Fascism, Fascism, Fascism

by Kieran Healy on December 17, 2007

Via Fascist Sadly, No!, a fascist look inside fascist Jonah Goldberg’s fascist forthcoming fascist book. Fascist.

The fascist jacket copy suggests that “The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.” I, for one, welcome our Fascist Swarthmore Obergruppenführer.

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{ 172 comments }

1

Rickm 12.17.07 at 8:30 pm

How bad did Jonah want to say “a black female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore”?

2

derek 12.17.07 at 8:32 pm

It’s completely sensible to say that fascism is a philosophy of the left. That’s why support for Hitler and Mussolini in Britain was strongest in the Labour Party and the Liberal Party, and opposition to them was strongest in the Conservative Party. No, sorry, I’ve got that the wrong way around.

Well, at least opposition to Hitler and Mussolini in the USA was strongest in the Republican Party and support for them was strongest in the Democratic Party. Oh no, wait, I’ve mixed that up too, haven’t I? Gosh, these things are so confusing. How am I supposed to remember that fascism is really liberal when history keeps getting it backward?

3

Kieran Healy 12.17.07 at 8:34 pm

Obviously those are cases of liberal cryptofascism.

4

Adam Kotsko 12.17.07 at 8:37 pm

What percentage of the Hitler chapter will be about his vegetarianism, I wonder?

5

LizardBreath 12.17.07 at 8:38 pm

4: Probably a lot, given that it’s alluded to on the jacket flap. That and organic farming.

6

Rickm 12.17.07 at 8:41 pm

Adam-
Probably about %50. The other half will be a distorted summary of George Mosse’s examination of the male homosexual iconography of the Nazi’s.

Also, how about that movie/book The Rape of Europa/”The Rape of Europa”, which documents the Nazi’s theft and destruction of art.

See… the Nazis were postmodernists too!

7

roger 12.17.07 at 8:46 pm

Well, the people who should be embarrassed about this – but won’t be – are over at the New Republic. They feature this clown in Bloggerheads style debate with his mirror image, Peter Beinart, every week – in a quest to make every dead contributor to the New Republic for the last eighty years turn in his or her grave. I guess it must be a parapsychology science experiment.

The center-right has turned into the moronic inferno of Saul Bellow’s nightmares.

8

Michael Bérubé 12.17.07 at 8:46 pm

Hey, is there any interest in renaming the blog Fascist Timber? Because I think that would be really catchy. Also, I hear Jonah drafted a chapter on “Kant’s Fascist Plan for Perpetual Peace,” but no one on the Internets was willing to help him with the Kant part. So this could be our little contribution.

9

shub-negrorath 12.17.07 at 8:51 pm

You also gotta love how the cover art for LF‘s a dead-ringer for the Prussian Blue logo. Compare:

[LF cover]

to

[the cutest neo-nazis evar]

I can’t be the first to have noticed. There’s no way this was unintentional.

10

alwsdad 12.17.07 at 8:57 pm

I’m kind of embarrassed for him, somehow. He richly deserves every bit of derision he gets, but after a while, maybe it’s just not polite to keep reading.

11

Keith 12.17.07 at 9:03 pm

What percentage of the Hitler chapter will be about his vegetarianism, I wonder?

At least twice as much as will be given over to his mentioning Hitler’s conservative Catholic faith and all the fun God talk littering his speeches.

I’d bet money that he goes so far as to paint Hitler as an Atheist.

12

Rich Puchalsky 12.17.07 at 9:04 pm

Where did Herbert Spencer go? Does that mean that the Spencer experts of the world did not do their duty and write Jonah at least a chapter?

Fascists.

13

Matt Austern 12.17.07 at 9:07 pm

I thought Kant was a nihilist, not a fascist. It’s all so confusing.

14

Kieran Healy 12.17.07 at 9:12 pm

Hey, is there any interest in renaming the blog Fascist Timber?

We aim to please.

15

Walt 12.17.07 at 9:22 pm

This sentence,
“The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.”,
may in fact be the greatest sentence ever crafted in the English language. It tops the previous best sentence, which occurred when Schwarzenegger was on a USO tour and told US troops that they were the real terminators.

16

Jacob Christensen 12.17.07 at 9:24 pm

@13: Nihilists. But then, didn’t that Kant guy write A Critique of Pure Rock Music?

Isn’t Mr. Goldberg strangely reminiscent of Frank Booth’s style of addressing people, by the way: I fascist you, you fascist fascist!

17

alkali 12.17.07 at 9:26 pm

The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

They came first for the paste eaters. And I didn’t speak up, largely because my mouth was full of paste.

18

Dan Karreman 12.17.07 at 9:32 pm

Whenever I hear the word fascism I remove the safety of my Browning.

19

Danielle Day 12.17.07 at 9:33 pm

See, that’s why i check in here occasionally: the comments regarding this witty little book are very… witty. Especially the last (17). Unfortunately, all this makes me want to go to the library and check out the book– for which curiosity i will surely be arrested.

20

Kieran Healy 12.17.07 at 9:35 pm

4,5,6 Sadly No answers your question.

21

The Next to Last Pope 12.17.07 at 9:36 pm

A female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore. Shudder! Just shows what happens when you let girls learn how to read.

22

Kieran Healy 12.17.07 at 9:37 pm

“Dachau hosted the world’s largest alternative and organic medicine research lab and produced its own organic honey.” p19.

23

SamChevre 12.17.07 at 9:40 pm

Well, it’s–hmmm–debatable, shall we say–whether Fascism was a movement of the left or the right. Whether National Socialism was a movement of the Left seems to have a pretty obvious answer.

24

Chris Baldwin 12.17.07 at 9:42 pm

Is the picture a parody?

25

alwsdad 12.17.07 at 9:43 pm

Organic honey is fascist? Wow, that almost makes me curious enough to want to read how he makes that case. But as I said, that would be impolite.

26

Kieran Healy 12.17.07 at 9:44 pm

23: No, I believe that’s the actual table of contents.

27

Rickm 12.17.07 at 9:49 pm

Check out the right-wing blogs reaction to the left’s reaction here!.

Its priceless: “Consider that a teacher, over the course of her career, can indoctrinate thousands of yong (sic) minds. An SS Stormtrooper influenced far fewer minds.”

28

yabonn 12.17.07 at 9:51 pm

Well you can say what you want about the fascists, but at least the organic honey arrives on time.

29

abb1 12.17.07 at 9:52 pm

Ah, crap. This is how it should’ve been done:

You might be a fascist if…you a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

The guy got no talent.

30

magistra 12.17.07 at 9:54 pm

But why were the liberal fascists (like FDR) fighting the non-liberal fascists (like Hitler)? And what happened to Stalin – surely he’s a fascist too? or is being a communist still worse than being a fascist? I’m confused…and I’m now presumably a confused fascist, because we all are.

31

apthorp 12.17.07 at 10:10 pm

Why does the Monty Python image of the ladies society reenacting famous battles in a mud puddle leap to mind?

Swarthmore tea as means of genocide. got it.

32

Kathleen 12.17.07 at 10:23 pm

exactly how many female grade school teachers are there with a degree in education from Brown or Swarthmore?

33

mq 12.17.07 at 10:34 pm

27: if you look at the “about” section on that guys blog, the photo shows exactly why he’s a Jonah Goldberg fan.

34

riffle 12.17.07 at 10:42 pm

I remember reading once that Ronald Reagan preferred to eat free range beef, organic too I believe.

That means that:
1) Ronald Reagan was a leftie since he liked something organic! He was also a fascist for other reasons Jonah G will describe.

2) I do research much the way Jonah Goldberg does (though I definitely recall reading this about Reagan).

35

Brett 12.17.07 at 10:55 pm

@18: Whenever I hear the words “Jonah Goldberg,” I flip the safety on my clown wig.

36

Uncle Kvetch 12.17.07 at 10:59 pm

I do research much the way Jonah Goldberg does

Nope, sorry, you most emphatically do not. Doin’ it Jonah-style would look something more like: “I seem to remember hearing somewhere about Ronald Reagan liking organic, free-range beef, but I can’t be bothered to Google it. Can somebody help me out?”

37

Bernard Yomtov 12.17.07 at 11:06 pm

“Dachau hosted the world’s largest alternative and organic medicine research lab and produced its own organic honey.” p19.

Really? No. You made that up.

38

Rickm 12.17.07 at 11:14 pm

Bernard-
According to Robert Proctor’s “The Nazi War on Cancer”, Dachau did produce organic honey.

From Amazon.com:

“The Nazis were very concerned about protecting the health of the “Volk.” Cancer was seen as a growing threat–and perhaps even held a special place in Adolf Hitler’s imagination (his mother, Klara, died from breast cancer in 1907). The Nazi doctors fought their war against cancer on many fronts, battling environmental and workplace hazards (restrictions on the use of asbestos) and recommending food standards (bans on carcinogenic pesticides and food dyes) and early detection (“men were advised to get their colons checked as often as they would check the engines of their cars…”). Armed with the world’s most sophisticated tobacco-disease epidemiology–they were the first to link smoking to lung cancer definitively–Nazi doctors were especially passionate about the hazards of tobacco. Hitler himself was a devout nonsmoker, and credited his political success to kicking the habit. Proctor does an excellent job of charting these anticancer efforts–part of what he terms “the ‘flip side’ of fascism”–and, along the way, touches on some unsettling issues. Can an immoral regime promote and produce morally responsible science?”

