| Liberal Fascism
By Jonah Goldberg
GLENN: March to Socialism, wait until you hear the story I got out of Pravda. They didn’t say that we were marching to it. They said that we’re running toward ‑‑ our dissent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed. So that’s probably a little bit faster than just a march. It’s a quick trot, maybe. Let’s go to Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism, which is really I think if you’re just somebody who’s plugging in and you’re like, "Oh, gee, this doesn’t feel good," the best place you can start is Liberal Fascism. It gives you such a great overview of the history of the progressive movement which I believe is the cancer that has infected both parties of this country and is going to eventually consume the body called America if we don’t wake up soon.
Jonah, welcome to the program.
GOLDBERG: Hey, Glenn, great to be here.
GLENN: How are you, man?
GOLDBERG: I am well, I am well.
GLENN: Did you get a company car yet from General Motors?
GOLDBERG: Volkswagen? No, that’s the people’s car. Different name.
GLENN: I want a company car. If we’re a shareholder, I want a company car.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, I know, exactly. And I think the IRS should put a little GPS switch in it so they can always keep track of where you are.
GLENN: Seriously ‑‑ no, we could do that for the environment.
GOLDBERG: Oh, good call.
GLENN: Be able to know that you are only driving so many miles. They wouldn’t use that to track anybody.
GOLDBERG: No, nothing like that, no. You know, in Britain it is now illegal to eat in your car and they used the cameras that were once aimed at people to ‑‑
GLENN: Find the bad guys?
GOLDBERG: Find bad guys, find terrorists, they now use it to make sure you are not eating a Big Mac. They could do that, too.
GLENN: Aren’t fat people good guys, seriously this they start to get gassy and then it hurts the environment. It’s bad, it’s bad. I’m trying to commit suicide through M&Ms quite frankly because I can’t take the news anymore. So Jonah, isn’t it amazing that, you know, we talked ‑‑ when did the book first come out? Two years ago?
GOLDBERG: It came out in January of ’08. So about 18 months ago, something like that.
GLENN: Isn’t it amazing that when you wrote that originally, you know, it’s like, "Oh, this cute little progressive movement" and everybody was like, "Oh, come on, it’s just transfats. That’s all we’re worried about now." Now we’re looking at, you know ‑‑ I mean, I don’t know when they are going to start wearing the Gestapo outfits. Is that ‑‑ I’m sorry, is that too much? Is that too far? That might possibly be an overstatement, Stu is telling me. Yeah, okay. I mean, here we are marching into crazy town.
GOLDBERG: No, I agree. Look, I mean, it’s funny. I get all this e‑mail from people whenever I go on speaking tours and all that kind of stuff. I meet these people who tell me, you know, I can’t believe you didn’t write this book with Obama in mind. And, you know, because remember the original subtitle was all about Hillary Clinton and ‑‑ who has exactly the same progressive views. I mean, she calls herself a modern progressive and all that. And it turns out, you know, originally the book was going to be about economics, and I have a chapter on economics in there and it’s all about, you know, how government under fascist economics, government and big business sit around the table and along with some unions and other big players, they carve up the pie for themselves to the detriment of markets and consumers. And gosh, it kind of seems like that’s what’s going on right now.
GLENN: No, it’s completely different. In fascist countries, the leader, just for the good of the people, they take over a few industries. The business people get involved. They think it’s a good thing. They work together with unions. Here we’re just not doing that. It’s totally different. Why are you always trying to blow things out of proportion?
GOLDBERG: It’s funny. I have this book blog at National Review Online, to say Lawrence Dennis who was a progressive intellectual in the 1930s who advocated for fascism to come to America, The Coming Age of Fascism I think was the title of the book and it was the new republic in the nation and he was an open proponent of fascism and I put this quote up there today and it’s this great quote where he says that, you know, one of the things we’re going to have to do if we’re going to have fascist economics is we’re going to have to continue to reward managers, but we’re going to have to figure out a way to get around being locked into the demands of bondholders and contracts and all this stuff. It’s describing what we’re seeing today in the bankruptcy stuff.
GLENN: So Jonah, what is the ‑‑ because I’m on this big kick because your book really opened my eyes, and I’m on this kick of researching the progressive era. And they were rejected by the people and so they really went, they went underground.
