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Sunday, January 20, 2008

More On the Fascism is Leftism Debate

A very good explanation of the socialist origins of fascism.

The word "liberal" here is used in the US sense-denoting big government socialism, rather than the ACT Party sense, meaning small government classic liberalism.


From 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...”

15 Comments:

Anonymous STF said...

Trotsky takes on Uncle Trev

What is fascism? The name originated in Italy. Were all the forms of
counter-revolutionary dictatorship fascist or not (That is to say, prior
to the advent of fascism in Italy)?

The former dictatorship in Spain of Primo de Rivera, 1923-30, is called
a fascist dictatorship by the Comintern. Is this correct or not? We
believe that it is incorrect.

The fascist movement in Italy was a spontaneous movement of large
masses, with new leaders from the rank and file. It is a plebian
movement in origin, directed and financed by big capitalist powers. It
issued forth from the petty bourgeoisie, the slum proletariat, and even
to a certain extent from the proletarian masses; Mussolini, a former
socialist, is a 'self-made: man arising from this movement.

Primo de Rivera was an aristocrat. He occupied a high military and
bureaucratic post and was chief governor of Catalonia. he accomplished
his overthrow with the aid of state and military forces. The
dictatorships of Spain and Italy are two totally different forms of
dictatorship. It is necessary to distinguish between them. Mussolini
had difficulty in reconciling many old military institutions with the
fascist militia. This problem did not exist for Primo de Rivera.

The movement in Germany is analogous mostly to the Italian. It is a
mass movement, with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist
demagogy. This is necessary for the creation of the mass movement.

The genuine basis (for fascism) is the petty bourgeoisie. In italy, it
has a very large base -- the petty bourgeoisie of the towns and cities,
and the peasantry. In Germany, likewise, there is a large base for
fascism....

It may be said, and this is true to a certain extent, that the new
middle class, the functionaries of the state, the private
administrators, etc., can constitute such a base. But this is a new
question that must be analyzed....

In order to be capable of foreseeing anything with regard to fascism, it
is necessary to have a definition of that idea. What is fascism? What
are its base, its form, and its characteristics? How will its
development take place? It is necessary to proceed in a scientific and
Marxian manner.

Continued at
http://history.eserver.org/fighting-fascism/

12:40 PM  
Anonymous STF said...

SOME MORE THOUGHTS FOR TREV AND CO

Trotsky explained that fascism emerges as a force when capitalism enters a severe crisis, when it can no longer govern on the basis of granting reforms and thus stabilise society. It emerges when the ruling class needs to smash the organisations of the working class. But precisely because the ruling class itself is too small a social base with which to hold down the workers it needs to mobilise the petty bourgeoisie which has been driven crazy by the crisis of capitalism itself. The masses of the petty bourgeoisie (together with the lumpenproletariat and even some of the more backward layers of the workers) thus provide an army of spies and collaborators, present in every street, every block, every factory, with which to control and hold down the working class.

Trotsky explained that it is not possible to hold down the working class for long simply by using the forces of the military police state apparatus. Thus what we saw in Germany and Italy was the bourgeoisie using the fascists to smash the labour movement. But it paid a price for this, it lost immediate political power in handing it over to demagogues such as Hitler and Mussolini, who based themselves precisely on this frenzied petty bourgeoisie.

Inflation, bankruptcy of small firms and small farmers, mass unemployment among the professional classes, the technicians and the higher salaried employees creates a ferment among those sections of society and the classical petty bourgeoisie, which can either be used to bring these masses closer to the proletariat in the struggle for socialism or, failing that, be welded into a battering ram to be used against the working class.

That explains why these movements combine nationalism and racism together with verbal anti-capitalist demagogy. They contain a socialist rhetoric, because they have to appear to be not only anti-socialist and anti-communist but also anti-capitalist.

continued at
http://www.trotsky.net/trotsky_year/fascism.html

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Reid of America said...

To summarize stf's Ph.D. thesis on fascism, Trotsky said it and I believe it and that is that.

Here is a counter theory. You have to sound counter-intelligant in order to appeal to the victimized working under-class. You are combining socialist rhetoric with post-modern rationalism in order to formalize your critique. While this may appear to be a retrograde movement to the technical class it is obviously nonsense to anyone with more than 2 brain-cells.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The swastika is a prehistoric symbol and it wasn't created by fascists, Nazis or socialists. It is still widely used as a religious symbol.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trotsky explained ... Trotsky explained ... Trotsky exlained writes STF.

Trotskyism, like mainstream communism, Stalinism, fascism, national socialism etc etc is a religion as much as a political belief.

Its defenders quote the leaders as authorities without trying to argue positions from fact.

