Goldberg, Coulter, and Savage

Liberal Fascism Goldberg, Kevin Holtsberry, and Steve Dillard take exception to the assertion in my recent post on The Conservative Minority that “the modern Conservative Moment seems to be dominated by the shrill nonsense of Coulter and Jonah Goldberg and Michael Savage and Neil Boortz.”

First, it’s a good sign that conservatives at least recognize that being associated with these people is counterproductive.

As for Goldberg, the inclusion is perhaps too broad. He’s taken over as editor of NRO’s The Corner and he’s one of the more temperate voices there. Stylistically, he’s not a bomb thrower in the mold of Coulter, let alone a flaming nutbag like Savage.

He’s on the list almost exclusively by virtue of his book, Liberal Fascism, and the recent controversy over it. While I get the desire to rebut the notion that Fascism is right-wing phenomenon and therefore somehow comparable to American mainstream conservatism, the argument that American liberals are proto-Fascists is quite silly. The use of inflammatory titles, while an excellent publicity vehicle for selling books, is decidedly unhelpful if one’s purpose is to advance serious argument.

There is, however, a stark difference between Coulter, who seriously argues that liberals are traitors, fascists, or whathaveyou, than cutesy publicity stunts.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    I think you need to make your case that the modern left is “proto-fascists”. Like the Fascists, they embrace the socialist concept of solving problems through the government. Look at the health care plans such as Hillary using the power of the state to garnish people’s wages who dare to prefer not to want health insurance. They have the preferences for the gender/class/races they will promote at the expense of those that aren’t preferred. And while they are not as physical in their thugishness, take a look at their politically correct enforcement methodologies and see if you can’t spot the parallels of making people keep their mouth shut or else.

  2. Anderson says:

    Like the Fascists, they embrace the socialist concept of solving problems through the government

    YAJ, that is not a “socialist” concept of government; that is a “government” concept of government.

    Other than those imposed by brute force, governments exist because they are thought to be useful at solving particular social problems. Defense, for instance.

    The argument as to which problems should be addressed by government is a meritorious one, but silly comparisons like Goldberg’s, and yours, don’t help.

  3. floyd says:

    “American liberals are proto-Fascists”.

    ’nuff sed!

  4. legion says:

    Like the Fascists, they embrace the socialist concept of solving problems through the government.

    Anderson’s perfectly legitimate comment aside, how is this different from anything conservatives have been trying to do for the last 8 years?

    They don’t want to make “less” government, they want to use government to make themselves and their rich friends richer. Discussions about who liberals want to use government to benefit directed to /dev/null. Goldberg is simply trying to redefine ‘fascism’ to cover ‘people he doesn’t like’; nothing more, nothing less.

  5. happyGOP says:

    And let’s not forget that today’s GOP also fits nicely under Big Govt too, think Schiavo, Medicare expansion, faith initiatives (remember Goldberg says today’s fasicsts are ‘nice’), war as morality by other means, and SO ON!

    So please don’t embarrass yourself further, dear commenters, by pretending the Left is fascist when the GOP has bloated the Govt in the name of morality every bit as much if not more. Amen!

  6. Steve Plunk says:

    Anderson and legion both seem to making the argument for smaller government. I whole heartedly agree. The fact that the ‘conservatives’ in power forgot that tidbit doesn’t make any less a part of the conservative philosophy.

    Both sides have their more extreme views. I hardly see anything wrong with people like Coulter and others (not Savage, why would anyone consider him a conservative?) countering the nonsense coming from the left. It seems it has become very mainstream to call for impeachment (no real mention of charges or the fact of congressional acquiescence), fully socialized medical care, and other liberal ideas that would have been considered un-American twenty years ago. In such a tumultuous time we should expect extreme voices to be the loudest.

    I had mentioned before that Goldberg’s inclusion as some sort of conservative radical was unjust. He is raising questions and pointing out similarities that are very real and very dangerous. It’s the kind of thought provoking debate that should be taking place. Trying to silence him seems….fascist?

  7. Casey Bowman says:

    You write, “[Goldberg’s] argument that American liberals are proto-Fascists is quite silly.

    Do you also think that F. A. Hayek was “silly” in his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom?

    Must we relive history? That’s what’d be really silly.

