Hey, Can’t We Just Leave The Bad Fascism Similes To The Nutroots??

Via lots of leftie blogs, comments on Jonah Goldberg’s jaw-dropppingly stupid new book: ‘Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

I’ve just looked at what’s on Amazon about it, and read the cites on the blogs.

At some point, you dilute the meaning of words until they don’t mean anything at all. I don’t like lots about what passes for liberalism now; and I’m also not shy about suggesting that the Islamists share characteristics with fascism – but here’s a key difference: fascists actually brutalize and kill people.

Liberals are annoying, and over-regulate things.

When gangs of Green thugs start beating down Hummer drivers, we can start talking about this. Until then, can I implore everyone – right and left – to find a new friggin’ metaphor?

41 thoughts on “Hey, Can’t We Just Leave The Bad Fascism Similes To The Nutroots??”

  1. ww is a spam troll!

    [On it, Hobo. Thanks. –NM]

    AL- The problem is that the Progressive Left allies itself so closely with those that really are Fascisti. Just like the communists have become ‘progressive socialists’ (the new Democratic party or at least the portions beholding to the Soros nutters) and the old Fascists (who WERE allied with the present bunch) have become the new Islamofascists that does not mean they are any less dangerous to the side of freedom. As a matter of fact they are more dangerous because they have learned the PR game. Now, that is not to say that the term has not become over used but what do you suggest we call them? Vern is taken.

    They are Fascists, or maybe little ‘f’ – fascists. But a rose is still a fascist if it has thorns or some such……

    A free open society is the most fragile as it allows the kind of open discourse where terms can become over used and therefore trite. Then the words lose some of their validity but they still do matter.

    The Hobo

  2. The left in the US doesn’t have quite the same problem with fascism that the left in the EU has. Look into the “Antifa and Antira”:http://wolfpangloss.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/antifas-fascist-aunty/ movements of militant and violent so-called “anti-fascists” and “anti-racists” who “go medieval”:http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2007/10/siad-attacked-by-autonomer.html on anyone who is not their kind of self-loathing socialist.

  3. I think A.L. is right. Fascism is too much like having some kind of principle.

    As Walter Sobchak said, “Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  4. Robin Roberts: Exactly what are the odds that the commentary you’ve encountered about his book correctly relate his argument?

    If he’s reading the same bloggers who utterly fail to relate my arguments correctly, I’d say the odds are almost, if not exactly, zero.

  5. Godwin’s Law still stands strong!

    Seriously, every discussion gets nazi overtones these days. It’s just too much. I would seriously wish everyone would agree to remove words like Hitler, haulocaust (etc) from pollitical discourse. It’s just to easy to call people ‘little hitler’s’ without providing any evidence that these insults are deserving.

    But this is par for the course these days…. And Jonah Goldberg is just another writer profiting from it.

  6. When he first started working on it some years ago, Goldberg put out a “bleg” for books on the theory, the academic underpinnings, of actual, historical fascism (I recommendeded the essay “Anti-Marxism” in von Mises’ Critique of Interventionism). I’ll be curious to see how much he actually wrote about that. I avoid judging books by their titles because authors don’t get to pick the titles.

    That said, yes, after “Nazi” and “Hitler,” references to “fascists” and Nineteen Eighty-Four are at the top of the “overused political references” list. If Goldberg gives a good popular account of what fascism really was, he will have done good service.

  7. In a world in which Green “activists” have engaged in vandalism, arson, assault, and attempted murder against car dealerships, manufacturing plants, and research scientists of various sorts for some decades now, that last paragraph is a “caught stealing”, AL.

  8. Often, both Europeans and Americans improperly apply European political categories to American politics. This error can lead to formulations that would be strange if they weren’t so damnably common. For example, there is no right-wing in American politics. Mainstream American conservatism is informed by a Whig sentiment, not a Tory view.

