Historians Whack "Liberal Fascism" Thesis
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:29:42 PM EST
David Neiwert has pulled together a critique of the idea of "Liberal Fascism" over at the History News Network:

"It has now been just a little over two years since the release of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.  Despite its provocative title and thesis - and particularly its open challenge to the established historical assessment of the nature of fascism among academics - it was greeted largely with silence among those academic historians and political scientists."

"Few spoke out, as Roger Griffin suggests, because they recognized that Goldberg's book was more of an exercise in polemics than a historical work, and as such not really appropriate for academic consideration.  Its use of history was so shoddy and propagandistic, and its claims so frankly absurd, that very few of them considered it worth taking seriously."

"And yet, here we are two years later, and it turns out that many people indeed have taken Goldberg's book seriously.  Not only was Liberal Fascism a national bestseller, but its core thesis - that, "properly understood, fascism is not a phenomenon of the right at all.  Instead, it is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left" - has become widely accepted conventional wisdom among American conservatives, and has played a significant role in the national discourse.  Along the way, it morphed into the claim that the agenda of Democratic liberals, and particularly President Obama, was an innately fascist attempt to impose a totalitarian state, something Goldberg himself only intimated in the book, though he later confirmed it in a National Review article."

"Nowhere is this more evident than at gatherings of the Tea Party movement, the right-wing populist phenomenon that has sprung up in opposition to the policies for which Barack Obama was elected president.  It is common at Tea Party rallies to see signs equating Obama with Hitler, and declaring the current regime "fascist." "

Read the entire Neiwert essay and the other essays here

" It is common at Tea Party rallies to see signs equating Obama with Hitler, and declaring the current regime "fascist." "

The Tea Partiers are applying their own fascist desires onto the Democrats, liberals, and others not of their ilk, and at some point they may attack the opposition in order (in their minds) to stop fascism. Of course, as this article correctly points out, the irony is that fascism is exactly what they themselves are falling into.

by COinMS on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 06:52:12 PM EST

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