I tried to explain, for those whose feelings were so hurt they didn't even crack the spine, that the title Liberal Fascism comes from a speech delivered by H. G. Wells, one of the most important and influential progressive and socialist intellectuals of the 20th century. He wanted to re-brand liberalism as "liberal fascism" and even "enlightened Nazism." He believed these terms best described his own political views —views that deeply informed American progressivism and New Deal liberalism.
As for the smiley face, that's a reference to comedian and social commentator George Carlin, who explained on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher that "when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley."
I'm persuaded that Carlin was right — to the extent that fascism of any kind will come to America, it will do so in the guise of something "progressive." Indeed, American progressives, particularly before Hitler arrived on the scene in the 1930s, were openly sympathetic to Italian fascism. This isn't to say they copied it (or the fascism of Soviet Russia), as many claim. But rather that the ideas that gave birth to and fueled American progressivism — philosophical pragmatism, Bismarckian "top-down socialism," Marxism, eugenics and more — share common intellectual sources and impulses with those that gave us both socialism and fascism.
— Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.