    By contrast, the American Left does descend from the Continental Left. The Progressive movement was founded by people like Woodrow Wilson. He developed his Leftist views during his university education in Europe. The Progressive movement radically altered the system of government in the US. In an attempt to emulate European systems, Progressives erected the edifice of the administrative state. This administrative state was and is unconstitutional and abusive of liberty: the agencies combine all three branches of government into one body. The agencies enjoy de facto recognition as legitimate bodies, and I fear nothing can alter that now.

    Wilson’s dream was achieved after his death — the country is run by “experts” who “know best” how to live.

    Can we take these criticisms too far? Yes. I haven’t read Jonah’s book. I can’t yet judge it. But in defense of books like Jonah’s, I know that many liberals are unaware of the dark history of Leftist politics. Liberals simply re-label Leftist fascism as ‘right-wing.’ This is an error, and it needs to be corrected. ‘Neo-liberalism’ is not a synonym for ‘the good.’

    If you want more scholarly treatments of the subject:

    “Pestrito”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0742515176
    “Revel”:http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Americanism-Jean-Francois-Revel/dp/159403060X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198079252&sr=1-1

    and

    “A Genealogy of Anti-Americanism”:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0377/is_2003_Summer/ai_104136473

  9. Lefty blogs like Sadly No are usually wrong about everything but even a stopped clock..

    The title is: “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”

    Liberal is not synonymous with left. Classic Liberals, like the people who founded the country and wrote the constitution, support a free market, equal opportunity and the separation of church and state.

    The Left believes that the state should enforce equality through collective interests. They’re opposed to individualism and an insufficiently regulated free market.

    And what does Mussolini have to do with the history of the American left?

    If the title is that problematic, I’d worry about the rest of the text.

  10. The left in the US doesn’t have quite the same problem with fascism that the left in the EU has. Look into the Antifa and Antira movements of militant and violent so-called “anti-fascists” and “anti-racists” who go medieval on anyone who is not their kind of self-loathing socialist.

    No they don’t.

    Western Euro antifa groups often follow the same path as the regular left: hate America, hate Israel, love the Palestinians, hate the right. But the antifa groups in formerly communist countries are anti-authoritarian. They’ve seen where traditional leftism leads, and they don’t like it.

    These antifa groups attend pro-Israel rallies, they wave American flags and they beat up skinheads. Since skinheads in Europe have a habit of beating up and murdering immigrants because they’re immigrants, I’d guess that the Eastern Antifa groups are following the old slogan of the left, “Fascism means war”

    A self-described “cosmopolitan communist,” Fischer is an activist and publicist for the so-called “Anti-Deutsch,” or radically anti-German , pro-Israeli, pro-American position, a minority view among the range of mostly anti-American radical left subject positions in Germany. He had rejected the traditional pro-Palestinian view of the German left (and of the GDR) by adopting a historical narrative of the postwar German state as incurably anti-semitic and potentially (again) genocidal. This is a position that defends the U.S. as the primary ally to Israel, views the September 11th attacks as essentially anti-semitic, accepts the U.S. war in Iraq as necessary to eliminate the “fascist dictator” Saddam Hussein, and believes that “communism can come only after full bourgeois freedom (simply: liberalism) has been spread worldwide.”[xii]

  11. Mary, are you equivocating? Modern liberals are not Classical Liberals. Traditional conservatives, like Wm. F. Buckley, are Classical Liberals. It’s not possible for progressives or modern liberals to lay claim to that heritage.

    Neo-liberalism is a reaction against Classical Liberalism. By and large, American neo-liberals are advocates of “social democracy”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy , a hugely popular European political ideology rooted in socialism. (Most American neo-liberals are NOT advocates of “democratic socialism”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_socialism as some conservatives have claimed.)

