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

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  3,033 ratings  ·  415 reviews
“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 t...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 8th 2007)
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mark monday
Jun 10, 2012 mark monday marked it as unread-forever  ·  review of another edition
here's a little something for the book itself:

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and here's something for me, to wash the taste out of my mouth after stumbling upon such extreme stupidity and basically wanting to puke after reading this book's synopsis:

(view spoiler)
Varmint
In a way, it reminded me of a book on dog psychology i'd read a few years back. So many behaviors made sense when when you realize that there's still a good bit of wolf hardwired in.

Much of liberalism confused the hell out of me. From F.D.R.'s internment of the japanese, to enviromentalist terrorism, to Sean Penn's almost sexual attraction to Hugo Chavez. It only starts to make sense when you understand the fascist impulse at it's core.

A century ago there was one united progressive movement. Le...more
Brian
Total Stars = 3

Entertainment: +.5 Stars
Education: +1 Star
Readability: +.5 star
Innovation: +.5 Stars
Inspiration: +.5 Stars


Good points made by the author.

1. Fascism is a misused term that is often unfairly applied to conservatives. The word is clearly ill-defined and poorly used. It is not right to call our fellow citizen’s by these terms. There are plenty of other good ones to go around (if you need to resort to name calling). Of course name calling is not going to bring anyone around to your...more
Kenny
In political circles, there is probably no word more misused and misunderstood than "fascism." Goldberg's exhaustive review of the sources and ideology of fascism prove, once again, that popular meanings are often diametrically opposed to the actual facts: that fascism has historically been a malady of the left, not the right, though there have been a few right-wing fascists, though they are nothing compared with the Mussolinis and Hitlers, both statists and corporatists par excellence. The book...more
Owen
From Roger Griffin:

Even if it purports to be (i.e. masquerades as) a thoroughly researched ‘alternative’ or ‘secret’ analysis and history of fascism, Liberal Fascism is to the trained eye a patent exercise in propaganda. Even ‘polemics’ is a euphemism here, implying a provocation to heated debate rather than the attempt to pass off an Ersatz for the real thing. An example of such propagandistic ‘substitution’ is the Nazi attempt to popularize an anti-Semitic variant of jazz to counter the appeal...more
Ian
Apr 15, 2008 Ian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the history of Fascism
(Note that the listed title is wrong. It is actually "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning")

This is a fascinating book. Jonah Goldberg traces the history of "Fascism", from Rousseau through Bismarck, the Progressives, Woodrow Wilson, Mussolini, FDR, the Nazis (remember, "Nazis" is short for "National Socialists" - look at the Nazi party platform: environmentalism, animal rights, organic food (Hitler and many of the top officials were...more
Ron
Goldberg is a ponderous and utterly humorless pseudo-intellectual--Tom Wolfe's blurb calls this journalist a 'historian' in the first lie on the back cover--typist (he is no writer) who conveniently rewrites definitions and history to assert that liberals are the true fascists in our society. Among the gibberish in this intellectual shell game, he equates peace symbols with swastikas, tells us that McCarthy was a progressive, defends the Klan as northern and urban, claims that the New Deal was a...more
Anthony
May 15, 2008 Anthony rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who EVER plans to vote, or presumes to voice an opinion on current political events.
This book is brilliant. It is a look at many aspects of U.S. and World history you THOUGHT you knew. You may be surprised. You will certainly be educated. This isn’t a book you read casually. You will find yourself underlining, cross-referencing, and annotating this book as you go. I was frequently cross-referencing other sources, both for varying perspectives, and to review people and events for which the author presumed background knowledge. Even so, I did not find the process cumbersome or te...more
Sean
First off, goodreads' got the subtitle wrong, it's "The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning."
This is an incredible book. Some people will be turned off by the provocative title and cover, but don't be fooled: this isn't some Ann Coulterish tome of cleverness, shock value, and name-calling. This is a history book. Goldberg underlines his points with sound research and analysis, and digs up many surprising ideological commonalities between the modern Ameri...more
Erik Ʌngle
Revisionist and hypocritical. I quit early into the second chapter.

A friend of mine had me borrow this book not long after it came out (probably early 2009). I put it on the shelf and neglected it all these years, and finally decided to go through it.

