Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Rich Lowry on Liberal Fascism on National Review Online

In his brilliant new book Liberal Fascism, Jonah Goldberg (a colleague of mine) demonstrates how the opposite is the case, that fascism was a movement of the left and that liberal heroes like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were products of what Goldberg calls "the fascist moment" in America early in the 20th century. How we think of the ideological spectrum — socialism to the left, fascism to the right — should be forever changed.

Goldberg sees the fascist exaltation of youth, glorification of violence, hatred of tradition and romance of "the street" in the New Left of the 1960s, still the subject of the fond memories for the liberal establishment in this country. Goldberg argues that "liberal fascism" — the phrase was coined by H. G. Wells, and he meant it positively — is a distant heir to European fascism. The liberal version is pacifist rather than militaristic and feminine rather than masculine in its orientation, but it also seeks to increase the power of the state and overcome tradition in sweeping crusades pursued with the moral fervor of war.

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