    “Here’s”:http://www.reason.com/news/show/122026.html what Mussolini has to do with the American Left.

    bq. In the North American Review in 1934, the progressive writer Roger Shaw described the New Deal as “Fascist means to gain liberal ends.” He wasn’t hallucinating. FDR’s adviser Rexford Tugwell wrote in his diary that Mussolini had done “many of the things which seem to me necessary.” Lorena Hickok, a close confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt who lived in the White House for a spell, wrote approvingly of a local official who had said, “If [President] Roosevelt were actually a dictator, we might get somewhere.” She added that if she were younger, she’d like to lead “the Fascist Movement in the United States.” At the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the cartel-creating agency at the heart of the early New Deal, one report declared forthrightly, “The Fascist Principles are very similar to those we have been evolving here in America.” Roosevelt himself called Mussolini “admirable” and professed that he was “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” The admiration was mutual.

    Of course there are important qualifications.

    .bq To compare is not to equate, as Schivelbusch says. It’s sobering to note the real parallels among these systems. But it’s even more important to remember that the U.S. did not succumb to dictatorship. Roosevelt may have stretched the Constitution beyond recognition, and he had a taste for planning and power previously unknown in the White House. But he was not a murderous thug. And despite a population that “literally waited for orders,” as McCormick put it, American institutions did not collapse. The Supreme Court declared some New Deal measures unconstitutional. Some business leaders resisted it. Intellectuals on both the right and the left, some of whom ended up in the early libertarian movement, railed against Roosevelt. Republican politicians (those were the days!) tended to oppose both the flow of power to Washington and the shift to executive authority.

  12. Jeff – I consider myself to be a classic liberal. I support the public schools, free enterprise, the second amendment and a nation’s right to defend itself. There are a fair number of classic liberals who share the same views.

    Since the “progressive” left has basically stolen the term Liberal for themselves, classic liberals usually call themselves moderate or independent. But we do exist.

  13. Fascist, Liberal, Lefty, Nazi are pretty much buzz words that I ignore. Once someone starts using them I take those people a lot less seriously. They are excuses for actually thnking about something as far as I can see. I also don’t really care much for people who base their views on what they are not.

    I am more impressed by people who clearly define who *they* are by what *they* believe.

  14. Mary, that is an interesting distinction you make between Libearls and The Left, although I am not sure that there isn’t more overlap between the two than you are allowing. But you also raise the interesting idea of who gets to name these things, and who gets to remove the unwanted hairs from an otherwise cherished label.

    If the progressive left stole the label of liberal, then the religious right turned it into the pejorative term that it has become today.

    I think the fundamental diffference between a true liberal (what you are calling a Classical Liberal or Moderate) and a leftist, is that a Liberal believes that once you have instituted the basic tenets of liberalism into society, you have achieved an optimal society and there’s no more than can rightly be done. A Leftist sees the ulitmate goals of liberalism (equality and freedom) as still unmet and continues to seek remedy.

    I think I am definitely a Liberal, but I can sometimes see the merits of some Leftist movements. I am a Lefteral. or a Liberist.

  15. I have to agree with AL and would just add one point – 95% of all partisan political books are absolute crap and do little more than try to reinforce the prejudices and preconceived notions of their targeted audience.

  16. bq. mary wrote, “classic liberals usually call themselves moderate or independent.”

    Not really. Most moderates and independents are liberals or libertarians.

  17. mark:

    If the progressive left stole the label of liberal, then the religious right turned it into the pejorative term that it has become today.

    That fits the comfortable li’brul narrative, but that’s not what happened, boys and girls.

    The word “progressive” was adopted by certain leftists who wanted to distinguish themselves from mere liberals, but who balked at simply using the word “leftist”. (People who were not afraid to call themselves leftists mercilessly ridiculed them for this.) Progessive meant something like “I’m not a communist and I’m not Hubert Humphrey.”

    That’s how the word originated, but that’s not how it’s used today. Today it’s become a facile and empty word used to obscure, not define. For example, mere liberals like Alan Colmes are called “progressives” so that “progressives” can pretend that something called “progressive talk radio” exists.

