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)
This book is, perhaps, the most important book I've read (with the exception of the Bible). Goldberg does an excellent job of describing the political landscape. He is quite forceful in his conclusions regarding fascism and the current political scene.
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.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: I believed (either consciously or subconsciously) most of the things this books puts forward.
This book provides the "rest of the story" for many of the fairy tales presented as facts by the liberal propaganda machine. From the hijacking of our political system by those deemed the "smartest people in the room" to the FDR and JFK myths. One thing is clear, there are plenty of Americans who believe exactly what they want to hear regardless of the facts. A utopia is just around the corner if you are willing to give away just a little more liberty (and money). Everyone deserves equal result no matter their effort.
But what do we do now? While we may not be a dictatorship from a political organizational perspective, I see very little to balance the liberal thought mantra that pounds us on a daily basis. At what point does the resistance collapse under the shear weight of the liberal machine?
I am 1/2 way through this book and look forward to the next time I can listen. The author has names, and dates to paint a picture that reveals truths that I was not aware of.
If just 10% of this information is true, then any patriotic American should prepare to engage for the preservation of the Republic against the hollow and corrupt religion of Liberalism.
This is especially relevant today because of the current Obama administration, the Tea Party Movements, and the political losses in NJ, VA, and MA.
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.
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.
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.
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