The Obama Agenda: Part 1 - Jonah Goldberg

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg

In his Philadelphia speech kicking off his inauguration weekend train ride to Washington, Barack Obama proclaimed "What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives - from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry - an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."

Few sentences give us a better sense of Barack Obama's – dare I say – ideology.

Look at the things then-President-elect Obama lumps with the i-word: small-thinking, prejudice, bigotry. It certainly sounds like Obama thinks ideology is not only bad, but really bad. This is hardly the first time he's made it clear that he thinks ideology is backward and undesirable. Remember his famous comment that small town folks who bitterly cling to their guns and religion because of the lack of jobs and other progressive economic policies? The press downplayed the rest of the quote. He went on to say that the same people might also cling to "antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

In other words, ideology is something people who don't know better, who can't tell right from wrong, use to explain the world. Or, even simpler: Ideologues are people who disagree with Barack Obama.

In remarks shortly before the inauguration, Obama cast himself as an open-minded pragmatist. He said that he's receptive to new ideas wherever they come from, Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal. But he also insisted that the one thing we all know is: "only government" can fix the mess we're in. Never mind that this, too, is an ideological position. Indeed, Obama holds any number of ideological positions, on abortion he's to the left of NARAL, he believes everyone is better off when we "spread the wealth around."

Now, I disagree with many of Obama's positions -- but not because they are ideological. There's nothing wrong with ideological positions. Heck why is "anti-trade sentiment" an ideological position but pro-trade sentiment not? For the record, I'm very, very pro-trade. But I'm not ashamed to admit mine is an ideological position. Ideology is simply a collection of principles, a checklist of aims and priorities we hold up to important questions. "Does this protect our liberties?" is an ideological question, and a good one. I'm not embarrassed to ask it.

But this misses the point. Obama is laying down a rhetorical perimeter around his administration: Any criticism that questions his assumptions will be deemed "ideological" and, hence, illegitimate. Everything he does will be cast as pragmatic problem solving, every objection will be dismissed as the rants and gripes of dogmatists and ideologues.

This is a very old tactic. Woodrow Wilson, the first PhD president, insisted that his policies were rooted in the immutable laws of science and anyone who objected was a boob, a rube or, sometimes, a traitor. FDR promised that he, too, was a "pragmatist" who would take good ideas from his supposedly dispassionate Brain Trust. The New Deal itself was sold to the American people as a "post-ideological" enterprise. Whatever the merits of the New Deal, few people today looking back at it think of it as an ideology free effort. It's worth noting that this was precisely the argument laid out by fascist movements across Europe, who proclaimed themselves to be "beyond ideology" and "neither right nor left."

John F. Kennedy unveiled precisely the same argument. Don't worry your pretty little heads, Americans, we have the best and brightest here and they know what to do, Kennedy told Americans. "Most of the problems ... that we now face, are technical problems, are administrative problems," Kennedy explained, and these problems should be taken out of the give-and-take of politics and left to the experts. Even Michael Dukakis tried to play this card, arguing in his Democratic acceptance speech in 1988 that the issue of the election was "competence, not ideology."

What's offensive about this argument is not only that it assumes anyone who disagrees with liberal conventional wisdom is somehow unhinged from reality, but that liberals themselves have a monopoly on commonsense.

But that doesn't mean it isn't effective. Americans like to think they're pragmatists. They've been taught for years that being ideological is bad. Worse, mainstream journalists are convinced they're objective and dispassionate (stop laughing). This post-partisan rhetoric is exactly what they love to hear because it confirms all of their biases. That's why the national press loves politicians like Michael Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their nominal Republicans who define their "post-partisanship" as signing onto every liberal assumption about the role of the state.

The size and cost of government will expand enormously over the next 12 to 18 months. If you have a problem with that don't be surprised when you're called an "ideologue."

Jonah Goldberg, an LA Times columnist and National Review editor-at-large, is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.


The conditions in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule — for Americans, allies, Christians, women and more — continue to deteriorate, and the people there continue to plead that we will not forget them. On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck gave an emotional update on current evacuation efforts, including the tragic story of one girl — an American passport holder — who was not rescued in time.

