"We're all fascists now"
An interview with conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg, who argues that fascism is left-wing, not right-wing, and that contemporary liberals are fascism's intellectual offspring.
By Alex Koppelman
Jan. 11, 2008 | Jonah Goldberg is not a popular man among liberals. The son of Lucianne Goldberg, the literary agent who played a pivotal role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he already had that as a strike against him when he began his career as a conservative political commentator in the late 1990s. A writer and blogger for the National Review and a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, he's now a frequent target for the mockery of liberal bloggers.
But nothing has inspired the ire of liberals quite like Goldberg's new book, "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning." There was the provocative cover, which adds a Hitler mustache to the familiar yellow smiley-face icon. Then there was the book's ever-changing subtitle. Originally "The Totalitarian Temptation From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton," it became "The Totalitarian Temptation From Hegel to Whole Foods," before landing on bookstore shelves in its current form.
In the book, Goldberg attempts to convince readers that six decades of conventional wisdom that have placed Italy's Benito Mussolini, Germany's Adolf Hitler and fascism on the right side of the ideological spectrum are wrong, and that fascism is really a phenomenon of the left. Goldberg also attributes fascist rhetoric and tactics to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and describes the New Deal's descendants, modern American liberals, as carriers of this liberal-fascist DNA. In a sense, "We're All Fascists Now," as Goldberg puts it in one of his chapter titles. Salon spoke with Goldberg by phone.