Friday, January 18, 2008

Liberal Fascism

John Emerson at Seeing The Forest explains how Jonah Goldberg seems to have leveled up from "wanker, garden variety" to "twit, pompous and idiotic" after the publication of his crank manifesto, Liberal Fascism: From Zyklon-B To Organic Trans-Fat Free Bran Cookies. This comes on the heels of David Neiwert having stepped up to be one of the few lonely voices to compose a serious review of Jonah's book, which most of the rest of us have wisely concluded we need not read to recognize that it's a setback, rather than a contribution, to the record of American arts and letters.

Personally, I think the Daniel Davies "shorter" concept needs to be deployed if you want to get to the nuts and bolts of Jonah's so-called "argument". Here's the nut quote from the book that explains what he's trying to say:
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.
That's right, kids. If you want to know what American fascism will be like when it goes public, then imagine a picture of a smiling day-care work giving a trans-fat free bran cookie to a cranky toddler... forever! (I lifted that crack from somebody somewhere, but I can't find the attribution for it. I'm pretty sure it was one of the comedy geniuses at Teh Sadly.)

Watching serious people respond to Jonah Goldberg is one of the more emotionally painful aspects of being an American these days. Sadly, it has to be done— and that, by itself, is a stunning admission of how terribly America has been brought low by its movement conservatarians. It isn't enough to mock and deride the "Doughy Pantload" (as Jonah Goldberg came to be called after his dust-up withJuan Cole a couple years ago), no— that won't SHUT HIM UP. The only people with the power to do that are the people continuing to pay his salary and take gambles on selling his books to the various rotisserie clubs that feast on such crap. And they won't stop until the strategy they're using to maintain their degenerate program for sustaining themselves can be effectively countered.

That means getting up and calling out the Nazi and Klan apologists like Jonah Goldberg and his myriad enablers throughout the mainstream conservative movement for what they are: proto-fascists, waiting for the day when they've successfully unraveled enough threads from the fabric of American society that a few roving bands of poorly-trained and badly-equipped street thugs can rip what's left of it apart with their bare hands. Don't believe me? Go read this essay from 1941 by Dorothy Thompson.
It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times–in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.
I think you won't have any trouble recognizing the Jonah Goldberg character in the dinner party she goes on to describe. It's also worth reading because gently hands out timely and useful clues for how to recognize who will be on our side of the ramparts when the jackboots and the flags come out.

I'm serious. We can't let these chickenshit pinheads intimidate us from using the F-word anymore. Try it out with someone you know today.

No comments: