Didn’t I already write this book?

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.

Order Goldberg’s book by clicking this , and I’ll at least get a commission. It would also be a kindness if you would also click here or the CPH box at the right margin of this blog to order mine.

Statistics on believing the Bible

Another interesting tidbit from is a poll on what Americans believe about the Bible. It found that nearly a third, 31%, believe the Bible is the “actual word of God, to be taken literally.” Nearly half, 47%, believe the Bible is “inspired by the word of God.” Nearly a fifth, 19%, believe that the Bible is just “ancient fables, history, legends recorded by man.” (Read the linked report for various demographic breakdowns as to age, education, church attendance, etc.)

It would seem that over three-fourths, 78%, see the Bible as some kind of spiritual authority. But I wonder what nearly half of our fellow citizens mean by the second category and how they know what parts of the Bible to believe and what they don’t have to believe.

My Iowa caucus predictions

I predict that Mike Huckabee will win the Iowa caucuses, thanks to committed homeschoolers who are more likely to brave the cold than anyone else. Whereupon the media and punditry universe will shift its attention to John McCain.

Among the Democrats, I predict that Barack Obama will win, thanks again to his followers being more zealous than any of the other’s and, again, willing to show up at the meetings. This will lead to a win in Iowa and to a momentum that Hilary Clinton will find hard to stop. Rank and file Democrats WANT to vote for Obama and are supporting the others for other reasons that they would be glad to surrender if they think Obama can win.

Sooner woes

Why can’t the Oklahoma Sooners, one of my alma maters, win a post-season bowl game? Last night’s lost to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl–sorry, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl–was the fourth in four years. And in each of those games the Sooners were, to coin a term, the overdogs.

Why are churches losing their young people?

Findings from a Southern Baptist-sponsored study of young adults leaving the church:

70 percent of 18-year-olds who attended church regularly in high school quit by age 23: they don’t like it. And by age 30, 34 percent still have not rebounded. That means one in four young Protestants has left the church.

On their laundry list of reasons: they wanted a break (27%), church is too judgmental (26%), they moved away to college (25%), busy with work (23%).

On the positive side, the 30 percent who kept attending church cited solid spiritual reasons, including: “it’s vital to my relationship with God” (65%) and church “helps guide my everyday decisions” (58%).

So churches lose three-fourths of their young people. About half of those eventually come back. But one-fourth never do.

Some of this can be explained in terms of the natural separation that happens when young adults break with their families on the road to starting families of their own. Church is something they did with their parents, so, in their separation from their parents, church gets dropped. Once they become parents themselves, church becomes a part of their lives again.

And yet, separating from the church is dangerous, since in this interim young people often fall into serious sin, which, as the Bible teaches, if not dealt with and forgiven, can harden the heart and become a pretext for unbelief.

There are other factors: The more legalistic the church–that is, the more the church seems all about strict external rules and harsh monitoring of behavior, rather than internalizing the law through the Gospel– the more eager the young person is to get out of there. Also thoughtful young people often find their churches so unthoughtful that they readily consider all of Christianity to be childish. Then there are the widely ineffective Youth Groups that, in trying to address the lack of interest, often make it worse.

This is an enormously important issue for churches to address, so let’s use this blog to get at some answers: Did YOU break away from church? Why? What brought you back? What could the church have done to keep you and to minister to you through that crucial period of your life? Or, why did you stay? What was your church doing right?

Statistics about American belief

Gallup, one of the most reliable pollsters, offers some useful and intriguing statistics about the state of religious belief in America. This remains a very religious country, especially compared to our peer nations, but there has been some slippage. Excerpts from the report:

About 82% of Americans in 2007 told Gallup interviewers that they identified with a Christian religion. That includes 51% who said they were Protestant, 5% who were “other Christian,” 23% Roman Catholic, and 3% who named another Christian faith, including 2% Mormon.

Because 11% said they had no religious identity at all, and another 2% didn’t answer, these results suggest that well more than 9 out of 10 Americans who identify with a religion are Christian in one way or the other.
. . . . . . . . .
The percentage of Americans who identify with a Christian religion is down some over the decades. This is not so much because Americans have shifted to other religions, but because a significantly higher percentage of Americans today say they don’t have a religious identity. In the late 1940s, when Gallup began summarizing these data, a very small percentage explicitly told interviewers they did not identify with any religion. But of those who did have a religion, Gallup classified — in 1948, for example — 69% as Protestant and 22% as Roman Catholic, or about 91% Christian.
. . . . . . . .
Sixty-two percent of Americans in Gallup’s latest poll, conducted in December, say they are members of a “church or synagogue,” a question Gallup has been asking since 1937. . . . In the 1937 Gallup Poll, for example, 73% of Americans said they were church members. That number stayed in the 70% range in polls conducted in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. By the 1970s, however, the number began to slip below 70% in some polls, although as recently as 1999, 70% said they were church members. Since 2002, self-reported church membership has been between 63% and 65%.
. . . . . . . . . .
in general, year after year, roughly the same percentage of Americans — in the low 40% range — report to survey interviewers that they have gone to church within the last seven days.
. . . . . . . . .
This year, 56% of Americans have said religion is very important. Only 17% say religion is not very important. . . A couple of measures of this question from the 1950s and 1960s indicated that at that time, over 70% of Americans said religion was very important in their daily lives. That percentage dropped into the 50% range by the 1970s, and since then it has fluctuated somewhat, but has generally been in the 55% to 65% range.

There is much to talk about here, and feel free to raise what issues you wish, but notice that Protestantism seems to be slipping, while those with no religious identity are rising. But how does that jibe with all of those megachurches that are everywhere using all of these techniques to make church more palatable to the unchurched?


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