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Bloggingheads 01-21-2008 04:09 PM

Liberal Fascism Edition

somerandomdude 01-21-2008 04:27 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
Oh for Christ's sake. Jonah fucking Goldberg.

brucds 01-21-2008 04:30 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
I'm going to take a piss...I mean take a pass on this one.

InJapan 01-21-2008 04:31 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
... love it ...

Mensch 01-21-2008 04:35 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
Kudos to bhtv for having the cahonas to put this one up, despite opposition from the majority of its viewing audience, I'm sure.

TwinSwords 01-21-2008 04:37 PM

Conservative Communism
Since we can just make up any old political theory we want, I propose Conservative Communism.

Oh, look, Sadly No! had the same idea! LOL

ohcomeon 01-21-2008 05:14 PM

Re: Conservative Communism
Just no. 10 characters.

Wonderment 01-21-2008 05:48 PM

Jonah Goldberg is the Anne Coulter of White Males
The problem with elevating a pompous blowhard like Goldberg from the ranks of O'Reilly and Coulter and engaging him in a serious and civil discussion, as Will tried to do, is that you end up letting him rant for an hour and responding with

"It does seem a little contentious to call Hillary Clinton a fascist."

It more than "a little contentious." It's fucking crazy.

And it's an insidiously Orwellian abuse of language. Just say "fascism" and "totalitarian" enough times in the same sentence as Hillary Clinton, "progressive" and "liberal," and you will get Clinton haters everywhere to salivate for the red meat. Time publication with the presidential primaries and cash in on the controversy.

Speaking of Orwell, he wrote in 1944:

"It would seem that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else."

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 06:17 PM

Reply to Wonderment:
I do not recall anything like a rant from Goldberg, unless you consider any repsonse from Goldberg to be a "rant." He explained why Hillary Clinton has a fascistic edge to her "It Takes a Village" message. He did not call her a "fascist," which as you point out is a meningless term (rendered so by Soviet and Leftist propaganda). As Goldberg point out, "fascism" has become synonymous with "evil," altough its intellectual roots rest in the Left, in the Socialist movements of the 19th Century or even back to Rousseau, obscured by 75 years of Leftist name-calling. How many times in the past eight years has a Leftist poster at Daily Kos or Democratic Underground called Bush or Cheney a "fascist"? It does not help the Left's case for Goldberg to be subject to the Left's general abuse. Why compare him to Ann Coulter? For that matter, what is wrong with Ann Counter? No one is saying that she is a towering intellect who writes academic history. She is a columnist (with a wicked sense of homor) and an author of popular history and politics and a television pundette. Should Leftist authors who appear on television and are leggy blondes be dismissed as well? It is odd that Liberals who would tell you how tolerant and compassionate they are can be reduced to vitriolic fury by Jonah Goldberg. No one expects you to laugh at his jokes. I thought he did an excellent job of defending and explaining the book as Wilkinson did of questioning him, challenging him and disagreeing without being disagreeable. Excellent diavlog. Light rather than heat. Thanks, Bob Wright.

Mike J. 01-21-2008 06:19 PM

Don't Bother
It's not worth watching. Though Will offers some scattered damning objections (Goldberg's placement of Mussolini and Hitler on the left is ahistorical and arbitrary, fascism was nationalistic and militaristic, the actual genealogy of contemporary liberalism doesn't stem from anything fascistic), he doesn't press them vigorously, and Goldberg doesn't have anything worthwhile to say.

ohcomeon 01-21-2008 06:24 PM

Re: Reply to Wonderment:
What is wrong with Ann Coulter? I have often wondered that myself. I'm no professional but I suspect she had a poor relationship with her father.

zookarama 01-21-2008 06:34 PM

Re: Don't Bother
I gave it almost 15 minutes and realized that this book is just another screed. It bores me the same way left wing screeds bore me. If you're out there on the edges of the curve, then this is for you. If you enjoy witnessing semantic jiujitsu, you'll probably love this book. btw, where's Bob? And its been a while since Mickey's been around, no? Then again, bhtv has a way of compressing time for me. This may be another sign that I need to get out more.

