Glenn talks with Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism

GLENN: We’re repeating the same mistakes and, gang, it is not going to be good for us. Now, the other book I want you to read is I talked to you about it yesterday, Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism. This guy has written the book that I was going to write. In fact, is he on? Is Jonah on now? Welcome to the program, Jonah.


Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

Also see: Glenn’s Recommended Reading List

GOLDBERG: How’s it going?

GLENN: I’m very good. I have to tell you I picked your book up Friday, started to read it and honestly, Jonah, this is about the book I was going to write. We were about 18 months away from another book and this is what I was going to write because I have been so fascinated by — well, it started with when I read The Forgotten Man. I don’t think the Soviet Union and after McCarthy, all of these people just disappeared. The Soviet Union disappeared. They just renamed themselves. These people have been doing this since the Progressive movement in our country in the early 1900s and they’ve just morphed into something we don’t recognize anymore, but it is, as you say in your book, it’s fascism.

GOLDBERG: That’s right. It’s a kind of fascism. It’s not the hard fascism of Naziism. I don’t think Hillary Clinton wants to put anybody in a camp. It’s a soft fascism. It’s a nanny state fascism, but it’s what the Progressives call the desire for social control, to get rid of, you know, chaotic capitalistic individualism and have the sort of cultic unity where we all work together. And you are right, the labels change but the underlying ideas and motivations are the same. The only reason we’ve called liberals liberals for the last 75 years is because after World War I they so destroyed the word "Progressive," the label "Progressive" that they had to come up with something new and so they picked up "Liberal" even though at the time "Liberal" meant the exact opposite of Progressivism. Liberal meant what it means in Europe, which it still means there today which is someone who believes in limited government, free market, free mind, free society. And the Progressives, you know, because they so butchered this country during World War I in terms of creating the first propaganda ministry ever —

GLENN: I mean, Jonah, talk about this because this is fascinating. I know nothing other than, you know, other than he was for one, you know, world government, Woodrow Wilson. Talk a little bit about this. This is fascinating stuff.

GOLDBERG: Woodrow Wilson, I write my book, and I’m actually not the first person to say this. I’m actually taking a lot from other historians and putting it all in one place which you can’t find anywhere else. And Woodrow Wilson was in many respects the first — forget the word fascist for two seconds. The first totalitarian dictator in western civilization, modern one at least.

GLENN: Explain why.

GOLDBERG: Well, he creates the first propaganda ministry, he unleashes 100,000 propaganda agents on the United States where he sends them out sometimes without revealing their identities to give these speeches in all public places to persuade people to support the war, to distrust Germans, to hate immigrants. Wilson creates these, under Wilson, the Justice Department creates the American Protective League at a time where 250,000 badge-carrying goons who were allowed to beat people up in the street, arrest people in mass arrests, do home break-ins without warrants, spy on people, do government background checks, carry badges. They were just basically what, you know, what were called a bunch of sort of street gang political goons who could do the Government’s bidding at will. Wilson closed down scores of newspapers and magazines, threatened thousands of others with closing them down, used the mail service, which back then was like the Internet and mail combined. I mean, it was where everyone got their information, used the postal service to clamp down on all dissent. One woman who spoke in her own home about how she liked Lenin was given six months in jail. One guy refused to stand up for the Star-Spangled Banner at a baseball game, was shot in the back. Another guy refused to sing the national anthem at a liberty bond drive, was beaten senseless. These guys were not convicted of anything because they were just doing their patriotic duty. Even if you buy the caricature of George Bush and Joseph McCarthy, if you buy the cartoon version of what’s out there, they still, still look like co-hosts of romper room compared to what Woodrow Wilson did in this country.

GLENN: Okay. Now, you say that because all of those things sound like how they portrayed Dick Cheney and George Bush because of the war and et cetera, et cetera. How is that Liberal Fascism?

GOLDBERG: Well, at first the phrase Liberal Fascism as you know, H.G. Wells was arguably the most popular liberal/Progressive intellectual and English speaking language in the first half of this 20th century, hugely influential socialist, founding member — or member of the Fabian socialists, met with FDR in the Oval Office —

GLENN: Hang on. Jonah, I have to tell you. I feel like the dumbest guy in the world. I really do. What’s so amazing, this shows us how our educational system has failed us. While I was on vacation over the holiday, I found out about the Fabian movement. I had never even heard of it. You want to talk about something that is unbelievably frightening in today’s world. It describes what we’re doing now, who our politicians are now.

GOLDBERG: These global elites, H2L is a global fascism where we seceded our sovereignty, our global control to what he called a world brain and that’s what you see in things like the UN, all these places where, you know, the Supreme Court today is, you know, the liberals in the Supreme Court are invoking foreign laws to figure out what our Constitution means, and it is this sort of elitist, aristocratic, nondemocratic, bureaucratic management by the chosen sort of master brains of the globe that, you know, Bill Clinton, this global Clinton initiative and all these sort of things, it’s a big part of what they are trying to do.

