Book Notes: Liberal Fascism, Chapter 2
At the outset this diary, I wish to state clearly and emphatically that I am not calling anyone in modern-day America Nazis (excluding actual self-proclaimed Nazis). I realize that calling conservatives Nazis is a regular cottage industry among liberals, but I am not doing that in any way, shape or form. I am willing to accuse Barak Obama of supporting legalized infanticide, of supporting barbarous, cruel and inhumane experimentation on human embryos, of promoting an evil health care agenda that will inevitably lead to so-called “so-called” death panels, of trying to curtail his opponents’ freedom of speech, and of encouraging Americans to inform on fellow citizens engaging in legitimate political dissents, but I am not accusing anyone on the left of promoting a master race, or of perpetrating the type of racist, genocidal horrors peculiar to Hitler’s Germany.
That being said, I was struck with how readily one can take passages from Chapter 2 of Liberal Fascism and apply them to modern American liberalism.
“What Hitler got from Italian Fascism – and, as indicated above – from the French and Russian revolutions, was the importance of having an idea that would arouse the masses. The particular content of the idea was entirely secondary. The ultimate utility of ideas is not their intrinsic truth but the extent to which they make a desired action possible – in Hitler’s case the destruction of your enemies, the attainment of glory, and the triumph of your race. This is important to keep in mind because Hitler’s ideological coherence left a great deal to be desired. His opportunism, pragmatism and megalomania often overpowered any desire on his part to formulate a fixed ideological approach.”
Consider, in light of the above passage, how Obama summarized his candidacy with catch-phrases like “Hope,” “Change” and “Yes We Can.” The intellectual content of these ideas is secondary – in fact nonexistent – and their utility is simply to get people mobilized to go and vote for him. Look at the use the left makes of global warming. The value of global warming is not in its inherent truth, but its utility in advancing the left’s socialist, industry-destroying objective. Or look at how the left will throw out different numbers for how many uninsured there are in America. The real number is irrelevant, as is why many people might voluntarily choose to go uninsured. The utility of the number is simply its usefulness in making socialized medicine a reality.
Ideological consistency on the part of the left also leaves much to be desired. Obama can trash America from one end of the world to another, and then in the next breath question the patriotism of those who laughed at his failed Olympics bid; or call the Afghanistan war the Good War for years and then once in power dither for months over how or even if to fight the war.
One of the “desired actions” which Obama is trying to bring about with his malleable philosophy also appears to be the destruction of his enemies (think Rush and Fox News, for example) and, it would seem to me, the attainment of personal glory, although in Obama’s case the glory is decidedly non-martial, but comes from gaining acclamation from the right kinds of elites: anti-American people and nations in the international community.
Goldberg also writes of German fascism: “It can be better understood as a maelstrom of prejudices, passions, biases, hopes, and attitudes that, when combined, most often resembled a religious crusade wearing the mask of a political ideology.” What better definition could one come up with for Amercan liberalism, and its current manifestation as the cult of Obama?
Goldberg writes of Hitler’s extensive use of marketing and advertising, and of his use of “oratory to massive, exquisitely staged rallies.” Think of Obama in Berlin and Denver, and Chicago the night of the election.
Goldberg also writes : “Professors, students and civil servants were all disproportionately supportive of the Nazi cause.” Much the same can be said of these groups and American liberalism. Academics, it would seem, have a universal, uncanny ability to be taken in by leftist agendas, no matter how odious of horrifying they may be.
There are, however, ways that modern Obamaism represents a distinct strain of fascism from that shown in Germany. While both were non-patriotic – most decidedly in the case of American liberalism – fascism in Germany was nationalist, in that it stressed, as Goldberg describes it, “’blood,’ ‘soil,’ ‘race,’ ‘Volk ,’ and so on.” These strains are played on a different chord in American liberalism. These nationalist appeals in Germany referred to a single race, and helped create a unifying national myth by stoking “Arian” racial pride and resentment. American liberalism, in contrast, while using “blood” and “race” in the guise of “multiculturalism,” is not trying to create a unifying national myth, but trying to divide and conquer – its goal is to attain power through the united resentment of many diverse groups. (“Soil” can have very little utility in such an approach, unless it is applied to Native Americans.) American liberalism, then, attains its goals through what might be called an anti-nationalist appeal.
Another difference is that while both fascisms make great use of boogymen, they are different boogeymen in each instance. In Germany, the boogymen were Jews and Poles and Gypsies, and the attitude toward these boogymen was horrifying and genocidal. While Jews – especially of the “Neocon” variety – are beginning to have their utility as boogymen for modern American liberalism, that role is mostly played by white males and – most especially – by Fundamentalist Christians. In the case of American fascism, the attitude toward these boogymen is far less diabolical, as they are primarily used as a tool to shame and ridicule and intimidate and de-legitimize any opposition to the liberal agenda.
There is one brief aside in Chapter 2 that I would like to dispute, because I think it demonstrates a tendency on the part of conservatives to create their own myths. Goldberg draws parallels between how Hitler took over the socialist movement in Germany and how the New Left took over the Democratic Party and the New Right (i.e., Buckleyite conservatives) "took over" the Republican Party. He writes, “In time the New Left and New Right took over their respective parties – the Democrats in 1972 and the Republicans in 1980 – and today they are simply the left and right.”
While I think this is indisputably true about the Democrats – Clinton, Gore, and Kerry were charter members of the “worst generation,” and Obama is clearly their second-generation philosophical descendent – I think that no such revolution occurred in the Republican Party. To assert that conservatives “took over” the Republican Party in 1980 is a conservative myth. There was a very nice conservative run under Reagan from 1981 to 1989, but conservatives most clearly did not take over the Republican Party. That possibility was precluded, ironically, at the 1980 Republican Convention, when Ronald Reagan, in an effort to deflate the disastrous trial balloon of Gerald Ford for Vice-President, made a choice that in the long term was equally disastrous: George H. W. Bush. Any hope for continuity in Reagan’s revolution died at that moment, as Bush was clearly not the man to carry Reagan’s legacy forward. Since Reagan, we have nominated Bush, Dole, Bush and McCain, and not a conservative in the lot. They all, to a greater or lesser degree, were uncomfortable with the conservative wing of their party, and at times seemed more concerned that the conservatives wouldn’t embarrass them in front of their Democratic friends than they were in carrying out any conservative agenda. There never was, and most clearly is not now, any triumph of conservatism. Hence the deplorable state our nation is in today.