I'm not a fan of books by people who self-identify as "conservative" or "liberal", and who write with the intent of making "the other" into a villain. To Goldberg's credit, he goes through pains (at least in the parts I read) to state clearly that...more
Jacki
A history of American/European politics.

The main thing I learned from this book: The political spectrum can not easily be divided into Christian vs. atheist or intellectual vs. uneducated or rich vs. poor. Fascism is about using government to create an ideal or evolved state, at the cost of freedom or taxes or what have you vs. than minimizing or restraining government and letting society evolve on it's own. Fascism isn't about racism, or Nazis or military power. So a lot of liberal action and p...more
Carol Storm
Poor Jonah Goldberg! He's a Jew, but he makes his living flattering and defending wealthy Gentiles, many of whom inherited huge fortunes they did nothing to earn. These people don't want to hear anything bad about the selfishness of the rich. They can't abide any criticism of Catholicism, or Christianity. And they certainly don't want to explore any connection between Hitler's anti-Semitism and the traditional teachings of the Catholic church. So here's Jonah, trying to come up with something cl...more
Marvin
Sorry, Gave this a try. Complete hogwash written by a alleged intellectual for the purpose of rewriting history into a form of right-wing political correctness. Most liberals are vegetarians (a lie right there). Hitler was a vegetarian. Therefore Liberals are fascists. Think I'm kidding? Read the book. As for me I only got a third of the way through it and won't even bother to rate it.
Rebecca
I really don't know what I think of this. I liked at least the first half of it a lot; it's written in an engaging style, and it contains a lot of whitewashed history and things I just flat didn't know. It also really turns the way you view the world on its head; or rights it, depending on how you look at it. On the other hand, the second half is more uneven and starts to get a little repetitive. I also found it kind of poorly organized; we'd be trucking along talking about JFK and LBJ and then...more
Justin
It’s hard to fully express the horrors of this book. The English language simply doesn’t have the words to truly convey the madness, the irresponsibility, and the laziness that went into the writing and publication of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. From his feeble grasp of history to the rampant, naked, ugly partisanship he displays, Liberal Fascism is simply one of the worst books written by a modern American author this side of NAMBLA publications.
Let’s start with Goldberg’s understanding o...more
Jake
As Jonah Goldberg says, having heard to many times how blithely Conservatives are equated to fascists, he set out to prove the philosophical, ethical, and historical continuity between the modern liberal who makes such accusations, and concrete fascism. He makes the point that the word itself doesn't mean much except a synonym for evil with a connotation of the Holocaust. His thesis seems to be that liberalism or progressivism, socialism/Bolshevism and Fascism are all intellectual heirs of a few...more
Mark
With a Hitler-esque smiley face and the title "Liberal Fascism" gracing the cover, a casual political observer might view Jonah Goldberg's new tome as a work of contradictory hyperbole. But after reading the introduction, it becomes clear that Goldberg is laying out a serious and somewhat-scholarly argument that modern American liberalism is a sibling of the Fascist movements that swept Italy and Germany prior to World War II. His central thesis is that, while "fascism" is a political movement w...more
Darla
Jan 05, 2009 Darla rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thinkers, and all Americans who bother to vote
Recommended to Darla by: Beck
I've got my new bumper sticker- "Fascist: what liberals call people with whom they disagree."

Finally, some validation for conservative theorists! Hilter was NOT a conservative, nor was Mussolini. They were BOTH liberal, socialists and our current day "Progressives" owe much to their tactics, every bit of which echoes the Hitlerian machine. It is very frustrating that conservatives are labeled as fascists in such a way that is purely fascist in its modus operandi. Those who spout that rhetoric &...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Those who've read many of my reviews will note that this gets one of my infrequent 5 star ratings. I highly recommend this book...to all thoughtful readers. While there are those who will immediately feel that it's not for them I humbly suggest you at least try it. I don't think you'll be insulted or angered. I'll say a bit more below.

This book was actually extant when George Bush was still president so it probably isn't as current as it might be, sadly. I've been familiar with it for some time...more
Chris
I really wanted to like this book. The first bit, comparing the dinki-di fascists of Europe with the stated aims and documented actions of Woodrow Wilson and the early 20th century Progressives that shared his ideology, makes a good case. There are some excellent quotes of mutual admiration back and forth across the Atlantic, and Goldberg lifts the rock on a nasty squirming mass of human rights infringments and creepy propaganda from Wilson's war administration.

