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  1. evil fizz
    evil fizz December 19, 2007 at 11:00 am |

    The entire book seems to be self-parodying. I’m glad the folks at Sadly, No! are willing to make the slog, because I can’t inflict that level of stupidity on myself.

    Do we have a Godwin’s law variation related to misogyny? Or is this it?

  2. norbizness
    norbizness December 19, 2007 at 11:10 am |

    I heard, via the 2500 existing comments on his Magnum Doughpus on Sadly, No that his stereotype on the Swarthmore/Brown grad is off, since neither school has offered an Education degree since the Great Depression.

  3. histrogeek
    histrogeek December 19, 2007 at 11:11 am |

    I think that statement will go down as the most elegant statement of reactionary politics including misogyny. It’s perfect. It’s hard to find even a single phrase in it that is true. He can’t even get schools right. Swarthmore doesn’t have an education degree.

  4. Sniper
    Sniper December 19, 2007 at 11:35 am |

    I’m planning to force my Grade 6 kids to write Christmas letters today, um, in order to reinforce theocracy?

  5. Marnanel
    Marnanel December 19, 2007 at 11:37 am |

    “liberal fascist”?!

  6. False Flag Operative
    False Flag Operative December 19, 2007 at 12:03 pm |

    “liberal fascist”?!

    The guy automatically loses. Godwin’s Law.

  7. Hector B.
    Hector B. December 19, 2007 at 12:03 pm |

    1) Every time I see the word “Goldberg” by itself (as on Sadly, No) I still think of the WWF wrestler.
    2) Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. As opposed to conservatives who believe in pure magic and errant nonsense: the Laffer curve, Reaganomics, cutting taxes to the rich will make the economy grow (yes, more Chinese are working now than ever), Iraqis have weapons of mass destruction and will welcome their liberators with open arms, etc. etc. etc.

  8. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 19, 2007 at 12:05 pm |

    You know, I don’t usually go flying off the handle on stuff and pull out my “doctorate” card, but since when is a freaking LA Times columnist qualified to discuss the history of Fascism? I studied Fascism and Nazism for ten freaking postgraduate years with some of the most recognized experts in the field. This guy is talking out of his ass. He’s regurgitating tired old tropes about how statism = totalitarianism, and not terribly imaginatively.

    If I were inclined to tar “liberalism” with a totalitarian brush, I would pick Stalinism instead – a much richer vein from which to mine outrageous and stupid analogies!

    The irony is that if I were to confront this individual he would easily dismiss my opinion, as I am one of those dangerous college-educated in-tul-eck-tuls who are so terribly, terribly wrong about everything.

    But, to get to the core – yes, Nazism and Fascism had socialist aspects, but the heart of both movements was the exultation of the racist ideal. Fascism is by its essence more and more exclusionary, redefining the ideal race down to a very narrow core. Those who are racially ideal are included in a “volksgemeinschaft,” a racial community all of whose members are offered the “socialist” benefits he decries. However, those who are not of the race are inferiors to be disposed of or executed for the good of the pure race.

    So, yes, there was socialism, but only for the elect. Yes, there was confiscation of wealth – from the Jews and other racial undesirables. Yes, there was support of abortion – but only for racial inferiors; good German women were encouraged, if not coerced, into having lots and lots of good German babies to populate the world.

    I could go on and on. It’s like taxonomy; yes, a tiger and a mouse are both mammals, but does anyone seriously think that all mice are tigers? Yes, the oft-decried modern American feminist liberals want such evil, evil things as education for children and spending on medical care and social welfare (good God! Certainly both of those demands are issued by the right hand of Satan himself!) and the Nazi regime provided such benefits to the racially superior, but can anyone with an ounce of analytical brain-power seriously think that there’s anything in common with a “liberal feminist” and the average SS officer?

    Let’s face it. Almost all of the contributors to this board – including me, with my impure Slavic blood and questionable politics – would be sent to a concentration camp for subversive political beliefs.

    OK, rant over, except to say that this Goldberg guy is a complete ass.

