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Liberal fascism

  1. Aug 6, 2008 #1
    i am reading a book called liberal fascism by jonah goldberg. it draws parallels between hitler and mussolini's fascism and modern day liberals. its very interesting. i reccomend it.
     
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  3. Aug 6, 2008 #2
    OrbitalPower will be along shortly to formerly declare war with you on this :D He and I argue over whether fascism is Left or Right all the time. Check out some of the books by Stanley G. Payne on fascism; he concludes that fascism resembles communism a great deal. OrbitalPower mentioned to me a book (I forget which) in which the author claims the opposite, that fascism is right-wing, a variant of capitalism. IMO, check out them all, good to be well-rounded in the views.

    I would also recommend F.A. Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" and the books by Milton Friedman, both Nobel Prize winners in economics, for more on this subject.
     
  4. Aug 6, 2008 #3
    The part where they both wanted restricted freedoms, such as gun control and (ultra-left whiners) restricted freedom of speech?

    Or the part where they want equal opportunities for all, equal rights for all, the ability not be shafted by your employer, and use the government to enforce those laws?

    I mean, I don't like right-wingers, but I wouldn't compare any but the most vile of them to Hitler.
     
  5. Aug 6, 2008 #4
    George Orwell remarked in 1946 that the term 'fascist' no longer had any meaning other then 'something undesirable.'
     
  6. Aug 6, 2008 #5

    arildno

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    Well, aren't lictors in fashion anymore??
     
  7. Aug 6, 2008 #6
  8. Aug 6, 2008 #7

    mheslep

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    Note the title is a quote from 1930s socialist HG Wells, not a comparison dreamed up by Goldberg:
    http://www.nysun.com/arts/americas-fascist-moment/68954/
     
  9. Aug 6, 2008 #8

    lisab

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    A book on "liberal fascism"? Wow, can't wait for the sequel...it's about "conservative socialism"!
     
  10. Aug 6, 2008 #9
    :rofl::rofl:
     
  11. Aug 6, 2008 #10
    Using something Socialist H.G, wells said in a speech in 1932 to make a comparison with modern day liberals is ludicrous. It is nothing more than an inflammatory eye catcher.

    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=jonah_goldbergs_bizarro_history
     
  12. Aug 6, 2008 #11

    mheslep

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    1. Who says he's comparing to modern day liberals? Much of the book is history. 2. Are you claiming Wells' 1930's socialism has nothing in common with its modern forms? Why?
     
  13. Aug 6, 2008 #12

    BWV

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    Goldberg probably poisoned the well on the issue with his polemic, but it is a fact that FDR's closest economic advisors took Mussolini and Stalin as their models.

    Facism was a "worst of both worlds" mix of socialism and nationalism. It combined state control of industry with traditional conservative social values. Instead of appropriating assets from the private sector by force, like communism, it created cozy and lucrative arrangements with big business, protecting them from competition in exchange for political submission. The economic playbook of the New Deal was very much in line with this model and was one of the reasons the Depression lasted as long as it did.
     
  14. Aug 6, 2008 #13
    Goldberg in the book does compare modern-day liberals, along with big government Republicans, to the fascists and that is in my opinion a lousy rebuttal to the book. It is also wrong, as there are multiple other books and scholars that talk about fascism as a Leftist doctrine.

    For one, it mis-construes the term "liberalism." What the word "liberal" applies to in the United States is not the same as what it applies to in other nations. In Europe, the term "liberal" refers to someone fond of free-market capitalism, small government, low taxes, etc...the "liberals" and the "conservatives" in America are only liberal and conservative in certain respects. "Liberals" tend to be very liberal with regards to government spending. They also are very socially liberal. Environmentally, they are very conservative, disdaining material excess of any kind.

    "Conservatives" are usually socially conservative. They are supposed to also be fiscally conservative as well, but we have plenty of socially conservative big government spending Republicans as well, so it depends. Conservatives however are very liberal with regards material excess. They have no moral qualms with regards to driving a big SUV or owning a giant home, things considered borderline sinful by the hard Left.

    OTOH, the conservatives consider homosexuality and skimpy clothing and such to be "sinful," things the Left has no problem with.

    A true liberal is one of the classical liberals, folks who believe in free market capitalism, limited government, fiscal conservatism, and social freedom, which neither the hard Left or hard Right represent.