  8. Tlaloc says:

    While I get the desire to rebut the notion that Fascism is right-wing phenomenon and therefore somehow comparable to American mainstream conservatism,

    That’s valid- there is a difference between fascism and run of the mill conservativism. A very real difference.

    But fascism is distinctly on the right, just as communism is on the left, and denying that fact beclowns the utterer, as Jonah Goldberg could attest, were he not a ridiculous caricature of a human being.

  9. legion says:

    Anderson and legion both seem to making the argument for smaller government.

    Um, no, not exactly. I won’t speak for Anderson, but I was trying to point out that_neither_ party is actually for “smaller” gov’t; they’re both for reducing the influence of the other guys, and any politician who claims otherwise is a stone liar.

    Coulter is an idiotic harpy whose only interest is in remaining in the public eye by flinging childish insults. Goldberg is exactly the same, except that he’s less… photogenic. Neither of them has any real intellectual grasp of what the hell they’re talking about, but are surrounded by people who gleefully tell them how wonderful they are.

    We’re not trying to directly silence Goldberg, we’re trying to shame intelligent people into ignoring such blowhards, rather than legitimizing their drivel.

    And Savage – well, he’s just rock-brained bigot.

  10. mike/ says:

    Why does everyone believe that Goldberg, Savage, Coulter, et al are “conservatives”? Because they call themselves “conservatives”?

    The most common of definitions of conservatism are

    1.The inclination, especially in politics, to maintain the existing or traditional order.
    2. A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order.

    These people don’t fit the definitions as stated. They are activist [in the extent that they support judges who will approve their agenda only, the hell with the Constitution]; they support government interference [see the Schiavo mention above]; they create and use traditions to meet their own needs [like the marriage arguments they use] ; they certainly didn’t oppose the sudden change in the established order that the Bush/Cheney administration along with the fundamental christianists led over the last 7 years, not to mention the last 25; and they certainly changed the existing order [we have fewer and fewer rights and freedoms than we ever had].

    Now, “fascism” – that’s conservative…

  11. James Joyner says:

    there is a difference between fascism and run of the mill conservativism. A very real difference.

    But fascism is distinctly on the right, just as communism is on the left

    I think that’s right. Ultimately, they’re both extremes and I’ve long thought that a circle –where they meet — rather than a line where they’re extreme opposites is the better depiction.

  12. Derrick says:

    Both sides have their more extreme views. I hardly see anything wrong with people like Coulter and others (not Savage, why would anyone consider him a conservative?) countering the nonsense coming from the left. It seems it has become very mainstream to call for impeachment (no real mention of charges or the fact of congressional acquiescence), fully socialized medical care, and other liberal ideas that would have been considered un-American twenty years ago. In such a tumultuous time we should expect extreme voices to be the loudest.

    There are so many silly things that I can take from this quote, but when a Republican uses impeachment as an example of nonsense from the left, they deserve a medal in chutzpah.

  13. Derrick says:

    James,

    I had to write a separate post without the snark, so I can again commend on your reasonableness in the face of this crazy partisan environment. It astounds me that Jonah can’t see how extreme (and inaccurate) the premise of his book is. At least Coulter says her drivel with a hint of tongue in cheek extremism, but Jonah actually believes that equating Fascism with Liberalism is a real intelligent argument that should be debated on the merits. Even as a liberal, I used to defend the guy a bit when other liberals deemed him a bit of an simple-minded twit but his book has proven them pretty right.

    I’m a liberal who actually respects and welcomes a number of conservative principles, especially in areas where liberalism has shown its clear limits. So here’s to hoping that conservatives can wrestle back their ideology from these frauds.

  14. Porquin Panko says:

    Well, this from “Road to Serfdom” is very silly.

    Hayek on the 1945-51 Labour Govt in Britain.

    “The most serious development is the growth of a measure of arbitrary administrative coercion and the progressive destruction of the cherished foundation of British liberty, the Rule of Law…. [E]conomic planning under the Labour government [has] carried it to a point which makes it doubtful whether it can be said that the Rule of Law still prevails in Britain…”

  15. Jason says:

    It’s quite apparent that none of you have actually read the book, at least not beyond the cover. Do any of you actually know who coined the term “Liberal Fascists” for example?