  9. Betsy
    Betsy December 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm |

    Swarthmore doesn’t offer an ed degree, but Brown does: http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Education/index.php

    But it’s still hilarious. As I mentioned over at Shakesville, my partner went to Swarthmore and I went to Brown, so this especially amused us. And his best friend is a Jonah Goldberg bingo: a female grade school teacher who went to Swarthmore for undergrad and Brown for her masters. Yeah, she’s totally, um…fascist. Because she MAKES THE POOR CHILDREN SHARE THE PLAY CORNER TOYS!!! OMG!!!!

  10. Hector B.
    Hector B. December 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm |

    I forgot the biggest conservative fantasy of all: corporations will behave ethically without government regulation. Sadly, not even the fallout from greedy investment bankers buying risky bundles of subprime mortgages, seduced by the magic of calling them “securities,” will convince conservatives that business needs to be kept on a short leash, for the good of the nation.

  11. Sniper
    Sniper December 19, 2007 at 12:23 pm |

    Because she MAKES THE POOR CHILDREN SHARE THE PLAY CORNER TOYS!!! OMG!!!!

    Which, like public education itself, is an idea straight out of Communist Russia!

  12. D.N. Nation
    D.N. Nation December 19, 2007 at 12:28 pm |

    According to this book (really), Liberal Facists:

    Hitler
    HRC
    FDR
    Woodrow Wilson
    Teachers
    Vegetarians
    French Revolutionists (???)
    JOE MCCARTHY (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!???)

    And yeah, the Sadly, No!ers are doing a bang-up job destroying this nonsense. I can’t wait until the page comes that just starts calling any woman who ever turned down the Pantload’s advances a “facist.”

  13. micheyd
    micheyd December 19, 2007 at 12:28 pm |

    The book looks like a badly-written high-school essay. It reminds me of writing term papers in history class and struggling to make my points connect to each other, while knowing the whole thing was total BS. Looks like if I had beefed it up a bit and thrown the word “fascism” in there 200 more times, I coulda had a book deal!

  14. D.N. Nation
    D.N. Nation December 19, 2007 at 12:31 pm |

    And you know what’s just pathetic? This clown writing a column the other week about how elementary education has devolved to where the children don’t learn anything, they just have their fragile self-esteems boosted.

    This coming from the guy who only gets jobs because of 1) Wingnut welfare 2) His mother was once marginally famous and 3) None of his fellow neocon blatherers have the heart to tell him how bad of a writer he is.

    Because he is. Absolutely. Terrible. You simply can’t make the arguments he’s making with a straight face. He’s well beyond the opposite of correct into a realm where wrongness is applauded, loved, cherished, and even taken for granted.

  15. Stephanie
    Stephanie December 19, 2007 at 12:36 pm |

    Let’s face it. Almost all of the contributors to this board – including me, with my impure Slavic blood and questionable politics – would be sent to a concentration camp for subversive political beliefs.

    Well, so would Mr. Goldberg, being that his father was Jewish.

    I’m wondering what Swarthmore-educated female grade school teacher told him he had to share, and why it is still haunting him thirty-odd years later.

  16. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 19, 2007 at 12:38 pm |

    What pisses me off more than anything is that I’m almost certain to run into a conservatively-inclined relative who will have read this tripe and wants my “objective” opinion on it.

    Bah, humbug.

  17. exholt
    exholt December 19, 2007 at 12:57 pm |

    Argh….

    Another person who misuses the terms “Totalitarian” and “Fascist” to score points with his readers. Clearly, he needs to review Poli-Sci 101. I also hope your referring to him as an “Intellectual Historian” was meant as tongue-in-cheek. :P

    There are only two things I can think of which could come closest from my experiences in school and life…though instead of “Liberal fascist”, I would much rather use “Tyrannical ideologue with supposed “Liberal/Progressive/Democratic*” leanings”:

    One are the Marxist/Maoist classmates in undergrad whose intolerance for dissenting voices matched that of religious fundamentalists such as the Christian right in this country.

    Two are the discussions I’ve had/witnessed online and IRL where some supposedly self-admitted “Liberal” has saw fit to silence/censor someone or storm off in incoherent rage upon realizing that s(he) is not going to get others to automatically agree with a given argument/idea just because s(he) says it is true without expecting some questioning and/or possible disagreement. Expecting people to automatically agree with you “just because” is the first step towards a tyrannical mentality of being intolerant of any form of dissent, including reasonable differences of opinion. This tyrannical mentality is something Fascist regimes, Marxist/Maoist regimes, and the GOP have perfected into a high art form unto itself.

    This not only causes me to question the veracity of the self-declared Liberal/Progressive/Democratic* beliefs, but also IMHO speaks volumes about the person’s lack of maturity in being able to accept reasonable differences of opinion in reasoned discourse. As some of those who were censorious and/or just blew up in incoherent rage are aspiring educators at all levels, I really feel sorry for their future students. As someone who had a few such tyrannical types as high school teachers, their stifling attitude towards questioning/dissenting students was a severe detriment to our education process.

    * Democratic in the sense of being a supporter of Democracy and its pluralistic processes, not as a reference to one of the main American political parties.

  18. Tom
    Tom December 19, 2007 at 1:05 pm |

    I, for one, welcome our liberal fascist overlords and look forward to toiling away in their patchouli mines.

  19. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 19, 2007 at 1:10 pm |

    Down with the patchouli-mining revisionist splitters! Up with the People’s Glorious Hemp Collective!

  20. norbizness
    norbizness December 19, 2007 at 1:44 pm |

    Hector: That’s why you should go with my 3-year-old sobriquet (Doughy Pantload) to avoid any wrestling-type confusion.

    BTW, for all us AOL veterans, doesn’t this smack of a book-length extension of the fallacy we all encountered in mid-90s chat rooms; e.g. HITLER WAS A NATIONAL SOCIALIST! IT SAYS SOCIALIST! LIE-BERALS ARE NAZIS! I guess that if any of those basement-dwellers had had a powerful mother, they themselves could have gotten a book deal.

  21. exholt
    exholt December 19, 2007 at 1:57 pm |

    Up with the People’s Glorious Hemp Collective!

    Hmmm…

    I wonder if a certain dorm known for attracting latter-day hippie classmates from the wealthiest family backgrounds at my undergrad is the headquarters for the Northern Ohio chapter of PGHC?

  22. Josh
    Josh December 19, 2007 at 2:47 pm |

    I wonder if a certain dorm known for attracting latter-day hippie classmates from the wealthiest family backgrounds at my undergrad is the headquarters for the Northern Ohio chapter of PGHC?

    Hmmm…is it Harkness of which you speak, good sir or madam?

  23. Joy
    Joy December 19, 2007 at 3:44 pm |

    Oh my goodness you crack me up.

  24. sunburned counsel
    sunburned counsel December 19, 2007 at 4:33 pm |

    I think he has it quite wrong (though according to him, both of my aunts are the ubber “liberal fascist”) and, as Josh and exholt so properly pointed out, Oberlin is the center for both the patchouli-mining revisionist splitters and the People’s Glorious Hemp Collective!

  25. Beth
    Beth December 19, 2007 at 4:42 pm |

    Ya know, tannenburg, you remind me of my very best friend Jo. She’s studying for her Masters right now, so you’re obviously her senior academic-wise. But I can hear an almost identical rant coming out of her mouth. She was a History Major and is going into Medieval Textiles but WWII is big hobby of hers. Oh, my point is, you rock! I loved your whole rant, it was awesome. Happy Holidays :)

  26. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm |

    Comrades! As the Great Leader Jerry Garcia wrote in his Little Pirated Book, Berkeley is the Great Patriotic Motherland of the PGHC!

    (Sorry, little plug for MY school.)

    (PS to Beth: Thanks, and Happy Holidays to you as well!)

  27. Manju
    Manju December 19, 2007 at 5:49 pm |

    It certainly would help, if those who argue against expansive defintions of Fascism (first against IslamoFascism,and now LiberalFascism) would stop calling Bush a Fascist.

