• Liberal Fascism

  • The Secret History of the American Left
  • By: Jonah Goldberg
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 15 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,150 ratings)

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Liberal Fascism

By: Jonah Goldberg
Narrated by: Johnny Heller
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Publisher's Summary

"Fascists", "Brownshirts", "jackbooted stormtroopers" - such are the insults typically hurled at conservatives by their liberal opponents. Calling someone a fascist is the fastest way to shut them up, defining their views as beyond the political pale. But who are the real fascists in our midst?

Liberal Fascism offers a startling new perspective on the theories and practices that define fascist politics. Jonah Goldberg reminds us that the original fascists were really on the left and that liberals from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt to Hillary Clinton have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler's National Socialism and Mussolini's Fascism.

Contrary to what most people think, the Nazis were ardent socialists (hence the term National Socialism). They believed in free health care and guaranteed jobs. They confiscated inherited wealth and spent vast sums on public education. They purged the church from public policy, and inserted the authority of the state into every nook and cranny of daily life. The Nazis declared war on smoking and supported abortion, euthanasia, and gun control.

Do these striking parallels mean that today's liberals are genocidal maniacs, intent on conquering the world and imposing a new racial order? Not at all. Yet it is hard to deny that modern progressivism and classical fascism shared the same intellectual roots. The modern heirs of a "friendly fascist" tradition include the New York Times, the Democratic Party, the Ivy League professoriate, and the liberals of Hollywood. The quintessential Liberal Fascist isn't an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.

These assertions may sound strange to modern ears, but that is because we have forgotten what fascism is. In this angry, funny, smart, contentious book, Jonah Goldberg turns our preconceptions inside out and shows us the true meaning of Liberal Fascism.

©2007 Jonah Goldberg (P)2008 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Certain to attract interest...across the political spectrum." ( Booklist)
"Provocative and well-researched....Seriously argued and funny." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Liberal Fascism

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

I was concerned that this would just be another "wacky" polemic that have been popular over the last decade. This goes into some great history of totalitarianism and shows how easy it is to give away liberty for the illusion of security. The author does a good job of showing how we are vulnerable to kind words that lead to the state governing over every area of an individual's life. It is amazing how we easily forget about the past and do the same thing. Great narrator. Great book that will give fresh perspective to those promising everything during this political year.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Deja Vu!

Every thoughtful American or Westerner (as in civilization) should read/listen to this book! It's not what most liberals think it is--a simplistic "lumping in" of liberalism and naziism--but, rather a fair-minded presentation of historical facts and the evolution of the philosophies behind the political evolution of Europe and now the U.S. The historical parallels are chilling. Goldberg does a great job of documenting and laying out the philosophical and political path that took the Germans to where they ended up less than 100 years ago. Contemporary political events bare a chilling resemblance. Whether we continue down the same road may depend in large part on whether we have "failed to learn the lessons of history" presented here.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Having been called a facist...

...by a liberal friend of mine, I found the book enlightening into why she called me that and how mis-informed she is. This book is filled with historical references but don't think it's a boring read. Quite to the contrary, the sarcasm and wit will keep you laughing as much as the analytical dissection of the term facism and the historical links to the Left will keep your mind engaged and enthralled.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Like everything you were taught is a lie.

This reminds me of the scene in Orwell's 1984 when the people HATED the enemy and suddenly big brother says your enemy is your friend and your friend is your enemy.

To say Hitler was a right-winger is laughable. Goldberg says Hitler followed the very left Marx, and Nietzsche, not the conserative Adam Smith, or John Locke.

Hitler was a revolutionary and sought to tear down everything thing so he could build his superman.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised

This book turned out to be so much better than I thought. Not only is it well-written, well-researched, and fair, but its well-narrated as an audiobook. I was interested in the subject matter, but after the first part, this book opens up into a history of Mussolini, Hitler, and Fascism in Europe. This, I found an added bonus and enjoyed learning about.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

One part fact, one part innuendo. Mix thoroughly.

