Recently I read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. I first heard of the book on the "Glenn Beck Show" where Glenn had Jonah as a guest for a week discussing the book. It was a very intriguing argument that the Left is more inline with Italian fascism and German Nazism than the Right. He also said corporations are not always Right wing — they are only for free markets if it is in their best interest.
I've read a lot about Hitler and the Nazi's and have a bit of amazement of what they were able to pull off in twelve years — getting a nation of hungry, frustrated, but still mostly civilized and cultured people to accept a brutal war and a genocide program. Connecting them with liberals piqued my interest. So this last week I borrowed the book from the library and read it while I was working overnights, waiting for that call for a password reset from China that only came once in two weeks.
Here is the review I wrote for Amazon.com:
This book will change your opinion about fascism, FDR, and liberals.
Liberals are fascists.
They are *not* Nazis, as Goldberg repeats thought out the book. They are fascists. All Nazis are fascist. Not all fascists are Nazi. Being a fascist is not about hating Jews but its about government control on daily life.
It's a bold statement, but by the end of the book it makes sense. Goldberg first describes Mussolini and Hitler's regimes, slicing the fascism from Nazism and Communism. Then he compares it to turn-of-the-20th-century Progressivism and FDR's New Deal. Then he looks at the protests of the 1960's and LBJ under the fascist lenses, and then Hillary Clinton and the like. Throughout the book he goes back to Italian fascism, German Nazism, and Progressivism and unpeels more and more about their politics and philosophies like an onion. He uses this to discuss economics, race politics, and abortion.
His discussion on FDR and the New Deal was the biggest shock to me. I didn't know that the NRA (National Recovery Administration) employed Nazi tactics like big demonstrations and sanctioning non-NRA aligned businesses. I also didn't know that FDR received a personal letter from Hitler commending him on his New Deal. Before I read the book I thought FDR was the best president ever, followed by Ronald Reagan. Now I'm not so sure he was that great or the closest we have had in the USA to a fascist dictator.
However, by the end of the book you start to wonder if fascism is really that bad after all. Political correctness has made us all accept a "happy fascism," hence the smiley face with the Hitler mustache on the cover of the book. Goldberg discusses this towards the end of the book in a chapter "We're all Fascists now."
The section on abortion and race politics was hard to read, not because they were poorly written but because they are sensitive subjects for me. I also waited to the end to read the Nazi platform in the appendix, which was a let down. It's underdeveloped with it's 25 planks compared to modern standards and doesn't describe all the public policies that the Nazi's eventually implemented.
Liberals are going to revolt at the thought of them being the fascists instead of conservatives being the fascists. But then, do you think conservatives liked that label for the last 30 years? It may not be college textbook quality but it is well researched and referenced. I give it five stars.