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Sunday's liberal fascist linkagery

With bonus book review!

Who's responsible for the swollen prison population? According to Bill Stuntz, Democrats. His commenters aren't so sure that it's a political thing at all. (Instapundit)

Obama: cornered on the debate question? Ann Althouse thinks so. Instapundit)

Pic related: a remake of Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile..." video.

On the flip side, Keith Olbermann plays Henry II with Hillary Clinton in the role of Thomas Becket. Not everyone on the Left thinks this is funny. I suppose Olbermann could always claim he was just following the lead of Senators Dodd and Leahy, who called for Hillary to do the honorable thing earlier this month. (Ed Driscoll)


Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism is a book intended to shock, but not in the bomb-throwing, anything for a laugh way that Ann Coulter's columns tend to be. From the outset, Jonah makes it clear that he's trying to fill a hole in the national consciousness, to restore some truth to the historical narrative that's been so badly distorted by the New Left with its allies in academia and the media. He is careful in drawing distinctions between fascist movements in Italy and Germany while at the same time showing how Mussolini's movement had much in common with not only the Communists and Nazis but the Progressives here in America. Perhaps the crux of this particular line of analysis is his gentle skewering of Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here wherein he points out that "it" already had happened under Woodrow Wilson during World War I and was happening again under FDR with the New Deal and specifically the NRA.

The books segue into an analysis of how the fascist New Deal, unlike its Wilsonian ancestor, managed to survive the post-WW2 demobilizations and even metastasize into a more omnipresent form under LBJ as his misnamed "Great Society". I have to admit, the parallel of JFK's martyrdom and transformation to that of Horst Wessel had never occurred to me before, but it certainly makes sense.

Finally, the book brings us into the present day with an examination of how the New Left came to take over the reborn New Deal/Great Society and impose more extreme forms of identity politics. Goldberg doesn't spare his own side, noting how certain elements of the Republican party have come to resemble their New Left opponents in ideology and methods, differing only in the ends - and since the core of fascism is experimentalism and opportunism, that's not really a difference at all. The book confines itself to historical exposition and contemporary analysis; it contains no suggestions as to how libertarians and Buckleyist conservatives can mobilize public opinion against the Nanny State and so prevent a slow evolution of the West into the relentlessly happy totalitarianism of Huxley's Brave New World. Still, the truth will make you free, and there's shitloads of it to be found here, footnoted and sourced to a fare-thee-well. If you're a hardcore believer in making people do things for their own good, you're going to hate this book; on the other hand, if you're a Falangist* or a libertarian, you're going to laugh your ass off in between bouts of nodding grimly. Highly recommended.

*Goldberg doesn't discuss Spanish Falangism at all, since even cursory examination of the party under Franco will reveal that there's damn little socialism and even less revolutionary content to that collection of monarchists, Catholic traditionalists and bourgeois Army officers who swamped the tiny fragment of university students who thought Mussolini and Hitler might be onto something.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
huladavid
Apr. 28th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
I just put in a request for a copy from the library, and have to admit that I ran across LF in the new book section of the downtown library (I often "impulse shop" there...) but didn't check it out. More on that later.

Hey, did you know that the Twin Cities Reader, in their "Best Of The Twin Cities" issue had a "Best SF Convention" catigory, and guess who won? (First clue, not Minicon...)
wombat_socho
Apr. 28th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested in your take on LF, since you were raised Baptist and all.

Somebody revived Twin Cities Reader? Cool. I did hear that they have the "Best SF Convention" to Convergence; a number of folks on my f-list mentioned it in passing. Well, it does seem to make a lot of folks happy, so they do have that going for them.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )