"We're not interested in social reconstruction; it's human reconstruction..."
Who better to quote at the start of a review concerning a book entitled Liberal Fascism The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning than Hillary Rodham Clinton? Fabricating new humans while worshipping state power is very much her business along with the mission of her generation, but it's also what fascism concerns. The connection between progressives [I call them regressives] and fascism is the subject of a marvelous tome Jonah Goldberg recently penned.
Jonah's been a conservative star since his old "G-File" days at National Review. Indeed, in my opinion, he's a topflight observer of our public square, and, next to the exquisite Mark Steyn, happens to be the wittiest conservative alive. While we've always enjoyed his humor its flash sometimes obscures the true merit of his perspective so I was not sure exactly what the quality of this work would be. My concerns were unfounded. This has to be one of the best books of the new millennium.
Of course, the material may not be exactly what readers expect. Its focus is history rather than contemporary politics. The narrative is new, however, as it successfully debunks over sixty years of leftist propaganda. Goldberg begins by defining fascism as "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State," and that the movement was "a religion of the state." One of the quotes I liked best was "Statolatry" which is what the Vatican called Mussolini's corrupt endeavor. While the definition of fascism is fairly clear, our modern vernacular has managed to obscure its meaning. Our current usage of the term has nothing to do with its original denotation. Indeed, fascism and fascist are so often used as terms of derogation that they mean little more than "I don't like this person or his ideas." Fascism is even more nebulous that "homophobe" or "racist" as, with those words, the average person has at least some idea what they connote.
The author convincingly links the left to fascism and is particularly compelling in regards to American Progressivism as that movement was a major source of the fascist ideas that fueled Hitler and Mussolini. This connection is fully elucidated in his chapter "Everything You Know About Fascism is Wrong."
"Adolf Hitler: Man of the Left, may not be the most lively section here but it undeniably is the most important. Goldberg will have provided a valuable service to the nation if he manages to change the thinking of only one percent of those who currently regard the Nazis as rightists. This is a travesty as the nature of their state, along with their weltanschauung, was as radical as it could be. Whenever I get into an argument with someone over the Nazis ideological orientation the first question I ask is "what exactly was it that the Nazis wanted to conserve?" There can be no legitimate answer. Hitler had no use for traditional values, Christianity or humanism. Indeed, if given the chance he would have used our Constitution to paper the floor beneath his dog Blondi. Recall Hitler's furious reaction upon discovering that his troops - in the course of overrunning Holland - decided to set up an honor guard surrounding the Kaiser's home. That was verboten. The Germans were allowed no masters other than the Fuehrer and his state.
And what of Mussolini? Il Duce, before he officially became Il Duce, proposed enacting "a large progressive tax on capital that would amount to a one-time partial expropriation of all riches," the nationalization of the arms industry, and the seizing of the majority of firms during the First World War. Now that's limited government! There's a great quote cited that aptly described his nature: "I am and shall remain a socialist and my convictions will never change! They are bred into my very bones." QED.
Should fascism come it will arrive with a happy face and a smile - hence the cover - as our Nanny Staters will trample any person or family who gets in the way of their keeping us all safe…safe from ourselves and our liberties. Who are the fascists among us? How about those folks wanting to proscribe the use of IPods while crossing a street or those who wish to ban outdoor smoking and transfats? We'd all be better off if such power freaks found religion and began worshipping at the church of minding their own business.
Politically, the Democratic Party is the party of the state although many Republicans such as George W. Bush - recall his Oprahesque line: "when somebody hurts government has got to move" - are chock full of statist impulses. All of these mundane warriors fail to comprehend the value of Thomas Jefferson timeless edict, "a government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have."
Consider the current election with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Both are competing to prove to voters that only they can steriodally expand the state to its proper dimensions. They attempt to outbid each other in regards to how much taxpayer money they can swindle under the auspices of aiding...the taxpayer. Even as I type, on this very day, Hillary Clinton came out with a plan for the Leviathan to meddle in the mortgage market. With her assistance, an impending recession could morph into a depression. Hmm, did that ever happen before while a leftist was ensconced in the White House?
To the statist the past is never worth examining and they refuse to acknowledge their own mistakes. History only has value if it can be used as a truncheon with which to batter their enemies. Luckily, even though few of these pages concern our New Millennium. Goldberg did include a chapter entitled "Brave New Village" which is devoted to Hillary Clinton. The New York Senator even gets a subheading which embalms her as "The First Lady of Fascism." To Goldberg, Hillary is an emblematic person. In her we see the follies of the old left along with their probable direction in the future.
Goldberg outlines the fascistic nature of her bestselling "It Takes a Village" and inserts a hysterical P.J. O'Rourke reference to its title as the proverb hails from "the ancient African Kingdom of Hallmarkcardia." By making use of "children" and phrases like "saving children," Hillary and her ilk manage to assert their moral authority over the rest of us. They care, and if we argue with them, then we don't. This allows them to create what, in Goldberg's words, is "an entire category of human beings for whom all violations of the principle of limited government may be justified." Which was their real goal in the first place I believe.
The fascism which could thrive with the election of Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama in November will be a version entirely devoid of black and brown shirts. While still featuring jackboots that stomp upon human faces, the material from which their made will be less offensive. Leather that is festooned with recycled paper ribbon and laces that are crafted from hemp should smart a good bit less. At least we can be grateful for something.
VISUAL PRESENTATION OF THIS COLUMN HERE.
Bernard Chapin is the author of Women: Theory and Practice and Escape from Gangsta Island and a series of video podcasts called "Chapin's Inferno."
He can be contacted at email@example.com.