    Another thing about fascism is that it is extraordinarily difficult to define. The only thing that can be said really is that fascism, socialism, communism, etc...all share is a disdain for free-market capitalism and limited government.

    Fascism cannot occur with truly right-wing government, even one that is very socially conservative, because they will keep the central government very limited in its power, making it impossible to dictate to the people how they can live their lives. If the central government decides to try and outlaw homosexuality or porn, they can't do so, because their power is too limited. They can only do so if the people voting them in agree to it, because if they don't, they'll vote them out. If they stack the Supreme Court so that it does something like that, what likely would happen is none of the states against it would enforce the ruling (for example, I doubt San Francisco or California would enforce such a ruling).

    When Leftists say that fascism "is when corporations and government combine," they are talking about the symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself.

    One must also remember that the eugenics movement was solidly supported by the Left, the Progressives. Celebrities, universities, and so forth all supported it, and the leaders in eugenics research, which essentially said that we had to eliminate the feeble-minded of society so they wouldn't destroy the human race, were the United States and the Germans, who eventually took the lead in such research (and we know what that led to).

    The right-wing, those folks conservative religiously, who are against "messing with God's work," the types who today who are against stem-cell research, abortion, etc...were staunchly opposed to the entire eugenics movement.

    One can also find much of the fascist philosophy, the desire to organize and plan society out, in the development of modern architecture too, but that's a different story.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  15. Aug 6, 2008 #14
    Exactly; although I would say that this was more the Nazi party in particular.

    Not all fascism is nationalistic though, some of it is much more friendly-seeming. One can have the elements of fascism without the ultra-nationalism and racism.

    Also, the Nazi Party did promote Leftist ideals such as nationalized healthcare, love for the environment, a minimum wage, gun control, etc...

    During the Japanese Rape of Nanking, one person who worked tirelessly to save the Chinese people was a Nazi and loyal supporter of Hitler, John Rabe. Rabe was later arrested by the Nazis.

    My point is, I doubt Rabe ever became a Hitler supporter by agreeing with Hitler on the nationalism and racist aspects of Nazism. He probably just thought the economic model of National Socialism was the way to go. I do not see how a man could possibly support the slaughter of millions of Jews and other peoples, but then work tirelessly to save so many Chinese from slaughter. So the only conclusion I can come to for his support of the Nazis at first was the ideal of National Socialism. And as stated, he was later arrested by the Nazis and eventually "de-Nazified" after they started conducting their horrors.

    The modern American Left, and the "compassionate conservatives" of the Right, support a "friendly" form of fascism. Nancy Pelosi, to quote her from an interview I read, even said, "I view my role as a politician as an extension of my role as a mother." Now to someone like me, that is outright dangerous when the government wants to view itself as the mother to the people. A loving embrace from which one cannot escape is still a form of tyranny.

    And since George Bush Jr. is a compassionate conservative, I would say he is along the lines of the fascists as well, but he is not a fascist in the sense that the ultra-Left like to portray him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  16. Aug 6, 2008 #15
    I saw an interview with him talking about the book. At first I thought it was a Colbert-style joke. The guy sounds like a complete moron, and the parallels he was drawing in the interview were laughable. Once he brought up Hitler (I think when he was talking about gun laws), I just couldn't help but start laughing. Really?? the systematic erradication and enslavement of millions of people is tantamount to a few old rednecks not being allowed to shoot me in the face when I step on their lawn? ... mm'k.
     
  17. Aug 6, 2008 #16
    Notice how the OP provides no evidence or documentation that the regimes of Mussolini and Hitler were "fascist" or "liberal."

    That is because these books are not made to be serious studies of Nazi Germany, or of Fascism in general, but are made to get conservatives to throw around words without understanding their meaning or historical usage. Goldberg is not trained as a political scientist or historian, and his views are the equivalent of the "politically incorrect guide to evolution." Conservative economics and political science is about as well grounded as conservative "creationism" and "intelligent design."

    The evidence Goldberg used is weak straw man arguments such as the Nazis were powerful because of their harsh gun control (they actually weakened gun legislation, the first act the Nazis passed on guns gave citizens the right to own guns), that they were environmentalists (the Nazis actually banned environmental policies, and if they were such environmentalists, why then were they such war mongerers, which destroys the earth), and so on.