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 06:36 PM

Re: Reply to ohcomeon:
Not that it will matter to you, but she wrote a loving column last week about her father upon his death. I understand your non sequitur comment to mean that you do not like Ann Coulter. That is your privilege. I could say that you are prejudiced and hate-spewing, but of course that can only be said about conservatives, not matter how insensitive the remark by a Leftist.

Trevor 01-21-2008 06:43 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
I can see why Will, with his pox-on-both-houses libertarianism, would be an uncommonly charitable interviewer for Goldberg. What I don't understand is why Goldberg isn't a libertarian too, and is instead proud to call himself a conservative, if he's really so concerned about nascent fascistic tendencies in the political mainstream. What, one wonders, are the tenets of conservatism that libertarians do not share but that are not, by Jonah's own standards, fascistic?

Wolfgangus 01-21-2008 06:47 PM

Re: Reply to Wonderment:
She's just another psychopath like O'Reilly that discovered a way to make money off the religious by telling them whatever they want to hear, and pretending it was "journalism". I say psychopath because like O'Reilly she doesn't care if her statements are lies, doesn't care if they hurt anybody physically, financially, emotionally or politically, she only cares precisely to the extent they benefit her by drawing media attention and therefore, money and power. If she could make more money entertaining Democratic Liberals I have no doubt she would change her tune tomorrow.

As far as what creates psychopaths, a poor relationship with a father (like being repeatedly beaten or raped by him) can certainly do that; but I believe certain faults in brain development do the job equally well.

ohcomeon 01-21-2008 06:53 PM

Re: Reply to ohcomeon:
I'll deny the prejudice charge. Hate spewing, in this case, perhaps I'll accept. I try not to hate because it is generally unproductive but I'll admit Ann Coulter is a special case.

Here's a little more hate spewing from one of your favorites:

"we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

"Congress could pass a law tomorrow requiring that all aliens from Arabic countries leave....We should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males."

To a disabled Vietnam vet: "People like you caused us to lose that war."

"Women like Pamela Harriman and Patricia Duff are basically Anna Nicole Smith from the waist down. Let's just call it for what it is. They're whores."-

And finally on the topic of who loves fascism.
"My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism."---MSNBC 2/8/97

dfp21 01-21-2008 06:53 PM

Re: Jonah Goldberg is the Anne Coulter of White Males
Our side of the American political spectrum proudly voted for the following people:

A Senator who's an ex Ku Klux Klan member.
A Governor who stood in the doorway of a school to prevent black kids from entering.
A Senator who drove his car into a lake leaving his passenger to drown.
A President who, on his last day in office, pardoned terrorists and an FBI most-wanted guy after getting a $5 million donation to the Clinton Library.

So, Goldberg, don't dare call us Fascists! Maybe we're racist, drunken, crooked scum. But Fascist? I'm offended!

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 07:03 PM

Reply to Wolfgangus:
Tell me something that she has said that was a lie. She may have said things with which you disagree or that are so funny that they infurate you. I am not aware of anything that she has said that has been shown to be a lie. Why compare her to O'Reilly, except that you do not either of them? She may be tendentious, scathing, polemical. But she is not the buffoon that O'Reilly is. He really is a guy who would be quite comfortable taking the liberal side if he thought that there was more money and ratings in it. For years, he was the host of "A Current Affair," which ought to tell you that he is an ambitious cable television operative who will do whatever makes money, regardless. Right now, conservatism sells. That's why is audience is three times Hardball's.

Tim O 01-21-2008 07:11 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
Pardon in advance for the fragmented comment I'm listening and making quick notes.

Jonah calls BHTV "Webtv" in the intro.