Hoffer's "True Believer" demonstrates that fanatics are alike regardless of their beliefs. That's why fervent Nazis in East Germany tended to slip easily into the new East German Communist regime, and became born again Marxists.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Thanks STF.

The guts of my arguement is this.

You believe that Socialist collectivism is good, but Fascist collectivism is bad.

I believe that ALL collectivism is bad and that individualism is good.

Fascism and Socialism are two sides of the same coin. They may fight each other and hate each other bitterly-but then so do the Bloods and the Crips.

A plague on both their collectivist houses i say.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Justin said...

For every aspect that fascism shares with left-liberalism, there is something that it shares with right-conservatism: a strong police, strong military, rigorous justice system, stringent immigration policy, aggressive foreign policy (Germany), support for the monarchy (Italy). The obvious reason fascism became associated with the right is because, domestically, fascism was chiefly opposed by the left, while the traditional right were either supportive or remained silent.

As has been pointed out before, what you seem to be doing is revising the definitions of “right-wing” and “left-wing” to be exclusively “libertarian” and “collectivist”, respectively. You’re wrenching the terms left- and right-wing from their specific political and historical contexts and you imply that “right-wing” has been and will be eternally libertarian, and “left-wing” has been and will be eternally collectivist. I have no idea where you place big government conservatives, but, by golly, there are an awful lot of them. A model that excludes them doesn’t seem that useful to me. I’m not sure what drives this revisionism: whether you seek to apologize for your conservative allies or whether you seek to tar your leftist enemies with the Nazi brush. I think you’re on a hiding for nothing either way.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure that nobody in the Liarbour or Watermelon Parties would have the slightest problem with any of these quotes from Hitler, as long as the source remained unattributed:

"I want everyone to keep the property he has acquired for himself according to the principle: benefit to the community precedes benefit to the individual. But the state should retain supervision and each property owner should consider himself appointed by the state. It is his duty not to use his property against the interests of others among his own people. This is the crucial matter. The Third Reich will always retain its right to control the owners of property."
________________________________________
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1931)


"Let them own land or factories as much as they please. The decisive factor is that the State, through the Party, is supreme over them regardless of whether they are owners or workers."
________________________________________
from a letter to Herman Rauschning, quoted in Why Does Socialism Continue to Appeal to Anyone?, by Robert Hessen


"Why need we trouble to socialise banks and factories? We socialize human beings."
________________________________________
from a letter to Herman Rauschning, quoted in Why Does Socialism Continue to Appeal to Anyone?, by Robert Hessen

5:44 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Justin

"For every aspect that fascism shares with left-liberalism, there is something that it shares with right-conservatism: a strong police, strong military, rigorous justice system, stringent immigration policy, aggressive foreign policy"

Sounds like the Soviet Union or China to me Justin.



"I have no idea where you place big government conservatives, but, by golly, there are an awful lot of them. A model that excludes them doesn’t seem that useful to me."

Big government conservatives are on the left Justin. The big government bit gives it away.

I am not trying to excuse or smear anyone justin-just trying to clarify a confused situation.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So by your logic Trev, anarchists belong on the right of the political scale seeing as they also are against big government or any government for that matter

Y.

There are authoritarians and libertarians on both sides of the political scale and to state otherwise is rather dishonest.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

I've made the distinction before Y, that left anarchists are totalirians and right anarchists are well intentioned dreamers.

Not on my scale there are Y.

All authoritarians are on the left. All true libertarians are on the right.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For someone who has spent a good portion of you life outing those on the radical left, you don't know your enemies ideology very well, because you simply don't understand even the basic tenents of anarchism.

Y.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Thatcher, John Howard, Pinochet, both Bushes to name a few, all were authoritarians, none were true libertarians, therefore according to your distinction would they be considered lefties?

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to:

"I've made the distinction before Y, that left anarchists are totalirians and right anarchists are well intentioned dreamers.

Not on my scale there are Y.

All authoritarians are on the left. All true libertarians are on the right"

Yet on 26/9/2007 on this blog you stated:

"I've got a wee soft spot for anarchists. At least they believe in freedom, even if they do leave out the responsibility bit."

Wake me up when you stop contradicting yourself Trev.

Y.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Steve Nice Guy Northland said...

All this stuff from Trev & Co is hysterical "I think therefore it is!" bullshit - you know the, Chickenhawk Dogma, the "Mission Accomplished"..... ya ya ya!

First we have their jigsaw semantics around the word "socialist"......followed by the bewildered Reid of America clutching her pearls like a tortured old Victorian matron.

And then we have their right-wing "spin" - nothing more really than "I think therefore it is!.....

Jesus, what a circus !

8:40 PM  

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