“Socialism”. It’s a word the leftists in power say we can’t use. But if “socialism” is un-PC, Jonah Goldberg is happy to be more precise. A rose is a rose and a duck a duck. And, says Goldberg, what Obama and the Democrats are giving us is old fashioned Italian fascism:
I think socialism is the wrong word for all of this. “Corporatism” — the economic doctrine of fascism — fits better. Under corporatism, all the big players in the economy — big business, unions, interest groups — sit around the table with government at the head, hashing out what they think is best for everyone to the detriment of consumers, markets and entrepreneurs.
what disappointed me the most was the Left’s reaction to it. With very, very, few exceptions, the Left decided that it was vital to destroy the book, unread and unexamined. It’s almost a constant theme of the liberal and left-wing reviews of Liberal Fascism: Do Not Read This Book. I wish a few serious people on the Left showed some interest in actually coming to grips with the book’s arguments rather than going in like lawyers and spin-doctors representing their client — “liberalism” — and using any weapon near to hand. Michael Tomasky’s review was particularly disappointing, because I would have hoped The New Republic would have tried to engage the book in a serious way. Instead, it was a hackish and intellectually childish hissy-fit. [Jonah’s response to Tomasky is here]. And that was the best of them; the bulk of attacks from the left were simply personal attacks on me and childish tantrums about the cover or title. I kept waiting for a serious liberal to engage in a serious and open-minded way. I don’t think it ever happened ..
One surprise, for want of a better word, was that I didn’t get more stuff wrong. For instance, when I was writing the book, I thought there’s no way all of this horrible stuff I was reading by and about Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Croly could be right. I checked the sources over and over again, and for the most part restricted myself to credible, mainstream historians or primary sources. Still, I was waiting for someone to say, for example, “No, no, no: Goldberg gets Wilson all wrong!” But to date, I don’t think anyone has written a detailed, fact-driven defense of the guy. One left-wing blogger rolled his eyes and simply said it was silly for me to call Wilson a liberal, which seemed idiotic and a huge concession at the same time. When the New York Times reviewed the book, the reviewer didn’t even object to a single accusation against Wilson. In fact, he didn’t disagree with anything in the book until I got to FDR. Well, by the time I got to FDR, I’d said that Fascism was left-wing, that Hitler was a man of the Left, and that Wilson was a would-be fascist dictator. That seemed like a pretty big concession to me.
I think the larger significance of this is that liberals are either unwilling or unable to defend the roots of what we call liberalism, and that speaks volumes and lays down an important marker.
UPDATE: In the comments “Fundamentalist” suggests that Obamanism also has a lot in common with what pre-First World War German’s called “socialism”.