  28. Lauren
    Lauren December 19, 2007 at 6:20 pm |

    Us literary nerds can get in on the mockery as well. A villanelle!

  29. zuzu
    zuzu December 19, 2007 at 7:42 pm |

    It certainly would help, if those who argue against expansive defintions of Fascism (first against IslamoFascism,and now LiberalFascism) would stop calling Bush a Fascist.

    It would help if he stopped wiping his ass with the Constitution.

  30. MikeEss
    MikeEss December 19, 2007 at 7:50 pm |

    “It would help if he stopped wiping his ass with the Constitution.”

    Now zuzu, to be fair to the Boy King, it’s actually been Cheney wiping Bush’s ass with the Constitution. Let’s credit people properly…

  31. Manju
    Manju December 19, 2007 at 8:11 pm |

    It would help if he stopped wiping his ass with the Constitution.

    Sure, but ass wiping does not a Fascist make, otherwise we’d have to toss Lincoln and FDR under the bus too. And don’t get me started on Churchil, as racist if there ever was one. But Fascist?

    They point is, one doesn’t have to go too far in the progressive politics, to find a version of Jonah Goldberg. So easy to see the crazy in others, so hard to see it in ourselves.

  32. Mold
    Mold December 19, 2007 at 8:27 pm |

    Evil wimmens! With smarts and stuff will teaches our mens to think and achieve and who will work for Jonah for cheap afterwards…damn unions.

  33. Marianne
    Marianne December 19, 2007 at 8:53 pm |

    serves him right for ganging up on Swarthmore and not even checking his outlandish statements for accuracy. iiiiidiot!

  34. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne December 19, 2007 at 9:04 pm |

    It certainly would help, if those who argue against expansive defintions of Fascism (first against IslamoFascism,and now LiberalFascism) would stop calling Bush a Fascist.

    Here’s a little reading assignment for you, manju: David Neiwert’s “The Rise of Pseudo Fascism” (PDF version). If you don’t want the PDF, it’s in pieces in the left-hand column of the blog at dneiwert.blogspot.com.

    However, you’re probably right that Goldberg and his little pals are pulling the old, “Nuh-uh, I’m not a fascist! You’re the fascist!” game that most of us grew out of by the age of six. If you don’t want people to accuse you of acting like a fascist, don’t fucking act like a fascist. How hard is that?

  35. zuzu
    zuzu December 19, 2007 at 10:14 pm |

    Dave Niewert explains exactly why “liberal fascism” is Newspeak here.

  36. Thomas
    Thomas December 19, 2007 at 10:29 pm |

    I’m a dual citizen. As a child my mother taught me the pledge of allegiance and my father taught me God Save the Queen. I thought they were one thing. On the first day of kindergarten we said the pledge and, upon completion, I burst into the UK national anthem and could not be made to stop until it was over.

    It distressed my teacher and confused my fellow students. I’m not sure I ever recovered socially or politically.

  37. Manju
    Manju December 19, 2007 at 10:42 pm |

    thanks mnemosyne, for making my case (“The point is, one doesn’t have to go too far in the progressive politics, to find a version of Jonah Goldberg”) for me. that was quick.

    but lurking behind the hysterical arguments of men like goldberg and niewert, is an element of truth. bush does “trend toward” fascism, as did fdr or lincoln or churchil, or as does kucinich vis a vis communism, but trending toward does not a fascist or commie make. certainly these totalitarian ideologies give us “slippery slope” arguments against restricting freedom in the name of security (fascism) or equality (communism) but the problem is partisans like goldberg and niewert lack all sense of nuance, choosing instead to challenge their opponents arguments in the most extreme formulation, ie the strawman argument.

  38. exholt
    exholt December 19, 2007 at 11:55 pm |

    mmm…is it Harkness of which you speak, good sir or madam?

    Bingo!

