Accuracy in Media

Conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg is tired of being called a fascist. In his latest book, Liberal Fascism, he fights back against the term that those on the right are often saddled with, reminding readers that the original fascists leaned more toward the left.

Goldberg, the editor-at-large for National Review Online, argues in his book that fascism under Benito Mussolini and Nazism under Adolf Hitler came from the same intellectual source as Progressivism, the birth-mother of American liberalism. The term “liberal fascism” comes from a speech made by author H. G. Wells when he told a group of Young Liberals at Oxford that Progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis.”

“I’m not saying today’s liberals are Hitler’s cousins,” Goldberg said at his first discussion of the book held at the Heritage Foundation. “They’re more like his grand-niece once removed.”

The author claims the point of the book is to give an accurate definition and history of fascism, a word which he asserts is commonly misused.

“Many modern liberals and leftists act as if they know exactly what fascism is. What’s more, they see it everywhere—except when they look in the mirror,” Goldberg’s book reads. “Indeed, the left wields the term like a cudgel to beat opponents from the square like seditious pamphleteers.”

The side of fascism he attributes to American liberalism is not that associated with the works of George Orwell or the racism and genocide of the Holocaust. It is much less brutal, “smiley-face fascism,” as he puts it. He asserts that liberals hold political principles which are similar to those found in many fascist regimes. They have a desire to form a powerful state which coordinates a society where everybody belongs and everyone is taken care of; where there is faith in the perfectibility of people and the authority of experts; and where everything is political, including health and well-being. Apparently, the Nazis were strong promoters of organic foods and animal rights, fought against large department stores, and promoted antismoking and public health drives.

“The Nazi war on smoking would make Michael Bloomberg’s heart jump,” Goldberg jokingly said.

According to Goldberg, fascism has a long history in American politics, spanning back to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Goldberg even finds fascist tendencies within the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bill Clinton as each tried to create an “all-caring, all-powerful, all-encompassing” state. His book traces more recent signs of fascist ideology in the economic ideas of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore.

So how did fascism become associated with the political right? Goldberg claims this stems from the propaganda surrounding Marxism. In the 1920s, fascist ideas were popular among the American left as many saw Italian Fascism as a “worthwhile experiment.” The German version that emerged in the 1930s had considerably less appeal.

“The American left essentially picked a different team—the Red team,” Goldberg writes, “and as such swore fealty to communist talking points about fascism.”

At the same time, Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, found it beneficial to label all ideas which he did not agree with as fascist; this included socialists who were disloyal to Moscow and, of course, the political right. Those loyal to his social doctrine also began to see communism and fascism on opposite ends when, as Goldberg asserts, both are in fact socialist in nature.

Goldberg asserts that Liberal Fascism is different from fascism of the past because today’s left are pacifists rather than militarists; their plan is to nanny, not to bully. Still, he warns that this method can be just as politically hazardous.

“Simply because the nanny state wants to hug you doesn’t mean it’s not tyrannical when you don’t want to be hugged,” Goldberg concluded…”

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  • gary brumley

    As a vietnam veteran away from america in service I came back with liberal slogans situated in all the media which were planted in the universities by professors and idealistic youth who had no idea just how non liberated they will always be until they experience the real side of a political world that has and will always exist. This could not be explained by veterans to the brainwashed non listeners and now this is coming back full force 360 degree right in their face. America in general is seen as a naive people and why not they see their military as somewhat less intelligent and in need of their peace loving wisdom machine that began revving its yellow submarine engines that has actually saved the world from itself. No apologies here from the American military defenses who served. Popular liberated slogan “But you are being defensive” another slogan from the freudian yoga left. What the left is saying don’t defend your country just offend it and join us. Hence the liberated naive offensive . i know it even sounds stupid and yes it is.

  • ageofknowledge

    Modern liberals certainly are facists.

  • Extender73

    NEWSPEAK…and nicely done!

  • openminds

    Absolutely brilliant to read this. This was the impression I got from studying history.