The section dealing with FDR is le...more
Tim Pendry
This is an insightful but ultimately flawed polemic from a traditional American conservative who identifies, with some justification, the 'fascistic' tendencies within American progressivism.

Unfortunately, he over-eggs his pudding, is highly selective in his evidence and he clearly does not understand the European philosophical tradition very well.

The book is not going to be of enormous use outside America except in one respect - his criticisms of the third way progressive mentality do hold up...more
Jeremy
Fantastic look at the history of liberal thought in this country. Liberal philosophy is, as Goldberg masterfully argues, happy fascism. Extensive outline and history of this movement. Very well documented and supported. If your favorite enlightenment thinkers are John Locke and Adam Smith and your political mantra is maximum individual freedom under the benign protection of a minimalist state, then you have been handed a gift with this treatise. Goldberg shines a light (a lot of light) on the tr...more
Vincent Pimpinella
Because who doesn't love overly contrived bullshit?
Michael David Cobb
I am about halfway through Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Fascism', and it's truly a fascinating set of ideas. Goldberg has given me quite a bit to think about considering what I did and did not know about American history. But in many ways this is exactly the book I have been needing to know.

As I mentioned before, or probably never said it this way before, the most difficult think about being a black conservative is that you haven't inherited it. Which means, like any bounder on the ascent, you know...more
Gary
Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism" is long overdue. This should be evident to anyone who rejects the party line of the reigning collectivist orthodoxy in America. Such a person will have had the experience of being labeled a "reactionary" or an "ultra-conservative" and of being informed that his opinions, if taken a bit further, would make him a fascist.

This charge, as inevitable as death and taxes in a debate with a hard-core Leftist, leaves its victim stunned and confused, like the prover...more
Jason Waldron
Ok, first things first, somebody at the New Republic must have really made Jonah Goldberg mad during his formative years.

This book, while completely entertaining, should have been about 1/3 as long as it was. In order to make what amounts to an angry, BS filled college essay (I should know, I wrote a few of these beauties myself back in the day), we get to experience a fairly solid argument of what makes up original fascism (socialism plus tyranny of the state over the individual) slowly degrad...more
Skylar Burris
Apr 11, 2008 Skylar Burris marked it as sampled-abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
So-called fascists such as Hitler and Mussolini were socialists. This is hardly a revelation. It's quite obvious, even down to the very name of Hitler's party. If this does come as a shock and a revelation to the reader, I can only imagine the reader probably isn't going to be convinced of the obvious truth by this book either. I think it's good someone finally made a book-length effort to try to lay to rest the complete misuse of the term fascism and the myth that Hitler was some kind of "right...more
Ayame Sohma
Jonah begins his book by equating fascism with totalitarianism, of the kind warned against in Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. What he appears to be railing against is paternalism on a grand scale, where the government controls everything "for our own good." And yet, despite railing against liberal paternalism, he ignores the socially conservative paternalistic fascism that is the result of extreme right-wing Christianity.

He decries college students who can see "nothing wrong" with th...more
Dale
I want to post some of the content that really grabbed me.

First, from chapter 1 (Introduction: Everything You Know about Fascism is Wrong):

The reason so many progressives were intrigued by both Mussolini’s and Lenin's “experiments” is simple: they saw their reflection in the European looking glass. Philosophically, organizationally, and politically the progressives were as close to authentic, homegrown fascists as any movement America has ever produced. Militaristic, fanatically nationalist, im...more
Janey
I got five pages into this book and my brain exploded. Go ahead and read some of the 4 star and 5 star reviews. I don't think I'd have anything different to say. I learned a lot, and this book was much different than I thought it would be. It's not a liberal bashing book by any means, even at the end of the book exposing three ways "conservatives are just as prone to this human yearning". I also learned that there are many different types of fascism. A few passages from the book:

Goldberg adds hi...more
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Jonah Jacob Goldberg is an American conservative syndicated columnist and author. Goldberg is known for his contributions on politics and culture to National Review Online, where he is the editor-at-large. He is the author of Liberal Fascism, which reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
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“If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it will come not in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors but with lawyers and social workers saying. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” 71 likes
“America's political system used to be about the pursuit of happiness. Now More and more of us want to stop chasing it and have it delivered.” 16 likes
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