Liberal Fascism

Who Cares? Cont’d

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg:

I am halfway through your book and enjoying it.

Here’s a potential additional answer to the “who cares” question:

If a liberal admits that he or she is, in important respects, the

intellectual heir to political ideas that led to fascism, we have a new

way to focus on that person’s views.  Does that person believe (a) that

the interests of the people as a whole (represented by the state) have

priority over the interests of individuals, (b) that government should

use expert planners to bring order and efficiency out of the chaos that

would result if people were left to themselves, (c) that government can

and should intervene in people’s lives whenever it can do good, and the

Constitution should not be interpreted to prevent this?  Does that

person support liberal leaders because he or she believes those leaders

embody these principles?  If the liberal claims to be “for the little

guy” as opposed to “corporate fatcats” (think Edwards), we can now

answer, “That’s what Hitler and Mussolini said, along with Wilson and

FDR. Are your economic policies importantly different from theirs?” 

I expect many liberals (once they discover they are not being tarred

with the Holocaust) will end up saying about Wilson and FDR, and even

about Hitler and Mussolini, what many have already said about Soviet,

Chinese, and Cuban communism: “Those guys had good ideas, but failed to

carry them out properly. My version is better and untainted by their

mistakes.”  They won’t be convinced to change their views, but everyone

will benefit from additional clarity about what those views are and how

they relate to history.  We can ask, for example, “Is it OK to

concentrate power in the hands of a potential public benefactor, despite

the risk that power will fall into the hands of a public menace?”

Another great service that your book provides is its depiction of the

progressive/fascist motivation in a non-cartoonish way.  I can’t tell

you how many people I have met (I live in Seattle to be sure) who

believe that liberals (like them) differ from conservatives because

liberals are kind and well-intentioned while conservatives are greedy

and uncaring.  My instinct is to respond, “It must be nice to be you.”

Your book explains in an adult way how progressives and fascists could

indeed be well-intentioned, but differ from other well-intentioned

people by having different priorities and goals, different responses to

the dislocations of modern life.

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