39

Bernard Yomtov 12.17.07 at 11:23 pm

RickM,

Thanks, but I meant Kieran made up the business about it being in Goldberg’s book.

(I don’t really think he did, but I find it an amazing thing for Goldberg to mention, even if true.)

40

Danny 12.17.07 at 11:25 pm

I went to Swarthmore and I’m now a grad student at Brown. And I took an education class at Swat. I even lived in Rome for a few months. Does this make me some kind of super-duper-fascist? Sadly, I’m not an elementary school teacher…

41

Rickm 12.17.07 at 11:28 pm

danny-

That depends. Are you for or against cancer?

42

Michael Bérubé 12.17.07 at 11:30 pm

I meant Kieran made up the business about it being in Goldberg’s book.

(I don’t really think he did, but I find it an amazing thing for Goldberg to mention, even if true.)

Hey, just click the link Kieran provided in # 20. See, it really is just one short step from Dachau to Whole Foods! And you people made fun of that subtitle. For shame.

43

noen 12.17.07 at 11:40 pm

Can an immoral regime promote and produce morally responsible science?”

“Morally responsible”? Probably not. Can an immoral regime do good science? Of course they can. Wolves are very loving and caring with their own, but if you’re not a member of the pack they’ll rip your throat out.

44

P O'Neill 12.18.07 at 12:12 am

Our glorious author had himself convinced in the run-in to and past the conclusion of the event that he had spoken on the campus of Amherst College when in fact the event was at UMass-Amherst.

45

John Emerson 12.18.07 at 12:22 am

The anti-breast cancer business convinced me. “Race for the Cure”. Pink ribbons. I bet the Nazi Strength Through Joy chicks wore pink ribbons. Feminists complain about every goddamn thing, even God’s will. There’s a reason why ladies get breast cancer and guys don’t. It’s right there in the Bible.

46

Uncle Kvetch 12.18.07 at 12:28 am

Pink ribbons. I bet the Nazi Strength Through Joy chicks wore pink ribbons.

And what do those objectively pro-terrorist female “peace” activists call themselves? That’s right: CODE PINK. The rot goes deeper than we could have ever imagined!

47

Warren Terra 12.18.07 at 1:44 am

The organic honey thing is just great. I hear the Nazis wore shoes, too. And on their feet, just like many liberals do today! Will they never learn?

P.S. In case you’re uncertain: there are no existing photographs of Hitler’s bare feet! And yes, I made that fact up. But it is plausible.

48

Martin James 12.18.07 at 1:45 am

I went to the link and the pictures were scary but this little excerpt was really terrifying.

“From my earliest years as a reader of the Sunday newspaper comics on my dad’s lap in Runnemede, NJ, I have been interested in the intersection of literacy practices and social identities, although I didn’t call it that when I was 5. That interest now takes the form of studying the literacy practices of students and how those practices reflect, constitute, and are imbricated in their social identities (such as race, class, gender, and local identities).”

49

Tamsyn 12.18.07 at 2:18 am

I guess they go tired of us calling them fascists, so they have to turn it around. I’m sure Faux News will do their part to push the idea across. I can’t wait for my parents to start calling me a fascist.

50

Bernard Yomtov 12.18.07 at 2:21 am

just click the link Kieran provided in # 20

I just did.

Goldberg is even dumber than I thought, and that’s saying a lot. Is it possible to have negative intelligence, that is, to be someone whose ideas are more likely to be wrong than those created by a “random idea generator?”

51

Helen 12.18.07 at 2:29 am

Here’s a link to a stoush that played out in Australia in 2003. Politician George Brandis and newspaper commentator Andrew Bolt (he’s our local version of Rush Limbaugh) sought to make political hay out of a comparison between the Green party and the German fascists. They drew on the work of two “scholars”, Professor Raymond Dominick (The Environmental Movement in Germany) and Professor Peter Staudenmaier (Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience.)

So, it seems Jonah Goldberg isn’t even very original.

Speaking of not very original, the bookcover appears to be a direct ripoff of Mark Davis’s Gangland. I realise the book cover is black in the Amazon version, but the hard copy I own is red.

52

JakeB 12.18.07 at 2:34 am

You fascisty fascists have already come up with all the amusing fascist bon mots I thought of commenting on in my fascist way!

Fascists!!!!111!!!

53

Helen 12.18.07 at 3:30 am

Sorry, link didn’t work. Here it is-

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/29/1067233222840.html

54

stuart 12.18.07 at 3:40 am

I wonder if there is a term for a book that is essentially one giant Godwin’s Law violation?

55

Dan S. 12.18.07 at 3:44 am

Introduction: Everything You Know About Fascism Is Wrong

I think the title of his introduction actually originated in a marginal note from his editor, written on the manuscript, that just sort of got mindlessly incorporated as he revised it . . .

56

Joshua Holmes 12.18.07 at 3:47 am

I wonder if there is a term for a book that is essentially one giant Godwin’s Law violation?

I don’t rightly know, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that such a term is fascist.

God love National Review. They do us all a service by keeping Goldberg off the streets, and by keeping him out of American business, where he could do some actual harm.

57

bad Jim 12.18.07 at 4:06 am

I smoke, I eat meat, and I don’t insist on organic foods. I guess that means I’m not a fascist!

There definitely are books that can reduce your IQ, at least briefly, just by immersing you in the workings of a stunted mind. A chapter of Ann Coulter’s Godless did this to me.

58

Anderson 12.18.07 at 4:54 am

I suppose he gets the expected mileage from Mussolini’s having been some sort of Communist at one point.

Of course, that the Italians would get Communism wrong should come as no surprise. [Runs away, attempts to escape in Fiat, but it breaks down.]

59

Dan Simon 12.18.07 at 4:59 am

Boy, talk about missing the point…

This book represents, first and foremost, the spectacular triumph of William F. Buckley’s wholesale reform of the American conservative movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Perhaps by 2051 someone will have performed the same service for the American left, and it will be perfectly natural for leftist humorists to sardonically deride all their political opponents as “communist”.

Meanwhile, this simple query gives at least a bit of a hint as to who is routinely labeling whom, “fascist”, out there.

60

Rich Puchalsky 12.18.07 at 5:27 am

“I wonder if there is a term for a book that is essentially one giant Godwin’s Law violation?”

Mein Crank.

61

JP Stormcrow 12.18.07 at 5:40 am

It occurs to me that taking this book together with Horowitz’s “Discover the Networks” and D’Souza’s The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, we now have in place the basic elements of a Grand Unifying Theory of Wingnut Mixed Political Metaphors. Clearly we can now see that 9/11 is best viewed as the tragic result of a doctrinal squabble between the Liberal Fascist Mensheviks and the Islamofascist Bolsheviks over how to best achieve the Fascist Internationale.

‘Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place.
The fascist internationale
Shall be the human race

62

Thers 12.18.07 at 5:50 am

Meanwhile, this simple query gives at least a bit of a hint as to who is routinely labeling whom, “fascist”, out there.

Those Gates of Vienna lunatics sure seem to do it a lot. Did you even read the page you linked to? It doesn’t prove what you want it to.

Dave Neiwert’s piece, BTW, the top result, is serious and well-done in exactly the same way that Goldberg’s book obviously isn’t.

63

Jeffrey Kramer 12.18.07 at 5:50 am

Dan Simon, if I correctly understand your “leftist humorists” line, it means you assume Jonah’s book is four hundred pages worth of deliberately absurd arguments, parodying all the sincere-but-absurd arguments leftists make nowadays to link contemporary conservativsm with fascism. And Jonah’s legendary claim that his was going to be a “very serious, thoughtful, argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care” was of course part of the spoof.

It’s an interesting theory. Is there any right-wing book of the last dozen years or so which we should not assume to have been written in a similar spirit?

64

Sebastian Holsclaw 12.18.07 at 6:01 am

It is a parody of post-modern critical studies.

I hope.

65

Dan Simon 12.18.07 at 6:35 am

Those Gates of Vienna lunatics sure seem to do it a lot. Did you even read the page you linked to?

Did you? “Those Gates of Vienna lunatics” aren’t calling anyone fascist–they’re European far-right nativists defending themselves against accusations that they’re fascist. And those accusations are coming from…Little Green Footballs.

Of course, apart from those few examples of LGF (not unreasonably, I think) calling European far-right nativists fascists, most of the top few dozen hits point to…well, you’re obviously well aware of what they point to:

Dave Neiwert’s piece, BTW, the top result, is serious and well-done in exactly the same way that Goldberg’s book obviously isn’t.

Well, I’m glad that you came right out and admitted that you don’t actually object to Goldberg’s tactics at all, and are happy to see the label, “fascist”, applied to obvious non-fascists such as Rush Limbaugh–as long as the targets are people whose politics you really, really dislike.

Dan Simon, if I correctly understand your “leftist humorists” line, it means you assume Jonah’s book is four hundred pages worth of deliberately absurd arguments, parodying all the sincere-but-absurd arguments leftists make nowadays to link contemporary conservativsm with fascism.

No, I assume Goldberg’s book is four hundred pages worth of serious partisan arguments deliberately exaggerated to the point of absurdity. (That’s his schtick, after all.) If he were parodying leftists’ misuse of the label, “fascist” against conservatives, then he would have to label all those liberals he lambastes “communist”, not “fascist”.

And that’s what’s so striking about this whole business–can you imagine, say, a Molly Ivins type writing a whole book about how conservatives are, at heart, despicable commie pinkos, and meaning it only as exaggeration, not sarcasm?