    Now you bring up the claim that is always made by liberal-progressive-whatevers, that the right has Humpty-Dumpty powers over words and can make as many of them dirty as they want, like a kind of lexigraphic zoning commission.

    It makes little difference whether American liberals shy away from labels because they are scared of words, scared of the right, scared of the left, or just naturally superstitious. The fact is that they have a hell of a time explaining who they are, a deficiency that they choose to blame on others, and that this problem goes back to early American history. Liberals of Jefferson’s era proudly called themselves “republicans” until the French Reign of Terror made it a scary word, after which they hesitated to call themselves anything at all.

    This reticence doesn’t prevent them labeling everybody else with the worst sort of pejoratives, of course.

    Once again I’m reminded of John F. Kennedy, Jr. at the 1988 Democratic convention: “I think we need to get away from all of these liberals – I mean, labels!”

  18. Glen,

    “Now you [meaning me] bring up the claim that is always made by liberal-progressive-whatevers, that the right has Humpty-Dumpty powers over words and can make as many of them dirty as they want, like a kind of lexigraphic zoning commission.”

    When did I ever make such claim? Perhaps in your mind the claim of a single occurence can automatically be generalized into a claim of widespread occurence. But it can’t in mine. In the future please don’t attribute to me claims that I have never made, or assume that I draw the same preposterous conclusions that you do.

  19. mark:

    When did I ever make such claim?

    Uh, in the post that I quoted, and which you just re-quoted? To wit: “the religious right turned it into the pejorative term that it has become today.”

    Now this is something that I’ve heard a hundred times before. If I understand your objection you are claiming that this “perjorativization” by the religious right (Incidentally, why the religious right?) waa a unique event, and if you believe this event happened it doesn’t mean it’s a general phenomenon.

    To which I answer: The only proven phenomenon here is the self-definition problem of the liberal, and the liberal’s tendency to blame this problem on non-liberals. The conservative has no such difficulty, no matter how many times “conservative” is used as a pejorative.

  20. In other words, Glen, you answer with a non-sequitur. How very persuasive and clever of you. I’ll note that you have a pretty low threshold for something to be declared “proven” and then I’ll shut up as I’m here to discuss ideas not counter mindless rants.

  21. mark, Glen pointed out that you said that (paraphrased) “the religious right had turned liberal into a bad word,” only he said in a way that mocked it… and you… for the obvious silliness of the claim.

    The truth is that Smashmouth turned liberal into a bad word with this lyric:

    bq. She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb In the shape of an “L” on her forehead

    “L” is for Liberal, Leftist, Loser, or something like that.

  22. yeah, Wolf, it is obviously silly to believe that a segment of society can turn the meaning of a word around in a generation or so. It’s never ever happened before…hos are still hos and yankees are still yankees and a massachuesttes liberal meant exactly the same thing when applied to jfk as it did to dukakis. I really deserved to be mocked because I should have realized that a word’s connotations are forever etched in stone and cannot be changed by ironic usage. Thanks for the insight in pointing that out.

  23. mary replies

    bq. _The left in the US doesn’t have quite the same problem with fascism that the left in the EU has. Look into the Antifa and Antira movements of militant and violent so-called “anti-fascists” and “anti-racists” who go medieval on anyone who is not their kind of self-loathing socialist._

    bq. No they don’t.

    I’m not sure to what your pronoun “they” refers.

    I guess you are saying that the antifa are anti-communists. I’ll just say that doesn’t match the information I have, which indicates they are warmed-over communists with a fondness for mob violence (i.e. fascists according to the definition in the links I sent).

    As I wrote “here”:http://wolfpangloss.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/antifas-fascist-aunty/

    bq. So what we have in antifa is a militant group movement that seeks to bully and physically attack those who it perceives as being of the right, precisely because they are of the right and hold with capitalist or counterjihad principles. The Nazi party was the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Antifa is a violent socialist group intent on suppressing others by violence. In other words, the antifa movement is by no means anti-fascist, but actually is exactly as fascist as the Nazi SS Brownshirts.

