Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

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by Jonah Goldberg

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Viking Penguin
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Liberal Fascism 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 111 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating presentation of politics of the last century and the ideological pedigree of many current prominent individuals and organizations. A must read for any informed citizen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Contrary to the mindless, historically inaccurate negative reviews of this title on this site this book is a MUST read for any serious cultural historian. Backed up with extensive footnotes to his facts, Goldberg has surgically dissected the lies, distortions and fallacies of what is modern liberalism. Seeking respite in failed ideology, the left will loathe this book ardently because it exposes their corrupt and corrupting culture of hatred and lies. Absolutely one of the more important books of the early 21st century, this book will be viewed in the future as one of the larger truths written about the American way of life in the late 20th/early 21st century. The left howls when their own filth bites them, expect them to rail ceaselessly about this work. A+++.
Tunguz More than 1 year ago
There are a few things that we've learned as kids and have since taken for granted: the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, the birds fly south in the Winter, and north in the Summer, there are four seasons, seven days in week, etc. One of these truisms that almost no one questions is that communism is a left/liberal ideology while fascism is a right/conservative one. And while communism to this day has maintained a certain level of respectability and even moral high ground in some circles, labeling someone a fascist is the lowest form of insult, and something that many conservative thinkers are constantly subjected to. Therefore it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that fascism is in fact, when looked at objectively and without the baggage that it has assumed in popular perception, a quintessential left-of-center ideology. Granted, "Nazi" is in fact a shorthand for "National-socialist," but for the better part of last seventy years hardly anyone thought to emphasize the "socialist" part of the label, only the nationalism by which it was widely known. In the light of that Jonah Goldberg's book comes as a revelation that has profound effect on one's perception of the world. It is equivalent to discovering that the sun rises AND sets in the East. I was at first rather skeptical of the premise of this book, but the exhaustive, detailed and persuasive historical evidence that was presented in the book put all my misgivings aside. It documented many of the fascist tendencies and full-blown policies of some of the darlings of American left: Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. It shows that aside from the extermination of Jews, there are hardly any policies of German National-socialists that differ substantially from any other socialist movement of the time, or even today. And herein, according to this book, lies the greatest danger for the modern western democracies. By demonizing fascism as a phenomenon of the right, it leaves open the unimpeded encroachment to many fascist policies under the guise of socialist and other liberal movements. These movements don't necessarily want the full-blown fascist dictatorships installed, but they are certainly progressing in that direction. That's why they are referred to as "liberal" fascists - fascists with a smiley face. Jonah Goldberg does a remarkable job of presenting his ideas and impressions to the modern reader - always backed by facts, never overdoing the rhetoric. The book covers somewhat the similar ground as the legendary "The Road to Serfdom" by F. A. Hayek. This latter book was written in the middle of WWII, and had some of the same perceptions as "Liberal Fascism." Its thesis was to warn the Western democracies against implementing many of the social programs that led to the rise of fascism and communism in Europe at the time. It is sobering to see that many of those warnings are still relevant today, maybe even more so than in 1940s. We live in the world where both fascism and communism are rapidly recede in people's memory, and it is easy to think that what led to them could not possibly happen again. "Liberal Fascism" is a sobering reminder that the road to fascism is indeed sometimes paved with the best intentions. One final note: many of the current-events books out there don't age well, and their relevance diminishes almost as fast as that of many periodicals. This is certainly not t
Scott_for_Liberty More than 1 year ago
Anyone of the chapters in this book could serve as a primer for a complete history. I was initially worried that this would be a Republican talking points review. It is not rather a look back as to how we humans give up our freedom. This book isnt for anyone who likes either Republican or Democrat diatribes rather it is for anyone who loves liberty and is in search of its preservation. I feel sorry for those reviewers that found this book unreadable. Understanding let alone accepting some basic principles of this book could cause the reader to suffer the affects of ther political apostasy. It would be much easier to live a lie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am often asked by students why the modern-day 'political spectrum' positions Socialists on both the left and the right. If it does nothing else, this book will answer that question and show that the political spectrum begins on the far left where individual freedom is minimized and ends on the far right where individual freedom is maximized. This book helps to clarify the common misperception.