66

Thers 12.18.07 at 7:38 am

Did you? “Those Gates of Vienna lunatics” aren’t calling anyone fascist—they’re European far-right nativists defending themselves against accusations that they’re fascist.

Heaven forfend that anyone should ever consider European far-right nativists Gates of Vienna “fascists.”

Are you having a laugh?

67

noen 12.18.07 at 8:24 am

Dan Simon said:
“they’re European far-right nativists defending themselves against accusations that they’re fascist.”

Jonah Goldberg:
“The nativist Ku Klux Klan — ironically, often called “American fascists” by liberals.”

After which, irony finally and irrevocably died.

68

stostosto 12.18.07 at 8:34 am

No one, not even a liberal, likes to be called a fascist, but you’ve got to admit there are some striking parallels, as Goldberg says:

* Free health care

* Guaranteed jobs

* Confiscation of inherited wealth

* Public education

* Anti-smoking policies

* Support for abortion

* Euthanasia

* Gun control

* Anti-free market

* Pensions for the elderly

* Strict racial quota system for universities

* Campus speech codes

* Organic farming

* Alternative medicine

In light of all this rather damning evidence, it’s a wonder how infinitely measured and fair-minded Goldberg is when he says:

“Do these striking parallels mean that today’s liberals are genocidal maniacs intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order?”

A reasonable question because that’s of course exactly what one is almost by necessity led to conclude from the list of striking parallels. Yet, having articulated this question forming naturally in the mind of the reader, Goldberg doesn’t hesitate:

“Not at all.”

And that’s where the blurb works most effectively as a teaser because the reader is hopelessly left to himself puzzling over exactly what is it that enables Goldberg to dismiss so resolutely the straightforward and natural notion that today’s liberals are in fact genocidal maniacs intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order. The blurb doesn’t tell. You’ll have to read the book.

69

abb1 12.18.07 at 8:57 am

@69: What, ‘anti-cancer’ is not there on the list? That’s the missing piece that lead him to the wrong conclusion. Everyone knows that being anti-cancer is a sure sign of a racist genocidal maniac.

70

bad Jim 12.18.07 at 9:02 am

Euthanasia? When I was young, “youth in Asia” meant serving in the Vietnam War (also known as sending every young man a broad). Nowadays it seems to mean vacations in Bali or Thailand.

71

novakant 12.18.07 at 9:11 am

I’m not so sure about the US, but the European far left has a long history of imprecisely branding everybody and their dog a ‘fascist’. The neocon right is trying to turn the tables by appropriating the word and turning it against those who have used it traditionally – they’re doing the same with the word ‘bigot’.

72

abb1 12.18.07 at 9:33 am

@72, I don’t see how this is “trying to turn the tables”; he is not calling the far left ‘fascist’, he is calling the liberals ‘fascist’. The far right, of course, has its own word to misuse against the liberals, it’s ‘communist’. Now they need both? Those greedy pinko-nazi bastards.

73

P 12.18.07 at 10:29 am

I thought you lost the argument when you called someone a fascist, now I know it is only left wingers who lose. Those on the right can obviously better discern who is a fascist.

74

PJ 12.18.07 at 11:02 am

Funnily enough calling someone a communist doesn’t work quite so well when used outside the US. Although fascist carries the same impact.

75

astrongmaybe 12.18.07 at 12:00 pm

I, for one, welcome our Fascist Swarthmore Obergruppenführer

A pedant writes…
“Obergruppenführerin” – she’s a girl.

76

soru 12.18.07 at 12:23 pm

The far right, of course, has its own word to misuse against the liberals, it’s ‘communist’.

And of course, against the moderate right, they have another word: ‘liberal’. I think ‘neocon’ is penciled in the next term in this logical progression: expect it to go mainstream fall 2009 or so.

On a related point, did Goldberg’s research discover the fact the nazis were alternate-energy freaks too?

After all, in 1942, despite the ongoing war, they still found time to convert thousands of vehicles to run on organic fuels like peat-moss:

http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1981/jul-aug/becker.htm

77

Jeffrey Kramer 12.18.07 at 1:28 pm

I assume Goldberg’s book is four hundred pages worth of serious partisan arguments deliberately exaggerated to the point of absurdity. (That’s his schtick, after all.)

You might argue that was Limbaugh’s schtick, or Coulter’s (if you wanted to be obscenely indulgent towards Limbaugh or Coulter), but Goldberg? Goldberg isn’t an “exaggerator,” he’s an ignorant fool. This is the guy who said the Cold War might have been over “decades earlier” (i.e., before 1969) if we hadn’t lost the Vietnam war (in 1975). This is the guy who said the rebellions of 1968 showed what happens when a bunch of rich kids are spoiled by too much freedom and leisure, and then cited the uprisings in Prague and Mexico City as examples. So now when he talks about the fascist roots of the French Revolution, and the Swarthmore grads teaching grade school fascism, and the fascistiness of organic honey, etc., etc., I’m not motivated to search earnestly for the serious point lurking behind his hyperbolic humor; it’s simpler to assume he’s just being an imbecile as usual.

78

a different mikey 12.18.07 at 1:50 pm

It is safe to assume he’s being an imbecile but I’m starting to take it personally. My wife has a degree from Brown, my profession is making organic honey and I’ve been a hippie from the beginning. This is what defines a fascist? I’ve been some kind of secret Manchurian candidate follower of Franco all this time waiting to be activated? What’s the frequency?

OK, he’s just being an imbecile.

79

Daniel Munz 12.18.07 at 3:12 pm

The right blogosphere’s reaction to the release of this book reminds me of nothing so much as the old SNL skit where Adam Sandler tries to convince us to let Chris Farley mow our lawns, walk our dogs, etc. “He worked on the book for like a year. Just read it!”

Jonah Goldberg: The Herlihy Boy of the Blogosphere.

80

Fats Durston 12.18.07 at 3:36 pm

I’ve been a hippie from the beginning.

Jonah calls hippies “the third great fascist movement of the twentieth century.”

Need we say more?

81

a different mikey 12.18.07 at 4:25 pm

Need we say more?

Well, yes we do. What about Roderick Spode and the Brownshorts? Wasn’t that a ‘great fascist movement of the twentieth century’?

82

harry b 12.18.07 at 4:43 pm

Dan – the second link is to a piece which quote Limbaugh extensively calling Gephart a fascist. SO it shows a right winger using the ‘fascist’ epithet against a left-winger. I don’t get your point.

83

Anderson 12.18.07 at 5:25 pm

Liberal fascists are fascist because they are intolerant of bullshit.

84

Jon H 12.18.07 at 5:40 pm

danny wrote: “Sadly, I’m not an elementary school teacher…”

You just haven’t received your assignment yet. Or as we say, your arbeitenpapieren.

85

Jon H 12.18.07 at 5:44 pm

“After all, in 1942, despite the ongoing war, they still found time to convert thousands of vehicles to run on organic fuels like peat-moss:”

Um, this is kinda small beer compared to their main alternative energy source: Jews.

86

alkali 12.18.07 at 5:45 pm

Jonah calls hippies “the third great fascist movement of the twentieth century.”

87

alkali 12.18.07 at 5:48 pm

Jonah calls hippies “the third great fascist movement of the twentieth century.”

1) Really? I’m not sure the first two were all that great.

2) “Ein Volkswagen Bus, ein Moosewood Cookbook, ein Hacky Sack!”

88

Grand Moff Texan 12.18.07 at 5:53 pm

I, for one, welcome our Fascist Swarthmore Obergruppenführer.

Just so long as she looks like Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS.

Raw-rrrrr!
.

89

novakant 12.18.07 at 5:55 pm

I don’t see how this is “trying to turn the tables”; he is not calling the far left ‘fascist’, he is calling the liberals ‘fascist’.

Well, I’m not saying that their usage has any merit. But since they have managed to shift the political landscape so far to the right that from a US point of view most of Europe would appear to be on the far left there is some logic to it. It’s all a bit scary, really.

90

joseph duemer 12.18.07 at 6:04 pm

Pythagoras was a vegetarian, therefore geometry is fascist!

91

Stuart 12.18.07 at 6:10 pm

The (tortured) logic in this and similar arguments seems to be fairly transparent:

1) The notable thing about the fascists is they told people what to do: they were authoritarians
2) Therefore anyone that tells me to do something I don’t want to is a fascist

Hence there are only two ways not to be called a fascist by this type of thinker:

1) Believe everything they tell you to
2) Never say anything in public

92

Mr. Ziffel 12.18.07 at 6:22 pm

Jonah Goldberg: The Herlihy Boy of the Blogosphere.

“Sweet jumping MARY AND JOSEPH!! Let the boy give the old lady a BATH!!”

93

Timothy Burke 12.18.07 at 6:28 pm

That really can’t be the table of contents. It just can’t be.

What does the actual text look like if it is?

“Fascist fascism fascistically fascist! Nazi nazi nazi! Fascism fascist! Liberalfascism. In 1965, fascism. Policies: fascist! Then: book fascist. Fascist people! In 1973, fascist clothes and fascist sex. Fascism!”

94

Dan Simon 12.18.07 at 6:28 pm

I don’t get your point.

I made two points, Harry. One was that American conservatives have so thoroughly rejected their own extreme wing that they’re comfortable using a label associated with it as a strongly pejorative term. Jonah Goldberg is one example, and as you point out, Rush Limbaugh is apparently another. To repeat my previous rhetorical question: how many liberals use “communist” as a term of sincere opprobrium?