    Maybe there are multiple flavors of antifas, with some being anti-communist and others being all-out communists or anarchists. I can’t say. They are out of my day-to-day sphere of experience.

    But I would welcome a clear exposition on the differences.

  24. _The word “progressive” was adopted by certain leftists who wanted to distinguish themselves from mere liberals, but who balked at simply using the word “leftist”. (People who were not afraid to call themselves leftists mercilessly ridiculed them for this.) Progessive meant something like “I’m not a communist and I’m not Hubert Humphrey.”_

    _That’s how the word originated, but that’s not how it’s used today. Today it’s become a facile and empty word used to obscure, not define._

    From your description, I don’t see the difference. ;)

  25. _Now you bring up the claim that is always made by liberal-progressive-whatevers, that the right has Humpty-Dumpty powers over words and can make as many of them dirty as they want, like a kind of lexigraphic zoning commission._

    Actually, I think the media had a whole lot to do with it. You know, the so-called “liberal media”.

  26. So what we have in antifa is a militant group movement that seeks to bully and physically attack those who it perceives as being of the right, precisely because they are of the right and hold with capitalist or counterjihad principles.

    I’ve spoken to members East German antifa and they didn’t bully me, despite the fact that I’m pro-capitalist and anti-jihad.

    Maybe there are multiple flavors of antifas, with some being anti-communist and others being all-out communists or anarchists. I can’t say. They are out of my day-to-day sphere of experience.

    There’s this antifa member who said, in his post “Why I won’t be at the peace march”

    Almost everybody seems to agree: The left and the neo-nazis, the whole of Germany and the Islamic world: A group of evil, callous, cynical powermongers, obsessed with ruling the world have nothing else on their mind than bombing innocent civilians and sacrificing their own youth in their quest for oil and wold domination. For this they use their propaganda machinery, fake and forge and lie. Against this all the decent people(s) of the world should stand up and mobilise against the ‚tyrants’. We’ll all get another opportunity to show our strength as a civil society on february 15 – and march alongside Hamas sympathisers shouting ‚Jews to the gas!’…

    …Of course pacifists will logically prefer fascism to war.

    But neither the Islamists, nor the neo-nazis, nor the Germans, nor the ‚left’ who are against this war are usually pacifists (with the exception of a segment of the left, and some christians). So we have to assume that they follow another agenda. An agenda that in this context means that they don’t give a f-ck about the victims of a fascist dictatorship and only care about positioning themslves against America.

    A simple rule for me is if a communist or right wing group supports groups like Hamas, they’re not on my side.

    However, if we’re trying to determine whether a group is racist or not, a racist condemns a group of people for what they are, not what they do. If someone condemns Hamas because they’re a bunch of genocidal, anti-Semitic warmongers, that makes sense. If someone condemns them because they’re Muslims, and if someone believes that all Muslims worldwide should be punished for Hamas’ crimes, I don’t agree with that.

  27. mark –

    My third quotation of this thread:

    “I wasn’t making fun of you, I was heaping ridicule on a silly notion – a practice which I shall always follow.” – Robert A. Heinlein

    Incidentally, you mentioned Dukakis, which leads me to think you understand perfectly well what I’m talking about. Recall that during that election liberals pleaded with Dukakis to just utter the phrase “I am a liberal” and he refused to do it until a couple of days before the election, when he could have said “I am a paramecium” without making things any worse.

  28. J. Thomas:

    Actually, I think the media had a whole lot to do with it. You know, the so-called “liberal media”.

    And I think that the difference lies in how “liberals” and “conservatives” perceive the public, and how they view the relationship between the media and the public.

    Let’s be clear about what aversion to the word liberal means – it means that liberals are afraid that embracing the word will make them unelectable (or unpersuasive). Again, conservatives have no such qualms. There are currently three or four Republicans fighting over who gets to be Mister Conservative.