  16. Jason says:

    But fascism is distinctly on the right, just as communism is on the left

    That’s generally asserted, but it’s rarely explained. So why do you think it’s the case that fascism is “right-wing”? Because your high school history teacher told you so? Please elaborate.

  17. James Joyner says:

    It’s quite apparent that none of you have actually read the book, at least not beyond the cover.

    If one titles a book about mainstream Democrats “TTreason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism” or about mainstream Republicans “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right” I feel perfectly entitled to dismiss them offhand.

    Do any of you actually know who coined the term “Liberal Fascists” for example?

    H.G. Wells, a sci-fi writer. So what?

    But fascism is distinctly on the right, just as communism is on the left

    That’s generally asserted, but it’s rarely explained. So why do you think it’s the case that fascism is “right-wing”? Because your high school history teacher told you so? Please elaborate.

    Some things are definitionally true. Fascism and National Socialism emphasize the collective, duty to the state, and a totalitarian devotion to the Leader. That’s pretty much what “right-wing” means.

    Mainstream American conservatism is not “right-wing,” although it is right-of-center.

  18. Steve Plunk says:

    Derrick,

    Please indulge us and instead of saying what you could do, do it. Take my statement and pull those “silly things” out and expose me, please. It frustrating to hear how one can make a good argument but for some reason doesn’t.

    In particular lay out the case for impeachment in a reasonable manner.

  19. Jason says:

    So, H.G. Wells was just a science fiction writer, and fascism is right-wing just because it is.

    Your response couldn’t have been any less compelling. Try again.

  20. steve says:

    But fascism is distinctly on the right, just as communism is on the left

    Any political taxonomy that posits these functionally identical ideologies as opposite extremes is severely flawed. At the very least other ways of viewing politics that place these two ideologies much closer to one another shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

    H.G. Wells, a sci-fi writer. So what?

    But he wasn’t ONLY a sci-fi writer, he was a leading leftist intellectual of his day giving a speech to the Young Liberals club at Oxford University. So what? His opinions especially when expressed before such an audience about Fascism, liberalism and their relation to one another have a lot of weight and are indicative of what liberals of that time thought themselves.. Goldberg isn’t alone stating that there is a connection between progressivism and fascism. Fascists and Progressives alike from that pre-war time period stated so themselves. After the war of course liberals weren’t as keen as they had been previously to draw such parallels, but that doesn’t make them go away.

    Some things are definitionally true. Fascism and National Socialism emphasize the collective, duty to the state, and a totalitarian devotion to the Leader. That’s pretty much what “right-wing” means.

    OK,the writer gets to define his terms. But are you consistent in applying them? Are FDR and JFK who emphasized the collective, duty to the state and engendered personality cults “right wing”? Are Reagan and Goldwater who emphasized the individual against the collective, and sought to limit the authority of the state “left wing”? (I’ll grant you personality cults for them too though 😉 OR do you change definitions mid-debate to keep functionally similar ideologies like communism, fascism & progressivism at opposite ends of a spectrum while functional opposites like libertarianism and fascism get lumped together?

  21. James Joyner says:

    OR do you change definitions mid-debate to keep functionally similar ideologies like communism, fascism & progressivism at opposite ends of a spectrum while functional opposites like libertarianism and fascism get lumped together?

    I’m not defining terms, just using them as they have been since coinage.

    As noted elsewhere in this thread, I’ve always thought left wing/right wing was a flawed construct, because it implies that they’re extreme opposite ends of a continuum rather than mirror images of one another. In my view, Nazism/Fascism and Stalinist Communism are peas in a pod.

    I think FDR, JFK, Reagan, and Goldwater were all Classical Liberals with relatively minor differences in the grand scheme. FDR was the most collectivist of the lot and Goldwater the most individualist but that’s within the rather narrow band of ideology that occupies the mainstream of American politics.

  22. Michael says:

    That’s generally asserted, but it’s rarely explained. So why do you think it’s the case that fascism is “right-wing”? Because your high school history teacher told you so? Please elaborate.

    Fascism is about concentrating power, while socialism is about distributing wealth. The two are not mutually exclusive. For example, a Communist government’s authority comes from it’s concentrated power to distribute wealth.

    Medicare is a socialist ideal, while a unitary executive is fascist ideal. A progressive income tax is socialist, warrant less domestic spying is fascist.

