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Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left | [Jonah Goldberg]

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left

"Fascists", "Brownshirts", "jackbooted stormtroopers" - such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst?
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Publisher's Summary

"Fascists", "Brownshirts", "jackbooted stormtroopers" - such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst?

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

What the Critics Say

"Certain to attract interest...across the political spectrum." (Booklist)
"Provocative and well-researched....Seriously argued and funny." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 10-20-11
    Randy LANCASTER, CA, United States 10-20-11 Member Since 2010

    Auto Repair shop owner. I love Yoga, and playing my Fender Stratocaster. I Walk my dogs twice a day.

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    "Like everything you were taught is a lie."

    This reminds me of the scene in Orwell's 1984 when the people HATED the enemy and suddenly big brother says your enemy is your friend and your friend is your enemy.

    To say Hitler was a right-winger is laughable. Goldberg says Hitler followed the very left Marx, and Nietzsche, not the conserative Adam Smith, or John Locke.

    Hitler was a revolutionary and sought to tear down everything thing so he could build his superman.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph San Bernardino, CA, USA 05-29-09
    Ralph San Bernardino, CA, USA 05-29-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Deja Vu!"

    Every thoughtful American or Westerner (as in civilization) should read/listen to this book! It's not what most liberals think it is--a simplistic "lumping in" of liberalism and naziism--but, rather a fair-minded presentation of historical facts and the evolution of the philosophies behind the political evolution of Europe and now the U.S. The historical parallels are chilling. Goldberg does a great job of documenting and laying out the philosophical and political path that took the Germans to where they ended up less than 100 years ago. Contemporary political events bare a chilling resemblance. Whether we continue down the same road may depend in large part on whether we have "failed to learn the lessons of history" presented here.

    17 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark GILROY, CA, United States 05-10-08
    Mark GILROY, CA, United States 05-10-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Great book"

    I was concerned that this would just be another "wacky" polemic that have been popular over the last decade. This goes into some great history of totalitarianism and shows how easy it is to give away liberty for the illusion of security. The author does a good job of showing how we are vulnerable to kind words that lead to the state governing over every area of an individual's life. It is amazing how we easily forget about the past and do the same thing. Great narrator. Great book that will give fresh perspective to those promising everything during this political year.

    34 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alfred Pepperell, MA, United States 06-05-08
    Alfred Pepperell, MA, United States 06-05-08 Member Since 2007
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    "Having been called a facist..."

    ...by a liberal friend of mine, I found the book enlightening into why she called me that and how mis-informed she is. This book is filled with historical references but don't think it's a boring read. Quite to the contrary, the sarcasm and wit will keep you laughing as much as the analytical dissection of the term facism and the historical links to the Left will keep your mind engaged and enthralled.

    17 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 08-07-09
    chris las vegas, NV, United States 08-07-09 Member Since 2005
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    "Pleasantly surprised"

    This book turned out to be so much better than I thought. Not only is it well-written, well-researched, and fair, but its well-narrated as an audiobook. I was interested in the subject matter, but after the first part, this book opens up into a history of Mussolini, Hitler, and Fascism in Europe. This, I found an added bonus and enjoyed learning about.

    13 of 20 people found this review helpful
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    Michael Pittston, PA, United States 06-05-10
    Michael Pittston, PA, United States 06-05-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Putting fascism in its place"

    Jonah Goldberg has done a well-documented and thoroughly enjoyable look at the "f-bomb" of fascism. Like most Americans raised in the 80's and 90's, I took the term to mean oppressive, racist, nationalist, militaristic, intolerant and Right-wing. Historically all this was true, except for the "Right-wing" part. Big government and Big Brother, social safety net, power to people, workers of the world unite were the founding ideologies behind fascism, which is basically just an amped-up version of socialism on a national, but not international, scale. Basically the term got distorted to mean "right-wing" oppression because of academic slight of hand, necessitated by the need of liberal intellectuals to distance themselves from fascist Germany after the disgrace and atrocities of Hilter were exposed. Still, much of the rhetoric and symbolism of the fascist/progressive movement in America continues, and Goldberg lays it out. This is by far the most spell-binding audiobook I have heard, and the narrator is perfect for this book. Anybody who wants to broaden their mind about words and meaning, politics and history should check this out! 5-stars!

    10 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Hays, KS, USA 06-21-09
    Ray Hays, KS, USA 06-21-09
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    "Well constructed case"

    This book carefully constructs the author's case that modern liberalism or progressivism is tantamount to modern facism. The historical framework of both Mussolini and Wilson are eerily familiar to things that we are seeing today. The concept of "central planning" and its popularity within the progressive movement is Orwellian in every sense. Excellent, thought provoking book. I will agree with one of the reviewers that the narration is a bit overdone, but the content is worth it.

    9 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Calgary, Alberta, Canada 04-15-14
    Steven Calgary, Alberta, Canada 04-15-14 Member Since 2005
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    "A lot of information"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 01-18-14
    Katherine Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 01-18-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Didn't make points clearly"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Steven Spring Creek, NV, United States 10-26-10
    Steven Spring Creek, NV, United States 10-26-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Well documented and fascinating"

    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.

    5 of 10 people found this review helpful
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