But the truth is, history is repeating itself. It is already happening here. And it has been happening for quit some time.
That is the basic argument in Jonah Goldberg's best-selling book, "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." Goldberg, as the title suggests, traces the history of liberalism and progressivism from the rise of Mussolini in Italy, to Hitler in Germany, to Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, to the Great Society, to the 60's, and finally to Hillary Clinton and the "Politics of Meaning." I cannot review this entire book. It is deep, thick, and there is simply more here than one can adequately comment on. Instead, I would like to give a few comments on various aspects of the book.
First, the chapter looking at the birth of progressivism in America and how it influenced some of the events going on in Europe, like Hitler, was interesting. I am particularly speaking about Woodrow Wilson's presidency. The critique, survey, and quotes attributed to President Wilson are rather shocking. It is interesting how impressed some of the fascist in Europe were when looking at or reflecting on his Presidency. Wilson used World War 1 as a means to limit and, at times, deny freedom to Americans. Wilson became a sort of elected dictator and the war was used as the means to push progressive policies and changes in the government.
But that is the common theme throughout the book that connects it with today's economic crisis. Progressivism spreads through crisis' whether real crisis' or made up crisis' (such as global warming). Wilson had the War, FDR had the Great Depression, LBJ was able to pass the Great Society through various issues he faced. Now, it seems, that President Barack Obama is doing the same thing. After the election, Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel said, "You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid." And the Obama administration has done just that. They have taken over US businesses (even firing CEO's and putting a cap on their pay), seeking to take over Health Care, etc.
Perhaps what I found most intriguing in the book was the chapter dedicated to racism and eugenics. Issues like abortion and birth control, historically speaking, are eugenic in nature. The author gives plenty of evidence to support his case. The progressive movement has been honest and open enough that we cannot miss this reality. Those aborted as disproportionally black and poor. It is such persons that the left has sought to eliminate by making them victims and by encouraging them to abort "unwanted pregnancies." Perhaps the most frightening and eye-opening quote was from a letter from Ron Weddington to then President-elect Bill Clinton:
"Some years ago another Southern Governor, when asked about the possibilities for prison reform, supposedly said something to the effect of, ‘Well, I don’t think we’re going to get very far until we get a better class of prisoner.’
Well, I don’t think you are going to get very far in reforming the country until we have a better educated, healthier, wealthier population . . .
But you can start immediately to eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy and poor segment of our country. No, I’m not advocating some sort of mass extinction of these unfortunate people. Crime, drugs and disease are already doing that. The problem is that their numbers are not only replaced but increased by the birth of millions of babies to people who can’t afford to have babies.
There, I’ve said it. It’s what we all know is true, but we only whisper it, because as liberals who believe in individual rights, we view any program which might treat the disadvantaged differently as discriminatory, mean-spirited and . . . so Republican . . .
And, having convinced the poor that they can’t get out of poverty when they have all those extra mouths to feed, you will have to provide the means to prevent the extra mouths, because abstinence doesn’t work . . . It’s time to officially recognize that people are going to have sex and what we need to do as a nation is prevent as much disease and as many poor babies as possible . . .
No, government is also going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions . . . RU 486 and conventional abortions. Even if we make birth control as ubiquitous as sneakers and junk food, there will still be unplanned pregnancies. There have been about 30 million abortions in this country since Roe v. Wade. Think of all the poverty, crime and misery . . . and then add 30 million unwanted babies to the scenario."
Shocking to say the least. Abortion, birth control, and other controversial issues have their birth in the move towards eugenics. The connection with Hitler's Germany is obvious. Rather than have concentration camps, we have abortion clinics. This chapter was rather frightening and something that all Americans need to wake up and realize.
Regarding the chapter about Hillary Clinton a few things should be said. First, being that the book was written in the middle of the Presidential primaries, this chapter was given the attention it was given probably because the author assumed that Mrs. Clinton would be the Democratic nominee for President. Most did not see or predict that President Obama would defeat her in the primaries. With hindsight, I found myself wondering what the author thinks about this chapter now since Obama is the President and not Clinton.
Beyond that, though, Clinton's "it takes a village" mentality is interesting and well documented (that is the title of one of her books). The issue of parental rights is controversial and it seems that parents are losing their rights everyday. Clinton, it would seem, supports this wholeheartedly putting her trust in the government instead of the parents. All parents needs to understand this issue thoroughly in order to engage the culture and government and defend their right to parent their children the way they see fit before we loose our rights completely.
Finally, something should be said about the nature of the book. By comparing progressivism and liberalism to Hitler and other despots, the author is not saying that liberals are Nazi's bent on world domination and Jewish eradication. This is the problem with the debates going on today. Nazism was the socialist party. Period. To say that there is a connection between American socialism and German Nazism during the 1930's and 1940's does not mean that liberals and their elected officials want to set up concentration camps.
The author is not making that connection. He is rather arguing that liberalism and progressivism in America is similar to the fascism of Germany and Italy. There are a lot of parallels that we need to take seriously. Now only can it happen here, but is already has happened here. The author argues that the progressive movement is saying, encouraging, pushing, and legislating the same things as fascist of the past and we need to wake up to this reality.
Overall, I found this book insightful and worth the time it took to read its many pages. I do not agree with everything in the book, but it certainly is an important book. All Americans should consider the authors argument and come to their own conclusions. I fear that most have written it off as part of the "right-wing conspiracy." But it is anything but that. History does repeat itself and it seems that the many ideas of 20th century fascism are still around, being promoted in very much the same ways. "That could never happen here," should never pass our lips for it is a lie that could cost us the very liberties that we are currently taking for granted.
Albert Mohler - Please . . . Get a New Word