Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chapters 8 and 9 of Liberal Fascism: Clinton-Era Liberal Fascism

This last part of the core argument of Liberal Fascism is where Goldberg's thesis is the strongest and therefore toughest to prove: that the political ideology of the Clintons is fascist.

He succeeds by showing that this is an acceptable description of this ideology:

In Clinton's village, however, there is no public square where free men and women and their voluntary associations deal with each other on their own terms free from the mommying of the state. There are no private transactions, just a single "spiritual community that links us to a higher purpose" managed by the state.

This is fascist enough for me. Of course, there is no brutality in this fascism, and this is a sense in which Clinton-era fascism is nice which I don't think Goldberg touches upon. Instead of intimidating their opposition with violence, Clinton-types procures allegiance to their project by appealing to the many Americans who harbor envy and resentment of the wealthy, who fail to find fulfillment in ordinary projects separately from the state, or who long for the excitement of being part of a brave new creation of a Great Society. in my opinion, Goldberg doesn't just barely prove that Clinton-era liberalism just barely counts as fascistic. He shows that it is squarely in the center of the set of fascistic ideologies and is unexcelled by any of them.

There are many implementations of fascism, and as I've suggested in an earlier post, brutality is not essential to fascism. Also there are several techniques for gaining power as a fascist: democratic, rhetorical, and brutal techniques. A fascist government can come to power by means of any combination of these techniques. These techniques can be hypnotic in effect upon followers of the regime. And it is necessary for the fascist state to cultivate this effect if it is to succeed. After all, it requires a crippling of each individual's ability to distinguish his personal fulfillment from that of the state - a sort of forgetfulness of who he is.

This concludes my series on the argument in Goldberg's book. I haven't said anything about chapter 8 on the means by which the fascist politician gains the cooperation of big business because there is nothing in it of philosophical interest for me to comment on. It is a depressing chapter that shows how the fascist politician appeals to the envy and resentment of the middle and lower classes and to big business's desire for government assistance. These appeals enable the fascist to achieve a partnership between government and big business: tentacles for the fascist state. If you aren't inclined to read the whole book, just read this chapter to get a picture of one of the chief techniques by which the fascist puts us in the deplorable position in which we now find ourselves.