My second point was that leftists denigrate George W. Bush and other conservatives as “fascist” much more often than conservatives use the term to denigrate liberals. That Rush Limbaugh is another exception to the rule, after Jonah Goldberg, hardly invalidates my point. Or are you seriously claiming that those two instances somehow prove otherwise?

95

Uncle Kvetch 12.18.07 at 6:35 pm

The more I think about it, the more I think TBogg’s onto something:

But what you really have to appreciate is the marketing plan that will initially sell Jonah as the American Jacques Barzun only to later admit that they were only kidding and that he’s P.J. O’Rourke via Mad Magazine.

A stunt worthy of the Situationists!

But hey, whether sincere or parody, the real entertainment isn’t going to be the book itself so much as its earnest defenders. And on that note: Please do go on, Dan Simon, this is most interesting.

96

JP Stormcrow 12.18.07 at 6:41 pm

What does the actual text look like if it is?

Liberalism and fascism
Liberalism, Hitler and fascism
….
Fascism, fascism, fascism, fascism, fascism, fascism, fascism, liberalism, fascism, fascism, fascism, fascism.
Lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce garnished with truffle paté, brandy and with a fried egg on top and fascism.

97

Timothy Burke 12.18.07 at 7:04 pm

I think what he needs to do is make like “Where’s Waldo?” and hide words which are not some grammatical form of fascist inside the text, to see if you can spot them all.

98

yabonn 12.18.07 at 7:45 pm

I made two points, Harry. One was that American conservatives have so thoroughly rejected their own extreme wing that they’re comfortable using a label associated with it as a strongly pejorative term. Jonah Goldberg is one example [...]

It.. shines. It coruscates. Not mere words on a screen, – words are mere anchors here. The meaning undulates, unfolds itself as you read it, each gyration/pulsation adding a layer (but layers would remain separate, these episodes melt and mix rogether) of intense, unbound yet infinitely mellow nuttiness.

Aaaarh, Dan Simon, please do continue. I’m having an… experience.

99

Marc G. 12.18.07 at 7:46 pm

One was that American conservatives have so thoroughly rejected their own extreme wing that they’re comfortable using a label associated with it as a strongly pejorative term….To repeat my previous rhetorical question: how many liberals use “communist” as a term of sincere opprobrium?

Yes, conservatives use a term associated with the extreme left wing to denigrate the non-extreme left wing more often than liberals use a term associated with the extreme left wing to denigrate the non-extreme right wing. This is apparently a failure of liberals.

My second point was that leftists denigrate George W. Bush and other conservatives as “fascist” much more often than conservatives use the term to denigrate liberals.

Yes, liberals use a term associated with the extreme right wing to denigrate the non-extreme right wing more often than conservatives use a term associated with the extreme right wing to denigrate the non-extreme left wing. This is apparently a failure of liberals.

100

harry b 12.18.07 at 8:33 pm

Ok, I misunderstood the point of the link, though it might have been more direct to link to Limbaugh himself calling people who are evidently nothing to do with fascism fascists. Me, in my liberal enclave, I never hear people misuse the term fascist, but I probably just don’t listen, or don’t take people who say that seriously enough to notice.

I don’t think Limbaugh is a fascist. But it doesn’t seem a stretch to imagine that he, or O Reilly for another example, would be well-disposed to fascism if there were a live fascist movement. Fascist or not, they are both deeply committed to a bullying reaction to people less powerful than themsleves, and a disregard for truth. They are genuinely vile human beings, and wear their own vileness as a badge of pride. Maybe it is a slur to imagine they would be fascists but not much of one – many fascists have been enormously more decent human beings than they manifestly are. Using “fascist” as a slur is not, in fact, an indication that one has dissociated oneself from fascism (similarly “racist” or, for that matter, “Stalinist” which where some of us come from is the most vicious slur of all).

101

geo 12.18.07 at 9:33 pm

…deeply committed to a bullying reaction to people less powerful than themselves, and a disregard for truth…

This is the nub of the matter, isn’t it? Is there a handy term for such people, or can someone suggest one?

102

ignoblus 12.18.07 at 9:40 pm

As in the post linked with my name, I’m rather confused as to the point of skewering Goldberg. Hasn’t he already done that to himself? What about Goldberg is worth responding to?

103

JP Stormcrow 12.19.07 at 12:30 am

Is there a handy term for such people

Asshole.

104

4jkb4ia 12.19.07 at 12:43 am

The obvious reason why “conservative communism” is not thrown around is that Irving Kristol, for example, used to be a Communist. “Conservative communism” cannot describe the whole conservative movement but simply neoconservatism, or how these people’s beliefs have changed.

105

Dan Simon 12.19.07 at 3:50 am

Yes, conservatives use a term associated with the extreme left wing to denigrate the non-extreme left wing more often than liberals use a term associated with the extreme left wing to denigrate the non-extreme right wing. This is apparently a failure of liberals.

You’ve missed my point. In my experience–though perhaps not in yours–liberals never use the term “communist” as a pejorative. Indeed, many liberals and leftists consider it morally repugnant “McCarthyism” to use the term “communist” as a pejorative, even to describe bona fide, self-described communists. In contrast, conservatives such as Goldberg and Limbaugh have gone so far as make “fascist” a salient pejorative label in their rhetoric. I find that difference striking.

I don’t think Limbaugh is a fascist. But [emphasis added]…They are genuinely vile human beings…Maybe it is a slur to imagine they would be fascists but not much of one

In other words, if you were a columnist given to flippancy, instead of a sober academic, it would hardly be a stretch to imagine you calling Limbaugh a fascist–and presumably, many more conservative writers and politicians as well, since Limbaugh is surely hardly the worst of them. Indeed, you could probably fill a book this way. But then they’d be people you consider “genuinely vile human beings”, so what would be wrong, really, with calling them all fascist?

Goldberg, on the other hand, calls some people you really like and admire “fascist”. How on earth could he misuse the term so risibly?

Using “fascist” as a slur is not, in fact, an indication that one has dissociated oneself from fascism (similarly “racist” or, for that matter, “Stalinist” which where some of us come from is the most vicious slur of all).

It’s true that the dissociation can sometimes be over differences that outsiders might find negligible, as in the case of Trotskyites who use “Stalinist” as an insult, or racists who denigrate members of the group they abhor as (among other things) “racist”. But that only highlights the bizarre refusal of even fairly moderate liberals to dissociate themselves in this way from communists. How do you explain it?

106

Marc G. 12.19.07 at 5:26 am

In my experience—though perhaps not in yours—liberals never use the term “communist” as a pejorative. Indeed, many liberals and leftists consider it morally repugnant “McCarthyism” to use the term “communist” as a pejorative, even to describe bona fide, self-described communists.

Speaking personally, I’ve never met a liberal who thought it was repugnant to call an actual communist a communist. I wouldn’t call another liberal a communist if they weren’t one, even to insult them, because I am aware that lots of people think that liberals are really communists, and I don’t want to do anything that would further that impression, especially when I’d be lying to do so. I wouldn’t call a conservative a communist because it would make no sense whatsoever.

In contrast, conservatives such as Goldberg and Limbaugh have gone so far as make “fascist” a salient pejorative label in their rhetoric. I find that difference striking.

Yes, their willingness to obscure the actual meaning of fascism by applying it willy-nilly to their opponents is striking. But perhaps I’m being unfair. Do these conservatives label other conservatives as fascists, or do they just label liberals as fascists?

107

Josh in Philly 12.19.07 at 6:33 am

#81: You got Adam Sandler and Chris Farley reversed (what an image!).

#108: How far back are we going for this? Certainly Scoop Jackson, Thomas Dodd, and their ideological kin well into the Eighties were liberals who called communists communists and indeed used the label for people and governments who weren’t anti-communist enough for their taste. As for people who are loath to call self-styled communists communists, I guess maybe you can find someone who denied Helen Keller’s or Pete Seeger’s political loyalties, but that’s about it.

108

abb1 12.19.07 at 7:28 am

Dan, the word ‘fascist’ gets a bad rap because of the Nazis, obviously. The cons (even moderate ones) have never dissociated themselves from Pinochet, Franco, or any sort of Asian fascism (Chiang Kai-Shek, any S.Korean regime, Singapore, etc.) They love fascism.

They dissociate themselves from Hitler and his allies in the WWII (‘fascistm’) for the obvious reasons, but not from Franco and Pinochet in exactly the same manner as left-liberals dissociate themselves from Stalin (‘stalinism’) but not from Castro. There’s absolutely nothing ‘bizarre’ or asymmetrical there.

109

Britta 12.19.07 at 7:40 am

I went to Swarthmore, and my sister went to Brown, does that mean my mother qualifies for a “Medal of Motherhood?”

On a more serious note, I feel that the right throws around terms like “fascist” and “racist,” not because they understand the pejorative meanings of the words, but because they see them as some sort of magic epithet that makes leftists cringe. It’s like when small children use bad words as a way to upset their parents. I would find it funny (if I didn’t find it so horrifying) that the sorts of people who condone torture because it was effective for the Gestapo would call the moderate left fascist.

110

blog 12.19.07 at 7:57 am

The first great fascist movement of the 21st century is this pile of crap from doughy pantload.

111

blog 12.19.07 at 8:18 am

Straining so much with great fascist movements must have given JG hemmorhoids.