  39. zuzu
    zuzu December 20, 2007 at 12:29 am |

    but lurking behind the hysterical arguments of men like goldberg and niewert

    Uh, you can’t possibly know anything about fascism or authoritarian movements if you dismiss Niewert as hysterical, or class him with Goldberg. Niewert actually studies neo-Nazis and authoritarian movements, and he knows his shit (and notably, his series was about pseudo-fascism; he cautioned that, for all the fascistic tendencies of Bush and the GOP when they controlled the entire government, there were still certain elements of fascism that were not present). He’s been investigating these movements for years.

    Goldberg, on the other hand, got a cushy job and a book contract because of who his mother is, ripped off his book cover image from white supremacist teenybopper group Prussian Blue, and then, after years of putting it off, finally rolled over and let out of big, juicy fart and called it done.

  40. Manju
    Manju December 20, 2007 at 1:34 am |

    notably, his series was about pseudo-fascism; he cautioned that, for all the fascistic tendencies of Bush and the GOP when they controlled the entire government, there were still certain elements of fascism that were not present

    zuzu: i think jonah has similar qualifiers in his argument, but it still strikes me as intentionally provocative and hysterical. just imagine your reaction if someone described the progressive movement as pseudo-communist.

    i understand the reasoning. up in canada, Calling Speech Restrictors “Enemies of Free Speech” Can Now Lead to Legal Liability. Censorship routinely occurs in the name of human rights.
    Now, its tempting to label such free-speech violations as “liberal fascism” as Jonah would say, but imo, the existence of communism doesn’t justify McCarthyism…if you catch my analogy.

  41. zuzu
    zuzu December 20, 2007 at 12:20 pm |

    zuzu: i think jonah has similar qualifiers in his argument, but it still strikes me as intentionally provocative and hysterical. just imagine your reaction if someone described the progressive movement as pseudo-communist.

    Jonah has an argument?

    Look, Niewert, after studying these movements and tendencies for DECADES, did a well-supported six-part series on why he thinks there’s a rise of pseudo-fascism, and gives reasons why it’s not true fascism, at least not yet.

    Goldberg wrote the whole thing in probably a week, repeating tired old discredited “Hitler was a vegetarian, ergo liberal, ergo liberals are the REAL FASCISTS!!!” tropes.

    Canada, incidentally, does not have the same laws as the US.

  42. MikeEss
    MikeEss December 20, 2007 at 12:28 pm |

    “just imagine your reaction if someone described the progressive movement as pseudo-communist.”

    Thank god THAT would never happen. That’s one thing Americans can all be thankful for: the extreme comity of our political parties makes easy to get things done.

    I mean, just imagine what it would be like if one party were to call the other – oh I don’t know – “The REAL Fascists” or something unsavory like that. We’d never get anywhere as a nation…

  43. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne December 20, 2007 at 1:41 pm |

    thanks mnemosyne, for making my case (”The point is, one doesn’t have to go too far in the progressive politics, to find a version of Jonah Goldberg”) for me. that was quick.

    Yes, because David Duke and Elie Wiesel are exactly the same and therefore can both be dismissed.

    I realize that actually reading and getting facts before posting isn’t your style, but geez, dude, at least pretend to make the effort.

  44. roses
    roses December 20, 2007 at 1:47 pm |

    Now, its tempting to label such free-speech violations as “liberal fascism”

    Canada (like most of Western Europe) doesn’t have the same absolute right to free speech America does. Hate speech is and always has been illegal. Enforcing the laws against hate speech is not a “violation” of the rights of Canadians to free speech.

  45. Manju
    Manju December 20, 2007 at 2:05 pm |

    Mnemosyne & Zuzu;

    Just out of curiosity, given that you believe its appropriate to label Bush and the Conservative movement as (pseudo) fascist, and I understand a case can be made since fascism colloquially means “right-wing authoritarian” or as Mussolini himself defined it “right-wing collectivism”, what is your take on the whole “islamo-fascist” debate?

    Would bin-laden and the Taliban for example be considered (pseudo) fascist, in your view?

  46. Manju
    Manju December 20, 2007 at 2:20 pm |

    Canada (like most of Western Europe) doesn’t have the same absolute right to free speech America does.

