Sunday, January 13, 2008

Liberalism and fascism

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(An addendum to Carl's post below.)

Right-winger Ross Douthat of The Atlantic excoriates those critics of Goldberg's book who haven't actually read the book. Fair enough, although Goldberg's infantile views (and I know I'm being unfair to infants here) are well-known already, and the book has already received enough attention to warrant comment. Which is to say, we already know what's in it even without having read it. The very concept of "liberal fascism" is ludicrous. Liberalism is anathema to fascism, and vice versa -- and liberals have spent the history of liberalism fighting fascism in all its many variations. While conservatives were wading in isolationism (it's not our fight) and apologetics (they're not that bad) throughout much of the last century, for example, liberals were leading the struggle against authoritarianism and totalitarianism. Without liberalism, we would still be in the dark -- which, presumably, is where Goldberg would like us to be.

There is much to recommend Libby's take on this, from The Impolitic: "I can't help but think that the critiques give the book more credibility that it deserves. If everyone would just yawn and walk away, maybe Jonah would disappear like any other attention troll on the internets."

Of course, he won't disappear, and that's the problem -- and that's why we need to respond. There are simply too many like him, too many media outlets (and not just conservative ones) willing to give him a platform from which to spew his idiocy, too many on the right who get off on precisely this sort of nonsense, that is, who equate liberalism with fascism.

And yet there is only so much time. Why waste it on Goldberg?

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