Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt 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, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking and supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control.
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. The modern heirs of a "friendly fascist" tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.
These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.
©2007 Jonah Goldberg; (P)2008 Tantor
"Certain to attract interest...across the political spectrum." (Booklist)
"Provocative and well-researched....Seriously argued and funny." (Publishers Weekly)
Douglas R. Pratt
I'm finishing my eighth time through. This is a critically important book. I only wish Goldberg had narrated it himself.
First, I'm glad that I listened to this book. It was educational and worthwhile. A credit well spent. The narrator did a decent job with the material. There was a lot of information and most of it was interesting. Because there was a bit more detail than I could make use of there were times that my attention wandered.
I'm very rarely one for abridged versions of books but in this case I'd have enjoyed it more with roughly twenty percent less detail. Unless you're a devotee of philosophical and political history, you may find the same thing.
Despite learning a few little tidbits I hadn't heard, this book didn't work for me. He didn't seem to really analyze something, but just to connect things that had superficial similarities. I much prefer the solid thinking of David Horowitz, the incisive humour of Anne Coulter or the brilliant Mark Levin.
Goldberg first acknowledges that fascism is not unique to the left, and does not propose that it is a leftist-only ideal. He then takes the reader on a tour of the fascism of the left throughout the last century or so. This book is so profound in its undermining of dogmatic 20th century history lessons...it isn't that we were tought the opposite of what happened, precisely; however, a lot of the very important lessons and background were somehow omitted from our texts. I give this book my highest rating and recommend it to anyone who has the stomach for understanding the fascism that has taken place in Europe, Asia, and particularly the U.S. in the past century. I think the politicians of today utilize nationalist sentiments to whip the voters along...this is why (although, yes I'm very proud to be an American) I get immediately concerned about anyone's argument when they invoke patriotism or "America-first" dogma rather than presenting a solid principled or economic argument. This author has provided one of the enlightening political works of our time. Take advantage of it and have a listen!!! By the way, I bought the book too, but it got a little dry in places and I got bored...so the audiobook was the great answer for me and I recommend it highly.
This book was geniously written. While it was a little "heavy" (I had to relisten to portions a number of times), it revealed history that I was vaguely aware of, but didn't know the extent of its implications. The book is both terrifying in its reality, but also encouraging in the fact that American exceptionalism can overcome the tendencies of the leftist Progressives. This book proved what I have always felt. History does not really repeat itself. Instead, there are forces that are ever present and rear their heads when opportunity presents itself. While not the "feel good" book of the summer, I would recommend this book to all Americans who are concerned for their nation and want to really understand our history.
Audio: This narration by Johnny Heller is TERRIBLE. I knew in the first 2 minutes I didn't think I would like it, and 6+ intermittent hours later (of a 16 hour book) I have finally given up. The voice is raspy and hoarse, like he has a cold or a throat condition. He speaks sentences in groups of words and phrases, as though he has to catch his breath every 4 or 5 words. They are not pauses for commas or puncuation, just grouped word recitation that totally disrupts the flow of a sentence. He does that continously. How would you... like listening to someone... who spoke like that... all the time.
Then he will go into low-voice, furtive whisper mode as though he must be reading within a parentheses or footnote, but he will go on wayyyy longer than any parenthetical context should be. Speaking of voice shift, he will be reading at a certain tone level, then switch to a totally different level and stay that way, like he went on a bathroom break or a vacation and came back later. How annoying and distracting. I've listened to 7, 10, and 52 hours books that all have consistent delivery throughout. (See my other reviews.) Heller's delivery is HUGELY disappointing. He is supposedly a somewhat renown narrator, but his work on this book is a bust. Memo to self: NEVER buy an audiobook WITHOUT LISTENING to a SAMPLE!!! My bad. I got in a hurry during the "annual sale". What a waste of money, even at a discounted-price.
I do recommend narrators Christopher Hurt, James Adams, and C.M. Hebert. They are outstanding. Brian Emerson was very good also.