    I know, roses, that’s my point. the fact that Canda does not protect what it seems to be hate speech does not make it a fascist nation, as hysterical partisans like goldberg and niewert would have us believe, though of course there are similarities.

    Hate speech is and always has been illegal.

    If you notice, the first link is not about hate-speech itself, but rather making it illegal to label someone who favors hate-speech laws “anti-free speech.” this is problematic to say the least and represents a slippery slope. it would be like outlawing the label anti-choice in a state where abortion is illegal second link, btw, deals with the extra-legal authority of the candian human rights commissions, which are allegedly abridging the free-speech protections that exist in canada.

  47. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne December 20, 2007 at 2:45 pm |

    Just out of curiosity, given that you believe its appropriate to label Bush and the Conservative movement as (pseudo) fascist, and I understand a case can be made since fascism colloquially means “right-wing authoritarian” or as Mussolini himself defined it “right-wing collectivism”, what is your take on the whole “islamo-fascist” debate?

    Given that fascism is the government and corporations working hand-in-hand (as with Hitler and Daimler-Benz), pretending that there’s a debate about “islamo-fascism” means you have no idea what fascism actually is. You sound like the guys who kept insisting that the radical Islamists in Iran in 1979 were really “communists in turbans” and not religious radicals at all.

  48. zuzu
    zuzu December 20, 2007 at 2:46 pm |

    Just out of curiosity, given that you believe its appropriate to label Bush and the Conservative movement as (pseudo) fascist,

    You’re rather overstating things, but then, it appears you haven’t taken the trouble to read the Niewert piece.

    and I understand a case can be made since fascism colloquially means “right-wing authoritarian” or as Mussolini himself defined it “right-wing collectivism”, what is your take on the whole “islamo-fascist” debate?

    Would bin-laden and the Taliban for example be considered (pseudo) fascist, in your view?

    I was not aware there was a “whole ‘islamo-fascist’ debate.” The only people I see using that term are people like Jonah Goldberg and his pals at NRO and elsewhere. And given their demonstrated lack of understanding of what fascism actually *is*, i.e., a movement of the right rather than the left, I’m not inclined to give their terminology any credence.

    Bin Laden, at any rate, is not a state actor but a non-state actor and a religious nutcase.

  49. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm |

    Let’s get to the basics – really, “fascist” has become a label adjective, one you attach to anything you don’t like without relation to its true historical context. One crucial thing left out of all of these debates is that an essential component of any fascist ideology – Peronism, the Nazi Party, Italian Fascism, the Phalangists of Spain – is the Leader. In essence all of these movements coalesced around a particular individual and were radically different – if they survived at all – with the death of said leader. Where is the so-called “liberal fascist” leader? For that matter, can anyone really argue that, say, Osama Bin Laden is a “Leader” in the classical Fascist sense in such a multipolar and atomized movement?

    Calling something you don’t like “fascist” is lazy. Before Hitler “bad things” were called Napoleonic, before Napoleon references to Cromwell were common (in England at least,) and so forth, and so forth…the defenders of Republican Rome stabbed Caesar because he threatened to take up the ancient title of King, and the Athenians despised anything that recalled the Tyrants…and all of those labels are as irrelevant as the convenient “Godwinite” trope of dismissing one’s political opponents as “fascist.”

  50. swat'06
    swat'06 December 20, 2007 at 6:40 pm |

    not to be nit-picky or off topic here, but fyi: swarthmore does have an education department.

    they offer a minor, a “special” major, and you can get teaching certification through the department no matter what your major. so technically, you CAN get an education degree from swat.

    otherwise, i concur with everyone’s objections to goldberg. carry on.

  51. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne December 20, 2007 at 8:16 pm |

    Where is the so-called “liberal fascist” leader?

