Liberal Fascism: "well-researched, seriously argued–and funny"

Few books by conservative author’s have received as much vitriol and mockery before release as Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. Its title -and the changing subtitle in particular- and premise have been attacked and decried from one end of the liberal blogoshere to the other. Many have assumed it is a banal, if outrageous, attempt to follow in the footsteps of Ann Coulter. Quite a few have even asserted that Jonah couldn’t finish the book and maybe never would. The book’s amazon page was even hacked.

I have long been of the opinion that critics should read the book before attacking it. And after reading an early version I offered the opinion that it was “a serious argument with important points to make” and that while readers may not agree with all of his arguments that he “draws out some fascinating aspects of history and makes some pretty compelling arguments about the faulty nature of the conventional wisdom surrounding fascism past and present.”

Well, it seems that Publishers Weekly agrees with me. No one would accuse PW of being some sort of right wing propaganda machine and yet they offer this mostly positive review:

In this provocative and well-researched book, Goldberg probes modern liberalism’s spooky origins in early 20th-century fascist politics. With chapter titles such as “Adolf Hitler: Man of the Left” and “Brave New Village: Hillary Clinton and the Meaning of Liberal Fascism”–Goldberg argues that fascism “has always” been “a phenomenon of the left.” This is Goldberg’s first book, and he wisely curbs his wry National Review style. Goldberg’s study of the conceptual overlap between fascism and ideas emanating from the environmental movement, Hollywood, the Democratic Party and what he calls other left-wing organs is shocking and hilarious. He lays low such lights of liberal history as Margaret Sanger, apparently a radical eugenicist, and JFK, whose cult of personality, according to Goldberg, reeks of fascist political theater. Much of this will be music to conservatives’ ears, but other readers may be stopped cold by the parallels Goldberg draws between Nazi Germany and the New Deal. The book’s tone suffers as it oscillates between revisionist historical analyses and the application of fascist themes to American popular culture; nonetheless, the controversial arc Goldberg draws from Mussolini to The Matrix is well-researched, seriously argued–and funny.

So here is my challenge to all of the bloggers and writers who have mocked and chided Jonah through the delays and subtitle changes and everything else: when the book is released, read it, and offer criticisms based on substance rather than emotional reactions and ignorant gossip.

I have a feeling that most will simply ignore it rather than wrestle intelligently with its claims.

 

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season – oh, and watching golf too).

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7 Comments

  • Mr. Swift,

    I am sure there are large numbers of readers who find your particular brand of infantile and insult based humor OMG LOL funny, but I must confess I found it unworthy of your pseudonym.

    My challenge, however, was not aimed at “renowned” blogospheric humorists such as yourself but those who actual take ideas and arguments seriously and choose to deal with them in an intellectually honest manner.

    But I hope your shameless plug on this lowly blog brings you a few links or a slight increase in Google ranking.

  • In the face of your very seriously argued, intellectually honest and adult insults of my modest blog, I am forced to concede that you may have a point. Thank you for setting me straight and please feel free to shamelessly plug your own blog at my site at any time.

  • In the face of your very seriously argued, intellectually honest and adult insults of my modest blog, I am forced to concede that you may have a point. Thank you for setting me straight and please feel free to shamelessly plug your own blog at my site at any time.

  • The trick with reviewing any of the “studies” or “reports” from the fascist fringe is to first obtain a copy without paying for it.

    Who, after all, would want to put money into the hands of Jonah, Michael Savage Weiner, or trAnn Coulter?

    Stealing a copy from a store may hurt the innocent, however, but stealing it from a right winger hurts no one.

    Having attained a copy in the above fashion, I read it.

    It is garbage. A tract filled with the oldest obfuscations and lies of the right. These obfuscations stem from the right’s desperate longing to hide it’s complicity with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan before the Second World War and during it.

    It did make great cat litter. Score one for Jonah!

    Old Pinko

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