Once again, Dave Neiwert tears Jonah Goldberg to shreds over his poorly conceived book and his related attempts to equate modern American liberalism to fascism:
No, Jonah, being bad guys alone doesn’t make them fascists. But holding swastika and Dixie banners aloft, shouting “Sieg Heil,” and ranting ad nauseam about how bestial colored people and queers and the Jewish media are destroying the country, and demanding that we start shooting Mexican border crossers — well, that pretty clearly marks them as fascist, dontcha think?
And for a guy who insists irregularly that we not confuse European liberalism with its American version, Goldberg certainly has little compunction about conflating European fascism with its American variant. In fact, American fascists are fairly variegated in their worldviews and resulting strategies: some, like the Posse and the Freemen, are indeed hyper-local, though their version of local government is a white male supremacist ideation in which minorities have no rights and homosexuals and abortion providers are put to death. Others see themselves as largely regional organizations (particularly the Northwest’s “white homeland” advocates) with a national reach, while still others — the Klan, the Aryan Nations, the National Socialist Movement, Hammerskin Nation — see themselves as national organizations whose ideas for a right-wing authoritarian state do indeed more closely resemble the European model.
The same is true for figures like David Duke, who sees himself as an international role model for neo-Nazism. In recent years, he’s been traveling to places like Russia and the Arab world, spreading his vicious anti-Semitic propaganda. And in both places, it’s clear he’s been gaining audiences and having an impact on the ground. So much for these fascists’ insignificance.
But then, it’s essential for Jonah’s already-shaky thesis that he minimize, downplay, whitewash, and otherwise utterly trivialize these groups, their presence and their activities, because their very existence not only undermines, it completely demolishes his central claim that “fascism, properly understood, is not a phenomenon of the right at all” but that “it is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left.” Because clearly, American fascists are now, and always have been, a phenomenon of the right, quite unmistakably so.
It’s all about trivializing the monstrous, all to serve his increasingly dubious claim that conservatives are in no way at all even remotely fascist. Indeed, it’s more than evident that the wish to rebut that “smear” is what has animated this entire enterprise (Goldberg has made this clear in numerous interviews, as well as the book itself).
The problem is that it’s much easier to demonstrate the opposite is true. And over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be discussing that.
But you have to wonder about someone who can so easily whitewash the realities of the Klan, dismiss the social and cultural effects of modern-day fascists, and then compare the Nazi eliminationist program to Hillary Clinton’s day-care initiatives. It is not often you get to see the holes in people’s souls on public display, and it’s never pretty.