Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book Review: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

This New York Times bestselling book is just little and just red enough to be the little red book of the Right. It touches on a subject that is close to my own heart and those of many others who follow ILSA, namely the oppressive mindset of so-called liberals.

Goldberg (whom I suspect may be a Jay Oh Oh) brilliantly demonstrates the common intellectual heritage of both modern- as opposed to classical- liberalism and fascism, a heritage that dates back to the 18th Century and the writings of Rousseau, whom Goldberg calls "the father of modern fascism".

The book is full of witty and acute observations, not least those revolving around his central theme; that modern liberals are the true bastard children of the totalitarian movements of the 20th Century. Goldberg cuts through the false dichotomy between Communism and Fascism in a way that will force a redefinition of the terms, and shows that rather than being diametrically opposed, the two are one and the same ideology. He defines fascism as a "religion of the state" that achieves its objectives through bullying and vilifying all opposing forces, and considers Revolutionary France - that darling of leftist ideologues - the first Fascist state.

Although clearly written from an American perspective that influences his definition of the word "liberal", he clearly knows how to use the term, acknowledging that modern and classical liberalism are "exact opposites". There is so much more to say about this book, but I would rather let it speak for itself.

If you read one book of nonfiction this year, this really should be it.