  23. CS says:

    I’m not defining terms, just using them as they have been since coinage.

    Really? Because Steve just provided an example of a leading liberal/progressive intellectual that was a contemporary of the fascist movement, speaking approvingly of it.

    Not only speaking approvingly of it, H.G. Wells wanted to re-name Liberalism as “Liberal Fascism” or otherwise, “Enlightened Nazism”.

    If you’d read the book, or researched the issue in the slightest, instead of just going by the “accepted” definitions of those who want to bury their heritage, you’d know that.

    Let’s try some other exapmles…

    Does the Progressives’ standing at the forefront of the eugenics movement makes them “right-wing”?

    Are campus “speech codes” a project of the right or the left?

    And the most salient point, of course, is that the Nazis were the “National SOCIALIST Party”

  24. legion says:

    And the most salient point, of course, is that the Nazis were the “National SOCIALIST Party”

    Riiight. And North Korea is more correctly known as ‘The Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Korea’. If _that’s_ your (and Goldberg’s) ‘most salient point’ – that because the Nazis came to power under the guise of being leftists, then modern liberals are fascists – you need to get out more.

  25. CS says:

    Medicare is a socialist ideal, while a unitary executive is fascist ideal. A progressive income tax is socialist, warrant less domestic spying is fascist.

    Hey, glad to see folks on the left getting with the program.

    Woodrow Wilson (the progressive Democrat)carried out warrantless surveillance, he was a proponent of segregation, pushed through the Sedition Act, criminalizing dissent, and used it to imprison dissidents.

    Fascism is about concentrating power, while socialism is about distributing wealth. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    Indeed, the latter is DEPENDENT on the former,so although it is an oversimplification, it is nonetheless broadly true that while not all fascists need to be socialists, all socialists need to be fascists (if they are to have any success). See, e.g., FDR’s court packing scheme, which was a naked power grab to centralize power to push through his “progressive” agenda.

  26. Michael says:

    while not all fascists need to be socialists, all socialists need to be fascists (if they are to have any success).

    Not true, Medicare doesn’t require fascism, nor does a progressive income tax. Many European governments right now implement socialist ideals without the need of fascism. Fascism is only necessary when the socialist ideals are not popular.

  27. CS says:

    …the Nazis came to power under the guise of being leftists…

    Of course, the point isn’t that they came to power “under the guise” of being leftists. It’s that they were leftists. Their policies were thoroughly collectivist (as opposed to individualist & classically liberal) throughout the party’s history, not just at the beginning. From their health care program to their embrace of racial identity politics, to the ideological insistence on every individual’s duty for service to the Reich… they were collectivists, pure and simple.

  28. CS says:

    Many European governments right now implement socialist ideals without the need of fascism.

    This is completely question-begging. The whole premise is that socialism and fascism are both collectivist, left-wing ideologies whose differences are little more than skin deep (like a 90’s Buick Skylark and Pontiac Trans-Am, to use an admittedly dumb analogy) European socialism isn’t explicitly racialist, but neither was Italian Fascism. Yet progressive taxation is a feature of Italian Fascism, modern Europe, and the modern American liberal platform. Italian fascism wasn’t big on national health care, but modern Europe, modern American liberals and the Nazis all were. Hence, the argument is that the practice of “socialist” ideals in Europe is a form of “fascism”… popular, nationalistic, collectivist.

    …Fascism is only necessary when the socialist ideals are not popular…

    Huh? The fascists swept to power precisely because they were EXTREMELY popular.

  29. Tlaloc says:

    Of course, the point isn’t that they came to power “under the guise” of being leftists. It’s that they were leftists.

    except for the part where that’s not true. Big companies like IBM raced to cooperate with the Nazis. Why? Because they were able to make record corporate profits.

    Geee… “record corporate profits” thats a term you associate with socialism all the time, right?

  30. I hesitate to enter this pissing contest, but definitionally, how can someone who called themselves National Socialists be “right wing,” unless the word is just a talisman to be used for guilt by association?

  31. Tlaloc, you are confusing big business with capitalism. They aren’t synonymous. See Bill Gates and Microsoft, or Google, or Warren Buffett for instance. Once most businesses get big, rent seeking monopolistic tendencies seem to set in. That’s not a problem caused by capitalism or even big business, but a government willing to grant those rents for a fee. Seems like an argument for smaller government to me, not bigger government.

  32. steve says:

    I think FDR, JFK, Reagan, and Goldwater were all Classical Liberals with relatively minor differences in the grand scheme. FDR was the most collectivist of the lot and Goldwater the most individualist but that’s within the rather narrow band of ideology that occupies the mainstream of American politics.

    I don’t think the policies and political philosphies represented by FDR and Goldwate are a particularly “narrow band”, Sure there are further extremes to be found but I think your underestimating the gap between the two.

    And the point remains: within that “narrow band” which one would you place on the “left” or “right”? By the definitions you claim are the ones used since coinage Goldwater is clearly to the left and FDR is to his right. That doesn’t seem to reflect the actual use since coinage.

  33. CS says:

    Big companies like IBM raced to cooperate with the Nazis. Why? Because they were able to make record corporate profits

    C. Austin ably rebuts this point, but I would also add a couple of other points.

    1) Assuming your “record corporate profits” is true, it disproves your point. The extent to which corporations rushed to cooperate was the result of their profit motive, not shared political affinity.

    2) See, Archer Daniels Midland. A modern American corporation that owes a huge share of its profits to our socialist farm subsidy policies.

    3) See, EADS and any of a number of other companies that are wholly or partially owned by socialist governments that subsidize their operation.

  34. CS says:

    “record corporate profits” thats a term you associate with socialism all the time, right

    Actually, one thing I do associate with socialism is government intervention in, and control over, the economy.

    Intervention can take several forms… nationalization, subsidization, price controls, mandates, etc. All of these methods are at home in both socialist and fascist governments. Moreover, many of these types of intervention can mean “record corporate profits” for one company over another (see C. Austin’s discussion of monopolistic tendencies and rent seeking).

  35. steve says:

    Not true, Medicare doesn’t require fascism.

    Yes, but Medicare isn’t the sum total of Socialism. The previously made point was that “Socialism is about redistributing wealth”, and that “fascism is about concentrating power”. But socialism is not just about redistributing wealth but about *government* redistributing wealth. (Voluntary redistribution of wealth is called “charity” and isn’t nearly so controversial). A government that enforces wealth redistribution is by necessity a very powerful one. Thus if the earlier observation is true that fascism is about concentration of power, and socialism is about redistribution of wealth then it follows that all socialists must be fascist (they need the concentration of power to redistribute the wealth), but not all fascists need be socialist (they don’t need to use their concentrated power to redistribute wealth).

    As it turns out though fascism was about more than just concentrating power (authoritarianism or totalitarianism) but it was a comprehensive political philosophy with it’s own theory of economics. It was “corporatist” which, no, does not mean “government by corporations” but that business decisions are made not by business owners but by all concerned parties. Under fascism there were councils comprised of business owners, union leaders and government officials that set policy for each industry. The fascist ideal was political unity, not just power. That’s the symbolism of the fasci, a bundle of stick forming an axe: “Strength through Unity”. Those European socialist countries are in fact VERY close to the Fascist ideal in economic policy. Private enterprise exists but is heavily regulated and in partnership with labour and government. This isn’t surprising, the Fascists themselves had mostly been members of Socialist parties prior to forming the Fascist party and they saw fascism as an evolution of socialism.

  36. Tlaloc says:

    I hesitate to enter this pissing contest, but definitionally, how can someone who called themselves National Socialists be “right wing,” unless the word is just a talisman to be used for guilt by association?

    Because the name means nothing. East Germany was called the Deutschland Democratic Republic. That doesn’t make it true.

  37. Tlaloc says:

    Tlaloc, you are confusing big business with capitalism. They aren’t synonymous.

    No, my point is that big business abhors socialism. They don’t rush to invest if they think their assets will get nationalized. Notice American companies did not rush to invest in China during its heavy communism days, or in the USSR. But a number of big companies did rush to work with the Nazis. Why? Because the Nazis were pretty business friendly. Again, not something you associate with *actual* socialists.

  38. Tlaloc says:

    Actually, one thing I do associate with socialism is government intervention in, and control over, the economy.

    Then you aren’t very well versed in the matter. Government intervention is not even remotely contained to socialism. There are any number of “command economies” to prove that point.

