National Review editor Jonah Goldberg is coming out with a new book entitled Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning: Books: Jonah Goldberg. From the Amazon description:
Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left, and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s National Socialism and Mussolini’s Fascism.
Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, promoted a new form of pagan spirituality, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking, supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control. They loathed the free market, provided generous pensions for the elderly, and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian, and Himmler was an animal rights activist.
Do these striking parallels mean that today’s liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots.
Goldberg’s book is already an Amazon bestseller, the #1 book in the “political science” and “conservatism” categories, even thought it won’t be released until January 8.
I’m hoping that he was influenced by my book Modern Fascism and built on some of my research. That book traced those common “intellectual roots” between classical fascism and both modernism and postmodernism, though I suspect I do more with religion, ethics, philosophy, and worldview.
I always thought that book had the potential to be a best-seller, but it was sort of buried in a CPH monograph series and the editors then gave it a horrible title, one that was both blase and misleading about what it was actually about. I think the new CPH would do a better job with it. (Hey, Paul McCain, if you are reading this, how about a new edition with a new title to piggyback on the Goldberg book if it is a big success?)
I’m not complaining, mind you. There is an abundance of work that needs to be done exploring these connections. I’m happy that these facts are finally coming out.