Alex Constantine - February 11, 2010
Never mind that Germany's paramilitary Black Reichswehr stood leftists against the wall in the 1930s and shot them in cold blood - leftists are the true "Nazis," according to some "conservative" revisionists .
In fact, liberals are the new Jews.
Whereas, a few generations ago, Hitler railed against the "international Jewish conspiracy," contemporary fascists sputter about devious liberal plots: liberal Hollywood blacklists, liberal control of the media, liberals in the universities, liberal schoolbooks, liberal global warming, liberal evolution, a liberal affinity with "Islamo-Fascists," liberal big government, liberal mind control, even liberal concentration camps for, ah, swastika-waving tea-baggers. John Gibson at Fox News discovered a "liberal plot" to convince the world that GW Bush was the worst president in American history. In a recent book, Senator Jim DeMint claimed that Nazi Germany was a liberal "social democracy." And liberals, according to the CIA-subsidized National Review's Jonah Goldberg, were even responsible for the Holocaust.
The steady assault on liberalism in the media is intended to urge the country further to the right, and in time, if "conservatives" have their way, may even find expression in mass firings, blacklists, social exclusion, possibly even mass violence. It has happened before.
Germany has provided Goldberg and his fellow travellers with a blueprint for imposing open fascist rule. One can imagine a book called "Jewish Fascism" selling out in Nazi Germany. After all, Henry Ford's The International Jew was a best-seller - 11-million copies were snatched up by Hitler's "good Germans." Today, Good Americans are reading Jonah Goldberg. The animus toward liberalism is growing, stoked by a constant onslaught of distortions from the media.
Goldberg's fraud is a red flag signalling the end of democratic values ... IF the left continues to do nothing and allows lies to reign supreme as they did under Germany's far-right regime.
Was Hitler a Man of the Left?
By: Michael Scott Moore
www.miller-mccune.com | February 10, 2010
When Jonah Goldberg published his book Liberal Fascism in 2007, George W. Bush was still president, and no one had yet compared Barack Obama to Hitler.
Goldberg’s ambition for his book, if you boil it down, was small. He wanted to clarify the word “fascism” for a popular audience and defend himself, as an American conservative, against the knee-jerk label “fascist.” Fair enough. “To suggest that Hitler was a conservative in any sense related to American conservatism,” he wrote, “is lunacy.”
That’s true. Hitler hated almost everything about America, from its messy democratic system to its mingling races, from its seductive freedoms and modern jazz to Wall Street’s rise as a center of international (Jewish) finance. But Goldberg tries to argue that Hitler’s statist solutions to Germany’s woes — his whole “National Socialist” platform — was essentially a left-wing, revolutionary movement of workers. Being called “left-wing” would have horrified Hitler, but never mind. “The ‘social space’ the Nazis were fighting to control,” Goldberg writes, “was on the left.” ...
What’s true is that Hitler took a ragtag, socialist-minded workers’ party in the 1920s and built it up with nationalist, militarist and racist rhetoric, until the Nazis appeared to be something new under the sun. With a baffling mixture of idealism and torchlight parades, he seized absolute control of a wounded Germany. The Nazi party made socialist noises while it cozied up to German industrialists. “The party had to play both sides of the tracks,” writes William Shirer in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. “It had to allow Goebbels [and other propagandists] to beguile the masses with the cry that the National Socialists were truly socialists and against the money barons. On the other hand, money to keep the party going had to be wheedled out of those who had an ample supply of it.”
Goldberg prefers to focus on Nazi big-government policies toward everything from banking and gun control to health care, but he downplays the freakish rants against foreigners, homosexuals and modern art, against weak-kneed liberals, intellectuals and “urban cosmopolitans” — all in favor of German farms, German family values and German workers just struggling to get along. Hitler cleared at least as much “social space” on the right as on the left.
He was no doubt a revolutionary. Hitler wanted to clear off German aristocrats as well as the German bourgeoisie, and this fierce populist anger against the comfortable middle classes and their weak-looking Weimar Republic is part of what makes Hitler seem “left-wing” when you begin to read about him.
But the same anger animated loads of Germans back then; parties across the political spectrum wanted to tear down Berlin’s wobbling experiment with Anglo-American democracy and replace it with something glorious, uncompromised and pure, as long as it would bring swift prosperity to the suffering unemployed. It was political romanticism, and in this sense German Communists helped the Nazis along, even if Nazis and Communists held gang fights in the streets. Hitler hijacked their romanticism.
The sticky question for Goldberg and his fans, particularly since the book came out, is whether this romanticism really is just a province of the left. Or is it possible to imagine a grassroots revolutionary movement from the right that dreams of patriotic renewal, resents Wall Street for trashing the economy, hates the lazy liberalism of the latté-drinking middle class, bashes homosexuals and immigrants, mistrusts intellectuals and “cosmopolitans,” loathes dissent, resorts to vicious name-calling and has been known to call for war when no war is needed?
Most Germans can’t figure out what some Americans mean when they compare Obama to Hitler. Goldberg bears a lot of responsibility for this lunacy. He’s also begged people not to go quite so far, though the plea may sound disingenuous from the author of Liberal Fascism.
