Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

04/03/2009 (12:24 pm)

Rationalizing Fascism

My apologies for not posting for a few days: I was unexpectedly absent from my computer for several days.

I recently spent about an hour watching Jonah Goldberg’s talk at the Heritage Foundation in which he explains the thesis of his book, Liberal Fascism. The book (which I have not read yet) appears to be a history aimed at correcting a cultural misconception, namely that fascism and Soviet-style communism are from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They’re not; both National Socialism (the German Nazi party’s name for themselves) and International Socialism (the Russian Communist party’s correct designation) were socialism (duuuuh). Their adherents believed pretty much the same things: anti-capitalism, anti-Christianity, planned economy, elevation of the worker over an oppressive bourgeois, environmentalism, animal rights, even natural foods. Where they differed, apparently, was that the International Socialists believed in solidarity of all workers everywhere — a laborer in Minsk was supposed to identify with a laborer in Gary, Indiana or in Dusseldorf, Germany — whereas National Socialists recognized that laborers and management in Dusseldorf had a great deal in common with each other, so they added nationalism to their core values. The first of seven clips (five speaking, two Q & A) explaining Goldberg’s book can be found here, and you can get to the rest from there. It’s worthwhile as a precursor to reading the book.

However, in following up I came across the following clip that illustrates a remarkable, extreme distortion in the minds of most liberals. They absolutely, positively refuse to acknowledge that their ideas have anything to do with fascism, even though they continue to pursue the same policies favored by Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Nikita Khrushchev, and all other socialists, both national and international.

I am excluding the specific, genocidal racism for which the Nazis became duly infamous; I’m also, for the moment, excluding the equally murderous but inexplicably less infamous murders by the Soviet socialists, the Chinese socialists, the Cambodian socialists, the Cuban socialists, the Albanian socialists, the Romanian socialists, and the East German socialists against their own people. We do not know yet whether American socialists will proceed to commit the same crimes, although the record of International Socialists on this score is not good at all. In fact, it’s a dubious tribute to the power of the biased, western press that anybody at all is willing to call themselves a socialist in the wake of the 20th century, with its hundreds of millions of murders by socialists. But the murders have been clouded by propaganda, so plenty of people manage to call themselves socialists without any twinge of shame.

American liberals, though, regard conservatives as “fascists” (ignoring what appears to be accurate historical content in Goldberg’s talk) because conservatives oppose government endorsement of gays and liberal abortion rights policies. The following clip is from Tucker Carlson’s show on MSNBC from mid-January 2008; the liberal guest is someone named “Hillary,” but I don’t know her last name or her credentials. She expresses a notion I’ve heard dozens of times on liberal blogs, though. Listen:

Her confusion is basic. Fascism is a political system, not a moral system. What distinguishes a fascist is that he or she advocates a central, authoritarian, single-party government led by a dictator that seeks national unity and development by requiring individuals to subordinate self-interest to the collective interest of the nation (Wikipedia is not entirely a reliable source, but their definition of fascism seems sound.) The particulars of any moral system being instituted by this authoritarian, one-party government are moot; it’s the form of government, not the particular morals, that make it fascist.

What the conservatives are doing about which “Hillary” is complaining is working within a constitutional republic to advocate specific acts of the legislature. There are very few conservatives — none that I’ve encountered — that advocate dismantling the republic in order to protect the particular moral imperatives they want enacted by the legislature. Constitutional republics, like fascist governments, are determined by the form the government takes, not by the particular moral content of the laws passed by the legislature. Advocating particular laws cannot be “fascist” simply by virtue of the particular laws being advocated, so long as they don’t advocate changing the form of government.

The leftist angst expressed by Ms. Hillary is anti-intellectual, in fact. I imagine they begin from an inner objection based on their personal desire to behave in a certain way. Their consciences tell them that they are misbehaving, so they grow defensive: it becomes crucial to silence anybody who reminds them of their guilt. The best way to silence people is to shame them, so they call anybody a “fascist” who dares to suggest, even indirectly, that their behavior might be immoral. Most advocates of limited abortions say nothing directly about any particular person’s behavior, but their advocacy clearly identifies the sexually libertine lifestyle as immoral and irresponsible; hence, they’re “fascists.” This has nothing whatsoever to do with a form of government advocated by these activists, who are happy to work within the bounds of their constitutional republic. It has everything to do with the liberal’s conscience. This conclusion is so important to the guilt-ridden liberal that no amount of analysis can shake it; their analysis begins with the conclusion, “conservatives are fascists,” and bends both facts and sound definitions in order to protect that thesis.

Unlike conservatives, the leftists under the current regime believe in the international socialist agenda, though they are, for the time being, limited somewhat by the existing rules of the constitutional republic. In opposition to those rules, they are doing everything in their considerable power to prevent the opposition party from ever returning to power. The District of Columbia Voting Rights Act is nothing more or less than attempt to stack the deck. Numerous violations of law during the latest election season had the same goal. Card Check, the infamous and improperly-named “Employee Free Choice Act,” has the goal of strengthening and enriching unions, which in turn contribute huge sums almost entirely to Democrats. They are undermining traditional rules protecting the participation of the minority party in the legislature. Changes in the structure of the tax law guarantee that a majority of voters will be exempt from taxation altogether, guaranteeing that the representatives of taxpayers will always constitute a minority. They are attempting to criminalize certain positions of the opposition party. They allow continuance of the opposition party for the sake of the appearance of the constitutional republic, so long as that party lacks the ability to stop them from carrying out their agenda.

Goldberg points out that American liberalism has been pursuing an essentially fascist agenda since Woodrow Wilson’s administration in 1914. The Obama administration is the culmination of that effort, and it appears unlikely that it will be possible to reverse the damage they are perpetrating on the nation. No amount of complaining about laws advocated by conservatives within their state and local legislatures, or even with the national legislature, can turn conservatism into fascism; that’s solely the anti-intellectual construction of the guilty consciences of guilt-ridden libertines.

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