I half expect Will to remove his latex glove a la "Babs" in Animal House after his loving handjob of Jonah.

Jonah creating his own defenition of totalitarian.

He mentions Mussolini's form of fascism and it sounds eerily like Bushco fascism. Install party aparatchik into the government and insure privatization of the mechanism to secure the monetary means for a permanent Republican majority. Too bad it failed, er I mean thank God it failed! Mussolini called it corporatism.

It's stunning how he tries to project right wing fascism on liberals.

He rattles off all the names of current dictators claiming they are doing it for the state when ultimately its so they can control the wealth of the state for themselves.

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 07:11 PM

Reply to ohcomeon:
It appears that humor and satire are lost on you. Why hasn't she been sued for libel if she said those things? Because it was obvious that she was expressing an opinion, not to be taken literally, or was being deliberately provacative as humor. When Keith Olbermann names a conservative like Bush the "Worst Person in the World," is he stating a fact or an opnion? Are we supposed to hate Olbermann because there really is a "worst" person in Roumania?

Tim O 01-21-2008 07:19 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
Again, Jonah describes Woodrow Wilson authoritarianism and it sounds eerily like Bushco fascism.

Nobody is saying history doesn't matter, it's just that Jonah's revisionism doesn't fly with the general consensus. I suppose that you could say that Jonah is a visionary historian on the cutting edge of a new perspective on history but, um, that would be ridiculous. I'm sorry I even suggested it.

Oh yea, organic food is fascistic, just in case you were wondering.

ohcomeon 01-21-2008 07:30 PM

Re: Reply to ohcomeon:
I am trying to understand whether you believe it is TRUE that the two 9/11 widows she refers to are whores or if you just think it is just funny that she calls them that.

Tim O 01-21-2008 07:45 PM

Re: Reply to ohcomeon:
Humor has nothing to do with it. It's her niche and it's paid off.

Remember Andrew Dice Clay? He was popular until he stopped telling nasty sexist jokes that was red meat for his audience. Nobody remembers him now.

If Ann stopped talking smack about liberals, her fountain of cash would dry up. She's a useful tool for the disgusting right wingnuttia including the Dittoheads, Michael Savage fans and the Hannity like dicks out there.

Stop talking about her and she will go away.

bkjazfan 01-21-2008 07:56 PM

Re: Reply to ohcomeon:
The content of Jonah's book seems to be a obscure. Why would anyone read it? I find it incredible that it is #3 on Amazon. Of course, Ann Coulter and Michael Moore have books that are popular, too. Why waste your time with such dribble when there is so much substantive reading to be done.

seyoyo 01-21-2008 08:02 PM

Re: Reply to ohcomeon:
Jonah Goldberg is intellectually-challenged. He thinks that by dropping a lot of names he can get around a sensible historically-sound thesis. I am not leaving this interview with a positive image of his wit.

which hunt? 01-21-2008 08:03 PM

Evil Pale Penis People

Goldberg is my nominee for official BH evil pale penis person. He compares white males in today's America to Jews in the holocaust. I find this absolutly stunning. I'll admit that there is some rhetoric denouncing white maleness in this culture, but how about black maleness, muslim maleness, mexicanness and womenness? I think all of these things are more detrimental to our body politic. There is not a member of any of these groups who has ever been elected president, except one. The holocaust nearly extinguished entire races of people, the arguments he is hearing are about concepts. Nazis may have found justification by scapegoating a shadowy cabal, but they actually killed people, not ideas. His persecution complex is just pathetic. It reminds me of people invoking race when defending Giuliani against the F word.

Earth to Jonah: Fascism is commonly used to describe militant nationalism. I'm sold on Wilson's Fascism. You might be able talk me into FDR's being a Fascist. I know it sells books when you call presidential candidates with high negatives nasty names, but your bewilderment on how the American Right gets classified as Fascist strikes me as posturing.

