I haven’t done a book review for a while so I dug out my notes on Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism published in 2008. It’s a subject I’ve been interested in for some years.
To begin with the conclusion - the book concerns US liberalism but its message probably applies to most of the developed world. It is long but easy to read and well worth reading for those who are politically receptive. It is not a wholesale condemnation of modern progressive politics, the supposedly liberal politics which is not at all liberal. The comparison is more Brave New World than 1984.
Goldberg’s argument is convincing. When fascism is stripped of its militarism and racism, the modern progressive political ethos is easily seen as fascist in the rigidity of its collective social and economic ideology.
This book will present an alternative history of American liberalism that not only reveals its roots in, and commonalities with, classical fascism but also shows how the fascist label was projected onto the right by a complex sleight of hand. In fact, conservatives are the more authentic classical liberals, while many so-called liberals are “friendly” fascists.
There is much more that one could quote from the book, but quotes do not reflect the enormous detail Goldberg uses to make his core point. However it is worth adding that he does not see modern liberal fascism as necessarily evil in intent. Kindly and well-meaning people can subscribe to totalitarian politics - do frequently subscribe to it. He sees this as “friendly fascists” advocating “nice fascism”.
The real danger is the obvious one, an extreme concentration of power which has become so familiar we hardly notice the history of it and how deep it now is.
Fascist economics looked fairly recognizable as just another left-wing campaign to nationalize industry, or regulate it to the point where the distinction was hardly a difference. These policies fell under the rubric of what was called corporatism, and not only were they admired in America at the time, but they are unknowingly emulated to a staggering degree today.
Overall, very well worth reading. For example, this quote does sum up what appears to be the worldview of modern progressive imagination. The Facebook campus is an example –
Many progressives seem to think we can transform America into a vast college campus where food, shelter, and recreation are all provided for us and the only crime is to be mean to somebody else, particularly a minority.