Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fascism 101

Voxiversity 3 is starting this week with Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism". Before any of my lefty friends out there roll their eyes, Vox says there's plenty in there about Republicans too. Just having read the introduction (the first assignment) Goldberg has already identified Compassionate Conservatism as fascist and says that No Child Left Behind would have been a good fit with Mussolini's school reform policies.

But, this will mostly be about the roots of the American Left. Up until World War 2 fascism was pretty popular in the U.S., and many of it's ideas are still with us. The turn of the 20th Century ushered in many changes in the relationships between government, business and the military in our country. It's an important time to study.

There are 2 big problems with the study of fascism. 1) There is no consensus as to what fascism is. A lot depends on the culture it arises in and the personality of the leader. It is not necessarily racist. 2) The Holocaust tends to overshadow any debates on the subject. The anti-semitism in Germany was not matched by the Italians. Two surprising facts are that there were several Jewish fascists serving in Mussolini's government up until the Nazi invasion in 1943. Fewer Italian Jews died in WW2 than in any other European country except Denmark. Not all fascists were/are Nazi's.

If anyone is interested, you don't have to sign up for anything; just get the book (available in paperback) and be ready for the first quiz on Saturday. Having watched the first 2 voxiversities go by, I'll warn you; Vox keeps a pretty brisk pace, so it will take a serious effort to keep up. Assuming I'm not culled from the herd, I'll be posting some updates as I go along. It should be fun and enlightening.


Orrin said...

LF is an excellent, excellent book. There's a lot of powerful ammo in there, but it avoids the, "No, YOU'RE a Nazi!" argument Mr. Goodwin warned us about.

Local So-and-so said...

I tend to avoid political books for that very reason. The whole Hitlery vs Bushitler thing is just stupid. This looks like an honest attempt at history.