112

Z 12.19.07 at 8:21 am

One was that American conservatives have so thoroughly rejected their own extreme wing that they’re comfortable using a label associated with it as a strongly pejorative term.

This sentence deserves to live. After all, as some American used to say: What could there be more truly bright/In truth day-star?

113

blog 12.19.07 at 8:25 am

Rash will be the result of watered down great fascist movements.

114

Thers 12.19.07 at 8:59 am

So why is David Neiwert wrong, Dan? Please enlighten us.

115

blog 12.19.07 at 9:03 am

Liberals are the suppository of great fascist movements.

116

blog 12.19.07 at 9:16 am

Eating at Taco Bells can result in explosive great fascist movements.

117

abb1 12.19.07 at 9:43 am

Um, Dan,
This book represents, first and foremost, the spectacular triumph of William F. Buckley’s wholesale reform of the American conservative movement during the 1950s and 1960s.

In that case, could you address this William F. Buckley’s quote, please:

October 26, 1957: General Franco is an authentic national hero… [with the] talents, the perseverance, and the sense of the righteousness of his cause, that were required to wrest Spain from the hands of the visionaries, ideologues, Marxists, and nihilists that were imposing… a regime so grotesque as to do violence to the Spanish soul, to deny, even, Spain’s historical destiny. He saved the day…. The need was imperative… for a national policy [to]… make this concession to Churchill this morning, that one to Hitler this afternoon…. Franco reigns… supreme. He is not an oppressive dictator…. only as oppressive as is necessary to maintain total power…

March 9, 1957: Franco is a part, and an integral part, of Western civilization… [the] convergence of the multifarious political philosophical, religious, and cultural tendencies that have shaped Spanish history… the man to whom the Spanish people look–as the Chinese have looked to Chiang [Kaishek], for all his faults–for leadership.

118

blog 12.19.07 at 9:46 am

The next great fascist movement will facilitated by stool softeners.

119

Dan Simon 12.19.07 at 4:40 pm

Do these conservatives label other conservatives as fascists, or do they just label liberals as fascists?

Does the word, “Islamofascism”, ring a bell?

Certainly Scoop Jackson, Thomas Dodd, and their ideological kin well into the Eighties were liberals who called communists communists and indeed used the label for people and governments who weren’t anti-communist enough for their taste.

Point taken–the anti-communist faction of liberalism was once quite vigorous. The rise of the radical left during the 1960s pretty much killed it, though, and it doesn’t seem to have revived since.

As for people who are loath to call self-styled communists communists, I guess maybe you can find someone who denied Helen Keller’s or Pete Seeger’s political loyalties, but that’s about it.

The question is not whether acknowledged communists have ever been identified as communists. The question is whether anyone on the left ever uses the term “communist” as a pejorative description, even when unquestionably accurate. I’d be genuinely interested to see examples of current-day left-of-center Americans identifying anyone, including actual communists, as communist, with even the slightest trace of disapproval. For example, does anyone on the left ever criticize Thabo Mbeki, Fidel Castro, Hu Jintao, Angela Davis, or Eric Hobsbawm for being communist?

In a world where even conservatives use the label “fascist” as a pejorative, and where liberals and leftists feel free to use it to smear people like Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush, it’s striking how liberals so consistently shy away from using the word “communist” as a criticism.

120

PJ 12.19.07 at 5:14 pm

Dan, maybe people on the left recognise different types of communism, and thus they don’t regard all communists as de facto bad – hence my comment about Western Europeans not recognising it as the ‘dirty word’ Americans seem to because they have had rather more experience of actual communists who are more than the bogeymen you seem to think them.

121

geo 12.19.07 at 5:28 pm

the anti-communist faction of liberalism was once quite vigorous. The rise of the radical left during the 1960s pretty much killed it, though, and it doesn’t seem to have revived since

Not true at all. There is scarcely a liberal in the United States, from Dissent rightward through the New Republic through the New York Times and, of course, the entire Democratic Party, who has any but unkind words for the 1960s, the radical left, or communism. From the Nation leftward, it’s a different story, but not quite such a simple one as you imply.

I’d be genuinely interested to see examples of current-day left-of-center Americans identifying anyone, including actual communists, as communist, with even the slightest trace of disapproval. For example, does anyone on the left ever criticize Thabo Mbeki, Fidel Castro, Hu Jintao, Angela Davis, or Eric Hobsbawm for being communist?

Again, Dan, this is off-base. For one thing, you consistently conflate “liberals” and “the left.” No, liberals are those people between the right and the left. But plenty of leftists, including the Nation and In These Times, routinely and rightly criticize Castro and Hu Jintao. (I suspect even Angela Davis and Eric Hobsbawm) criticize Castro and Hu Jintao. And plenty of liberals criticize Angela Davis and Eric Hobsbawm (if they notice their existence at all).

And maybe (just speculating) there’s another reason for the differing valence of “fascist” and “communist” in public discourse. A lot of admirable people have called themselves communists in consequence of espousing certain ideals, only to find that those ideals were traduced by the political institutions that professed them. That doesn’t seem quite so true of fascism. Are there a lot of admirable people who’ve embraced fascist ideals and then dissociated themselves from fascism when they found their ideals betrayed?

122

harry b 12.19.07 at 5:30 pm

Well, Dan, if I were a columnist given to attempts to muddy political debate I mgiht call Limbaugh a fascist, sure. I’m not, so I don’t see how what I would do if I were is relevant. I haven’t read Goldberg’s book. I actually don’t think it is a stretch to think Clinton might be friendly to fascism if there were a thriving movement — a bit more of a stretch than Limbaugh, sure.

You haven’t said, by the way, who you like and admire. I use judgment when I decide whom to admire, applying moral norms that are not merely my prejudices (one of the reasons I don’t like and admire Hillary Clinton). Unless you are a moral relativist I presume you do too. The issue is not who I like and admir, but who actually merits admriation given reasonable moral standards. Plenty on the left don’t, some on the right do.

But calling the tiny handful of elemntary school teachers with degrees from elite unviersities fascists is, yes, silly and, frankly, contemptible. You must, surely, agree with that. And it must, surely, influence your judgment of Goldberg, right? And Limbaugh.

123

harry b 12.19.07 at 5:33 pm

Oh, and there is another thing about communists. Sure, I critcise people for being communists. The big difference between communists and fascists is that in the West communists have, for all their many faults, and the obnoxious devotion to the Soviet Union of many (but not all) of them, been on the right side of most domestic political conflicts, and in many cases have contributed considerably to improving the condition of people who were vicitms of injustice. Not so fascists. Not so Jonah Goldberg for that matter.

124

magistra 12.19.07 at 5:36 pm

After 1989, if you call anyone a communist, it’s practically the same as if you called them a ‘flat-earther’. You don’t need to add any additional pejoritive label: almost by definition they have been shown to be on the losing side of the argument. And at least in the UK, it would be felt unsporting to dance around Eric Hobsbawm, shouting ‘you were wrong, admit it, admit it.’

125

TheDeadlyShoe 12.19.07 at 5:40 pm

The left usually doesn’t use communist negatively, but we don’t use it positively either. The word is too vague to use as a pejorative.

“Fascism” evokes the hate of the other, authoritarianism, repression, and so on. “Communism” is much less clear. It just doesn’t have the same kind of inherent negatives. It was mentioned earlier in the thread that the left tends to use terms like “Stalinist” or “Maoist” instead, which bring to mind the tactics and horrors of those regimes.

126

abb1 12.19.07 at 6:09 pm

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either ‘fascism’ or ‘communism’, both are merely the fringes of quite respectable ideas of the enlightenment era. Fringes are useful. ‘Communism’ produced socialism, and fascism neo-corporatism, both very successful socio-economic models.

Liberalism (classical) – not so much. Too unstable, volatile.

127

PJ 12.19.07 at 6:12 pm

“After 1989…they have been shown to be on the losing side of the argument”

What happened in 1989 to make them lose the argument, a really big rhetorical push by the conservatives?

128

derek 12.19.07 at 6:56 pm

Jonah calls hippies “the third great fascist movement of the twentieth century.”

Was it the goosestepping that tipped him off, or the tanks?

129

Grand Moff Texan 12.19.07 at 7:00 pm

Was it the goosestepping that tipped him off, or the tanks?

I think it was their refusal to call all of their opponents “communists.”

Amazing the things I’ve learned on this thread. Did you know that the American right has disavowed its radical wing? Considering the thinly (if at all) veiled monarchism, racism, theocracy and jingoism that have characterized their hegemony over the last few decades, I shudder to think what their more radical members must have looked like.

And, for the record, I hereby denounce derek as a communist.
.

130

harry b 12.19.07 at 8:09 pm

I wrote 136 without seeing 124. Snap, geo!

131

Dan Simon 12.19.07 at 11:44 pm

There is scarcely a liberal in the United States, from Dissent rightward through the New Republic through the New York Times and, of course, the entire Democratic Party, who has any but unkind words for the 1960s, the radical left, or communism.

Tell me more. I know of a few isolated examples–Paul Berman comes to mind. But my impression is that, say, the New York Times’ attitude is more typified by the famous article about Sunset Hall Retirement Home–the one with the headline, “Political Idealists Trying to Hold Back the Night”. (See http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE6D71139F931A25757C0A966958260)

But plenty of leftists, including the Nation and In These Times, routinely and rightly criticize Castro and Hu Jintao. (I suspect even Angela Davis and Eric Hobsbawm) criticize Castro and Hu Jintao.