    None of it is a serious analysis of Nazi Germany. The truth is, in Mussolini's own anatomy of fascism, he writes that Fascism is the opposite of liberal concept of the individual, and is opposed to their calls for civil rights, civil liberties, equality, and so on.

    The "Doctrine of Fascism," written by Giovanni Gentile, also says that "Fascism.. asserts the irremediable and fertile and beneficent inequality of men."

    This clearly distinguishes Fascism from ideologies such as socialism, democracy, and so on, as socialism and liberalism works on the premise of equality and egalitarianism.

    Gentile also said that fascism "ought to be called corporatism" as it is the "merge of corporation and state."

    This is the ideology more likely supported by Ron Paul supporters, McCain supporters, and so on, than "liberals." The fact is Mussolini himself was at one time a pascifist and more economically liberal; however, when he came to power, he became the opposite of both fascism, and socialism, and became a war supporter and an economic capitalist.

    Thankfully, these quacks have as minor of influence in PoliSci, in academia, as intelligent design supporters have in biology.

    For a real analysis of Fascism, try these sources:

    Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer.

    In it, Shirer notes the conservative tendencies of Hitler, and also, that the Nazi "charter of labor" gave corporations complete control over their corporations.

    He was a real journalist who lived in the Third Reich, not a quack like Goldberg.

    Anatomy of Fascism, by Paxton.

    This book, written by a scholar, shows the complex nature of the fascists. Really, you can see how fascism is an extention of capitalism in such a work, although the author does differentiate the kind of capitalism that exists in a fascist state from the kind that can exist under a social democracy.

    Near the end, he notes some parallels between current, corporatist systems and fascism.

    Really, the threaten of fascism only exists in countries that are, at present, capitalist "democracies" and many capitalist democracies easily can slip into fascism, such as in Chile.
     
  18. Aug 6, 2008 #17


    That is not an excuse for Goldberg's blatant ignorance.

    Hitler himself said that Nazism was designed to protect "free-enterprise" and that this was the basis of his economic policy. He also believed in the Libertarian concept of the individual, noting that if a corporate CEO rises to the top, he has the "right to lead" and Hitler even wrote in the Nazi charter of labor that corporations have the right to run businesses how they want.

    Hitler also said that his version of "socialism," a term used in the way Bush uses "democracy," is a protection of private property:

    We stand for the maintenance of private property... We shall protect free enterprise as the most expedient, or rather the sole possible economic order."
    - Adolf Hitler

    "Capitalists have worked their way to the top through their capacity, and on the basis of this selection they have the right to lead."

    Adolf Hitler, the Road to Resurgence (see the Jewish Virtual Library's entry on Nazism for the story of how this came about, which was to ensure the industrialists that he would not be implementing any real socialists policies).

    "The suspicion was whispered in German Nationalist circles that we also were merely another variety of Marxism, perhaps even Marxists suitably disguised, or better still, Socialists… We used to roar with laughter at these silly faint-hearted bourgeoisie and their efforts to puzzle out our origin, our intentions and our aims." -- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
    "Marxism is anti-property; true Socialism is not.” –Hitler

    And so on. A simple reading of history and an encyclopedia is enough to debunk Goldberg. Certainly, most history sources and political science journals will disagree with him, such as "The Nazi Roots of Privatization" available on JSTOR I believe.

    H.G. Wells was an author. When he said that, he may not have been serious, or may have been joking, who knows. But he had no role in forming the ideologies of either socialism, or fascism.

    Hitler did, however, and we can see that they were not "liberal" systems that gave rights to all people, protected women (even though conservatives call the liberation of women "Feminazism"), banned leftist groups, and even imprisoned leftists.

    Well, Hitler did say that "true socialism" was about "private property" and that he was never a leftist socialist, whom he kicked out of the Nazi Party.

    Conservative socialism would be "corporate socialism," the conservatism of Ronald Reagan, Coolidge, et al., which indeed seems quite close to fascism, especially the propaganda they used, the conservative social policies they favored, and so on.


    Wrong. FDR's curbing of corporate power had absolutely NOTHING to do with Stalin or Mussolini, nor were any Stalinist policies implemented in the US.

    What the hell are you talking about? Which plan of FDR's was "stalinist."

    Fascism (not "facism") was an extention of "capitalism," there were never any socialist policies enacted in Nazi Germany, or Mussolini's Italy.

