Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change

02 Jun 2009

by Jonah Goldberg

Draws parallels between the fascism of the 1930s and the liberalism of the present, arguing that liberal politicians from Woodrow Wilson to Hillary Clinton have espoused policies and principles similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism.


Pages: 503

Publisher: Crown Forum

Overall: 53% of the 60 mentions are positive, 20% are neutral and 27% are negative.



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60 mentions sorted by:
  • Holy Christ; the top comment there triggered me so hard I'm gonna have to reply to it. /u/elpresidente1776 >> https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0767917189 This book is god awful; it is absolutely riddled with bullshit - if you want to see just how bad it is; here's an actual expert dismantling this guy: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/122231 >> Contrary to what most people think; the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term “National socialism”). No; they were not. This is blatant bullshit; as Richard J. Evans in the third Reich trilogy writes: >> Perhaps to emphasize this anti-capitalist focus; and to align itself with similar groups in Austria and Czechoslovakia; the party changed its name in February 1920 to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party; hostile commentators soon abbreviated this to the word ‘Nazi’; just as the enemies of the Social Democrats had abbreviated the name of that party earlier on to ‘Sozi’. Despite the change of name; however; it would be wrong to see Nazism as a form of; or an outgrowth from; socialism. True; as some have pointed out; its rhetoric was frequently egalitarian; it stressed the need to put common needs above the needs of the individual; and it often declared itself opposed to big business and international finance capital. Famously; too; antisemitism was once declared to be ‘the socialism of fools’. But from the very beginning; Hitler declared himself implacably opposed to Social Democracy and; initially to a much smaller extent; Communism: after all; the ‘November traitors’ who had signed the Armistice and later the Treaty of Versailles were not Communists at all; but the Social Democrats and their allies. >> The ‘National Socialists’ wanted to unite the two political camps of left and right into which; they argued; the Jews had manipulated the German nation. The basis for this was to be the idea of race. This was light years removed from the class-based ideology of socialism. Nazism was in some ways an extreme counter-ideology to socialism; borrowing much of its rhetoric in the process; from its self-image as a movement rather than a party; to its much-vaunted contempt for bourgeois convention and conservative timidity. The idea of a ‘party’ suggested allegiance to parliamentary democracy; working steadily within a settled democratic polity. In speeches and propaganda; however; Hitler and his followers preferred on the whole to talk of the ‘National Socialist movement’; just as the Social Democrats had talked of the ‘workers’ movement’ or; come to that; the feminists of the ‘women’s movement’ and the apostles of prewar teenage rebellion of the ‘youth movement’. The term not only suggested dynamism and unceasing forward motion; it also more than hinted at an ultimate goal; an absolute object to work towards that was grander and more final than the endless compromises of conventional politics. By presenting itself as a ‘movement’; National Socialism; like the labour movement; advertised its opposition to conventional politics and its intention to subvert and ultimately overthrow the system within which it was initially forced to work. >> By replacing class with race; and the dictatorship of the proletariat with the dictatorship of the leader; Nazism reversed the usual terms of socialist ideology. The synthesis of right and left was neatly symbolized in the Party’s official flag; personally chosen by Hitler in mid-1920: the field was bright red; the colour of socialism; with the swastika; the emblem of racist nationalism; outlined in black in the middle of a white circle at the centre of the flag; so that the whole ensemble made a combination of black; white and red; the colours of the official flag of the Bismarckian Empire. In the wake of the 1918 Revolution these came to symbolize rejection of the Weimar Republic and all it stood for; but by changing the design and adding the swastika; a symbol already used by a variety of far-right racist movements and Free Corps units in the postwar period; the Nazis also announced that what they wanted to replace it with was a new; Pan-German; racial state; not the old Wilhelmine status quo. >> By the end of 1920; Hitler’s early emphasis on attacking Jewish capitalism had been modified to bring in ‘Marxism’; or in other words Social Democracy; and Bolshevism as well. The cruelties of the civil war and ‘red terror’ in Lenin’s Russia were making an impact; and Hitler could use them to lend emphasis to common far-right views of the supposedly Jewish inspiration behind the revolutionary upheavals of 1918-19 in Munich. Nazism would also have been possible; however; without the Communist threat; Hitler’s anti-Bolshevism was the product of his antisemitism and not the other way round. Or even more: >> A more alarmist note was sounded by the French ambassador; André François-Poncet. The perceptive diplomat noted that the conservatives were right to expect Hitler to agree to their programme of ‘the crushing of the left; the purging of the bureaucracy; the assimilation of Prussia and the Reich; the reorganization of the army; the re-establishment of military service’. They had put Hitler into the Chancellery in order to discredit him; he observed; ‘they have believed themselves to be very ingenious; ridding themselves of the wolf by introducing him into the sheepfold.’ Or we can can cite: >> “As with other fascist ideologies and movements it subscribed to an ideology of national renewal; rebirth; and rejuvenation manifesting itself in extreme populist radical nationalism; militarism; and – in contradistinction to many other forms of fascism; extreme biological racism…the movement understood itself to be; and indeed was; a new form of political movement…the anti-Socialist; anti-liberal; and radical nationalist tenets of Nazi ideology applied particularly to the sentiments of a middle class disorientated by the domestic and international upheavals in the inter-war period.” (Neil Gregor; Nazism; Oxford; 2000 p 4-5.) And again; from the trilogy: >> The substantial overlap between the Nazis’ ideology and that of the conservatives; even; to a considerable extent; that of German liberals; was a third major factor in bringing Hitler into the Reich Chancellery on 30 January 1933. The ideas that were current among almost all German political parties right of the Social Democrats in the early 1930s had a great deal in common with those of the Nazis. These ideas certainly bore enough resemblance to the Nazis’ for the bulk of the liberal and conservative parties’ supporters in the Protestant electorate to desert them; at least temporarily; for what looked like a more effective alternative. >> The Nazis declared that they would scrape away foreign and alien encrustations on the German body politic; ridding the country of Communism; Marxism; ‘Jewish’ liberalism; cultural Bolshevism; feminism; sexual libertinism; cosmopolitanism; the economic and power-political burdens imposed by Britain and France in 1919; ‘Western’ democracy and much else. They would lay bare the true Germany. You have literally no idea what you're talking about; nazism; indeed; was an extremist form of anti-liberalism/socialism; and their allies in government were not the socialists; or the liberals - but the right wing nationalists and the conservatives. Their primary enemy was in fact the socialists; and socialists were some of the first people to be thrown in camps. You are easily one of the least informed people I have ever encountered on the Donald - in the future; avoid discussing topics you have not even a basic understanding of. Or at the very least avoid reading garbage books written by historically illiterate hacks. All of that shit you tried to cite; the smoking; the healthcare; the jobs? This was all because Hitler and the nazis were obsessed with a perfect Aryan race. The nazis also rounded up and tossed the unemployed in camps and called them "workshy." They believed modernism/liberalism had corrupted german culture - and this is most evident in the "degenerate art/music" events they held all over the place. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_Art_Exhibition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_music
    46 points in /r/TopMindsOfReddit by pizzashill | 30 May 2017
  • Remember when they call someone a Nazi or a fascist; throw this at them. https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0767917189 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; promoted a new form of pagan spirituality; and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking; supported abortion; euthanasia; and gun control. They loathed the free market; provided generous pensions for the elderly; and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian; and Himmler was an animal rights activist. 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. We often forget; for example; that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany; and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson; and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.
    1 points in /r/uncensorednews by LearnToMaga | 29 May 2017
  • https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0767917189 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; promoted a new form of pagan spirituality; and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking; supported abortion; euthanasia; and gun control. They loathed the free market; provided generous pensions for the elderly; and maintained a strict racial quota system in their universities—where campus speech codes were all the rage. The Nazis led the world in organic farming and alternative medicine. Hitler was a strict vegetarian; and Himmler was an animal rights activist. 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. We often forget; for example; that Mussolini and Hitler had many admirers in the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois was inspired by Hitler's Germany; and Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song. Many fascist tenets were espoused by American progressives like John Dewey and Woodrow Wilson; and FDR incorporated fascist policies in the New Deal.
    923 points in /r/The by elpresidente1776 | 29 May 2017
  • A twitter user said that to me the other day. I laughed at him. He responded with a link to this book. Thanks; Jonah Goldberg; for making Americans dumber.
    10 points in /r/EnoughTrumpSpam by dyzo-blue | 28 May 2017
  • This is the entire basis for the worst book ever written.
    7 points in /r/neoliberal by disuberence | 24 May 2017
  • Liberal Fascism is also an excellent book. Well footnoted and referenced; written by Jonah Goldberg: https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0767917189
    3 points in /r/The by bigbishounen | 24 May 2017
  • Jonah Goldburg (of Liberal Fascism note) used to ask people that threw around the word 'Fascist' as an all Purpose insult the following question (paraphrasing from memory); Other than the war; bigotry and genocide; what don't you like about the Nazi party platform? Not to say that the above 3 are something to ignore in historical analysis; but as important as they are in the retrospective of the Nazi's; my suspicion is relatively few lower middle class voters were casting ballots for a war in the East. At least; as opposed to universal employment; say; or the Nazi whole grain bread initiative.
    11 points in /r/KotakuInAction by HAMMER_BT | 23 May 2017
  • I think you're confusing being triggered with laughing at how ridiculous your accusations are. Read some history books to find out what fascism is. Or political science books like https://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0767917189
    -2 points in /r/politics by lightfire409 | 10 May 2017
  • Liberal Fascism
    9 points in /r/The by QuantumWannabe | 02 May 2017
  • Jonah Goldberg wrote a book just like that; Liberal Fascism. It said that Hitler was vegetarian and an animal rights supporter; and also the NSDAP has 'Sozialistich' in the name of the party; ergo; the Nazis were pinko commie leftists.
    13 points in /r/politics by bikerwalla | 26 Apr 2017