  • Lou

    Actually both parties, Obama, Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court are all compicit in the erosion of our Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was passed by a two party Congress and signed into law by Obama this year. This Infinite Detention law allows for Obama to have anyone including Americans who he deems is a threat to the state detained and murdered without any due process of law. This Martial Law violates our 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th Amendments and habeus corpus. Obama and his fascists cronies in Congress subsequently passed the Anti-Protest Bill which violates the 1st Amendment by making Free Speech a felony. This is just a small taste of fascism here in the U.S. from both sides of the aisle. I am a Constitutionalist/Fiscal Conservative registered Libertarian. Fascism is neither a left or right issue, it is an American issue. The two party system is clearly not working. Thomas Jefferson said we would be doomed if we had a two party political system, he spoke with much profundity and wisdom. Aside from an all out revolution, one must expect the status quo, see doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

  • ireland

    Obamacare is requiring complete subservience to the state: a totalitarian regime. Fascism. Most Germans did not see it coming. How similar our situation is looking. Our leaders talk of death panels and high court justices agree we must abort the weak and those who are not productive. People need to wake up because the motives are the same as in 1931. Total power corrupts totally. History will indeed repeat itself. Especially when people don’t believe it is possible. The Germans had a democracy the fell into totalitarianism because they believed the lies. Just as we are doing now.

  • Julie Cosgrove

    “Progressives” are indeed fascists in every way.

  • wolfdoctor

    One of the major tenets of fascism is anti-labor/anti-unionism and pro corporatism. That is strongly conservative in nature.

  • Demo

    Please explain how obamacare is requiring complete subservience to the state? That statement is absolutely ludicrous. Requiring each person to have health insurance makes someone subservient…….how? Please learn about the subject of what you’re opinion should be BEFORE forming it.

  • blockmenow

    They’re are NOT fascists. Even Goldberg says this. They might be Liberal Fascists but that’s different to fascism.

    I guess you skipped over the bit in the article that said “Goldberg asserts that Liberal Fascism is different from fascism”.

  • Sam Spade

    Comment on most any “liberal” website…see if your comments aren’t moderated (code for squashed/deleted). Don’t want those mind numbed getting any ideas, err thinking for themselves.

  • Whatever

    How old are you? Do you not realize that not everyone can AFFORD to have health insurance? Are you also completely oblivious to how much it’s driving up the cost of everyone’s health insurance? Granted, my mother actually works in the medical field, so I may know how Obamacare actually affects the real world better than most people who aren’t in medicine or in economics.

  • Whatever

    Liberals don’t want to bully? That’s certainly stretching the truth.

    Also, I’ll add that Democrats have antagonized race relations for decades, just like they did before they switched over to the party of minorities, and antagonize conflicts between different minority groups in general. Identity politics is a key concept of fascism, in fact the DEFINING concept. Republicans try to downplay things like race and sex as much as possible and even pander to minorities and women, just not as much as Democrats.

    Obama is particularly bad about this, and has antagonized race relations to suit his own ends, including having former domestic terrorists serve under him. Most Americans, including Black Americans, agree that race relations have gotten worse under the Obama years. (Even referring to it as “the Obama years” makes it sound like we’re under a fascist government. The head of state should not be the Genius Loci of the entire country, which is one of the key traits of fascism.)

    Far Right White Nationalists exist, but they hate 90+% of the Republican party and Conservatives too, just for different reasons. The thing about them is that they’re not “the racist ones.” It’s just that they’re *also* racist, just pointed at politically incorrect targets accept correct ones, and they have no problem whatsoever with the fact that they’re racist rather than speaking in doubletalk and being two-faced, hypocritical bitches about it. (Note that I’m not on their side either.)

    Ayn Rand actually predicted all this, that America would eventually become fascist with a veneer of communism. She was so correct about this that most people who toss around “communist” and “fascist” are both partially true without even realizing what they mean. She was extremely intelligent. But then she thought capitalism was the best, not because she was stupid but because she genuinely believed the best of human nature, and Objectivism is built around that belief. Capitalism only works if humans have a tendency towards compassion, charity, and using wealth and power for the good of others. That last sentence I just wrote makes me want to laugh my ass off.

  • Demo

    I’m older than you ya dumbshit.
    If you can’t afford it, don’t get it. You’ll pay the fine at tax time.

  • Demo

    I’m much older than you, and you do realize that if someone can’t afford medical insurance that the government subsidizes it for them. If they don’t qualify for the subsidies that means they CAN afford it.
    People not paying for medical insurance is what caused the mess to begin with. Don’t blame the ACA for driving up costs (which is not true anyway), blame the insurance companies.