    Private property was protected, and labor unions that called for more workers' rights were banned.

    The New Deal reversed the great depression, and lowered unemployment levels, for every year except the recession of '37.

    It was caused by the insane policies of coolidge, and it had to be ended by reversing them, which was done under FDR, and which did reverse the Great Depression.

    It was the fastest turn around in US history, and the growth rate overall was even high than the overall GDP growth rate under Reaganism.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  19. Aug 6, 2008 #18
    Creationism and intelligent design I agreeon, "conservative economics" works, hands-down. We know that simply from the application of it.

    Which source shows the nazis gave people the right to own guns? I know that it is wrong to blame the Nazis solely for "banning" guns in Germany because there was gun control before the Nazis...

    Exactly! That's what capitalism focuses on, individual rights and individual liberties. Fascism doesn't like the concept of the individual, as it is a variant of socialism. Fascism favors the power of the State, which then (in theory) brings out the best of the individual.

    The "Doctrine of Fascism," written by Giovanni Gentile, also says that "Fascism.. asserts the irremediable and fertile and beneficent inequality of men."

    This clearly distinguishes Fascism from ideologies such as socialism, democracy, and so on, as socialism and liberalism works on the premise of equality and egalitarianism.[/quote]

    Fascism and socialism worked to eliminate class differences. Both despised the plutocracy. the difference is that in practice the exact opposite results. We can see this from all of the socialist countries.

    For example, how does one define "equality?" Equality can refer to equality of opportunity or equality of outcome, two different things.

    True, but how does this marriage begin? The state must intervene in the affairs of business for them merge. Thus the merging of corporatism and state is more the symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself.

    Mussolini was no capitalist. He was originally a hard socialist.

    Unfortunately for the PoliSci profession, the history of economics proves them wrong. Their continuing to try and push socialism as a system of "equality" is a equivalent to the conservatives who still try to push creationism.

    Having lived in the society means nothing. So did George Soros, and he still believes in a world government. One must look at the facts, economic and political.

    Fascism can't be an extension of capitalism, because it does not allow the price system to ration resources, a key component of capitalism.
     
  20. Aug 6, 2008 #19
    Fascism did not work to "eliminte" class differences. As shown in that quote, Mussolini believed in "inequality" and Hitler said it was "natural." Neither of them supported equality, and their systems were not equal. If they were equal, they would have given rights to Jews, Socialists, and so on.

    The quotes above say it all.

    Yes, private property and corporations flourished in both systems, and in all other fascist systems, such as in Pinochet's Chile and Videla's Argentina.

    Junk scholarship like Hayek (who advocated a corporate dictorship in place of democracy, who himself was fascist) has no relevance to the facts of political science and history.

    The real scholarly sources have been cited, junk scholarship is as irrelevant in biology and physics as it is in polisci, and if polisci does let itself be overtaken by junk scholarship (which would be sad as America has some of the best political scientist) it would indeed be the end of the field.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  21. Aug 6, 2008 #20
    To recap:

    Socialism and anarchism / Capitalism or Fascism (whatever you want to call corporatism)

    Equality / Inequality

    Goods distributed according to the public good / Goods distributed according to highly inegalitarian markets

    Internationalist; or world government / Nationalist; or nation-state

    pro-individual / anti-individual (institutions such as corporations, the state, and so on, where individuals play no role)

    Liberal socially (pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, and so on) / Conservative socially (anti-abortion, pro death penalty, etc.)

    pacifist / war-mongering, war profiteering

    Environmentalist / anti-environmentalist

    Resources have public owners or are controlled by the workers / resources have private owners, or are controlled by a dictator

    "From each according to his ability, from each according to his need" / "To whatever is currently marketable, your skills will be applied."

    These systems, liberalism and socialism, and then fascism and capitalism, are as different as night and day.

    And remember, the "classical-liberals" either became socialists, or modernal liberals. T.H. Green became a modern liberal, and was an idealist, John Stuart Mill became a socialist, and was a universal genius.

    Also, socialism and anarchism, and modern democracy, came about at about the same time modern science started making headway -- during the Englightenment. So, it figures that so many great scientists were one of the above. (And, to be fair, there were numerous conservative/nazi scientists, such as Heisenberg and Jordan, but for Jordan, there was a Max Born.)
     
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