The New York Post’s John Wilson reviews the book today. Generally very positive with some entirely fair criticisms (some of which I have responses for, natch) we can discuss later. I think in some ways his review may be the most faithful summary, offered so far, of what I think the book is primarily about.
The fascists were socialists, but their rejection of abstract Marxist dogma – which called for international class warfare – allowed them to be pragmatists in co-opting (rather than smashing) pre-existing national institutions, all while appealing to a natural spiritual longing for “authenticity” and “community.”
In that core idea of a “redemptive” politics, that one can fulfill through political action one’s deepest spiritual needs, Goldberg finds an unsettling rejection of the Enlightenment-rooted autonomy of the individual – and interesting echoes (albeit “nicer” ones) in everything from JFK’s call to national service to Hillary Clinton’s nanny-state manifesto “It Takes a Village.” As Goldberg explains, “The very title of that book draws from a mythic and mythical communal past” – one that’s to be re-constructed by political force.