“Some have taken to calling liberals fascists,” he laments in a new afterword to his book from 2009. “That isn’t what I wanted.”
Definitions and Double Standards - A Rebuttal
By Roger Griffin
Roger Griffin is Professor in Modern History at Oxford Brookes University and lectures principally on aspects of the History of Ideas relating to ideologies and values that have shaped the modern world. His latest book is Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
"If you’re catching flak, you must be over the target." That Jonah Goldberg spontaneously uses a metaphor drawn from the Anglo-American bombing campaigns on Nazi Germany is, if nothing else, indicative of his mindset about the subject at hand. The fact is that he does NOT conceive his book as a reasoned, empirically grounded, original contribution to comparative fascist studies, but rather has executed a thinly disguised propaganda attack on "liberals."
Genuine academics use reasoned arguments that do not wilfully distort their sources to rhetorical ends. They do not use footnoted polemics without destroying their own credibility among their peers. That has been Goldberg’s approach.
I wrote NOT as a "liberal"' engaged in fending off attacks on the freedom to think. I wrote as an academic concerned that the tools of the specialism to which I contribute are being abused by a neoconservative with no academic track record in fascist studies that qualifies him to denigrate, by association, a form of social democracy or liberal socialist agenda that is generically different from fascism. I did not set out to discredit Liberal Fascism in the spirit of a type of political Star Wars, but as a university lecturer professionally offended by Goldberg's impersonation of a historian whose publishing success is in inverse proportion to its merits and significance as a scholarly monograph.
Genuine academics target truth, conceived as a complex, multifactorial, contested reality reconstructed through collaborative effort. They do not "target" particular groups of people defined by their affiliations or beliefs. In strictly academic terms, Jonah Goldberg does not understand fascism. Perhaps he should also brush up on his liberalism. (HISTORICALLY, that is, not politically).
As for the tone of Jonah's self defense: its slanderous, offensive tone reminds me of the way bad drivers react when other motorists hoot them for dangerous maneuvers. Their insulting behaviour smacks of bad faith: they know they are in the wrong, but have not the honesty or moral courage to admit it. All the book sales, chat shows, and plaudits from the anti-Obama clique cannot compensate for Goldberg's intellectual and moral vacuity.
Incidentally, my point about parallels between Goldberg's technique of discrediting liberalism by tarring it with connotations of fascism, and the way Nazi propaganda associated Jews with Communists - and even Negroes with Jews - is a sober reference to a familiar technique for discrediting the targets of persecution by association - cf. the equation of social liberals with Bolshevism and Stalinism in the McCarthy era. It was NOT an ad hominem argument as Goldberg alleges. I, at least, can make a distinction between chalk and cheese, or in this case tell radical anti-Democrats out to malign and discredit the sort of welfare policies commonplace in all advanced liberal democracies in Europe, apart from the rantings of neo-Nazis and Christian fundamentalists (loosely called by some of their opponents "Christian fascists," a term I also have problems with on academic grounds).
By misrepresenting my critique as a personalized, "ad hominem" attack, neoconservative partisans like Goldberg give themselves license to dismiss every word I write. After all, even if I am, at least on paper, an internationally known professor of modern history who has devoted several decades of specialist research and writing to probing into the nature of fascism, I am "actually" simply "unhinged," cannot marshal evidence or arguments to support a position, and can only "hyperventilate."
It’s true that Goldberg’s book made me angry, and no doubt my review reflected that. But the anger is not partisan – it’s professional and ethical. Frauds, after all, have that effect on the people watching as they’re perpetrated if they understand the subterfuge.
It would be one thing if Goldberg’s fraud were limited in scope. But it has spread – to the Tea Parties, to the TV talk shows, to the blogs. And try as Goldberg might to complain that liberals misunderstand his thesis – he insists he’s not identifying liberals with fascism – the problem is hardly limited to liberals. Many of his sign-carrying acolytes at the Tea Parties, and his TV friend Glenn Beck, explicitly identify liberals and President Obama with fascism.
Here is a revealing sample of the support garnered by Jonah's book, from fellow neoconservative Mark Noonan:
My view: Goldberg gets it exactly right. This is especially true in light of my own assertion that all non-conservative views ultimately stem from the same, flawed source. Liberalism, as I’ve said, rests upon the falsehood that Man is perfectible by men. That our problems stem not from our fallen nature, but from the unjust systems and that if we can just change the system, we’ll change ourselves. Heaven on earth will result.
From that initial folly has stemmed all the rest - and thus liberalism, socialism, communism, fascism and Nazism are branches of the same, poisoned tree. Of course, to point any of this out - especially in a best-selling book - is to irk the liberals to no end. They insist that things like Nazism and fascism have nothing to do with liberalism - in spite of the obviousness of the relationship.
I rest my case, satisfied that I, at least, am trying to water the oak of liberal humanism and democracy through disinterested intellectual labour in the pursuit of historical truth — always complex, always contested — not poison it with a version of history genetically modified to achieve thinly veiled political ends.