This tract provides an interesting, and somewhat frightening insight into the language of conservative paranoia. By mixing fact, innuendo, and righteous indignation, the author attempts to both rehabilitate the political concept of fascism by divorcing it from the Holocaust and the early 20th century totalitarian dictatorships that adopted it, and wield the unrehabilitated connotation of it as a bludgeon, pairing it with the term "liberal" every sentence or two. The narrator does a great job with his voice by imparting a feeling of disdain and loathing for both terms. If you are looking for an intellectually honest treatment of the evolution of contemporary progressivism and liberalism from its revolutionary and reactionary roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is not the read for you, although there is a great deal in it that is factually correct. If you are looking for a diatribe worthy of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, then hook up your headphones and listen away! The admixture of fact, supposition, innuendo, and outright fabulous claims provides the nascent "liberal hater" with just enough intellectual cover to support the position, but not so much as to induce an inconveniently thoughtful consideration.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Putting fascism in its place

Jonah Goldberg has done a well-documented and thoroughly enjoyable look at the "f-bomb" of fascism. Like most Americans raised in the 80's and 90's, I took the term to mean oppressive, racist, nationalist, militaristic, intolerant and Right-wing. Historically all this was true, except for the "Right-wing" part. Big government and Big Brother, social safety net, power to people, workers of the world unite were the founding ideologies behind fascism, which is basically just an amped-up version of socialism on a national, but not international, scale. Basically the term got distorted to mean "right-wing" oppression because of academic slight of hand, necessitated by the need of liberal intellectuals to distance themselves from fascist Germany after the disgrace and atrocities of Hilter were exposed. Still, much of the rhetoric and symbolism of the fascist/progressive movement in America continues, and Goldberg lays it out. This is by far the most spell-binding audiobook I have heard, and the narrator is perfect for this book. Anybody who wants to broaden their mind about words and meaning, politics and history should check this out! 5-stars!

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent book

I was born and raised in Berkeley, and experienced Liberal Fascism first hand. This is an excellent explanation of what I experienced.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

HORRIBLE NARRATION. Dis-a-POINT-ed.

Audio: This narration by Johnny Heller is TERRIBLE. I knew in the first 2 minutes I didn't think I would like it, and 6+ intermittent hours later (of a 16 hour book) I have finally given up. The voice is raspy and hoarse, like he has a cold or a throat condition. He speaks sentences in groups of words and phrases, as though he has to catch his breath every 4 or 5 words. They are not pauses for commas or puncuation, just grouped word recitation that totally disrupts the flow of a sentence. He does that continously. How would you... like listening to someone... who spoke like that... all the time.

Then he will go into low-voice, furtive whisper mode as though he must be reading within a parentheses or footnote, but he will go on wayyyy longer than any parenthetical context should be. Speaking of voice shift, he will be reading at a certain tone level, then switch to a totally different level and stay that way, like he went on a bathroom break or a vacation and came back later. How annoying and distracting. I've listened to 7, 10, and 52 hours books that all have consistent delivery throughout. (See my other reviews.) Heller's delivery is HUGELY disappointing. He is supposedly a somewhat renown narrator, but his work on this book is a bust. Memo to self: NEVER buy an audiobook WITHOUT LISTENING to a SAMPLE!!! My bad. I got in a hurry during the "annual sale". What a waste of money, even at a discounted-price.

I do recommend narrators Christopher Hurt, James Adams, and C.M. Hebert. They are outstanding. Brian Emerson was very good also.

Caveat Emptor!

Content: It wouldn't be fair to comment, having only done 1/3 of the book. The histories of Mussolini, Hitler, Woodrow Wilson, and early F.D.R. were interesting though. And H.G. Wells sounds like a bad boy! But I'll have to continue with hard copy sometime, if I haven't been soured on it.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Well constructed case

This book carefully constructs the author's case that modern liberalism or progressivism is tantamount to modern facism. The historical framework of both Mussolini and Wilson are eerily familiar to things that we are seeing today. The concept of "central planning" and its popularity within the progressive movement is Orwellian in every sense. Excellent, thought provoking book. I will agree with one of the reviewers that the narration is a bit overdone, but the content is worth it.

13 people found this helpful