Friday, January 11, 2008

Liberal Fascism: A review by Victor Davis Hanson

I've been meaning to pick up this book for a couple weeks now. It sounds excellent and I trust Hanson's judgment absolutely.

From the article:
Given that “fascist” is the most abused term in the political lexicon, Goldberg’s first task is to correct all the misconceptions about historical fascism, the most important being that it was a “conservative” political movement, one created by bourgeois capitalism to ward off a decline created by its own contradictions and the socialist alternative.

In reality, fascism is a phenomenon of the left, not the right — an “inconvenient truth,” Goldberg writes, “if ever there was one.” This confusion about fascism’s origins if furthered by the misleading contrast usually made between fascism and communism. But as Goldberg shows, “they are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to control and dominate the same social space,” a space opened up by the decline of Christianity, to which both were hostile, and by the utopian pretensions of scientistic politics.

Moreover, both shared the belief that “the era of liberal democracy was drawing to a close,” that it was time to abandon “the anachronisms of natural law, traditional religion, constitutional liberty, capitalism and the like”: “God was long dead, and it was long overdue for men to take His place.”

Thus both were “utopian visions and the bearers of great hopes,” international movements attracting believers throughout the world, including America. The key difference between these two socialistic philosophies was the question of nationalism. Communism located the essence of human identity in transnational economic classes, whereas fascism “offered a new religion of the divinized state and the nation as an organic community.”

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