Like your Liberal reader, I also have gotten about half-way through your book “Liberal Fascism” and it’s a great read. Your response to him is also very good.
But I have one concern and it was triggered again by what you said here:
Which brings us to the second complaint, that it’s just icky to talk about modern liberals like Barack Obama as somehow fascistic. I sympathize (really). But I think this has a lot to do with how we’ve (understandably) demonized the word fascist to simply mean “evil.” I think I’ve gone to enormous lengths to insist that is not how I’m using the word. And so if it makes you feel better to use some other word or phrase – totalitarian, socialistic, collectivist, “political religion” or even “progressive” – that’s fine. But I actually think that if people can get beyond the superficial and emotional connotation of the word “fascist” there’s a very strong case to make that it’s more appropriate than most of the others.
You make the point brilliantly that Fascism is a Left-wing movement. But you may be trying too hard to disarm your opponents on the Left by trying to disassociate Fascism from evil.
The reason we should be on guard against Fascism is because it is opposed to the free expression of individual liberty as we lead our lives. Fascism in all its forms attempts to put us in a straight jacket, always and everywhere “for our own good.” It not only tells us an innumerable number of things we can’t do, but also tells us an equally long list of things we must do. That is not the concept behind the founding of America. In fact, it is a subversion of the American ideal.
But if we remove the taint from Fascism by implying that Fascism is morally neutral, are we not making the same mistake that apologists for Communism have historically made: that it’s a great concept that really has not been tried yet? For them, all past Revolutions were hijacked by unscrupulous men, and we should try it again with better people in charge.
The problem with all collectivist ideologies is that they are premised on a mistaken view of human nature. The genius of America’s founding is that those who created the constitutional checks and balances understood the inherent fallen nature of man very well, seeing in themselves the flaws of all humanity.
Fascism is evil because it is the opposite of freedom. It should be demonized.