That being said, I found this to be an excellent diavlog, and by far prefer Goldberg to Frum or Eli Lake. Examining the roots of the American Left starting with the Fascist ideology strikes me as so dissonant with mainstream America's Left/Right paradigm that I find it fascinating. He argues a good case, and doesn't get too pushy. I like to have an opposition viewpoint, and I find Lake to be too screechy and Frum's axis speech too off putting.

dankingbooks 01-21-2008 08:11 PM

Jonah Rocks; Wilkinson Talks
OK - unlike most commenters, I'm a fan of both libertarianism and of Jonah Goldberg. I do think there is a legitimate distinction between "Rousseauians" and "Lockeans". I do believe in the God-given rights to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness - and this puts me at loggerheads with both Fascists narrowly defined, and with less villainous politicians such as Hillary, who seem willing to sacrifice our Constitutional Liberties for the sake of communal social policies.

Having said that, I think Will talks to much. For a weekly show, he's got to be the interviewer and keep his inarticulate and rather irrelevant opinions to himself.

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 08:15 PM

Re: Response to ohcomeon:
I do not believe Ann Coulter was ever sued by the 9/11 widows. I do not believe the she ever called them "whores." She did say that maybe they were on the lookout for new husbands. What she was really saying was that they were trading on the celebrity of their tragedy, which was true. Why would anyone listen to their political views except that they were 9/11 widows? It is amazing to me that there is one set of rules for someone on the Left and another for someone like Ann Coulter on the Right. What she said was rude and hurtful, but not necessarily untrue. If what she said was demonstratively untrue, why didn't they sue? It is like Cindy Sheehan. If I say that her 15 minutes of fame are well over, is that a lie? I am sorry her son was killed, but that makes me perhaps boorish, not a liar.

rcocean 01-21-2008 08:17 PM

Re: Liberal Fascism Edition
Thanks Bob Wright for this diavlog. Not only was it informative regarding Jonah's book, but as a conservative, it gave me great insight into Jonah Goldberg, an editor into NRO , supposedly THE conservative magazine.

This divalog simply confirms my belief that to Goldberg or someone like John McCain/Fred Barnes, the real enemy is not Ted Kennedy but Pat Buchanan. That Jonah thinks someone against imperialism, absolute "free Trade", and illegal immigration is a "fascist" is interesting. That Jonah thinks preventing a "Holocaust" in the USA is a Number #1 priority is not only interesting, but amazing and reveling.

piscivorous 01-21-2008 08:21 PM

Re: Response to ohcomeon:
Th specific context of the "whores" quote was in respect to being "publicity whores" but hey who on the left takes anything in context as it ruins their arguments.

which hunt? 01-21-2008 08:23 PM

Re: Jonah Rocks; Wilkinson Talks
Rousseau vs. Locke = interesting concept.

Conservatives being champions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a bit of a howler though. It seems like the majority of people backing the first amendment at this point in time are liberals... it's been that way for the last, oh, seven years. Good old fashioned law and order Republicans have been oddly silent on the matter.

Conservatives do not pull any punches with the second amendment however. I'll give them that.

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 08:28 PM

Response to Pseverous:
If she called them "publicity whores," then that was true, and we can only object to her rudeness. They were trading on their tragedy for publicity. Where are they today?

dankingbooks 01-21-2008 08:31 PM

Re: Jonah Rocks; Wilkinson Talks
I think conservatives have been at the forefront in defending the first amendment. Certainly, they have led in fighting campus thought police, and in protecting free speech on campus. Check out for more info.

Also, David Horowitz may over do it, but at least he does it. He (at least nominally) defended Ward Churchill's right to free speech.

Likewise, I think conservatives have taken the lead in defending religious liberty as well, though that is more of a mixed bag.

I see nothing similar coming from the Left - but maybe I'm missing something. Let me know what it is.

jmcnulty 01-21-2008 08:36 PM

Response to which hunt:
You said: "[T]he majority of people backing the first amendment at this point in time are liberals."