GLENN: When Hillary Clinton first said — and it was in one of the debates. They said, are you a liberal? She said, no, because that means big government, et cetera, et cetera. She said, I like to refer to myself as a Progressive in the early — because it invokes a real American feel, the Progressives of the early 20th century. That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

GOLDBERG: That was great and that was a classic Clintonism because what she did there was — it’s like when she talks about her family values, upbringing in Illinois and being a conservative girl. She wants credit for the things she used to believe even though she doesn’t believe them anymore. And the same thing with this Progressive thing. She says, oh, well, liberal means big government and I’m not for that; that’s why I call myself a Progressive. Well, the Progressives were the original big government people.

GLENN: Right. They were the ones who brought us prohibition and the income tax and everything else.

GOLDBERG: You know, look. When people say, oh, when I argue that Progressives were specific — and one of the reasons I do that is because the Progressives were in large numbers openly pro Mussolini in the 1920s. This is before Naziism. They liked what Mussolini was doing. But when I say this, you know, a lot of liberals will say, how can you say that? You know, fascism means racism. Well, in fact, it doesn’t. Naziism means racism. Fascism doesn’t mean racism. But if you want to define it by racism, the Progressives were unrelentingly racist. You know, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, her whole agenda was to keep the inferior races from overbreeding. She spoke to a rally at the KKK in the late 1920s. All of the Progressives were deep seated believers in one form or another of eugenics. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the liberal saint of the Supreme Court, he considered the first and primary goal of public policy to build a race, not a state, not a nation. A race. He was a huge believer in eugenics. The New Republic which openly supported Mussolini in the 1920s also bought entirely into the eugenics movement. And all of this stuff remains like the crazy aunts in your attic no one talks about, it informs the spirit of Progressivism today which is now liberalism.

GLENN: Okay. So Jonah, because my eyes are starting to be opened, I look at this stuff and honestly when I first read over the holiday about Fabianism, I had to get to the Internet right away because I thought, there is no way this stuff is true because there’s no way I didn’t learn this. There’s no way I haven’t heard this. This has got to be fringe, this has to be — this is not what I’m reading. Because I was reading a fringe book. And then I go to the Internet and I look it up and I see H. G. Wells, I see all these people. The stuff that George Bernard Shaw has said is phenomenal.

GOLDBERG: I’ve argued this for years, I’ve never heard a good rebuttal. I think he was the most evil intellectual in the English speaking world.

GLENN: Have you seen the phrase that he said where you don’t have a right to be — you must be a useful member of society and you must eat and if we can’t force you to eat and we can’t force you to be a useful member of society, then we can gently and humanely kill you?

GOLDBERG: Oh, yeah. George Bernard Shaw like many of the Fabian socialists was very keen on gas chambers. The idea that this was something the Nazis thought of is simply not true. There are a huge number of socialist intellectuals who want to send the inferior stocks, the lower classes and the rest of the undesirables off to gas chambers, hang them from the nearest lamp post, all of that kind of stuff.

GLENN: But it’s all friendly. It’s all because it’s for the good of society. It’s for the good of all of us. It is fascism with a happy face.

GOLDBERG: That’s right. Here’s my favorite quote — sorry to interrupt but I mean, I think you’ll get it. Hillary Clinton said in a speech in 1996, a major address, you know, that was written in advance. She used this line and similar circumstances elsewhere. But she says we as a country need to move beyond the idea that there’s anything, there’s any such thing as someone else’s child. Now, I’m sorry. My child is my child and my wife’s child, maybe her child and my child, but it is not the State’s child, it is not the collective child, it is not the community’s child. I’m glad for their help sometimes when necessary, but the idea that our children aren’t our own is the fundamental driving impulse of all of the isms of the left, progressivism, fascism, Naziism, communism. All of them sought to crack the outer shell of the nuclear family and get control of the children. Woodrow Wilson says the chief job of an educator is to make — and he says this to parents — your children as little like you as possible. That is the agenda and that is still the agenda that we have today.

GLENN: Jonah, I haven’t gotten to the end of the book where you do talk a little bit about Hillary Clinton and everybody else. Do you go into Barack Obama or anybody else on the left? Do you —

GOLDBERG: I’m sorry. No, I’m sorry. I’ve been locked in a basement for four years working on this. So I get a little hyper. I mention Barack Obama briefly because he has the same influence as Hillary, a very radical guy who can get over the fact that he is a hero of the left and calls himself a man of the left, speaks about the need for violence, the confrontation and destroying the classes and all that kind of stuff. So I mention that briefly. But you see some of this in Barack Obama as well. And I think Barack Obama is a decent guy, he is not an evil person, I’m not using fascist the way the left does to simply say evil, evil, evil. Barack Obama I think is an honorable and decent guy, but he subscribes to this cult of unity, this idea of that if we just all join hands and march toward the sunny uplands of history and buy each other a Coke, everything will be solved. And that was the same with Hitler, that was the idea of leaders of men in Woodrow Wilson, this idea that we just rally around the spiritual fresh of one man of the nation, all our problems will be redeemed.

GLENN: Jonah Goldberg, I would like to talk to you off the air because I would like to develop a series for the television show and we can break this up, your book up in several different pieces over several different days. Every America needs to read your book. It is absolutely phenomenal. You will understand where we are, who is leading us, where it has come from. It is just a fantastic book and I can’t thank you enough for writing it.

GOLDBERG: Glenn, I can’t thank you enough for the support. Books need friends and you are great friend to have.

GLENN: Thanks very much. Jonah Goldberg. The name of the book is Liberal Fascism. Please, please pick it up.