  39. floyd says:

    “”Fascism is only necessary when the socialist ideals are not popular.””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    So there can be no objective fascism?
    I.E., you’re not in prison if you don’t care to leave?

    All government is about concentrating power.
    A little government means a little tyranny.A lot of government means a lot of tyranny.
    Socialism means a LOT of government, popular or not.

    To paraphrase the Bard;
    “What’s in a name? That which we call fascism
    By any other name would smell the same”

  40. steve says:

    Notice American companies did not rush to invest in China during its heavy communism days, or in the USSR.

    Two points.
    1) Apparently you’ve never heard of Armand Hammer. Big businesses LOVES socialism and even communism (in other countries) when their business gets the one big government contract.
    2) You’re also confusing socialism and communism. Socialism is a bit more loosely defined and encompasses a range of political philosophies. Plenty of modern day European Democratic Socialists are OK with private enterprise as long as government has a say in how it’s run (almost exactly like Fascists the before them). And plenty of big businesses are very happy with that arrangement, they’re big enough to have a seat at the table when policy is set, regulation is a barrier to entry that minimizes competition, and again, there are those big government contracts.

  41. Beldar says:

    Dr. Joyner, in the time you’ve spent defending yourself for condemning Goldberg’s book based on its title without having read it, you could have read it.

    Why don’t you read it and let us know what you think then?

  42. James,

    I have been reading, and much enjoying, Goldberg’s book. It reads like a mixture of Russell Kirk and Thomas Sowell with just a dash of P.J. O’Rourke — but no hint of the viciousness of Ann Coulter. Fact is, Goldberg makes a strong case, and at the very least there is a tremendous amount of modern sociopolitical history there — along with a warning against the Fascist within us all that I can’t believe you woulnd’t nod approvingly at. If you could be bothered to look beyond the cover.

    I have visited your site from time to time over the years, occasionally posted comments, and even won a caption contest or two. But as far as I am concerned, you have finally jumped the shark. Your attitude towards Goldberg is profoundly hypocritical for a man who keeps calling Mitt Romney “Flipper.”

    I’m with Jonah: It is no longer clear to me that I should care what you think.

  43. CS says:

    Tlaloc wrote:

    Then you aren’t very well versed in the matter. Government intervention is not even remotely contained to socialism. There are any number of “command economies” to prove that point.

    Indeed, you’re correct… Govenrment intervention is not remotely “contained to” socialism (at least as you’re defining it). One such type of government would be that of Nazi Germany, where Goering was given complete control over the German economy. Another would be Fascist Italy, where the National Council of Corporations (which was created by the government and included government officials) was given control over large sectors of the economy.

    So, to recap:

    I argued that Nazis are leftists.

    Tlaloc said I was wrong because US corporations made record profits doing business with Nazis and record profits and socialism are mutually exclusive.

    I argued (with examples) how profits and socialism are not incompatible, and the salient feature of socialism is interference in and control of the economy.

    Tlaloc said that there are other control economies besides socialist ones.

    Indeed, there are. Nazis and Fascists, to name two. Hence, back where we started… Fascism is a leftist ideology.

    This is becoming a trend in this thread. Misguided folks clinging to an outdated taxonomy inadvertently proving the point they’re trying to refute.

    Hopefully, a trend is beginning to emerge for Tlaloc, and James Joyner and legion and Michael…

    command economy… planned economy… socialism… naziism… five-year plan… four year-plan… New Deal… centralized decision-making… control —> LEFT WING

    market economy… laissez-faire… distributed decision-making… freedom —> RIGHT WING

    collectivism… socialism… fascism… progressivism… modern liberalism —> LEFT WING

    individualism… classical liberalism… conservatism —> RIGHT WING

    There really is very little whatsoever to identify fascism as a “right-wing” ideology.

  44. commie atheist says:

    I think you need to make your case that the modern left is “proto-fascists”. Like the Fascists, they embrace the socialist concept of solving problems through the government.

    Like the Nazis, Liberals want to put all jews, gypsies, slavs and homosexuals into concentration camps, as part of the “final solution to the problem of undesireables in society…

    Like Hitler and Mussolini, Hillary Clinton wants to create a New World Order that will create an American Hegemony over the lesser peoples of the earth…

    You guys are a barrel of laughs. Thanks for the entertainment!

