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Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning Hardcover – Jan 8 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1st Edition edition (Jan. 8 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385511841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385511841
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.9 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #165,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this provocative and well-researched book, Goldberg probes modern liberalism's spooky origins in early 20th-century fascist politics. With chapter titles such as Adolf Hitler: Man of the Left and Brave New Village: Hillary Clinton and the Meaning of Liberal Fascism—Goldberg argues that fascism has always been a phenomenon of the left. This is Goldberg's first book, and he wisely curbs his wry National Review style. Goldberg's study of the conceptual overlap between fascism and ideas emanating from the environmental movement, Hollywood, the Democratic Party and what he calls other left-wing organs is shocking and hilarious. He lays low such lights of liberal history as Margaret Sanger, apparently a radical eugenicist, and JFK, whose cult of personality, according to Goldberg, reeks of fascist political theater. Much of this will be music to conservatives' ears, but other readers may be stopped cold by the parallels Goldberg draws between Nazi Germany and the New Deal. The book's tone suffers as it oscillates between revisionist historical analyses and the application of fascist themes to American popular culture; nonetheless, the controversial arc Goldberg draws from Mussolini to The Matrix is well-researched, seriously argued—and funny. (Jan. 8)
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“Brilliant, insightful, and important.” —New York Sun

“Well-researched, seriously argued, and funny.” —Publishers Weekly“Bold and witty… [Goldberg] makes a persuasive case that fascism was from the beginning a movement of the left.” —New York Post“Jonah Goldberg is the first historian to detail the havoc this spin of all spins has played upon Western thought for the past seventy-five years, very much including the present moment.” —Tom Wolfe

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Goldberg's book is a well-researched account of the dominant political philosophy of the last 200 years - collectivist fascism of one sort or another. While left-leaning detractors will have their knickers in a knot over Goldberg's account of political history, the bottom line is that he brings to the table some insightful analysis to the table on the similarities between socialism, nationalism and fascism - they all come from the same root: collectivism by elites that believe that they "know better".

There are some problems as Goldberg appears to work out his thoughts in the book rather than in his notepad, and while amusing to read for conservatives, I seriously doubt that Hillary Clinton justifes a whole chapter to her political views and background ... this just came across as political posturing and not very well thought out.

In the end, if Goldberg's work helps readers to view the political spectrum on a collectivist-individualist spectrum rather than a "left-right" or "socialist-fascist" spectrum, then we'll all be better for it.
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 19 2009
Format: Paperback
In the intro, Goldberg discusses the confusion surrounding the term 'fascism' with reference to Roger Griffin, Emilio Gentile, Gilbert Allardyce, Ernst Nolte, Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell and others. The phenomenon has many variants & names (with a fondness for words like 'movement' or 'action') whilst the manner of its expression is influenced by the national culture. Nowadays the term is loosely applied to 'anything not desirable.' The author investigates the characteristics of the movement, its roots in American Progressivism of the early 20th century, the branches that sprouted during the New Deal and similarities with the agenda of what is today called Liberalism in the USA.

First, he examines Mussolini, a favorite of the New York Times, New Republic, Hollywood and many intellectuals until his invasion of Ethiopia in 1934. This chapter includes sections on Jacobin Fascism with observations on the French Revolution, JJ Rousseau, Georges Sorel and Napoleon, and War, which deals with populism and pragmatism as forms of relativism. National Socialism predated Hitler, it competed with communism for the same support base, used identity politics and was not identical with Italian Fascism as Goldberg points out in the 2nd chapter. Further information on the similarities, differences and the danse macabre of shifting alliances in 1930s Europe is available in Sinisterism by Bruce Walker.

There's selective amnesia as regards Woodrow Wilson during whose presidency censorship, economic regulation, militarism, propaganda & corporatism dominated the USA. There were unimaginable crackdowns on the media, restrictions of civil liberties & many features of a police state.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on June 12 2009
Format: Paperback
Goldberg, a regular contributer to the conservative National Review, takes on the liberal-progressive establishment in this book. His thesis is that the liberal in American society is nothing more than a person committed to pushing progressive causes using fascistic politics. He begins his argument on what history reveals as the close ties that existed between the early 20th century American progressive and the emerging Italian and German fascist movements. Both were mutual admirers of what they wanted to accomplish: the unity of the country. Goldberg even suggests that Wilson's decision to take America into war in 1917 is indisputable proof that he saw militarism as a fascistic means to promoting the will of the state. Woodrow Wilson, like his successor FDR with the NRA in the 30s, transformed the country into a more centrally-controlled state that combined the need to protect the individual and regulate big business in order to promote progress change. The rise of statism, a thinly disguised form of fascism, became known as the third way in which society could both unite and reform in the same breath; no longer reactionary or revolutionary to frustrate the advocates of social engineering on behalf of a utopian future. Later in the 20s and 30s, western media and fascist governments in Europe showered each other with mutual praise for their 'noble' endeavours to collectivize society for the greater good of all. Liberals have never satisfactorily answered the question as to who gets to determine what is good for everybody. They just automatically assume it is they who have come up with the progessive vision for change. Most of the book is taken up with examining where American left-wing ideologues have gone in their efforts to push liberal fascism or the third way.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his book, Liberal Fascism, Goldberg argues that fascism clearly belongs on the left side of the spectrum.

Upon reading this thesis I instinctively found it disturbing as if it seemed to go against the natural order of things. Of course the Nazi's and the Italian Fascists were on the far right. Are they not our society's very definition of the far right?

Yet why, asks Goldberg, if the Nazis were so far right on the political spectrum, did they brand themselves as socialists? Indeed, the very word Nazi comes from a shortening of the party's official name, die Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, - German for the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Similarly, why did Mussolini, whose parents read Das Kapital to him as a child, consider himself a 'socialist' right up until the moment of his execution at which his acolyte shouted, "Long live Mussolini, long live socialism!"

Goldberg argues, with considerable backing, that fascism began very much as a left-wing movement, with the added embrace of nationalism. In fact, Goldberg suggests that the first categorizing of fascists as right-wing only occurred after Stalin put out the directive that all opponents of the his rule of the Soviet Union, including Trotsky, were to be labeled as such in a bid for control of Germany.

Fascism, says Goldberg, was born of a "fascist moment" in Western civilization, when a coalition of intellectuals under various labels - progressive, communist, socialist - believed the era of liberal democracy was drawing to a close. Leaving little doubt with him that fascism was a project of the left.

Consider Cuba, prods Goldberg.
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