Surely you jest. Are conservatives responsible for the profiferation of campus speech codes? Are conservatives to blame for the "human rights" courts in Canada, which are busy prosecuting the speech of conservatives like Mark Steyn? Are conservatives trying to silence persons like Don Imus and Michael Savage?

I have to wonder whatever happened to the "marketplace of ideas" so vigorously defended by liberals a generation ago.

ohcomeon 01-21-2008 09:13 PM

Re: Response to ohcomeon:
She did say that maybe they were on the lookout for new husbands. What she was really saying was that they were trading on the celebrity of their tragedy, which was true.

No, that is what she was doing. That is what she does. Spew nastiness for money.

Tim O 01-21-2008 09:18 PM

Re: Jonah Rocks; Wilkinson Talks
To be fair, these conversations are called diavlogs, a derivation of dialogue, meaning its more of a conversation, not an interview. But I do agree he talks too much for trying to get at the meat of Jonah's book. However lame.

nojp 01-21-2008 09:23 PM

Jonah Solves climat change and world Hunger
Typical of most conservatives Jonah uses a small insight to hide a large lie.
Conservatism is selfishness by another name. It might take some left wing fascism to move the economy from one based on debt and consumption to one of investment and sustainability. Just remember with out oil capitalism becomes very Dickinsonian . Just think of what conservatism conserves.

Tim O 01-21-2008 09:27 PM

Re: Response to which hunt:
Has anyone read about people being arrested at Bush rallys for wearing protest t-shirts or being asked to leave the national archive for wearing an "Impeach Cheney" t-shirts?

Anyone hear about how a CIA agent was betrayed because her husband told the truth about one of Bush's lies?

How about the infiltration and investigation of a Quaker peace group in Florida?

Freedom's on the March in Bush's Amerika!

Bloggin' Noggin 01-21-2008 11:23 PM

Liberal Fascism, Damning Praise and the Will to be nice
Will seems to have felt it would be unfair to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent, so he tends to allude to his criticisms of the book rather than make them and when he makes them to downplay them. He seems actually rather like a grown-up put in the awkward position of having to give constructive criticism of the emperor's "serious and very well researched" new clothes.
Still, I can't think of a more damning review of Jonah's book than this little encomium by Will:

And that's from a libertarian who's willing to call FDR's New Deal "fascistic."

It's pretty obvious just from this diavlog that Jonah's little trick is to label all forms of "collectivism" as "left" and all forms of small-l liberalism (belief in individual rights) as "right". Of course, in the real world, what is known as "the left" and what is known as "the right" both have collectivist and individualist tendencies and sub-groups.
As Will says, the whole left-right spectrum doesn't really mean much -- you not only need to specify a context, but you probably need more than just one dimension on which to map the political positions.

I had a look at _LIberal Fascism_ in the bookstore. The index contains no mention of John Rawls -- THE philosopher of modern (non-classical) liberalism (and something of a hero to Will himself, as I recall). This seems like sufficient reason to dismiss the book out of hand. I do wish Will had raised the figure of Rawls. He does believe in some degree of economic redistribution, unlike the classical liberal. But he's certainly a believer in individual liberty -- he gives liberty priority over his "difference principle" which governed economic distribution. Is Rawls "fascistic" -- or does his individualism show that he's actually of the right?

And if Pat Buchanan has collectivist tendencies, does that put him on the left? Jonah evades this problem by starting to talk about the Republican Party and distancing himself from the party. The real point is that Jonah's classification system is obviously ridiculously tendentious and just plain silly.

AndyH 01-21-2008 11:35 PM

Left Nazis
Not long before this "Liberal Fascism" brouhaha broke out, I happened to catch a screening of that old political documentary "The Sound of Music." I came away questioning the conventional idea that Nazism was a movement of the Far Right.

I mean, can anyone seriously believe that Captain VonTrapp's opposition came from the Left?

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