    All hail Ward Churchill! ;-)

  52. Manju
    Manju December 20, 2007 at 8:48 pm |

    fascism is the government and corporations working hand-in-hand

    good point. But if this is central to your definition of fascism, or even pseudo-fascism, then you’ve excluded bush, and certainly the conservative movement in general, from the label. fascist economics is characterized by an extreme government regimentation of industry, nationalization of certain industries (including control over the education of children and the confiscation and strict regulation of firearms) and an ideological oppostion to laissez-faire capitalism, as well as marxist socialism.

    fascist economics favored protectionism and subsides to fight of foreign competition. Hitler advocated nationaliztion, proifit sharing, price and wage controls and even a social security like retirement fund.

    you’re continuing to make my argument for me.

  53. Manju
    Manju December 20, 2007 at 8:55 pm |

    fascism actually *is*, i.e., a movement of the right rather than the left

    this is true, zuzu, of the colloquial use of fascism, as i stated b/f, as “right-wing authoritarianism” or as mussolini himself defined “”right wing collectivism.”

    jonah’s argument is silly, but i think this is the least problematic of it as he’s proabably using a derivation of susan sontag’s definition of communism as “fascism with a human face.” In this paradigm, extreme right and left are not opposites on a line, but rather points on a circle that meet.

  54. Manju
    Manju December 20, 2007 at 9:45 pm |

    Bin Laden, at any rate, is not a state actor but a non-state actor and a religious nutcase.

    this is also true. i remember when the islamo-fascist debate was happening, this was joshua micah marshall’s central point; ie that fascism was a distinctly secular movement and thus al-quaeda didn’t qualify.

    the problem is that progressives have labeled various religious movements, from “christian fascism” to the KKK, to Zionism, and even Hindu nationalism (hindutva) as fascist; but suddenly when radical islam, despite possessing arguably the central tenet of fascism, murderous suppression of all dissent, is labeled fascist we have a problem.

    now men like goldberg and niewert are moving the goalpost in even further.

  55. exholt
    exholt December 20, 2007 at 11:29 pm |

    In essence all of these movements coalesced around a particular individual and were radically different – if they survived at all – with the death of said leader.

    Tannenberg,

    Could one arguably have a Fascist oligarchy where the state fulfills most/all definitions of being Fascist except the leadership is run by a group such as a military junta or a select group of social elites?

    I ask as there has been some debate over whether Imperial Japan, especially from 1930’s to 1945 was a Fascist state as the government glorified/inculcated military/martial values throughout society, encouraged xenophobic nationalism in its people, state cooperation with large Japanese corporate conglomerates, etc.

    Though I will admit to favoring Herbert Bix’s view that Emperor Hirohito was no mere figurehead and had far more knowledge and influence over Imperial Japanese colonialist and military policies than many American Post-war historical narratives on Japan would have us believe, most of Imperial Japan’s day-to-day affairs was governed by an oligarchy consisting of ranking aristocrats, military officers, and civil servants.

    What are your thoughts?

  56. exholt
    exholt December 20, 2007 at 11:45 pm |

    Just had a thought after discussing Goucher’s progressively left reputation with a socialist acquaintance.

    As Michelle Malkin is to my alma mater, Jonah Goldberg is an embarrassing pox upon Goucher College. The “Liberal Fascism” book just underscores that fact. :(

  57. tzs
    tzs December 21, 2007 at 1:43 am |

    Japan’s emperor historically has been kept strictly out of things. The only reason that Emperor Hirohito was able to put his stamp on the decision to surrender is that Suzuki, when faced with a split cabinet, was able to turn around and use the Emperor’s expressed “private opinion” as a way of getting the cabinet to go along. (“I think we should make the Emperor’s private opinion the opinion of this cabinet…”)

    And even with that, there was an attempted coup d’etat by some hotheads in the Ministry of War to keep the broadcast from getting out.

  58. exholt
    exholt December 21, 2007 at 3:06 am |

    The only reason that Emperor Hirohito was able to put his stamp on the decision to surrender is that Suzuki, when faced with a split cabinet, was able to turn around and use the Emperor’s expressed “private opinion” as a way of getting the cabinet to go along. (”I think we should make the Emperor’s private opinion the opinion of this cabinet…”)

    tzs,

    You are echoing the main American postwar historical narrative which painted Hirohito as a mere figurehead who was uncharacteristically asked to break the impasse among Suzuki’s ministers when the subject of surrender was broached. If one took a glance as to how Japanese Emperors were treated as figureheads with practically no influence, this narrative would understandably make some sense.