Of course–but for being communist? If conservatives only criticized Hitler for, say, not being a true fascist…

A lot of admirable people have called themselves communists in consequence of espousing certain ideals, only to find that those ideals were traduced by the political institutions that professed them. That doesn’t seem quite so true of fascism. Are there a lot of admirable people who’ve embraced fascist ideals and then dissociated themselves from fascism when they found their ideals betrayed?

Once again, I think you’ve missed the point. For most people, having been a fascist–even a subsequently disillusioned one–generally disqualifies one from being thought of as “admirable”, even on the right. There are lots of people who would almost certainly have been viewed in at least some respectable circles as admirable, had they not been tainted by their association with fascism. Take Ezra Pound, for instance, or Charles Lindbergh–to say nothing of Paul de Man or Kurt Waldheim.

When communists meet that same fate, then we will know that the left will have cleaned up its act the way the right has (in America, at least).

The issue is not who I like and admir, but who actually merits admriation given reasonable moral standards.

Yes, of course. And most people–including, apparently, conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh–agree that reasonable moral standards preclude admiring fascists. When are we going to see the same consensus regarding admiring commnunists?

But calling the tiny handful of elemntary school teachers with degrees from elite unviersities fascists is, yes, silly and, frankly, contemptible. You must, surely, agree with that. And it must, surely, influence your judgment of Goldberg, right? And Limbaugh.

Frankly, it’s so silly that it’s hard for me to take it seriously enough to find it contemptible. Indeed, it’s hard for me to take either of these two characters terribly seriously–one is a self-described entertainer, and the other writes about his conversations with his couch about his own fondness for cured meats. If you want to get outraged about people flagrantly misusing the word, “fascist”, shouldn’t you choose someone whose pronouncements are a bit less intentionally goofy? As I pointed out, examples aren’t exactly difficult to find.

in the West communists have, for all their many faults, and the obnoxious devotion to the Soviet Union of many (but not all) of them, been on the right side of most domestic political conflicts

Ah, but did they make the trains run on time?

Come on, Harry–this sort of say-what-you-will-they-were-right-about-a-lot-of-things apologia for dedicated supporters of monstrous evil is no less ugly when deployed in defense of communists than when deployed in defense of fascists. It’s been thankfully banished from the conservative repertoire–isnt’ it time the left followed suit?

132

Uncle Kvetch 12.20.07 at 12:53 am

I’m with Dan. The fact that a right-wing, nationally syndicated columnist at the Los Angeles Times has written a book calling Hillary Clinton a fascist clearly shows that the left needs to clean up its act.

133

Jeffrey Kramer 12.20.07 at 1:05 am

Saying that a right-wing buffoon who calls random people “fascist!” is evidence of the right’s dedication to avoiding political extremism is like saying that the left’s dedication to moral seriousness is shown by the example of a left-wing buffoon who ends every comment with “f*ck off, clown!” The fact that r.w.b’s say “fascist!” a lot doesn’t mean they have renounced anything. It doesn’t mean they have principled objections to leader-worship or ethnic cleansing or aggressive war. It just means they know that their audience considers “fascist” a bad word.

Let me suggest a different (though still crude) way of measuring which side is furthest from its extremes. In American politics, so far as I know, never in my lifetime has any elected representative of the “liberal” party suggested any measure which would cause any reasonable person in the top percentile to shed one drop of sweat about his prospects for continuing to enjoy the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. Meanwhile, elected representatives of the “conservative” party have suggested, among other things, nuking Mecca and hanging war protestors (including their fellow congressmen).

134

harry b 12.20.07 at 3:13 am

I’d never have heard of Goldberg if I didn’t read CT — I don;t take him seriously. Limbaugh is different — enough people I know very well listen to and take him seriously for me to regard him as a genuine influence. What happens is that he knowingly gives people who want to have license for their own ignorant prejudice that license. These are people who in some case I am very close to, and my liking for them is marred by a disrespect for their relationship with Limbaugh’s cant. But yes, I take him seriously, and he is vile.

Well, I don’t know what to say Dan. Some utterly decent people have been communists and even Stalinists, and the balance sheet on their actual actions looks pretty good compared with most of ours, including mine. And that’s yer actual stalinists — to say nothing of the communists who were critical of the USSR and associated regimes and, for example, selflessly smoother the path to democracy in Spain. Fascists.? No. That’s why communists will never be blanketly reviled in the way that fascists are.

135

geo 12.20.07 at 4:14 am

Dan,

The New York Times link was pretty feeble evidence that American liberals are soft on communism. It was a mildly amused article about an attempt to preserve housing for elderly ex-communists and “political activists.” Maybe if they’d been Stalinist apparatchiks and the article had been some sort of agitprop, you’d have a point.

The ex-communists I had in mind were people like Orwell, Silone, Koestler, Spender, Gide, Howe, Eastman, and many others who renounced institutional Communism but continued to profess the ideals of solidarity and radical democracy that the communists also, but hypocritically professed. My point was that there aren’t any correspondingly admirable fascist ideals that actually existing fascist movements and governments betrayed, thereby producing many honorable and disillusioned ex-fascists.

And you can’t get away with merely scoffing at Harry’s point. American Communists were very wrong to deny the totalitarian character of the Soviet Union (not that that was the reason for the American government’s opposition to Communism), but they were right to support racial equality, labor unions, poor relief, etc. And American conservatives — even non-fascist ones — opposed all those things.

136

Dan Simon 12.20.07 at 4:59 am

If you don’t mind my asking, Harry,

1) What “ignorant prejudice” does Rush Limbaugh give people “license” to embrace? I’m about as far from an expert on Rush Limbaugh as one could imagine, but my impression is that his schtick consists roughly of ridiculing various liberal and leftist public figures. Is that the “ignorant prejudice” you had in mind, or are you concerned that he’s propagating something more insidious? And in either case, do you believe it’s more insidious than what the Stalinists you’ve admired were propagating, or is it simply that Limbaugh’s propagation efforts have been more successful, and therefore more pernicious?

2) You say that your liking for some people is “marred by a disrespect for their relationship with Limbaugh’s cant”. Was your liking for the “utterly decent” Stalinists you’ve known marred by a disrespect for their relationship with Stalin’s cant? If so, was the effect greater or lesser than in the case of the Limbaugh fans?

3) How many fascists do you know personally, well enough to gauge whether they’re “utterly decent people” or not? In the case of the fascists you don’t know, what is it about their ideology that makes it, in your mind, impossible to transcend in the way that the “utterly decent” Stalinists you know have presumably transcended theirs? Or do you believe that Stalinism poses no obstacles to utter decency that need to be overcome–that it’s at worst neutral with respect to, and possibly even conducive towards, decency?

137

Michael Bérubé 12.20.07 at 5:16 am

Oh, give it up, Harry. It’s common knowledge that The New York Times treats Stalinists like teddy bears and that The American Prospect holds a Gulag Appreciation Month every October. Only the American right has the intellectual honesty to repudiate its radical fringe — by (a) electing it to office or (b) associating it with liberals.

138

Roy 12.20.07 at 6:43 am

Dan,

I’m not sure I get your point. Are you advocating that “the left” should call Jonah Goldberg a commie? Are you pointing out that it is absurd to castigate Goldberg for his hyperbole? Are you perhaps merely suggesting that people of “lefitish” political views tend to abuse the term fascist as much as or more than people of “rightish” political views?

Or do you have some other, more esoteric point about American political culture and our use of language, which as yet lies obscured?

I myself find fascists quite delightful, especially the ones from Swarthmore. They look so lovely in their high-shined boots and gleaming medals, joining corporate and state power into a single militarized behemoth, worshipping strength and dominance. Mmmm, dominance.

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Z 12.20.07 at 8:43 am

I’m with Dan. The fact that a right-wing, nationally syndicated columnist at the Los Angeles Times has written a book calling Hillary Clinton a fascist clearly shows that the left needs to clean up its act.

Uncle Kvetch, please keep doing the good work.

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abb1 12.20.07 at 10:10 am

I’d never have heard of Goldberg if I didn’t read CT

Um, Harry, he is a columnist at the LA Times, the third largest newspaper in the US of A; one of the top opinion makers there. You can’t just ignore the guy.

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a very public sociologist 12.20.07 at 11:12 am

Is there anyone outside the circle of rightwing wingnuttery that takes this crap seriously?

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harry b 12.20.07 at 1:44 pm

You ask a lot of questions dan, but evade the ones I’ve asked you. But here goes anyway:

1) I don’t actually know anyone who listens to Stalin, and haven’t done for about 30 years, and even then it was a dead guy they read. And an inarticulate one at that (similar to Limbaugh). The people I am referring to want to believe false horror stories about the people they regard as their political enemies, so they listen to Limbaugh. I have spent about 5 hours total listening to his show. He is unfunny, laughs at his own jokes, tells lies (I caught 3 in an hour one of the times I listened), is sneering, and leaves a lot of dead air. If you haven’t listened to Limbaugh (which I guess you haven’t, because you’re a thoughtful sensible person who sems to be innocent of his influencce) don’t; it will rob you of time that you will never get back. I’d rather watch Friends.
2) Yes. About the same.
3) It may well be that there are utterly decent fascists. I suggested as much in an earlier post. Lets distinguish that fromt heir political action, whivh is what I referred to concerning the “balance sheet”. Their political action has not, for example, been weilded on the side of civil rights, of trades unions, or of any cause that has benefitted victims of injustice. I’m sure that many have made major personal sacrifices, but, unfortunately, on the side of wrong. Do you agree? Or don’t you want to answer.

