An excerpt of an email, from reader:
For what it’s worth, Jonah, back in the early seventies the few, the happy few, the band of brothers (and sisters) who were U of M’s little Social Democrats, USA chapter used to wander around campus and on the more egregious postings scrawl “left fascism.” It provoked a few discussions and yes, back then, too, the leftists seemed to think that “fascism” meant “really conservative.” (Did you ever see that poster with the spurious Hitler quote about rioting in the universities and how we need law and order? I tried pointing out that in 1932, the date of the alleged quotation, the only people rioting in the streets or on campuses were Hitler’s supporters but you know the renowned leftist open-mindedness.) I’m in the middle of the book and enjoying it immensely. I am a little disappointed–this is not a criticism; you can’t do everything in one book–that you didn’t give more play to A. James Gregor’s book. It had a lot of influence on me and helped me understand that in a real sense the closest we’ve had in the US to a fascist movement was not Huey Long but the New Left. Of course, the first time I heard “the personal is the political” I remember thinking that another way to phrase that is “totalitarianism.”….
Me: For those who don’t know, A. James Gregor is probably the single most respected mainstream academic making the case for the fascist nature of Communist regimes. From Mao’s “Chinese way” to the inherent national-socialism of Stalinism, Gregor argues that once you sever radical Marxism from international Communism the result is much closer to classical fascism than some never achieved “communism.” I’m simplifying, but that’s the gist. It’s heady, serious, theoretical stuff. He was a big influence on my thinking and a valuable resource. That he doesn’t appear much (he is in there) in my pages stems from the editorial decision to show not tell in the book. There are lots of quotes from historians and intellectuals I could have used to back up my various arguments, particularly from Gregor, J.P. Diggins, Michael Ledeen, Friedrich Hayek, Gene Edward Veith, Ludwig von Mises and, perhaps most of all, Erik von Kuehnelt Leddihn. That I didn’t discuss their ideas and arguments at length should not be mistaken for a lack of influence on my thinking. I’ve been meaning to post my bibliographic essay on this site and hopefully I’ll be able to do it soon. It’s an enormous undertaking and very hard to figure out what to mention and what not to. But it will certainly discuss this sort of thing more.