GLENN: And they just infected the system slowly but surely. It’s taken us 100 years. This isn’t about Barack Obama. I mean, look at John McCain. John McCain, his hero was Theodore Roosevelt.
GOLDBERG: That’s right.
GLENN: And when you look at Theodore Roosevelt, he was like, I don’t begrudge somebody having money but they have got to use it for the right way and for the good of the community and we should decide what that ‑‑ what are you talking about, man?
GOLDBERG: Look, compassionate conservativism. There’s a lot to recommend about George Bush. It wasn’t this absolute, you know, hideous failure the way the left wants to portray it. But at the same time compassionate conservativism was a deliberate, well constructed rejection of Reaganite conservativism, you know? Reagan believed the government, at least in the particular moment that he was talking about, the government was the problem. George Bush, you know, famously said that when somebody hurts, government has got to move and, you know, maybe it’s because I’m a ‑‑ my last name’s Goldberg, I’m sort of an Old Testament guy, I like my conservativism with more smiting and wrath but, you know, I don’t want the government to feel my pain. I want the government to feel my boot in its butt. And compassionate conservativism was a deliberate attempt to sort of coopt the sort of Clintonist approach to politics which said the government needs to be ‑‑ the whole government needs to be empathetic. You know, we’re talking about, remember Bill Clinton’s whole idea of government was that he was going to feel your pain, they were going to be there with you and that’s what com passionate conservativism was. John McCain had a different version of it. His at least was a more masculine version of sort of progressive Republicanism, but we’re shot through with this stuff these days and, you are right, Obama is merely the proof that this has been a long time in coming.
GLENN: So how do we, how do we stop it? I mean, right now the progressive ‑‑ I don’t even know what it is. Joe, what is the name of this thing, this big meeting? This is the largest group of progressives having a convention.
GOLDBERG: I don’t know.
GLENN: Have you not heard this?
GLENN: Oh, yeah. Hang on just a second. We’ll look it up for you. I’ll give it to you on the other side of the break. But there’s this big convention going on and it’s the biggest group of progressives ever. You know, I think you are going to be on the TV show tonight.
GLENN: We’ll send you some information, see if you can look into it a little bit today.
GLENN: But they are having ‑‑ do you have it? America’s Future Now. Have you ever heard of that?
GOLDBERG: No, but it does sound nice and progressive, right?
GLENN: It does, doesn’t it?
GOLDBERG: Moving toward the future as fast as ‑‑
GLENN: That’s right. And "America" is in the title. So they couldn’t be, you know, bad. Anyway, they are having this whole big meeting today and they are organized. They know what they’re doing, where most Americans are just waking up going, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, this isn’t good." And they are asking the same question: How do we stop it? How do you stop this now?
GOLDBERG: I agree. Look, there is an inherent problem in all of this and, you know, you’ve been asking this question for a very long time, and you’ve probably done more than any other public figure in the last 40 years that sort of focused on progressivism in a way that reaches out to large numbers of people.
GLENN: That’s sad. I’m a recovering alcoholic deejay who is a self‑educated guy who just cares. That’s sad if that’s true.
GOLDBERG: I agree. Look, I mean, look on the bright side. You are doing it. But look, there’s a real problem. One of the things I love about the American people is that we’re a liberty‑loving people. I drive cross‑country pretty much every summer over the last 10 years and it’s a wonderful thing to be reminded about how many Americans don’t care what Washington thinks about them. And, you know, conservativism, moderate conservativism certainly in the Reagan era has always been this "Leave me alone" coalition. The conservatives get together to talk about ways of getting government out of our lives. We’re by definition not sort of joiners in crusades. We understand that the important work in life is done at the local level in our own families, our own businesses, our own communities and all the rest and so it’s sort of oxymoronic to ask conservatives to rally into a large national cause when the whole point is that they don’t want many large national causes. Sort of like that Monty Python seen in "Life of Brian." And they are like, "You are all individuals." And they are like, "We’re all individuals." Conservatives are kind of all individuals, or we’re all localists, we’re all a gainst this sort of, this idea that liberals have, the progressives have this cult of unity which says if we all work our hardest and work our best, we can make this the best yearbook ever.
GLENN: Okay, hang on.
