fifty years of scholarship. Doing so would require an extraordinary bit of evidence and argumentation–but he doesn’t provide it. He essentially admits towards the end of the book that this is a reverse hit on “liberals” who have called him names.

    As a final question: how and where do liberals force their ideals down your throat? You don’t have to compile a complete taxonomy, but I’d love to hear examples, just to get a picture of the world you see.

    I find this somewhat of a contradiction of terms. Let’s see, liberals want to question the actions of government most of the time, BUT they also want to create more government.

    Come on, are you kidding me?

    I realize you do not like government at all–that this is a general moral imperative with you. But that does not make your political opponents want or like government as a moral imperative. This is actually a common mistake. While liberals do believe that government can be a wise solution to a social problem (say, defense or educating the young) it isn’t the case that we’re calling for more government for everything at all times.

    Ezra Klein makes this argument far more eloquently than I have tried while rushing out of work:

    http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=02&year=2008&base_name=i_know_you_are_but_what_am_i#104505

    Absolutely not. Libertarians have a tendency to simply extrapolate their opinions out, and assume that liberals hold the same views, only with more state thrown in. This is why many act as if liberals believe the expansion of the state to be an intrinsic good, just as libertarians believe its contraction to be an end in itself. And it’s what Peter is doing here. The liberal vision on health care, however, is not the libertarian’s dream of a perfect market, checked by individual consumer preferences, but paid for by the government. Most liberals think that implausible.

    Employing the government towards a certain end is only a good if it’s the best way towards that end. Government is not an intrinsic good. But it can be useful.

  27. That one statement makes no sense what so ever. I am talking about goverment but about Jonah and his ilk.

    As for goverment, I think the big goverment/small goverment is a false paradigm. The question is whether you have working goverment vs. non working one. Clearly this one barely functions, if at all. And the reason why? Because the people running the show are criminally incompetent.

    I question the actions of the leaders in goverment. I don’t treat it (the goverment) as a monolith. Nor do I think it is inherently evil. I look at the individuals involve and see what are they doing or failing to do. You know, personal responsibility and all that jazz.

    The real irony is that people that hate goverment so much still want to be part of it and run it. Why be a member of a club you don’t like in the first place?

  28. Ralfast,
    Wait a second. Liberalism is based on pessimism, paranoia, and creating fear. Is it not?

    I agree, conservatives use fear for gain, but what group doesn’t? We’re not running around saying the world is going to end tomorrow, nor should you live that way. This isn’t Utopia, and contrary to what liberals think (and this includes my daughters who are in college) it never will be.

    Dan,
    As for O’Reilly cutting people off. I agree with that, but listen carefully and you will know why. When he does cut people off, they are debating without facts. O’Reilly will ask point blank and will not receive a direct answer; the liberal will change the subject. Watch and listen carefully. That’s his pattern.

    This is getting way off topic now. Maybe I should go read this guys book now. Just kidding.

  29. Liberalism is based on pessimism, paranoia, and creating fear. Is it not?

    No, and if you going to say something like that, you better back it up.

    On the contrary, Liberalism is based on the idea that tomorrow can be better than today, if we worked hard at it. That the breaking down of false orthodoxies “liberates” humanity and propels it forward. It is utopic in scope, and therefore flawed, but not retrograde.

    But you are. If the telecoms don’t get retroactive immunity, the terrorist will destroy the U.S. If sex is not strictly regulated, then Armageddon will rain down our collective throats. If you don’t wear a flag pin on your coat, your with the terrorist. If you have a ‘funny’ name, your a secret Muslim bent on destruction of the world.

    As for O’Reilly, I guess your watching the wrong program, because he cuts people off when he doesn’t like what he hears. Like I said O’Reilly doesn’t know what a fact is, even if it smacked him on the face.

  30. I personally don’t like bRush or O’really. The Ed Schultz show or Alan Colmbes comes to mind for similar partisan oration but those probably aren’t the best examples for my point. You may know better than me Dan as it is your ilk but my thoughts are that the liberal counterparts may just not be drawing the ratings because their drivel isn’t as highly rated as the rights mouthpieces.

  31. Good morning everyone,

    So, what should the Democrats do about Florida and Michigan? Can it really be a true election if these states are tossed to the curb?

    Josh R. & Ralfast,

    Global warming is a perfect example of forcing an issue without just cause. Where are the scientific debates? Most credible advocates of Global Warming are never in a position to debate this issue. Self appointed Global Warming Czar, Al Gore is a movie star, but has never really debated the issue. Why is that? Why did global warming advocates not participate in the International Conference on Climate Change?

    Excerpt from a Beck newsletter:
    “Despite what the mainstream media tells you, there are actually
    respected scientists who disagree with much of the fear mongering
    that many global warming advocates engage in. Glenn knows because he
    attended a conference filled with some of the best scientists in the
    land—but guess how many reporters attended the conference? One.
    Kudos to the New York Times for actually sending someone down the
    street to see what was going on.”

    I know the following link will rev some engines here:
    http://www.boycottliberalism.com/Toptenlies.htm

  32. Global warming is a perfect example of forcing an issue without just cause. Where are the scientific debates? Most credible advocates of Global Warming are never in a position to debate this issue. Self appointed Global Warming Czar, Al Gore is a movie star, but has never really debated the issue. Why is that? Why did global warming advocates not participate in the International Conference on Climate Change?

    First, the scientific debates are in the you know scientific community, via published articles and critiques of those articles. Just because it doesn’t hit the nightly news doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The result of those debates is that the vast majority of scientists believe in man-made global warming as a significant threat–there are those who doubt and who critique (many of whom paid by oil and energy companies, by the way, continuing the model created by the tobacco industry when they needed to get out of hot water), but they are the vast minority. There were also respected scientists who disputed the Copernican theory of the solar system and Newton’s laws of physics–just pointing to some pointy heads isn’t sufficient. Global warming proponents have come to their stance after thirty years of research; global warming opponents, many times, have come to their stance due to big fat checks.

    Secondly, why do you have such an emotional attachment to Al Gore? Global warming, the truth or falsity of it, is an issue that is not encompassed in one man. He has been a fantastic PR rep for the issue, but this unceasing focus on one man is simply strange.

    Finally, which conference is that? There’s not been a shortage, I don’t think.

  33. I agree, there are a lot of conferences. But, there should be a week long debate on this issue, for the general public to view on the Weather Channel.

    As for the obsession with Gore, well let’s look at this. It all started with liberals appointing him as THE ambassador to Global Warming. Or was that self appointed? The one-sided attempt at a documentary enhanced his presence as the ambassador. So yes, this content and the man himself will be the main focus of criticism in the areas that are questionable.

    For argument sake, How do we explain the drastic changes to earth in the past? What makes this any different? For the record, I do believe there is some connection, but not as drastic as promoted.

    There are people on both sides of every theory until it becomes a scientific law. Then of course you still have some lunatics that will disregard this. Until that day, we should be discussing this more like all theories.

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