GLENN: We go to one of my favorite writers, Jonah Goldberg, on the program. Hey, Jonah, how are you, sir?
GOLDBERG: I'm good. How are you?
GLENN: I'm good, I'm good. You know, Jonah, there are two books that I have found -- sorry I'm losing my voice, but there are two books that I found over the last year that I talked an awful lot about and I don't know if either author really, really understands the impact that their books could have if people really read them. One of them was Amity Shlaes. She wrote a history book on the Great Depression and she herself didn't even see the parallels in it, as I talked to her about it a couple of years ago and I said -- or maybe a year ago and I said, you know, Amity, it's the same stuff. And she didn't even see it until recently. Jonah, I don't know. Do you see in your book, Liberal Fascism, do you see everything starting to come together and repeat itself right now?
GOLDBERG: Oh, I can't imagine why you are saying that. Just because we had a cultish movement, youth movement that elected a supreme leader who was seen as a spiritual savior and redeemer of society who promised to create a civilian national security force, I mean, I have no idea why you would think there would be any relevance for my book today.
GLENN: When you started writing it, Jonah, you didn't know this was -- did you know this was all coming?
GOLDBERG: Well, you know, on one sense, you know, I would wake up over much of the last year saying, does Barack Obama really, is his chief motive here to sell more copies of my book? And so some of it really sort of surprised me. You know, the YouTube videos where they sort of turn him into this Messiah figure and the glassy-eyed children look like they are doing a North Korea pageant, that kind of stuff really surprised me but on the other hand the whole theme of my book is that these themes, these impulses, these motivating passions that we saw in, you know, the first half of the 20th century never went away and that they still exist in deluded form in contemporary American liberalism. And if that's true, and I think it was true, then it should be true of Barack Obama and lo and behold it is. So in one sense it makes sense. It's nice confirmation of my argument because, you know, I ended the book with a discussion essentially about Hillary Clinton and it turns out the person who defeated Hillary Clinton better represented the themes of my book than Hillary Clinton herself.
GLENN: Well, I will tell you this, Jonah. And please, if you have not picked up Liberal Fascism, when did it come out, a year ago?
GOLDBERG: In January.
GLENN: Oh, January. Gosh, time flies. In January I read this book and it opened my eyes to the history of this country and how things have been done in the past and what's coming our way, and I tell you I was up -- you know, I'm rehearsing this Broadway stage show that we're doing, that we're taking around and I'm in these big Broadway rehearsal halls there in Manhattan and let me just say I'm the first conservative commentator probably to ever use these rooms to rehearse in. And I was there night before last and it's about 10:00 at night and I walk out around the corner and here are all these 20-somethings and they are all wearing either Obama T-shirts or, you know, Obama pins or anything else. And when I walk around the corner, everybody just stops and they just look at me, and I look at one of the pins or whatever on the guy's jacket and I said, hey, how are you guys? And they went, fine. And as soon as I turn the corner -- this is how stupid they are, like I couldn't hear them -- they all just started laughing at, did you see that? He looked at it, man, he looked at it; we're showing him.
GLENN: And it was, A, so ridiculous and I wanted to turn around and go, "Are you guys 12?" But it gave me the chills in the way I know how fascism has started in the past and it just feels like brown shirts are on the way. Am I --
GOLDBERG: I want to be careful.
GLENN: I'm not saying that that is but I just feel this anger from the extreme left and they could just so -- you know, it's, you're a Holocaust denier if you don't believe in global warming.
GOLDBERG: Well, you know, and it's funny. I did this thing the other day. You know, during the election they were calling Barack Obama a Messiah, a redeemer, the one and all that stuff and these guys want to ratchet down expectations. So now they are just comparing him to Abraham Lincoln and FDR, you know?
GLENN: Yeah, I know.
GOLDBERG: And, you know, I agree with you entirely that the psychology of -- there are a lot of college campuses talking about this book. The psychology of a lot of these Obama sort of kids, these kids with open toed shoes and closed minds, they have the same thing that youth always have, you know, more passion and idealism and certainty about the rightness of their position than they have wisdom or knowledge or experience. That's why we call them youth. You know, but they are not going to be brown shirts. This country is just too decent a place for them to be brown shirts. I think they could be green shirts, they could be, you know, the sort of environmentalist little, you know, kids who inform on their parents, who -- actually there's a British utility that has just launched a program called Climate Talks where they want kids to inform on their parents and develop a criminal dossier on their parents when their parents don't recycle, don't respect the environment and all that kind of stuff. So it can still be really, really bad but I don't think we're going to see, you know, pure Nazi style brown shirt thuggery but we'll see all sorts of things we don't wanted to see.
GLENN: Jonah, tell me -- thank you for saying this. You give me a little bit of hope, but I have to disagree with you. I see, I just see the beginning, and I don't mean that it's Barack Obama per se. I just see this, the far left, you know, the people who have been in that, you know, Michael Moore/Sean Penn kind of camp for a long time that would like to put other people in an actual camp, you know, you are seeing it now everywhere. They are starting to take on God, they are starting to blame things on conservatives, the hatred of talk radio.
I read an article where it was quoting the violence of talk radio and yet what's his name, William Ayers, can blow up buildings, write a book about it, say that it was okay, say that there are a lot of parallels from the 1960s to today and young people might consider what are they willing to do as long as nobody's harmed and yet we're the violent ones. And, you know, I've been reading the words of -- one of my researchers, I have him doing a lot of research on Adolf Hitler and Mussolini and what are the beginning signs, et cetera, et cetera, and the way that they changed religion, the way that they first reached out and then crushed it one by one, I believe it's starting to happen.
