The search for the truth for truth’s sake is the mark of the historian

David Neiwert has another post about Jonah Goldberg’s book and finds that Goldberg has an endorsement from neocon Michael Ledeen (who has plagiarized a fascist) who had claimed in his book Universal Fascism that indeed fascism was a product of the Right and a damn fine product at that, The methodology of Liberal Fascism

I’d also like to call special attention to Goldberg’s citation of Michael Ledeen (who also has a blurb on the book’s jacket), because I think it reflects the dishonest way he represents even his alleged fellow travelers. Ledeen, in fact, has something of a history as a philo-fascist. His 1972 book, Universal Fascism, in fact was in the way of an encomium to primal first-stage fascism, or what he calls “fascism-movement,” as distinct from “fascism-regime,” which evidently is where it all went wrong. Ledeen specifically argues — as does his intellectual mentor, Italian historian Renzo de Felice — that “Italian fascism was both right-wing and revolutionary.” In its movement stage, according to Ledeen, it was actually a thing of beauty and great promise.

This very fluid definition of fascism is, again points to the Goldberg principle. Ledeen and Goldberg’s willingness to shift the definitions of what politically charged words mean is a time tested routine of the Right to throw up any infantile epitaphs at its political adversaries just to see if it sticks. If there are still serious Republicans that care about genuine Republican ideals this should be disturbing. How can anyone take seriously a movement that that adamantly refuses to be serious. Their juvenile exercises in name calling one upsmanship are something one would expect from a child with a personality disorder. Goldberg’s book and his supporters have created a real life enactment of a Stephen Colbert routine.

How is Goldberg defending his book and its premise. He has staked out two methods which he simply restates ad nauseum. First the appeal to authority. His authorities or rather ideological cousins with an agenda, are always right. Any authorities in history or political science that you sight in response are all hacks according to Goldberg. Regardless of the civility of your tone everything you say that counters Goldberg’s arguments lacks substance and are simply attacks. More here, Not-Much Shorter Jonah: “Tom Wolfe Likes It!”. The title of Mr. Hilton’s post gives you an sense of where Goldberg has dug in his heels. Jonah’s book has gotten afr more attention then it deserves, but as most liberals know, for years kooks like Goldberg, Coulter and Limbaugh were mostly ignored. The thinking was these people are too fringe, too bizarre, but they speaking a language, albeit a weird one that roused the right-wing mob. They didn’t create new adherents as much as galvanized them to do as Goldberg is doing, shove their rabid agenda down America’s collective throat. Goldberg is also claiming that no one is engaging the so called ideas that he is presenting in an intellectually honest manner, but Neiwart and Hilton have obviously tried. Sadly, No has the satirical response that Goldberg begs for and which he also dismisses. So much for the Right’s sense of humor.

Media Matters does what they do so well and seems to irritate the hell out of the Right. For the most part they simply post what people like Goldberg say and a video of them saying it. On MSNBC, Jonah Goldberg claimed “you can draw a line” from Mussolini to Clinton and Obama

SCARBOROUGH: But you’re not suggesting in this book, though, that you can draw a line from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton or Mussolini to Barack Obama, are you?

GOLDBERG: Well, I’m saying you can draw a line, but it’s not a straight one. It goes all sorts of different places. I’m not saying that today’s liberalism is the son of Nazism or the son of Italian fascism. I’m saying it’s sort of like the great-grandniece once removed.

Goldberg seems to be projecting his own movement’s roots onto modern American liberalism. Stanley Payne, in Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980)

A. The Fascist Negations:
— Antiliberalism
— Anticommunism
— Anticonservatism (though with the understanding that fascist groups were willing to undertake temporary alliances with groups from any other sector, most commonly with the right)

So if Clinton and Obama are fascists that would also make them anticommunist. Isn’t that the mantle that Conservatives claim they own.

Umberto Eco’s definition of fascist contempt for rationalism acutely highlights the modern culture/science war between conservatives like Goldberg and American liberalism,

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering’s fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play (“When I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals,” “eggheads,” “effete snobs,” and “universities are nests of reds.” The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.

In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.

“The search for the truth for truth’s sake is the mark of the historian” ~ B. H. Liddell Hart