    Why do liberals think that “liberal” sounds such a sour note with the public? Certainly not because of any defect of liberalism itself, emphatically not! Instead it’s because the word has somehow been unfairly tainted, and “the media” is generally blamed for this.

    Being an avid media consumer from birth, I don’t need “sociologists”:http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/The-Role-and-Influence-of-Mass-Media.topicArticleId-26957,articleId-26946.html to tell me that the establishment media uses the word “liberal” sparingly and the word “conservative” liberally, and frequently uses superlatives like “ultra-conservative” and “arch conservative” that are not applied to liberals.

    However, I think that you can justly blame the media after all, for they have unintentionally harmed liberals in this manner. The public is composed of cognitive human beings, not herd animals, and they know very well that the word “liberal” is unpopular – with liberals. This does not enhance liberalism in their estimation, because people dislike deceptive advertising.

    It depends on whether you believe that the public mostly forms opinions of its own, or whether you believe the public mostly believes what it is told. The liberal approach to new media forms – editorial radio in particular – seems to be based on the idea that the public will accept liberalism as readily as conservatism, so long as it is shouted at them loudly enough over enough frequencies. Yet they still avoid the name, and resort to “progressive” or “alternative” instead.

    There’s a final point to be made here, because the belief that the public is a herd that can be controlled through mass media is a major tenet of a certain political philosophy. I’m not going to say it, but it’s mentioned in the title of this post. If I say it, people will go utter apeshit. It’s probably better not to talk about these things at all, come to think of it.

  29. A.L.
    “mark, to this reader it sure looks like you made the claim. I’m puzzled at your reaction, to be honest.”

    Let me try to explain it, then. First read the entirety of #17 (to Mary) in which, in the context of discussing the idea of who gets to attach labels to groups, I paraphrased her remark (in #15) that progressives “stole” the liberal label from what she considers to be true liberals. Now note the tiny, two-letter word “if” at the beginning of my apparently mockable statement that, I would have thought, casts some doubt on the accuracy of the claim. Basically I was saying that if that were true, you could also say the right turned it into a pejorative term. (for the record, I don’t believe either is wholly true, but that each has some truth to it, which was kind of my point.)

    Glen seems to think that from that statement it must necessarily follow that I believe the right “can makes as many” words “dirty as they want.” My reaction was to this over-simplistic, broad-brush absolutist, approach to ideas. This sort of knee-jerk ideological reductionism is, frankly, very annoying. To me how labels get assigned, which ones stick and which ones don’t, and how meaning gets shifted, often in ironic directions, is interesting food for thought. Glen seems so involved in his hunt for stupid liberals that he misses out on the interesting bits. If I were to say, for example, that a black man can call another black man a nigga, but a white man can’t, would Glen say that I must believe black men had the power to change the meaning of as many words as they wanted? Is that type of thinking helpful? Why don’t we just draw a thick line in the middle of the playground and assume that everyone standing on the other side is an idiot and it’d be really fun to shout juvenile insults at them. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sworn to myself I’d never peek in to WoC again. I don’t know why I keep coming back. I guess I enjoy having it explained over and over that my thinking just “fits the comfortable li’brul narrative.” That’s what passes for an exchange of ideas.

  30. mark:

    I think Glen is making a fairly astute point. The media doesn’t apply the liberal/leftist/progressive label to people/ideas until they get fairly out of the mainstream, whereas they’re quick to label even mainstream conservative people/ideas as conservative. By not identifying the reasonable liberal elements as such, the fringe elements wind up possessing the label. This has the effect of making terms “liberal”/”leftist”/”progressive” evolve to become pejoratives while the term “conservative” remains more or less descriptive.

    The end result is that there’s a broad swath of reasonable opinion that winds up lacking any reasonable label.

  31. SG, you are bringing a new element into the discussion: the media, which is fine, but was never mentioned by Glen or by me. I think you are being extraordinarily generous in your interpretation of his #20.

