The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Monday, June 15, 2009

NB: you're not allowed to call Obama fascist
Tom Smith

Frank Rich warns of hate from the Right, fanned by those who would stoop so low as to call Obamaism fascism.  Well, OK.  Then what would be OK?  Or maybe PC?  "Somewhat worrying corporatist tendencies"? It's that cult of personality plus extreme intervention into the private sector plus demonization of political opposition thing one wants to capture. I'm certainly open to better terms besides "fascist" -- I'm just not sure what it would be.  I agree it's imperfect.  Rather than beat you with the fasces, this movement wants to regulate you, bore you with third rate political theory, dissolve intermediate institutions, and preen its own moral superiority.  Soft Despotism maybe?  Jonah Goldberg's "liberal fascism" is pretty good, but it still uses the F word.  It's not fair to suggest something like "OMG he's just so wonderful super-happy progressivism ;-D !!!"  I think Progressivism would be pretty accurate, except many are so naive as to think Progressivism involves progress instead of regress to the alarming first three decades of the last century.

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Comments

It was easier in Britain - Blair's government was fascist. In fact, when a socialist party stops believing in socialism, all that's left is the urge to bully.

Posted by: dearieme | Jun 15, 2009 12:49:25 PM

Jonah Goldberg's "liberal fascism" is pretty good...

You don't really think that, do you Tom? I'll admit to not reading it, because Jonah is such dope whenever I do read something of his (I'd say he's dishonest, but I don't think he's smart enough for it), but the stupidity of that book has been pretty clearly set out, I'd think. I mean, maybe you get some sort of pleasure out of the name-calling, but you don't really think it's good, do you?

Posted by: Matt Lister | Jun 15, 2009 2:54:09 PM

Well, I haven't read the whole book, but I thought the first 50 pages or so were pretty good. And I think the Progressives were just egregious. They really did not believe in the rule of law or constitutional government, but they did believe in eugenics and many such as Woodrow Wilson were horrible racists. So what do you call it besides 'liberal fascism'?

Posted by: Tom Smith | Jun 15, 2009 7:05:11 PM

Was Woodrow Wilson a progressive? Not so much, I think. Not more than, say Teddy Roosevelt, so if the Democrats get tarred, don't the Republicans, too? Wilson was a disgusting racists, that's true (though again, so was Teddy Roosevelt...), but also a "muscular" anti-communist and anti-leftists, again, making him not much like the people Goldberg is interested in criticizing. That leads to the main point- his position is basically an incoherent hodge-podge of cherry-picked points (as all the minimally competent reviews have show), which is what you'd expect from a congenitally ignorant dope like Jonah. Whenever I make the mistake to read something by the man I'm amazed he can manage to put his pants on in the morning. As I'm sure you can see, it's one thing to think that Wilson was in many ways a bad man and a bad president, and another thing all together to think this supports some sort of serious continuity between fascism and the democratic party.

Posted by: Matt Lister | Jun 15, 2009 8:14:49 PM

Very astute. One feature Obama emphatically does not have is Nationalism (or its related ethnic pride). But another feature you didn't mention is the relaxation of laws with respect to political allies. We've just heard about Black Panthers being allowed to intimidate voters, and about an inspector-general who was fired for pointing out that a Democratic mayor had broken the law. That's reminiscient of how the Nazis at first relied on the Brown Shirts to beat up regime opponents, rather than making use of the police (the Gestapo came at a later stage of the process).

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Jun 16, 2009 8:41:07 AM

Obama doesn't really lack in a sort of nationalism - but his (or should I be saying His) is a one-worldism or pan-nationalism sort of substitution

Posted by: krome | Jun 16, 2009 9:17:10 AM