GOLDBERG: And they want to make it a national level. Conservatives don’t. It’s a problem.
GLENN: We’ll come back with Jonah Goldberg. I want to make something real clear, though. It wasn’t just ‑‑ don’t think that this is a Barack Obama or a Democrat‑bashing thing. Because it’s not. Compassionate conservativism is the same thing. Progressivism is in both parties, and that is the cancer that you need to educate yourself on and know what it is so you can fight it and irradiate it. It is ‑‑ and you can find the beginnings of it. A great place to start is a book, it’s just come out in paperback I think tomorrow, or maybe it was out last week. Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism.
GLENN: 888‑727‑BECK. We’re back with Jonah Goldberg. We’re just looking. Jonah, we’re looking into America’s future now. Stu has ‑‑ you have some of the other organizations that this thing is connected with?
STU: Yeah. You know, just looking through some of these sites here with healthcare for all, an effort to establish a system of socialized medicine, revitalizing education which offers universal access to after‑school programs and universal precare.
GLENN: That’s great. Universal precare and after‑school programs. You know, let me just go out. I’m just thinking here, Jonah. Go with me on this. What do you think if we just start having birthing centers where moms can give birth to kids and then just give them right to the government to care for?
GOLDBERG: I was thinking precare must be like in utero but, you know, remember, remember in the book of the Hillary Clinton chapter. You know, she’s got this thing and it takes a village. I’m one of the four conservatives in captivity who’s read her book It Takes a Village where she talks about how ‑‑ you know, the classic image of Orwell, the big jumbo screens and all that. In her book she talks about how in every place where people gather, wouldn’t it be wonderful. We could have giant television screens that teach us how to raise good progressive babies which will show us how to breast‑feed and all this. She wants them at the DMV, at the doctor’s office, at bus stops. Any place where large numbers of people gather, she wants on a 24‑hour loop people to be educated by the state with large television screens. And I always thought that was a wonderful image of the sort of nanny state kind of thing that they want. And it sounds like these Future Now people or Now Future people or whatever the hell they’re called.
GLENN: Listen, this is who’s meeting today. This is happening in the Omni in Washington. John Podesta is speaking at 11:30 this morning. 1:00, Howard Dean. Jerrold Nadler, representative from New York. Labor second Hilda Solis, Jesse Jackson, Barney Frank will be there at 3:45. Dick Durbin tonight with Bernie Sanders. Then Rosa DeLauro on Wednesday and Keith Ellison also on Wednesday.
GOLDBERG: Like that Star Wars cantina.
GOLDBERG: That’s an interesting bunch of people.
GLENN: No, it is.
GOLDBERG: It’s like the first Internationale.
GLENN: But what I’m saying is, this is not a nobody group.
GOLDBERG: I know. If a Republican spoke to ‑‑ you know, whenever Republicans speak to fringe, you know, organizations or to large groups where there are fringe people in there, they immediately have to issue sort of a ritual policy if I wear a dunce cap but liberals can appear with a bunch of quasi‑Marxists and Leninist groups and it’s all fine because they are all for progress.
GLENN: Are you ready for this? This is reading from the press wire. Emboldened, unified, organized progressive movement mobilizing against special interests, standing in the way of President Obama’s bold agenda. Wow. Wow.
All right. So Jonah, just real quick. I mean, again I ask you the question. Is it just, is it just uniting locally with people that are common sense Democrats and common sense Republicans and independents that make the difference?
GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, it’s hard. Again I’m not a strategist about how to win back for winning political movements. And there’s one thing I wanted to sort of push back on you a little bit. I agree with you entirely that it’s a problem with both parties, the sort of progressive mindset. But the source of it is from the left, and it is the voices in the Republican Party that want to play "Me, too."
GOLDBERG: And say "We’re just like Democrats, we’re Coke to their Pepsi."
GOLDBERG: That’s the problem is that Republicans actually have a philosophy to rely on for limited government. They have a philosophy to rely on for individualism in free markets.
GLENN: But they just don’t exercise it.
GOLDBERG: But that’s a major difference than Democrats who rejudge equity the philosophy and are actually consistent in rejecting it.
GLENN: I get it. But both patients have the disease.
GLENN: One has progressed further. Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism out in paperback today. Thanks for being on the program, sir.