    Nevertheless, this is the exact narrative more recent Japanese history scholars have been examining with increasing skepticism, especially with increasing scrutinizing of previously unexamined primary sources as Herbert Bix did in his book “Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan”. To scholars like Bix, this postwar narrative was created for politically expedient reasons to both facilitate the American Occupation of Japan and to rehabilitate/rearm Japan as their main East Asian ally. In the process, the concerns of individuals and nations victimized by Japan’s desire for empire along with Hirohito’s and Japan’s own responsibility for the same were largely ignored for the next several decades.

  59. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 21, 2007 at 11:31 am |

    Ex,

    I would say the primary difference between Imperial Japan in the 1930s and the Fascist movement concerns the foundations of the movements. While you are very correct that the essence of the rise of right-wing ideologies and movements in the 1920s and 1930s rise from similar situations – I would point to the Freikorps in Germany being an excellent parallel to the young extremist Japanese officers of the same time period – the situations that the movements involved were reacting to were different. In the case of Italy and Germany the Nazi and Fascist movements brought together the “losers” of the First World War – the young soldiers who fought the war (along with those such as Himmler who did not actually fight in the war but aspired to be soldiers) – who explicitly rejected the previous social and political order as being corrupt and decadent, and therefore proposed to build a “new,” harmonious system of racial comradeship.

    The Japanese crisis, however, while sparked by the same sort of economic issues of depression and post-war boom and bust as were faced in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, was not a rejection of a failed social order. In Japan there was an alliance, as you mentioned, between the oligarchs and the young, energetic, and rebellious officer class. Both sides played against the middle – in this case, quite literally, the middle class who tended more towards what we might call “Western” values, such as they were. The Japanese were latecomers to “Great Power” status and felt cheated, especially as their alliance with Britain did not garner them the sort of colonial gains in Asia that their involvement in the war, in their eyes, were warranted. As an aside, you can find similar feelings of being “cheated” in Italy.

    In Germany and Italy the established upper classes (business and military) came late to support the Nazi or Fascist movements, begrudgingly and often at arms-length. Nazism and Fascism had equal contempt for the “old” upper classes, seeking instead to supplant them with ideologically- and racially-selected aristocracies. In Japan the conservative/reactionary wings of the established upper classes worked hand-in-hand with the “rebellious” youth and the only individuals to suffer reprisals were those who sought to stand for moderation.

    It isn’t incorrect, however, to view the end result of the oligarchical nature of the Japanese Imperial system in the late 1930s as being functionally similar to Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, especially how their different points of reference became a shared Weltanschauung of imperialist and militant aggressiveness. It’s an interesting example of how different origins can form systems with remarkably similar characteristics. I suppose if I had to boil it down to a pithy sentence, Imperial Japan was an old-style oligarchic-Imperialist state which adopted the trappings of “new” racial and xenophobic ideologies, while Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy saw themselves as “new and revolutionary” racial/xenophobic societies which nonetheless adopted the apparatuses of old-style Imperialist states in order to accomplish their ideological objectives.

  60. tannenburg
    tannenburg December 21, 2007 at 11:33 am |

    Ex – if I may get “funny” about the Hirohito “myth” – it’s all MacArthur’s fault. He kept the Emperor around because the old bastard wanted to be an Emperor himself.

  61. exholt
    exholt December 21, 2007 at 6:40 pm |

    Ex – if I may get “funny” about the Hirohito “myth” – it’s all MacArthur’s fault. He kept the Emperor around because the old bastard wanted to be an Emperor himself.

    Many Japanese history scholars and grad students and I would agree 100% with your “funny” attribution to MacArthur. Unless my recollection is mistaken, Herbert Bix specifically cited MacArthur’s pivotal role in keeping Hirohito on and rehabilitating him into the “figurehead Emperor” that has been propagated to the larger American public since 1945.

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