  • Greg Koch

    After what we witnessed at Berkley, the fascist liberals have shown the world their hand. Like a gang of brownshirts they destroyed property and threatened the life of a homosexual conservative. Liberals will forever be remembered as fascist.

  • SicknessofChoice

    Now we are seeing the militant side of Liberal Fascism rising up as it did in Nazi Germany. The violence being perpetrated by the Left is clearly fascist.

  • SicknessofChoice

    Only in that it has not been expressed militantly until recent times.

  • SicknessofChoice

    There is your forced subservience, Gruber…

  • SicknessofChoice

    Gruber Dems want one party rule (Left) and the masses being led by only their ideology, which in their fanaticism, they believe is the only correct ideology. That’s dictatorial and is definitely fascist! Fascism can go either right or left!

  • HelloThere777

    “>You’ll pay the fine at tax time.”
    >Said that immediately after demanding someone else do the work of explaining how it’s forced subservience


  • Bignevermo

    Fascism | Definition of Fascism by Merriam …
    Merriam-Webster › dictionary › fascism
    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
    ?Autocratic · ?Dictatorial · ?Fascismo

  • Bignevermo

    Liberals are not facists. However that said, the attempt to stifle speech is abhorrant to me. That smacks of intolerance. Don’t like the speaker? Peacefully protest. Other than that. Let the idiots show themselves through their speech.

  • Bignevermo


    Fascism | Definition of Fascism by Merriam …
    Merriam-Webster › dictionary › fascism
    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
    ?Autocratic · ?Dictatorial · ?Fascismo

  • Bignevermo

    Obamacare does no such thing. The state is fining you is you don’t take care of your own healthcare.

  • Bignevermo

    If you can’t afford it, you get help. That is unless you fall into the crack of making too much to get Medicare and too little to afford it with the help. Those are Republican run states. Other than that, you can afford it because you can’t afford to do without it.
    If you get in major car wreck without health insurance and you have $10G in PIP, that won’t cover hardly anything fir acute care. So, everyone should be covered.

  • Bignevermo

    Forced subservience is paying fines and taxes? You some sovereign citizen or something?
    Do a fine for speeding is subservience? I don’t think that means what you think it does.

  • Bignevermo

    You don’t know what subservience means then.

    prepared to obey others unquestioningly.
    “she was subservient to her parents”
    synonyms: submissive, deferential, compliant, obedient, dutiful, biddable, docile, passive, unassertive, subdued, downtrodden; informalunder someone’s thumb
    “subservient women”
    less important; subordinate.
    “he expected her career to become subservient to his”
    synonyms: subordinate, secondary, subsidiary, peripheral, ancillary, auxiliary, less important
    “individual rights are subservient to the interests of the state”
    serving as a means to an end.
    “the whole narration is subservient to the moral plan of exemplifying twelve virtues in twelve knights”

  • Bignevermo

    We have plenty of rights. But no one said there would not be consequences to your actions or inactions.
    There is no right to have the state pay your medical bills. The state will pay if you need the help. I was getting a good monthly help allowance when I was making under $50k as a single person.
    It also helps with deductibles. It isn’t just help with premiums.
    But we all have or have the potential to have health issues.
    There are taxes everywhere. This is just one.

  • Bignevermo

    No. We prefer to have what is good for the general welfare. Some of us even like the discussions on the merits of all sides of issues. Some of these far left liberals who don’t want to have the other side heard are wrong.
    I prefer to let the far right like Voukter makes fools of themselves.
    We (liberals) are not all alike just like the right, there are varying degrees of liberals and conservatives.
    Extremes on either side are generally off the mark.

  • Elliott Stegall

    They may not be as brutal (yet) as the black or brown shirts of the thirties, but they sure don’t seem like pacifists to me. They burn down street fronts, smash windows (that one’s fraught with heinous precedent), harass and frighten university speakers opposed to their ideology, and many supported Bernie Sanders. What could be more threatening than supporting that ridiculous, hoary Bolshevik? If no one has claimed authorship of this bold statement, let me do so here: Communists, Socialists, and Fascists are all the same; they are all forms of totalitarianism that threaten to kill you if you disagree with their wicked game to rule the earth. They differ merely in fashion, or in the case of Bernie, lack thereof.

  • paxf

    Except that you do not know what is for the general welfare, yet you wish to force your (misguided) vision on people who know better, and do not want it.

    Whatever your intention, you have no right. That’s tyranny.