Lib Fascism Chapt 3
“Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of Liberal Fascism”
Favorite chapter quote (from pg 88): “Indeed, the ink from Wilson’s pen regularly exudes the odor of what we today call the living Constitution.”
When discussing the threat of any totalitarian threat coming to America, someone inevitably cries, “It can’t happen here.” Yet, according to Goldberg, it already has. It came in the form of one socially isolated academic who was prone to homesickness: Woodrow Wilson. If one will recall from chapter two, totalitarianism was understood as a good thing in the early twentieth century, a time when more benevolent and naive connotations attached to the term. The total state as protector and friend, as father, mother, teacher and preacher. All that was required was that one sublimate his individualism to the “good of the state.” And thus is provided the sub-text for chapter three, namely, individualism bad, proletariat conformity good.
I recall the time in the mid-seventies when I realized the true and horrible implications of leftist chants such as “everything is political” and “the personal is political.” It meant exactly what it said and what it ended up being, which is the stifled, humorless, hostile America in which we now live. Use cows as an example of global warming offenders? You guessed it, somehow, somewhere, the National Union of Cow Piety (NUCP) National Defense League (NDL) comes out of the woodwork shouting “insensitive” and waving a subpoena. Like a certain kind music or style of clothes? Don’t care for obscenity laced “entertainment”? It is taken as a political statement and we haven’t even begun to talk politics yet. God forbid you should have an opinion on abortion.
Goldberg states flatly that “Woodrow Wilson was the twentieth century’s first fascist dictator” (Pg 80) and then spends the next 40 pages of closely reasoned and heavily documented writing to prove it. Goldberg reviews Wilson’s early life, how he learned to love power, hate franchising blacks and become another voice in the chorus of Jane Addams and Walter Rauschenbusch “who believed that collectivism was the new ‘freedom.’” (pg 87)
Goldberg goes on to posit T. Roosevelt and Wilson as two dogs fighting over the same bone, i.e. Teddy the Nationalist Progressive and Woodrow the socialist academic. Goldberg points out that Progressivism and Fascism were both international movements and shared the same “intellectual wellsprings.” (Pg 93) Some of the leading lights were, in no particular order, Nietzsche, Bismark, Richard Ely, Herbert Croly and William James, to name a few. (Pgs 94-95) Many prominent founders of modern liberalism studied in Germany and became enamored of the Prussian model of using militarism as a way of organizing and controlling the citizenry.
Speaking of Herbert Croly, he was a huge influence on T. Roosevelt and Wilson and founder of the leftist New Republic. His most important book, The Promise of American Life, according to Goldberg, is a virtual litany of fascist principles, e.g. organizing society along martial lines, use of the Sorelian myth, nationalism, politics as religion, hostility to the indvidual – it’s all there. (Pg 98) And if politics was the new religion, science was the new scripture. (Pg 100)
After explaining that the various manifestations of fascism and progressivism, and indeed, differences between the two, were mainly due to pan-Atlantic and inter-nation-state cultural appurtenances, (pg 99) he goes on to describe the despicable, but thoroughly modern liberal habit of shilling and lying for murderous Marxist regimes. Among the early tribe of useful American idiots were John Reed and E. A. Ross who worked ceaselessly to minimize the Red Terror. (Pg 101) More cheerleaders for the Bolsheviks were economists Rexford Guy Tugwell and Paul Douglas, educationists Lillian Wald and John Dewey and labor leaders Sidney Hillman and John L. Lewis. W.E.B. DuBois was enraptured, declaring at one point, “I am a Bolshevik.” DuBois, who had also studied the Prussian paradigm in Germany, was an anti-Semite at the time, his magazines featuring a swastika on their covers in 1924, although he later renounced Nazi anti-Semitism. (Pg 103)
So we see that Wilson was a Nietzschean, Hegelian, Jamesian Darwinist. If those intellectual currents sound familiar, they should. They are almost identical to those of one A. Hitler. (Pg104) And Goldberg is quick to explain that the beginning of WWI stimulated the American economy and not otherwise, lest liberals start to boast of the “good sense” of the progressive approach. (Pg 105) And though the war had no redeeming U.S. interests to recommend it, as Wilson himself altruistically exclaimed, it was, in more modern parlance, the crisis that was “too good to waste.” (Pg 105) John Dewey had put it succinctly when he wrote of the “social possibilities of war.” (Pg 106)
