Working my way through Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is an experience very similar to working my way through a serious college textbook. I find myself underlining phrases and passages, writing notes in the book’s margins, and marking pages with little yellow stick ’em notes.
Since this diary entry won’t pretend to be a technical “book report” nor an academic analysis, I’ll keep it short and to the point: the sharing of my thoughts. Firstly, I like this book very much. Secondly, I agree with Goldberg’s premise that Fascism is not a phenomenon of the political right, but of the political left.
This proper positioning of Fascism is also explained and graphically displayed in Rethinking the Political Spectrum, David Muller’s excellent essay recently published in the American Thinker, a short but important article I recommend highly.
While reading through the Introduction I often found myself with the sense that it was written today, not a few years ago. The points made aptly fit the news stories currently featured in our daily Drudge, or talked about here at RedState.
After discussing the nature of Fascism and its historical development, Goldberg offers his working definition of the term:
Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all these aspects of fascism.
Titled Mussolini: The Father of Fascism, this chapter offers a biographical sketch of Benito Mussolini, explains the development of his political thought and rise to power. Toward the end of the chapter we find two subsections that explore related ideas with more focus: Jacobin Fascism, and War: What Is It Good For?.
It was chilling to read just how warmly Mussolini and his Fascism were embraced by prominent Americans. But it was heartening to read that “Ernest Hemingway was skeptical of Mussolini almost from the start.” Now I have the desire to reread some Hemingway! 🙂