  45. Michael says:

    Indeed, there are. Nazis and Fascists, to name two. Hence, back where we started… Fascism is a leftist ideology.

    You used Socialism to bridge the gap between Fascism and the left. You do this by associating one part of socialism, command economies, with Fascism, and another part of socialism, government services, with the American left.

    However, now you agree that Socialism can be taken out of the picture entirely, but still try to associate Fascism and the left. So now I have to ask, what non-socialist ideals do the two share?

  46. CS says:

    You used Socialism to bridge the gap between Fascism and the left.

    No. There’s no need for a bridge. They’re both on the same side of the river.

    You do this by associating one part of socialism, command economies, with Fascism, and another part of socialism, government services, with the American left.

    Actually, I associate both parts (planned economies & government services), along with other shared features, with all three: socialism, fascism and the American left.

    However, now you agree that Socialism can be taken out of the picture entirely, but still try to associate Fascism and the left.

    Not sure where I agreed to any such thing. Again (DPRK cracks notwithstanding) they were the National Socialist German Workers Party. The fact that the label “fascist” was applied to them doesn’t remove them from the left and require a fair-minded observer to come up with some new, unique justification for placing them on the left. It’s not that I’m “still trying to associate them with the left” it’s that you are trying to throw sand in people’s eyes and prevent them from seeing that they were on the left, i.e., prevent them from taking note of the fact that Nazis and the Italian Fascists were both centralizing, socializing, economy controlling, welfare-states.

    So now I have to ask, what non-socialist ideals do the two share?

    I think there’s an error in your question, which assumes that socialism is exclusively about economics — it’s not. But if you’re asking, aside from economics, what ideals that Fascism and the American progressives/leftists/liberals have in common; well, there’s:

    1. Racial essentialism (earlier, white supremacy)
    2. Fondness for eugenics (see M. Sanger)
    3. Paranoia about bankers
    4. Anti-individualism
    5. Anti-Christianism
    6. Animal rights
    7. Environmentalism
    8. Suppression of dissent (see W. Wilson)

    So, no, this isn’t a facile “they’ve got socialism in their name” argument. The commonalities are both deep and wide.

  47. Michael says:

    Actually, I associate both parts (planned economies & government services), along with other shared features, with all three: socialism, fascism and the American left.

    I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anyone on the American left ever propose a command economy. Surely you can provide a link to back that up?

    Again (DPRK cracks notwithstanding) they were the National Socialist German Workers Party.

    Yes, but you don’t label all National, German, or Workers parties as Fascist, so why does the Socialist part get all your attention?

    I think there’s an error in your question, which assumes that socialism is exclusively about economics — it’s not.

    I didn’t assume that, I previously stated that you could only link socialism to fascism by their common planned economies.

    if you’re asking, aside from economics, what ideals that Fascism and the American progressives/leftists/liberals have in common; well, there’s:

    1. Racial essentialism (earlier, white supremacy)
    Not sure what you mean here, are you implying that liberals are white supremacists?

    2. Fondness for eugenics (see M. Sanger)
    Still not sure what you mean, are you implying that liberals support eugenics?

    3. Paranoia about bankers
    I’m not sure this is a Fascist or Liberal view exclusively, I know many very conservative Republicans who don’t trust bankers either.

    4. Anti-individualism
    Again, this doesn’t seem to be a Liberal view. If anything liberals seem to be more strongly individualistic in my experience.

    5. Anti-Christianism
    Is that a Fascist thing? I know the Nazi’s were, but that was because they were pushing Norse mythology, so I think it was more a Nazi thing than a Fascist thing. Either way, it’s not a left thing, we’re not anti-christian we’re just anti-“you trying to make us christian”.

    6. Animal rights
    Seriously, that is a Fascist ideal? But now I’m curious, do you think that animal rights are a bad thing? For example, do you think dog fights are okay?

    7. Environmentalism
    Right, only Fascists and Liberals care about the world they live in. Give it a break, you’re just taking every right-wing talk show bogeyman and trying to label it as a Fascist and Liberal ideology, aren’t you?