Going on, Goldberg spends several pages chronicling Wilson’s extra-Constitutional, morally questionable and downright unlawful abuses of civil rights. This was not an attempt to feret out true saboteurs or terrorists, this was strictly a way to crush the opposition and order society a la Otto von Bismark. Wilson then began “the first truly Orwellian propaganda efforts in Western history.” (Pg 109) The usual Hollywood suspects lined up to do his bidding, including artists, musicians, comedians, etc., not to mention an array of leftist intellectuals and journalists, such as George Creel, who headed the infamous Committee on Public Information. And the straight-faced usage of the “Official Euphemism” was born – think Overseas Contingency Operations. Explaining the first military draft since the Civil War, Wilson lectured, “It is in no sense a conscription of the unwilling: it is, rather, selection from a nation which has volunteered in mass.” (Pg 109) (Translation: “O.K., Koblowski, you and Jurgiliwitz just volunteered for a dangerous assignment.” “Er, O.K. First Sergeant.”)
Another socialist agitator and Wilson appointee, Arthur Bullard, gave full voice to the ends justifies the means theme of the day, “Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms…The force of an idea lies in its’ inspirational value. It matters very little if it’s true or false.” (Pg 111) This reeking mendacity is still fresh on the left today. Dan Rather’s doctored document indicting Bush II as a military shirker was the news story that was “too good to check.” Remember? And even more recently, leftists made up quotes to disparage Rush Limbaugh in a successful effort to prevent him from exercising his rights as an American citizen. (And then when Rush lampooned them by doing the same in reverse to them, they howled like a troop of scalded monkees.)
“A few Hollywood writers who’d supported Stalin and then lied about it” were blackballed under the oft-castigated horror of McCarthyism, but he was a piker compared to Wilson. (Pg 113) He created another monster called The American Protective League, and using the Espionage and Sedition Acts of ‘17 and ‘18, respectively, created an atmosphere in which even the most off-handed criticism of his gubmint resulted in beatings, jailings and even murder. (Pg 116) Even today, most people still recall the Palmer raids (that is, people who studies history prior to 1975 or so, i.e. before it became politicized or non-existent.) It is estimated that approximately 175,000 Americans were arrested during Wilson’s presidency for being insufficiently devoted to the cause. (Pg 117)
And as liberal academic historians airbrush the past, such shenanigans as these are always put down as failures of America in general – no particular ideology is discussed. Whereas, any alleged “conservative” failure is attributed directly and unequivocally to them and is considered proof positive that any future power in the hands of conservatives will also result in disaster res ipsa loquitur. Such is the power of revisionist history that only Mussolini’s support for the war made him “right wing” by the lights of communist propagandists, while no other pro-war socialists of the time were so disparaged, and yet even now fascists are purportedly “right-wing” in the modern leftist liberal spectrum of hateful ideologies. (Pg 118)
Squaring the circle of disparate wealth, George Creel expatiated the Progressives’ goal of creating a society in which there existed “…no dividing line between rich and poor,” almost an exact projection of Hitler’s rhetoric a few years later. (And even today, how many times have we heard some millionaire starlet whine about the supposed gap between rich and poor?) “The Wilsonian-Crolyite progressive conception of the individual’s role in society” was to serve the state irrespective of whether the realization of such utopian dreams “would have to come at the price of personal liberty.” (Pg 120) And on the basis of most modern criteria used to fix characters on the gamut of political beliefs, e.g. social base, social policy, economics, demographics – “Adolph Hitler was indisputably to Wilson’s left.” (Pg 120) So your liberal friends will be surprised to learn that one of their most famous intellectual progenitors was a fascist, as were many, many of their others.
Next week: Chapter Four: “Franklin Roosevelt’s Fascist New Deal”