GOLDBERG: Again there's a lot of that stuff in my book and I agree with you with a lot of this. You know, the whole idea of fascism, people say that fascism, you know, and liberalism don't have anything in common because fascism was totalitarian. Well, fascism was totalitarian but it wasn't totalitarian the way the communists were. The communists just flat out took over everything. The way the fascists do it was they basically coopted one institution after another. They said basically if you're willing to promote our values, our ideological agenda, support for our, you know, our ambitions, then you can stay a nominally independent fraternity, you can stay a nominally independent business, on your own university, so long as you agree with us on everything. And when you look at things like environmentalism, there really is that sense like, you know, I think we're having green week again right now.
GLENN: Yeah, we are.
GOLDBERG: On NBC.
GLENN: Yes, we are.
GOLDBERG: Imagine if a network had announced pro life week, you know, the screaming about it. But all the, you know, hoity-toity establishment liberals think it's just a wonderful effort of civic-minded consciousness raising when mainstream network, a huge corporation aligns itself with the agenda of the government and with a political movement and... anyway.
GLENN: So hang on. Can you hang on after the break?
GLENN: Okay, hang on after the break. I want you to think about this. Did you in all of your research, did you ever see the points -- because this is what I've been looking for -- where the people should have known, could have turned the tide, could have stood up to it. What should they have done and are we approaching that point, you know, what can we do that actually makes a difference in our own personal lives. And we'll get that answer coming up from Jonah Goldberg next.
GLENN: 888-727-BECK. Jonah Goldberg, the author of Liberal Fascism, a good friend of the program. So Jonah --
GOLDBERG: Terrific dancer.
GLENN: You've never taken me dancing. I don't know that.
GLENN: Jonah, the question that I asked you before is in all of your research when you looked at, you know, fascism, Mussolini -- and everybody thinks, oh, people here didn't love Mussolini. Yeah, they did. The liberal establishment here, the New York Times and Time magazine and FDR, everybody loved Mussolini. They thought he was great.
GOLDBERG: That's right. That's right.
GLENN: So when you saw all of this, did you get a chance to look at those movements, at the beginnings of them and was there a point, was there a tipping point to where the people were like, "Oh, crap, now it's too late."
GOLDBERG: Well, yeah. I mean, you know, as you know, there are different fascisms and they have a lot to do with the national character of where they come out and so in Germany it was just much more violent and dangerous and so historically the tipping point is the night of the long knives when Hitler basically kills his rivals in the movement. But again those sorts of tipping points, you know, they are already tipping points after the tipping point in a lot of ways. In Germany it was really, it was World War I that basically put the country on a path towards Naziism and I mean, there are lots of moments where if you were a time traveler and you went back, you would say, oh, if we had only killed Hitler after the Beer Hall Putsch, you would stop things, that kind of factual stuff. But I think in the American context the thing to keep in mind is that you are absolutely right: Among the intellectual classes there was an overwhelming consensus for something like fascism in the United States. You know, differences about doctrine or how it implemented and all the rest. But there was almost a universal yearning to restore Woodrow Wilson's war socialism, to have something like fascism here and the greatest work against it was the deeply embedded cultural love of freedom and democracy in this country, and I think if we're going to fight, whether you are right or I'm right about how bad it can get, the remedies are the same. You know, the remedy is fight tooth and nail on the principles of free speech. Don't make it about defending Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. You know, don't make it about protecting conservative talk radio. Make it about protecting free speech. On the union stuff with card check, you know, it's not about keeping unions from getting more powerful or rewarding the Democratic party with labor and all that kind of stuff. It is about protecting the secret ballot. These are the institutions that the founding fathers had in mind from the beginning to protect us, and it's an important thing to keep in mind. When Barack Obama talks about unity, you know, how we need to have unity and hope and hopeful unity and hopeful unified hopefulness or whatever the hell he's talking about, unity can be wonderful. Unity can be a fantastic thing. It can be profound of evils. Rape gangs are unified, the mob is unified. In our political culture the hero is the individual who stands up to the mob an says you will not hang this man today. The founding fathers, you read the Federalist Papers, federalist 10, federalist 51, it's all about the importance of preventing unity. That's why we have divided government, three branches of government each vying for control over the other, we have a Bill of Rights, we have separation of powers, you know, we have 50 state governments, each of them divided up and it's all to protect against the dangers of majoritarian faction brimming with a sense of unity that gets to destroy the rights of the minority. And conservatives are uniquely positioned because we actually care about the Constitution in a way that the left doesn't. The left, when they say they care about the Constitution, what they really mean is they care about doing good and so they invoke the Constitution when it helps them and they call for a living or new constitution whenever it gets in their way. We actually care what the actual Constitution says and for conservatives in particular, what we need to simply do is stand by these principles and point out to the opposition that simply because something seems good doesn't mean that we should be violating the Constitution or violating the American tradition of letting liberty and democracy and republic, small R republicanism, that we shouldn't violate these things simply because we've gotten caught up in some fad. Because that's what fascism was and always is. It's a fad. It's one of these things where people get a fire in their mind, they get all excited, they get imbued with that same spirit that when we were teenagers we said, if we all work our hardest, we can make this our best yearbook ever.
GLENN: Jonah Goldberg, name of the book is Liberal Fascism. Always good to talk to you, Jonah. We'll talk again.
GOLDBERG: Thanks, Glenn.