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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  4,626 Ratings  ·  502 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
Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Crown Forum (first published January 8th 2007)
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mark monday
Jun 08, 2012 marked it as unread-forever  ·  review of another edition
here's a little something for the book itself:


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)
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 16, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
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
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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 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
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
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Erik Angle
Mar 07, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 25, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
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
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.
Vincent Pimpinella
Because who doesn't love overly contrived bullshit?
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
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Fellows
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
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Freeman
My son, a far-right conservative loaned me this book and I was fascinated with it. I'm a history buff with middle of the road views and started the book with much enthusiasm. The book's discussion of fascism, Mussolini and Hitler is written in a brilliant almost breezy style by a highly intelligent man who has clearly researched his subject thoroughly and is well read. I wondered a little at his saying Hitler is a left-winger but then it's just a matter of definitions. Right?

His history of the W
Jan 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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 &
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
This title is so funny. Two words the left has forgotten the meaning of: Liberal and Fascism.

Liberal: "Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.[1][2][3] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equali
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
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
The F Word

I don’t suppose there is any word with less real meaning now than ‘fascist’. Indeed, I begin to wonder if it ever had any meaning. It has a purpose, yes, but that’s quite different. It serves as an insult, an f word greater than the f word, the more frequently used the more meaningless it has become. I suppose there must have been a time when “you fascist b******d”, actually meant “you fascist b******d”, in the sense that one happened to belong to a political party which actually had
Rick Davis
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful, careful, well researched, and devastating.
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
The author's aim is to correct the misconception that fascism - a poorly defined and poorly understood term anyway, usually thrown about by anyone wishing to vilify and discredit something or someone they don't like - is a right-wing ideology, or that it typically represents conservatism gone to seed. While acknowledging that it is a complicated phenomenon, he nonetheless convincingly demonstrates, by tracing its history, that its origins are undeniably rooted in the radical, left-wing progressi ...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
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a conservative and a fan of Jonah Goldberg, I eagerly awaited this book. However, once I read it I found myself disappointed.

Goldberg is not wrong in his basic thesis. However, he pushed his thesis so far that it broke under the strain and became nonsensical.

It is certainly true that Mussolini was a communist organizer before he created his brand of fascism, and that Hitler's fascism grew in part out of a melange of the progressive ideas floating around Germany around the early 20th century
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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.
More about Jonah Goldberg...
“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.” 120 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.” 20 likes
More quotes…