Content: It wouldn't be fair to comment, having only done 1/3 of the book. The histories of Mussolini, Hitler, Woodrow Wilson, and early F.D.R. were interesting though. And H.G. Wells sounds like a bad boy! But I'll have to continue with hard copy sometime, if I haven't been soured on it.
After reading this book, the only thing I can say is WOW! All the things that I knew were wrong, but didnt know why, became clear. The mask came off the lie of liberalism and progressivism and how really evil it all is, you know...based on "compassion" and "giving to the unfortunate." GREAT BOOK!! This should be the starter book for all to read who want to know what is going on right now in our government in 2010.
Professional librarian type, amateur historian.
There were at times, though I sympathized with the author, the narration seemed to wander into the tone of paranoid. But for the most part the books was informative and thought provoking. However, having studied the early to mid 20th Century Europe in grad school I found myself thinking. "yes, but..." when the author brought up various aspects of pre-war German society.
Who is accomplished enough to claim a critic's eye? Who is as masterful as those who have written for the rest of us to read? When I was a young man, I believed I knew what was better than something else. Now, I am in awe of everything. Now I realize that the older I get, the less I know.
This books means to provoke. And provoke, it does. Jonah Goldberg's rant against "liberalism", a.k.a. "progressivism" is a veritable assault on conventional, political wisdom. Mr. Goldberg creates exhaustive accounts of how today's liberals are the heirs of old Socialist models. Fascism, he contends, in a stridently defiant rationale, was not and is not the domain of the "right" or conservatives. Rather, it is the stomping ground of the "left" who would only too willingly throw individual liberties under the bus to advance their social agenda. Mr. Goldberg is a true contrarian, who revels in creating disturbing associations between unlikely bedfellows. His account of Mussolini as the darling of American progressives in the 1920s is meant to shock. So is his characterization of Woodrow Wilson as America's first "fascist dictator". All of this is disturbing enough for me to recommend this book only to other "bomb throwers" who relish turning perceptions upside down. Whether or not Mr. Goldberg's facts are accurate or not is secondary to this reader's feeling of being attacked by his anger. He rages against those who have ever had any association with social reform. This anger is so forceful that it is a virtual assault on any possible dispassionate reflection of the content of his arguments. In listening to this, I found myself being reminded over and over again of Mr. Goldberg's lack of tolerance for diversity and compassion. Mr. Goldberg comes off as being hard-edged and intolerant, a thoroughly unlikeable know-it-all. This is his and his book's major failing. He created in me a sense of revulsion for his views and his motivations. Whatever happened to civility, Mr. Goldberg? I'll credit him with being smart and clever. It's just that those attributes do not trump harsh and self-righteous.
Johnny Heller's performance is impressive. His voice sounds like a combination of the effects of whiskey and tobacco, giving a perfect intonation to the narrative. This performance was a triumph over tedium and pedantry. He convinced me that he and Mr. Goldberg were a formidable, tag-team duo.
This tract provides an interesting, and somewhat frightening insight into the language of conservative paranoia. By mixing fact, innuendo, and righteous indignation, the author attempts to both rehabilitate the political concept of fascism by divorcing it from the Holocaust and the early 20th century totalitarian dictatorships that adopted it, and wield the unrehabilitated connotation of it as a bludgeon, pairing it with the term "liberal" every sentence or two. The narrator does a great job with his voice by imparting a feeling of disdain and loathing for both terms. If you are looking for an intellectually honest treatment of the evolution of contemporary progressivism and liberalism from its revolutionary and reactionary roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is not the read for you, although there is a great deal in it that is factually correct. If you are looking for a diatribe worthy of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, then hook up your headphones and listen away! The admixture of fact, supposition, innuendo, and outright fabulous claims provides the nascent "liberal hater" with just enough intellectual cover to support the position, but not so much as to induce an inconveniently thoughtful consideration.
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