"I have a pit in my stomach like I haven't had in a while. What is happening in Afghanistan is both miraculous and horrendous," Glenn began. "What's going on right now one of the most amazing things I've ever personally witnessed — the evacuation of Americans, those [Afghans] who helped us, Christians that are dying, women that are under incredible conditions. I see things that I can't show you. I see the pleadings from people who are in safe houses, 'Please, don't forget us.' I see what they're being sent by the Taliban.

"If I die today, my entire life will have been worth it for what you have helped get done, in just the last three weeks. You have saved well over 5,000 people," he continued.

Fighting back tears, Glenn added, "I ask that you pray for those in the Middle East, that are in the midst of doing work, that a Moses-style miracle will happen. ... There are several people that are in dire need of medical care. Friday, we told you — along with the congressman from Oklahoma [Rep. Markwayne Mullin] who had just returned — [about] a father and two daughters that were blue passport Americans, and a mother who had a permanent residence, a Green Card. The daughter was very ill. And they thought, that if we couldn't get her out of there, that she would lose her legs. I got a call on Saturday morning, that we were too late, that she didn't lose her legs. She lost her life, waiting. There are now two Americans, instead of three."

Glenn showered his audience with gratitude, repeating that "well over 5000" lives have already been saved because of their incredible generosity, but lamented that there are still thousands more people yet to be saved.

Watch the video clip below to hear more updates from Glenn:


To donate to these rescue efforts, visit or

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Megyn Kelly pulled her sons out of the private elementary school they attended after she learned that the boys were asked "weekly" if they were still sure they were boys. But that's not all that this "experimental transgender education program" taught.

Megyn joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to tell the story, which she thought had ended when the school apologized, and to talk about what's next for America as our leaders refuse to promote actual psychological support for our kids and instead "parade" transgenderism as the solution to their problems.

"When [my son] was in third grade, I found out they unleashed a three-week experimental transgender education program on these boys, with really inappropriate videos. The kids were confused. These are 8- and 9-year-olds, Glenn. They have no idea what the school is even talking about with the trans thing. They got really in-depth, with really in-your-face videos — and then parents complained. And the school did something it hasn't done in its 400-year history, which was they apologized. Even they realized they had done wrong," Megyn explained.

"But, then I said to my son a year later, so did they ever round back to the trans thing? Like, whatever happened with it? And he said ... they bring it up every week. ... [They ask] how many people here still feel confident that they're a boy? Do you still feel sure you're a boy?" she continued. "This is not support. This is not nonbullying. This is indoctrination. And it's deeply confusing to the children, and wrong."

Megyn went on to give examples of how she's seen trans ideology turn "support, nonbullying, kindness, friendship, allyship, on its head."

"The absolute surrender of the medical community to this insanity is a scourge on this nation. It's disgusting what is happening with our doctors," she added. "There are people who are legitimately transgender, or who have gender dysphoria. And for those people, we should be supportive and they should get the care that they need. But what we've done instead, is taken everyone who expresses any kind of gender confusion and said, you're trans. You're trans. And we have our psychiatrists doing this."

"It's crazy," Megyn asserted. "The fact that we're doing this so willy-nilly in the name of allyship and support, it's abusive. It's criminal."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

"Never forget" is not only a tribute to those we've lost, it's a warning that it could happen AGAIN. On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck looks back 20 years ago to the modern generation's Pearl Harbor moment. A day of infamy we're STILL feeling repercussions from.

But in remembering 9/11, we need to look toward the future because the Biden administration is setting us up for the NEXT 9/11. They bungled the Afghanistan withdrawal, and now we have video of top al Qaeda commanders — who served with Osama bin Laden — returning to the country. But could America survive another terror attack?

Glenn asks former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the leader who brought America back from the brink. He tells Glenn about the moment he learned the Twin Towers were struck, the actions he took to prevent more terrorism, and if he thinks NYC could survive another attack under Mayor de Blasio's leadership.

Glenn is also joined by Rev. Johnnie Moore, author of "The Next Jihad." He warns that Biden's policies in the Middle East are Obama 2.0, and "if you thought ISIS was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We must keep our eyes on Iran."

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.