The Liberals' Mommy Fascism
By Christopher Chantrill
At the end of the Bush administration conservatives need to clear their heads and think about the future. It's time to do some serious political philosophy. Jonah Goldberg believes that the way to start is to understand how ubiquitous fascist ideas have become in our present age.
A project like that runs immediately into the problem, first articulated by George Orwell right after World War II, that the word "fascism" no longer refers to the specific movement founded by Benito Mussolini. It has become merely a handy pejorative. For half a century the left has used the word to define themselves as the good guys and anyone that opposed them as the fascist bad guys.
As a conservative writer routinely blackguarded as a Nazi and a fascist by the Angry Left Jonah Goldberg understandably wants to put an end to all that. He does it by proposing that we think of fascism as a broad approach to government in which the frank revolutionary movements of Lenin's Bolshevism, Mussolini's Fascism, and Hitler's Nazism are specific instantiations.
Then, in Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning,he takes the fateful step. He argues that the American liberal tradition -- from early twentieth century Progressivism to the New Deal to Michael Lerner's politics of meaning and Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village -- is also an instantiation of the fascist concept.