    From your comment I gather that you believe that there is no band along the left-conservative spectrum that is neither liberal nor conservative. In other words, a person or idea must either be conservative or it must be liberal. For my part, I don’t accept this. I believe there are a host of ideas & positions which would be best termed “centrist” or “moderate”. In this band, I believe, most Americans fall, as well as the bulk of the MSM.

  32. mark:

    My post was more in reference to Glen’s comment #33 which did mention the media quite explicitly. But upon re-reading #33, I think Glen may have been writing ironically. But regardless of Glen’s sincerity in offering it, I think the interpretation I took has some merit.

    I don’t think the sum total of opinions across all issues lie on a single left-right axis, but on any particular issue a single axis it makes a reasonable approximation. If you view the “centrist” point as the median position and imagine a bell curve around that centrist position, there’s (say) 1.5 standard deviations on either side that’s reasonable. The media labels the reasonable side to the right of center as “conservative” (and the unreasonable part as “ultra-conservative”) and labels the part beyond the reasonable band to the left, but typically has no label for the reasonable side on the left of center. That makes the label used for the opinions outside of reasonableness on the left into a pejorative for large segments of the population, even some who are on the same side of center.

    BTW, I can accept “centrist” as a political label (say the band with +/- 1.2 std. dev of “true” center, which encompasses a lot of people.) but not “moderate”. Moderate is an adjective, not a noun. But in general, I don’t dispute that there’s a lot of people who aren’t strongly left or right of center (and often in both places at once when you’re talk about different issues) But our two party system tends to make it hard to speak about political opinion breaking down in groups of larger than two.

  33. SG, you are right. I stopped reading Glen after his #22 (there are a finite number of minutes in one’s life after all) and I now see you were responding to his #33, though why you addressed your response about it to me remains somewhat mysterious.

    Moderate is both a noun and an adjective in the same way that both liberal and conservative can be used as either. Tellingly, unlike the other two, it is also a verb. I think that your schematic doesn’t really portray an accurate picture of American politics for the following reason: in the US, the left or liberal segment doesn’t occupy an equivalent space as the right or conservative. To my mind, our two-party system is divided between the conservatives and the centrists, with the liberals shunted off to a small space on the far-end. It’s hard to think of an actual bill in Congress passed within the last 3+ decades that could be described as “liberal,” at least as the term is used on this website. The US political spectrum is heavily skewed to the right and this would be apparent, I believe, if it were superimposed upon a “Western” political spectrum.

    So, I would use moderate, centrist, liberal and conservative somewhat differently, I think, than you would. I would use content as well a relative position when assigning labels. It’s why I think the media has a moderate- or centrist-bias, not a liberal one.

  34. SG:

    But upon re-reading #33, I think Glen may have been writing ironically.

    No, you had it right the first time. I was not being ironic in #33.

    In #20 I was, however, being entirely facetious about the lexigraphic zoning commission, which of course does not exist.

    I decline to reiterate the point in some other words, because I’m sick and tired of discussions that consist of 90% belly-aching.

  35. Goldberg’s book is being caricatured. Instapundit has a nice Glenn and Helen Show where they talk to Goldberg and get a better summary of its arguments. Yes, Godwin’s law does come up.

    The title “Liberal Fascism” is a direct quote from H.G. Wells, who coined the term himself to describe his own political outlook. He was trying to describe a form of benign collectivism. Goldberg used the quote because it obviously draws a direct connection between American Liberalism (what is now starting to be called Progressivism or the Left), socialism and fascism.

    I think you’d do well to wait for the New York Times’s review before you judged the book. It may well be dead wrong in its facts or reasoning, but you won’t know from blog posts by people who haven’t read the book either. If the reviews are good then you can decide whether to actually read it. If they are bad, then you can slam the book from an informed perspective without wasting money or brain cells on reading it.

    Either way, the unfortunate cover art notwithstanding, it sounded from the interview and his writing like this isn’t the kind of political hack job that it sounds like.

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