Book Notes 2nd Week: Will America's Real Fascists Please Stand Up?

This question is posed and pondered by Jonah Goldberg in his introduction to Liberal Fascism. I began reading his book a couple of days ago and soon found myself delving into French Revolution history because Benito Mussolini, Goldberg says, built his fascist policies on those the Jacobins put into operation while they ruled France during their Reign of Terror. Goldberg devotes his first chapter to the rise and fall of Mussolini who coined the term “totalitarian.” I learned from Goldberg that, while Mussolini was a fascist’s fascist, he also was first, foremost, and finally a socialist. Ah, the plot thickens: A fascist can also be a socialist. But, what does fascist-socialism have to do with contemporary American politics? Plenty, Goldberg says. I agree, because, as Goldberg points out, in a fascist society everybody belongs to the State, everyone is taken care of by the State, everything is in the State, and nothing can be against the State.

This has a familiar ring to it. This sounds like what Barack Obama might have in mind for this country, judging by the kind of Big Brother, intrusive, all-powerful government he champions. Could a fascist-socialist society be the kind of “transformation” that Obama repeatedly warns is coming down the pike for America? I fear that it could be.

The term liberal fascism seems an odd combination of words, until Goldberg explains what he means by it: For the classical liberal (think Thomas Jefferson) there can be no Utopia on Earth, only in the afterlife promised by God. To be a classical liberal in America one must believe in God, believe that God is the source of all power, authority, and rights and that ultimate sovereignty is vested in the citizens of the nation. For a liberal fascist, however, the all-powerful State (read centralized national government) is the source of all power, authority, and rights and individual rights are swallowed up by the State. That is, the State (the centralized national government) is the Golden Calf worshiped by liberal fascists who believe that ultimate sovereignty is vested in the government (the Golden Calf). If you doubt that they believe this, think about what happened at recent Town Hall meetings. Time after time, pompous elected representatives looked down their noses with contempt at Americans who dared question the policies their representatives are proposing and trying to implement. The same kind of contempt, emanting from similar sources, is heaped on Americans who attend Tea Parties and on those who marched on Washington on September 12.

Based on the argument Jonah Goldberg makes in Liberal Fascism, it seems obvious to me that America’s classical liberals are attending Tea Parties and Town Hall meetings. America’s liberal fascists are behind the effort to transform this country into a society in which everything is in the State, nothing is out of the State and, as the Town Hall meetings made clear, nobody can dare come against the State. Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism serves to expose the hyprocisy of those in America who hide behind the liberal label while pursuing a fascist-socialist agenda. Quite clearly, the exposure could not be timelier.