I’m signing off on this, but I’ll look to see if you answer two questions: 1) do you really think that the communists who composed a large proportion of the small number of whites to suport the civil rights movement were as bad as the fascists who composed a small proportion of the large number of whites who opposed it? 2) if so, what risks have you taken on behalf of people who were victims of serious injustices that give you the moral confidence to make that judgment?

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harry b 12.20.07 at 1:46 pm

Oh, and if you could respond to geo’s #138 I’d enjoy that too.

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John Protevi 12.20.07 at 5:59 pm

Shorter Dan Simon: the fact that the right now uses the term “fascist” as an insult directed at the left proves that right wing policies don’t push corporate and state power.

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Dan Simon 12.20.07 at 11:53 pm

do you really think that the communists who composed a large proportion of the small number of whites to suport the civil rights movement were as bad as the fascists who composed a small proportion of the large number of whites who opposed it?

Harry, my answer is exactly the same as it would be if a fascist sympathizer self-righteously demanded to know how I dare lump mid-to-late-20th-century fascists, who were nearly alone in their staunch defense of the victims of Soviet aggression and oppression in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, with the dupes, fellow travellers and outright allies of their oppressors:

“Your question contains an implicit whitewash of a morally despicable movement. You grossly exaggerate both the role of that movement in the noble cause you cite, and the centrality of that cause in the movement’s agenda. And you thereby grossly underplay the many monstrously immoral elements of that agenda. I have no idea why you choose to distort the history of this movement so egregiously, but until your depiction of it bears a closer resemblance to reality, you’ve forfeited all entitlement to be taken seriously on the matter of the relative morality of political movements.”

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harry b 12.21.07 at 12:02 am

Thanks Dan, got the message. A simple “yes” would have done. But I think we can agree that discussion between us henceforth is pointless.

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Martin James 12.21.07 at 1:02 am

Harry b or anyone that generally agrees with him on moral matters,

Here’s what I can’t figure out and keep coming here to find out.

If you are a member of the reality-based community then you notice that injustice, vileness, assholes, fascists, racists, imperialists, warmongers, etc. exist. They are real.

But can one be part of the reality-based community and not think the fight against the list above is the top moral priority in the world?

I can see why people have the preference for morals that treat injustice as wrong, it just seems to me that that attitude has more in common with non-reality-based thinking – its infected by a certain amount of quaintly naive “the world just shouldn’t be this way” hopefulness.

To put my point in an extreme and unflattering way, uttering the word “ought” seems to entail the desire to take a little departure from reality.

Moreover, it would seem to me that if one desired that there be fewer assholes in the world, a thoroughgoing, painstaking understanding of the causes of assholedom would be required.

Again, I’m probably pushing the point too far, but can you really fight injustice, if you don’t “get” the unjust.

Not to go all Freudian at this late stage but if you can’t sublimate the causes of being an asshole, if you can’t offer me a fix, then you just have to put up with that many more assholes.

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harry b 12.21.07 at 1:12 am

martin james — I simply don’t understand what you are saying. Are you asking me why I’m not a moral relativist? Or why I bother talking to dan simon?

I hold a certain conception of justice, sure, and I think that altering the world to mkae it more just is a high moral priority. Understanding what it is about the world that is unjust, and enough about the world to know how to change it is very important. Understanding the psyches of the perpetrators of injustice might well fall into that category of knowledge (though sometimes its not the most important part of it). Is this any kind of answer to your question?

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Martin James 12.21.07 at 1:45 am

Thanks harry,

What I’m asking is more like do you think that the moral positions you hold and your sense of justice are so obvious and that those that don’t hold them are likely to be “perpetrators of injustice”?

But it would be nice if you could also write about why you aren’t a moral relativist.

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geo 12.21.07 at 2:28 am

Dan,

1) mid-to-late-20th-century fascists, who were nearly alone in their staunch defense of the victims of Soviet aggression and oppression in Eastern Europe and elsewhere

I can’t tell from the context whether you’re suggesting that this is actually true. It isn’t, of course. Consider, for example, the East German workers’ revolt of 1953, the Hungarian rebellion of 1956, the Czech rebellion of 1968, and the Polish Solidarity movement. All democrats.

But even if it were true, one would be entitled to ask: in the name of what did they oppose it? In the name of democracy, equality, and the rule of law or of national chauvinism, racial and other hierarchies, and militarism?

2) Stalin was indeed very bad. The Soviet Union did indeed conquer and oppress Eastern Europe (though there is at least a plausible argument, which we really shouldn’t get into here, that their motives were defensive, since Russia had been repeatedly invaded from the west). Western communists should of course have been more honest about Soviet oppression, domestic and foreign. Nonetheless, Western communists did, by and large, support the same domestic causes — racial and sexual equality, the rights of labor to organize, effective (not merely nominal) control of the executive by elected representatives, the supremacy of international law, etc. — as you (I hope) or I would, while conservatives did not.

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Anarch 12.21.07 at 2:54 am

And most people—including, apparently, conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh—agree that reasonable moral standards preclude admiring fascists.

No, you’ve got your use-mention distinction messed up. The right-wing is perfectly fine with objecting to “fascism” — the word — but that doesn’t preclude them from supporting fascism — the ideology. The fact that it’s now known in the US as “movement conservatism” just goes to show you that the label is not the thing.

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Dan Simon 12.21.07 at 2:56 am

I can’t tell from the context whether you’re suggesting that this is actually true.

I’m sorry it wasn’t clear. I meant every word I said, to both Harry and the strawman (but, I think, quite plausible) fascist I invoked. Both were egregiously whitewashing their respective movement’s history.

Western communists did, by and large, support the same domestic causes—racial and sexual equality, the rights of labor to organize, effective (not merely nominal) control of the executive by elected representatives, the supremacy of international law, etc.—as you (I hope) or I would, while conservatives did not.

Are you joking? Western communists supporting “control of the executive by elected representatives”? Conservatives (not fascists, mind you, but conservatives) opposing this?

Yes, communist parties in many Western countries have run in elections, just as many fascist parties have done. In neither case did anyone ever doubt what form of government they’d install if they had the power to “reform” it. (That’s one reason why Western electorates have generally shied away from electing communist or fascist parties into positions where they could enact such “reforms”.) In contrast, conservative (or liberal, or centrist, or “Christian democratic”, or social democratic) parties’ commitments to democratic government have always been clear and unequivocal. That’s a critical–perhaps the critical–distinction between reasonable and dangerous political movements.

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geo 12.21.07 at 4:31 am

Dan,

The Communist parties of Spain, Italy, France, and the Scandinavian countries have generally been as committed to democracy as liberal or conservative parties in those countries. As for your shocked surprise that conservatives should be accused of opposing legislative sovereignty over the executive, I’m afraid I have to ask in turn, are you joking? The contemporary Republican Party has been entirely unprincipled about this matter since the beginning of the Bush administration, and was not particularly principled about it during the Reagan administration either.

But it seems to me you’re trying to change the subject. You’ve been all along suggesting a kind of moral equivalence between professed communist ideals and professed fascist ideals. Harry (I think) and I have answered that, on the contrary, communist ideals were betrayed by those who seized state power in their name, while fascist ideals were in fact implemented by those who seized state power in their name; that many honorable people affirm communist ideals (equality, worker control, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” etc) while repudiating Stalinist and Maoist practice, while few if any honorable people affirm fascist ideals while claiming to have been betrayed by Hitler, Mussolini, Franco etc. You haven’t squarely addressed this argument.

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Z 12.21.07 at 7:49 am

Instead of confronting Dan Simon, I think we should take the sensible Uncle Kvetch route and recognize that his queries are reasonnable.

can you imagine, say, a Molly Ivins type writing a whole book about how conservatives are, at heart, despicable commie pinkos, and meaning it only as exaggeration, not sarcasm?

George W. Bush and his political allies have created a network of secret prisons called by respectable human rights organization “tropical gulags”, he has systematically governed in favor of the military-industrial complex, his political advisors have been admirers of Trotsky and people on the rights have compared them to Jacobins and Robespierre, he has been closely associated with large corporations which turned out to be almost entirely fictitious, he is against unions, does not believe that human activities can wreck the environment, he exalts nationalism, his administration also holds power on signficant part of the economy and routinely uses political and military power to influence the economic sphere, he has used intelligence agencies to discredit political opponents and eliminate enemies… Do you know what this mean, Dan? Yep, you are right: George W. Bush is in everything but the name a General Secretary of the CPSU.

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abb1 12.21.07 at 10:32 am

Nah, Geo, you’re not being fair here, you’re contrasting communist ideals (equality, no exploitation, class-less society) with manifestations of radical fascism.

Fascist ideals are: unity, greatness and prosperity of the nation. Class conflict is mitigated or eliminated by national unity, that’s the main point.

If national-greatness, unity and prosperity can be achieved without militarism, authoritarianism, etc. – they’ll gladly take it too, they don’t require these things.

It’s a common concept, often practiced and successful, in Japan, for example, or (to a degree) Scandinavia. Switzerland is like that too. The businesses agree to take care of the population (hire local citizens, high minimum wage, pensions, benefits, etc.) and in return they get protection against imports, some sort of price control, artificially weakened competition. In economy, at least, it’s a legitimate concept, I think; works surprisingly well.

Of course it’s not universal like the communist ideal, that’s why many people (myself included) don’t like it much.