    8. Suppression of dissent (see W. Wilson)see G.W. Bush too.

  48. CS says:

    Perhaps there’s an opportunity here…

    6. Animal rights
    Seriously, that is a Fascist ideal? But now I’m curious, do you think that animal rights are a bad thing? For example, do you think dog fights are okay?

    You seem to think that the point of “Liberal Fascism” and my arguments, is to tar liberalism as “bad” by linking it to Nazis. Now, while I definitely am a man of the right, and generally oppose leftism, that is not to say that everything about leftism is bad, and that includes fascism. It should also be emphasized that the point of the argument is first and foremost a matter of historical and intellectual accuracy — a desire to bring the truth to light. Liberals adopted the name “liberal” following the Nazi experience, largely in an attempt to bury their heritage. That’s a normal political instinct, but it does a disservice to the truth. Biologists will reclassify organisms when they realize that their taxonomy is in error. Historians and political scientists should do the same.

    (With respect to animal rights in particular, certainly people should avoid cruelty to animals, and most especially unnecessary cruelty. But there is a difference between setting forth human moral duties and establishing animal rights… so yes, there are some problems with animal rights)

    Now, returning to the rest of your post:

    I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anyone on the American left ever propose a command economy. Surely you can provide a link to back that up?

    Again, we’re talking matters of degree… The more control the further left you’re moving… but since you asked.

    Woodrow Wilson established the War Industries Board, which pretty much nationalized industry and converted it to war production, fixing prices, establishing allowed profit, etc. Virtually all of the New Deal programs were about government-controlled economic planning, but to take one example, FDR’s Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 set cultivation limits on wheat, even for private consumption (see, Wickard v. Filburn) in an effort to stabilize prices. Hillary Clinton is calling for 5-year (sound familiar) home mortgage interest rate freezes.

    Yes, but you don’t label all National, German, or Workers parties as Fascist, so why does the Socialist part get all your attention?

    Because my point is to highlight that the Nazis were leftists, and we all agree that socialism is a leftist ideology.

    For my list of non-economic likenesses, check out Goldberg’s book, or just do some poking around.

    1. Racial essentialism: Roughly speaking, the idea that group identity is more important than individual identity is a staple of today’s liberal politics. To take just one example, Michael Jordan’s son would get preferential treatment under affirmative action by virtue of his race, despite the fact that he, as an individual, comes from a very privileged background. And yes, many early progressives, including Woodrow Wilson, were indeed white supremacists.

    2. Eugenics: Check out Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) and Charles Van Hise (FDR advisor and President of Univ. of Wisconsin — think of him as the wet-nurse in the cradle of the progressive movement). Both progressives, and both strong proponents of eugenics.

    3. Paranoia about bankers: Probably not the strongest example, since the common thread is more along the lines of populism… but still steeped in class-warfare.

    4. Anti-Individualism: I’m not talking about being “yourself” or a “non-conformist”. I’m talking about subordinating the individual to the collective. See “It Takes a Village” by HRC and her insistence that “We need to get past the notion that there’s any such thing as ‘someone else’s child.” This is the tyranny of collectivism kicking in the door of the American family, and nobody seemed to notice.

    5. Anti-Chrisitanism. Purging Christianity from the public square was common to Nazis, Communists and the American Left. I’d love to believe that the left is just “anti-you-trying-to-make-us-christian”, but that hardly explains the ACLU’s efforts w/rt nativity scenes, etc. More academically speaking, you cannot have “render unto Caesar that which is his, and render unto God that which is his” when EVERYTHING must be rendered unto Caesar.

    8. Suppression of Dissent: Now you’re just being silly. GWB did not pass an Anti-Sedition Act. GWB hasn’t jailed anyone for criticizing the government, much less one of his presidential opponents (See, Eugene V. Debs). However, since you mentioned it, Goldberg is one of the people that have noted that GWB is a very “Wilsonian” president, and certainly his “compassionate conservatism” is far more leftish than Reagan-conservatism.

  49. CS says:

    Pardon me… Van Hise was a TR advisor, not FDR.

  50. jm says:

    American conservatives say so much nonsense disguising as political thinking that it has become more entertainment than substantive political discourse. Take everything they say about those on the other side of the dumbed-down American political divide and throw it down a political funnel. What do you? You get the “AD
    Hominem.”

    It is pathetic that this is all they have as discourse and that this is most likely their legacy.