Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Only a very gross substance of concrete conception can make any impression on the minds of the masses. They must get their ideas very absolutely put, and are much readier to receive a half truth which they can promptly understand than a whole truth which has too many sides to be seen all at once. The competent leader of men cares little for the internal niceties of other peoples' characters: he cares much--everything--for the external uses to which they may be put... He supplies the power; others supply only the materials upon which that power operates... It is the power which dictates, dominates; the materials yield. Men are as clay in the hands of the consummate leader."

Any guesses? Marx? Mussolini? Hitler? Stalin? You're on the right track. This little passage of blatant socialist dogma, written in 1890, comes from Woodrow Wilson (elected president in 1912), whom Jonah Goldberg declares as the "first fascist dictator of the twentieth century."

Goldberg makes this audacious claim, and many others, in his new book, Liberal Fascism. He shatters the cliche, but mistaken, notion that fascism is a product of the political right. It is, in fact, barely more than nationalistic socialism. Because communism is international socialism, fascism gets placed in opposition to it, and, incorrectly, to the right of it, but the two agree on nearly all aspects of economic theory and the role of centralized government over individual freedom.

Wilson suppressed newspapers, jailed political enemies and unleashed gangs of thugs on the American people to keep them in line politically. Imagine if everything liberals accuse Bush of doing and threatening to do in subverting personal freedom were true. Now double that fevered Orwellian vision and you can begin to understand what Wilson actually perpetrated. By the way, Wilson was a Progressive, the very root of today's Democrat Party.

I'm only about 100 pages in, but already Liberal Fascism is the best book I've read this year!


Travis said...

I enjoyed his appearance on The Daily Show. It was an interesting give and take with Stewart. I look forward to reading the book. Those are pretty strong words with which you closed this post. Do you genuinely believe it is the best book you have read thus far in 2008, or are you just really excited about the book at this moment?

Philip said...

Love & Respect and Death of the Grown-Up were also exceptional books, in their own ways. However, Liberal Fascism deconstructs such a powerful and fundamental political myth--it exposes the very heart and soul of modern liberalism for the rot that it is.

Karen and I have also been pleasantly surprised at the high level of scholarship (even though he claims it is not a scholarly book). It's not at all like reading Ann Coulter (though I enjoy her as well). The arguments are air-tight and well-reasoned. Goldberg's characteristic humor is there, but somewhat veiled by a thoroughly serious treatment of the subject.

This might be the best book I've read in a few years...

Travis said...

Wow! I have always enjoyed Goldberg's column; much more than Ann Coulters; in fact, I don't like her's at all.

I've got a Barnes & Noble gift certificate, and my b-day is coming up. Based on your ringing endorsement I may just purchase this book instead of asking the Putnman County library to buy it.