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engels 12.21.07 at 11:41 am

I thought it had been a while since abb1 had posted anything truly asinine; it’s a relief to read #158 and see that he is back on form.

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abb1 12.21.07 at 12:05 pm

You’re exactly as dogmatic as Dan Simon, engels, you know that? You’re his exact counterpart, mirror image. Think about it.

158

engels 12.21.07 at 12:11 pm

No, abb1, I just think you are an ass, and very ignorant about the nature of fascism.

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abb1 12.21.07 at 12:34 pm

Well, Dan Simon thinks I’m an ass too, so there you go.

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John Protevi 12.21.07 at 3:11 pm

I’d say the problem with Dan Simon is that he’s an essentialist. People and parties are for him homogeneous unities with lists of properties that allow them to be slotted into neat categories. Look at the language in 155: “clear and unequivocal,” “critical distinction,” etc. But the world works as a series of concrete multiplicities: a person or a party is a site of clashing forces; the role of the historian is to describe the quality and relative strength of those forces and identify the tendency the system is heading in. In other words, there were by most historian’s accounts social democrats within western CPs, something his essentialism leads him wrongly to deny. But the real problem, as Uncle Kvetch points out above, is that Dan disregards the current context: are there forces within the current Administration (cough, Cheyney, Addington, cough) who are taking the county in a direction that leads to increasing concentrations of corporate / state (meaning executive) power? Just because they call it “national security” (and leave out the corporate stuff entirely) doesn’t mean we shouldn’t investigate the convergence between their petro-securitarian stance and that of historical fascism. But Dan isn’t interested in that: thrashing libs for insufficient commie-bashing is much more important in his mind.

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geo 12.21.07 at 7:22 pm

abb1: Fascist ideals are: unity, greatness and prosperity of the nation.

Isn’t that a bit too general? After all, pretty much everyone is in favor of unity, greatness and prosperity. Isn’t the point of fascism that these things are to be attained through racial and cultural homogeneity, political and ideological conformity, sexual subordination, and military assertiveness?

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abb1 12.21.07 at 9:29 pm

No, not everyone; communists and classical liberals are typically against national unity and all that stuff. Or, at least, it’s a very low priority for them. For the fascists it’s the highest priority. At the very extreme end, yes, it’ll manifest itself in all those bad things you mentioned, but so is the drive to equality – when they start killing people who wear glasses and speak foreign languages or whose parents owned a farm. Or the drive to ‘liberty’, when they kill people (foreigners, usually) who don’t accept their idea of property rights. The ideals themselves are not bad, they are ordinary enlightenment concepts: Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

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Dan Simon 12.22.07 at 12:08 am

many honorable people affirm communist ideals (equality, worker control, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” etc) while repudiating Stalinist and Maoist practice, while few if any honorable people affirm fascist ideals while claiming to have been betrayed by Hitler, Mussolini, Franco etc.

We need a bit more precision here. The goals you specify are socialist goals. Communism adds the twist that they are to be achieved through violent revolution, led by a politically conscious vanguard that establishes a “dictatorship of the proletariat” in order to completely re-engineer society in the socialist mold. If you believe in establishing a socialist economy through purely democratic processes, then you’re a democratic socialist, and I have no more quarrel with you than I do with anyone else whose political goals I consider silly (and there are an awful lot of those all over the spectrum, I can assure you).

Now, there are communists who believe (or at least make a show of believing) that Stalin betrayed communism, but embrace Mao’s, or Castro’s, or Enver Hoxta’s, or their own as-yet-powerless party’s, revolution and dictatorship wholeheartedly. There are also fascists who repudiate (or at least make a show of repudiating) Hitler’s fascism, but embrace Mussolini’s, or Franco’s, or their own as-yet-powerless party’s, iron fascist rule wholeheartedly. Note, though, that most of the latter use various euphemisms for fascism–usually some combination of “people’s”, “national”, and the name of their home country or ethnicity–fascism itself having been so discredited. The former, on the other hand, are typically quite comfortable using communist, or perhaps Marxist-Leninist, or Trotskyite, to describe themselves, knowing that at least left-of-center people will retain respect for them. One wonders what more the world’s communist regimes have to do before the left finally recognizes that they’re not just “socialists in a hurry”.

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geo 12.22.07 at 2:56 am

Fair point, Dan, but we’re shading off here into terminological matters, I think. A significant minority of people who’ve called themselves communists (eg, Diggers and Levellers, Marx, Engels, William Morris, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Korsch, Anton Pannekoek, Paul Mattick, many anarchists, and (after a certain point) the French, Spanish, Italian, and Scandinavian Communist parties I mentioned earlier) were not Leninists or Bolsheviks, and in my opinion have a stronger claim to the term than the Soviet and Chinese communists, whom I would agree with Chomsky in calling “state capitalists.”(Actually, my favorite term is “pseudo-communists,” since their ideology has nothing in common with what was understood as communism before the Bolsheviks: ie, worker control, radical democracy, etc.) Before the Russian Revolution the distinction between socialism and communism was practically insignificant. This is why Orwell, Silone, Macdonald, and all the other people I’ve cited initially called themselves communists and, faced with the Bolshevik betrayal, abandoned the word and simply called themselves socialists. But they continued to hold to the ideals that the word “communism” named before Lenin. Anyway, I do agree with you that liberals and leftists should clearly dissociate themselves with Leninism.

I still don’t see, though, that there is any parallel with fascism. You still haven’t specified any noble fascist ideals that Hitler betrayed but Mussolini, Franco, or other non-Nazi fascists held to.

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harry b 12.22.07 at 3:57 am

I think, geo, that Dan uses communism in the way that traditional anti-communists have always done, to refer to Leninism-as-practiced-by-Stalin, but to tar everyone else in from the second international on with the same brush. Even me, in fact, who despite clearly disassociating myself from Leninism-as-practiced-by-Stalin, and clearly identifying communists (like the eurocommunists) who did the same thing themselves, am beyond his pale. He is either startlingly unaware of the role of the Italian and Spanish eurocommunists, for example, in their respective countries (silly Spanish communists, trying to ensure that the transition from fascism would actually work to produce a stable liberal democracy) or he is just dishonest. Its hard to tell.

martin james — I’ll answer both your questions in good time, I promise, but not in this thread and not before Christmas!

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Dan Simon 12.22.07 at 5:50 am

I still don’t see, though, that there is any parallel with fascism. You still haven’t specified any noble fascist ideals that Hitler betrayed but Mussolini, Franco, or other non-Nazi fascists held to.

I’m afraid you’ll have to ask someone who thinks fascist ideals are noble in the first place. Neither do I know of any noble ideas Stalin betrayed that Mao, Castro, et al. held to, but apparently some communists believe they exist.

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Dan Simon 12.22.07 at 6:29 am

I apologize Harry–when you referred to “the communists who composed a large proportion of the small number of whites to suport the civil rights movement” I assumed you were referring to the Communist Party members, Trotskyites, Maoists, and other proponents of capital-R-Revolution who made up the overwhelming majority of self-professed communists in America at the time. But since you have such a grossly distorted view of the representation of communists among whites in the civil rights movement, I should have guessed that you might also have a grossly distorted view of the number of self-professed American communists who were neither Stalinists nor Maoists nor Trotskyites nor members of any of the other anti-democratic factions, but were in fact social democrats who happened to find the word “communist” so much more mellifluous than “social democrat” that they stuck with the former label despite its ugly connotations.

I hope you’ll forgive my misstep–I think it’s a minor one, but since all the folks around here are always so incredibly meticulous about drawing the fine line between “conservative” and “fascist”, I should have been similarly careful about the line between, uh, “communist” and, well, you know, “communist”.

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abb1 12.22.07 at 8:48 am

Sergei Dovlatov, soviet dissident and a writer, immigrated to the US in the seventies, lived there for a few years and wrote: “next to communism the thing I hate most is anti-communism.”

And that’s a pretty common sentiment; Adam Michnik, for example, writes about “anti-Communism with a Bolshevik face”.

Well, I think he’s wrong, it’s not a “Bolshevik face”. The anti-communist fervor, the kind that my friend Dan exhibits here, is itself a notable characteristic of a fascist.

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abb1 12.22.07 at 9:33 am

Communism adds the twist that they are to be achieved through violent revolution, led by a politically conscious vanguard that establishes a “dictatorship of the proletariat” in order to completely re-engineer society in the socialist mold.
…says Dan Simon who just a couple of years ago lamented about Amnesty International

…dickering about the treatment of a few hundred suspected terrorists captured during the overthrow of a brutal theocratic tyranny. How far they [Amnesty International] have fallen….

Note the unmistakenly revolutionary rhetoric: what’s a few hundred suspected terrorists (probably bad people anyway) compare to the glorious goal? Felix Dzerzhinsky couldn’t have said it better.

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engels 12.22.07 at 1:24 pm

Interesting points from both Geo and Harry. However, Dan Simon’s views on torture, detention without trial and war crimes, among other topics, have been given adequate prominence in these debates (and are easily discoverable via Google). I do not know whether he is a fascist, but is someone who does not deserve a civil response from reasonable people on the left or right.

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harry b 12.22.07 at 3:12 pm

engels, I just logged on to continue, but I bow, as I sometimes do and probably should more often, to your gentle chiding. Thanks.

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John Protevi 12.22.07 at 6:18 pm

engels, I took your advice about googling “dan simon” and all I can say is that he’s good, but he’s no floyd alvis cooper.

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