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have long maintained that International Socialism (aka Communism) and National Socialism (aka Fascism)are simply 2 sides to the same totalitarian coin. After all what is 'Nazi' except a shortened term for 'National Socialist'. Goldberg proves what has always existed in our plain sight-that the Fascist movement of the early and mid 20th century was, in fact, a totalitarian 'Progressive' political phenomenon originating out of the utopian left, with a distinct 'Progressive' political agenda (i.e. minimum wage, public housing, worker protections, healthcare and even a proto-enviromentalism). It was never some reactionary reply of 'conservatives' to European Liberalism. With precision and scholarly detail he traces the early intellectual origins of Fascism in Italy and makes the vital point that Hitler and the Nazis were simply an anti-semitic strain of Fascism, unique to Germany, and that Fascism itself is not, per se, racially bigoted, but rather totalitarian, socialistic and communitarian. More importantly, Goldberg pulls the curtain back on the 70 year myth which former 'Progressives' (n/k/a 'Liberals')have constructed in America to hide their past sympathies with Fascism pre-WW II and, more importantly, to hide their adherence to Fascist methodolgy in the present-albiet with a gigantic federal government masked by a nanny state smile.(Goldberg's jacket cover of a big yellow smiley face with Hitler mustache is a riot and makes a devastatingly useful counter protest symbol-lets hope it shows up outside the Democratic convention in Denver this summer) Begining with President Wilson and thru FDR and even 1930's Hollywood, American Progressives of the era expressed an overt admiration for Mussolini's ability 'to make the trains run on time'. The Nazi death camps made such pre war intellectual associations politically poisionous in post WW II American politics. As a consequence, that association had to, and in fact, has been convieniently erased from the collective American historical memory post WW II by an all too compliant academia and media and, worse, dishonestly transposed upon the American Conservative movement without any historical basis. Such that today 'Fascist' and 'Nazi' have been wrongly conflated into 'Republican' and 'conservative' for the intelectually lazy and simple minded. Goldberg demonstrates how this modern misconception can only stem from a severe ignorance of the history of ideas in America and Europe and, specifically, from a complete ignorance of the roots of 'Fascism'. Goldberg also lays out how contemporary echos of this Fascism prevail within the the Liberal movement today, most particularly in the modern Democratic party's ceaseless effort to construct a cradle to grave nanny state-all for 'your own good'. From Hillary's Universal Healthcare to Al Gore's Global Warming zealotry Goldberg shows how today's Liberal Fascists seek to aquire political power so as to construct a 'Brave New World' of socialist utopia all for the 'collective good' but, unfortunately, at the expense of the individual freedoms bestowed to us all by the founding fathers in the US constitution. This book is a must read for anyone interested in the truth of where the Progressive/Liberal movement has been and where they would like to take us-all the while with a smile of course!
Ezekiel12224 More than 1 year ago
Liberal Fascism is well worth the price. If you are a conservative you will be equipped with many counterarguments to typical liberal talking points. If you are a liberal your ideology will likely be inconvenienced by this book but that should not stop you from reading it. I consider myself a staunch conservative but that does not stop me from reading books like Rules for Radicals. I believed this author used a tactic called cardstacking, which is when a person only chooses the historical facts that support their perspective, while leaving out any facts that hinder their argument, but that does not take away from the central thesis of this book. The point is to show the connection between progressive/ liberal ideology and the ideology of Hitler and Mussolini, which is strikingly similar in some areas. This book is original and very provocative. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldberg does a great job of explaining a very hard to understand topic. You can learn something on every page. His writing style is very readable.
seraphim24 More than 1 year ago
I started out left of center when I left High School. As I've grown older I've been mgged by reality and have been forced to the Right. This book was alarming, disturbing, shocking and enlightening. It woke me up to a sorry reality we face in America, that what we are being taught in school may not be the whole truth, but is, in fact, Liberal spin designed to indoctrinate, rather than educate. I found Goldberg's notes and biblyography (Which takes up a huge chunk of the book) to be thurogh and his facts well documented and hard to ignore.
The reality is that this is the gateway book for other eye opening books I have since read which have confirmed what Goldberg has stated in his book. Fascism and Communism are essentially the same thing, whether the totalitarian loons on the left want to admit it or not. Naturally those fully indoctrinated will reject this book. I would be suprised if any of them honestly read the book or if they just said they did so they could attack it with red herrings and ad homenum attacks. If they doubt the truhfulness of it all there's a massive bibliography to sort through. You can check his sources yourself, I did, and it has made me fully aware of the crisis we now have in indoctrination... I mean education. Next on your list of books to read should be Cleon Skousen's The Naked Comunist. There is no Utopia on the left, only 100 million dead bodies and totalitarianism, and whether by National Socialism, or International Socialism totalitarianism is totalitarianism. After all A German Shepard is not a Malamute, but they're both dogs nontheless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Goldberg does a decent job of discussing the Leftist origins of Nazism and Fascism. The book is hurt however, by Goldbergs well known Conservative status. For a scholarly look at the same subject matter, from a man outside of the American Political system read 'Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933--1939' by Wolfgang Schivelbusch.
Cai-Feng More than 1 year ago
Unlike 5860277 I actually understand the translation from German of NationalSocialist Deutsche Arbeiterspartie: "National SOCIALIST German Workers' Party." Goebbels said "When we defeat those Bolsheviks, we'll show those Russians how to do real socialism." By the logic of 5860277, lions are vegetarians because they kill cheetas and hyenas. Like lions, Nazis killed communists not because Nazis weren't socialists too, but because they were competing for the same turf. Goldberg explained this, and 5860277 still didn't get it. Maybe he (she?) can't actually read.
drstork More than 1 year ago
Great book. I thought it would be cheap, trendy crap when I first saw the cover, but it changed by understanding of the world. When I was in sixth grade I never understood why they called fascism right wing. I argued with the teacher it seemed left wing to me. This is another great example of important things you did not learn in school. I have recommended this book to liberals and conservatives and ALL said they learned a great deal. The fabric of the world was remade by these progressives in the 1930s and then they tore the fabric of the world apart. Are we marching in step with history? Will our modern progressive politicians rip the fabric of the world apart because they know what is best for us? Or, is this a new, better fabric that we will feel good in? More important will our grandchildren be dressed in rags paying for our fabric? Read it and communicate with others from a new perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, our wonderful professors have managed to do to our. nation what Hiss could only hope for...Happy Times in socialist utopia. Everyday there are examples of the Nanny State pushing and nagging. We have finally gotten Socialism with a smiley-face. Much better than the swastika or hammer and sickle...don't cha think? Buy several copies of this landmark book and give them to young folks who aren't complete ruined.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great summary of the real evolution of the modern left, as opposed to the Orwellian version foisted on us by academia. Excellent sourcing throughout the book.
Jim787 More than 1 year ago
Look - don't fall for the one star reviews - they're political. The first thing they say is everything bad is right wing and everything good is left wing - it's very tiring and very untrue. Right wing attitudes can be traced back the European nobility and families of good social standing. Right wing attitudes were embodied in Germany within the officer corps, they eventually tried to kill Hitler - something the left seems to skip over. The French revolution actually gave us the terms right and left for political persuasion. The left would have you believe Hitler was a right wing guy - however this runs up against a brick wall when you read Hitler's speeches and his socialist mandates. The book has been well researched and is so complex and complete that you will end up reading it two or three times - all this means is that it's very complete and intricate in the analysis.
Sewing-Mom More than 1 year ago
Goldberg takes issue with the vocal left who today hurl accusations of "fascism!" at anyone they don't like. By tracing the origins of the dogma of fascism, his in-depth research traces the progressive movement world wide, revealing the 'any means justifies the end' mentality of those who would manipulate and force their view of the perfect society onto Americans in defiance of the will of the citizenry AND THE CONSTITUTION. The actions of the current administration and congress make sense in context of the historical progressive movement. This book ought to be read not only by every high school and college student but by every citizen who treasures his constitutionally guaranteed liberty.
B1D9C_1991 More than 1 year ago
Jonah Goldberg's research about the origins of fascism and how it applies to modern day politics makes this a "must read" for the political junkie. Whether you describe yourself as a conservative or a liberal, this book is very thought-provoking and fascinating. It's an appropriate read for anyone who is interested in an honest account of American and European politics, spanning from the early 1920s to today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just spews hatred. I want to read how these conserative writers would "fix" america rather than their childish views over and over again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldberg carefully defines his terms and takes many pages to define what fascism is and is not (it is not Nazi-ism, for example, but rather had many flavors, of which Nazi-ism was just one) before turning to his main task. He repeatedly reminds readers that the American left are NOT Nazis, provides an abundance of source documentation (much of it from people who would themselves identify with the left), and takes to task people and trends on the right which also reflect fascist themes. The book is intentionally provocative, but the author explains his motives and produces about as balanced a book as one is likely to come across in the "culture wars." Goldberg demonstrates a substantial historical over-lap in the ideals, goals, assumptions, and strategies of fascism and the Progressive left. He emphasizes that the American left is NICE (hence the smiley face on the cover), and why niceness, in itself, creates and masks problems. I teach college history, including courses in WWI and WWII, and Goldberg's descriptions of fascism and the European context are fairly congruent with what other historians such as George Mosse (Crisis of German Ideology) and Modris Ekstein (Rites of Spring) have written. Less familiar with the history of Progressivism in the US, I would have liked more documentation there, but authors can't include everything and what he does include seems sound. 4 stars because the discussion is sometimes tedious, sometimes over-generalized, and occasionally lacks enough evidence. On the other hand, Goldberg missed a gold mine of evidence for his thesis by over-looking Wilson's chief advisor, Colonel House, and his novel, Philip Dru: Administrator. The "1 star" reviews that do address specifics in the book either misunderstood/misrepresent the author's point or reacted without having read it. Altogether, their responses tend to confirm Goldberg's thesis rather than contradict it.
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I own the paperback version of Liberal Fascism, but I only read through the second chapter before shelving it. I ordered the MP3-on-CD version to listen to in my car during my long commute to work each day. The MP3-on-CD version is excellent because the unabridged book comes on just two discs. I transferred the files to a USB drive, and I listened to the whole book in two or three weeks. Something I should note is that the MP3-on-CD version has the original afterword of the hardcover edition while the paperback edition has a new afterword. Regarding the actual contents of the book, I believe Liberal Fascism is a book everyone should read. It is packed with insight into the historical backgrounds of the left and right wings of politics. It discusses the political left for the majority of the book, but the conservative side is not ignored entirely.
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