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* Militarization of politics and society. This doesn’t mean support for a strong military, but rather exporting the values, images, and organizing principles of the military into society as a whole.
* The need for “great” leaders, and personality cults around them.
* The belief that politics can replace religion, and the view that the state ought to be vehicle of spiritual rebirth.
* Obsession with action, and impatience with the vicissitudes of democracy and constitutionalism.
GOLDBERG ARGUES, controversially, that the first fascist dictator was not Mussolini, but actually Woodrow Wilson, whose style of governance had all of the above elements. Wilson used World War I as a pretext to criminalize disloyalty, mount extra-constitutional attacks on his political enemies, and trample on the freedom of the press.
We generally remember Warren G. Harding’s call for a “return to normalcy.” What we forget is that returning to normalcy involved releasing political prisoners.
During a 1912 campaign speech, Wilson declared that “there is one principle of Jefferson’s which no longer can obtain in the practical politics of America” — that being the principle that the government that governs least governs best.p>Voters didn’t have much of a Jeffersonian choice in that election. Theodore Roosevelt was running against Wilson on a platform of “New Nationalism” — a nationalism heavily inflected with socialism. Writes Goldberg: br> /p>
Since Wilson ended up governing largely as a New Nationalist, the subtler distinctions between his and Roosevelt’s platforms do not matter very much for our purposes. America was going to get a progressive president no matter what in 1912. And while those of us with soft spots for Teddy might like to think things would have turned out very differently had he won, we are probably deluding ourselves.br> This brings us to our current election cycle. The next president of the United States will be one of three people, all of whom are unmistakable exponents of what Goldberg calls liberal fascism.
JOHN McCAIN IS a huge admirer of TR. His career has been marked by an instinctive enthusiasm for regulation. He brags of a military career chosen “for patriotism, not for profit,” clearly viewing civilian life as debased.
Goldberg’s Afterword, “The Tempting of Conservatism,” holds up McCain and the “National Greatness Conservatives” who backed him in 2000 as an example of how progressivism can enthrall conservatives. (Possible good news: McCain has praised free markets in the course of this campaign — for the first time in his political career, according to McCain biographer Matt Welch.)
Hillary Clinton’s calls in the '90s for a “new politics of meaning” and for the state to act as the “village” that raises our children has deeply totalitarian implications that Goldberg discusses at length. In 1996 she declared that “there isn’t really any such thing as someone else’s child.” Assessing her worldview, Goldberg labels Clinton “The First Lady of Liberal Fascism.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?