Liberal Fascism

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From a reader:

Dear Mr. Goldberg,

Your book “Liberal Fascism” is one of the most profound books I have read in recent years.  It is difficult to believe that someone who, unlike a former Soviet citizen such as myself, have not lived under a totalitarian regime can understand its fundamental premises and dangers so well.  The depth of your erudition and historical knowledge is truly impressive.  And I say this also as someone who has just recently defended a doctoral dissertation […] and received PhD in History.  For years I have argued in class with fellow students and professors about fascism and Nazism being phenomena of the Left.  But with the level of bias in the academia, it is almost impossible to get people to engage in a serious intellectual discourse about the totalitarian past. 

Just a few months ago, during my defense I had to patiently explain my analysis of FDR’s Soviet policy before a vituperative committee member who against overwhelming historical evidence insisted that I was distorting Roosevelt’s attitude toward Stalin and socialism in general.  I was eventually forced to point out that FDR authored the endearing phrase “Uncle Jo” with regard to the Soviet dictator and remained fully committed in his alliance with the tyrant until his death (or shortly before that when he admitted to Averell Harriman that Stalin “may not be a person to do business with”).   Evidently, the fact that in my dissertation I had detailed how FDR recognized the then first and only communist regime at the height of Holodomor in 1933 (collectivization famine which killed nearly 5 million in Ukraine alone), and was led to his decision by communist sympathizers such as William C. Bullitt (who became the first U.S. ambassador to the USSR) had very little impact on the man’s preconceived notions about FDR’s genius.  Nor did my demonstration that except FDR, most everyone, including Bullitt and State Secretary Cordell Hull who had advocated recognition of the Soviets, eventually came to believe that they had made a serious mistake by recognizing Stalin’s regime and considered themselves partially responsible for the spread of the Communist tumor in the aftermath of the World War II. 

Mr. Goldberg, your book is a groundbreaking intellectual masterpiece that should hopefully shift the paradigm on the way fascism and communism are currently viewed, and maybe, just maybe, give us a bit reprieve from the mindless use of the word “fascist” by actual fascists themselves.  Congratulations! 

[Name withheld], PhD

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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