More Goldberg gems

I just have to share with you a few more gems from Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, and then I really, really have to buckle down and get some paying work done.

First, regarding the constant calls for unity that we’re hearing from the Democratic side of the primaries:

[Howard] Dean, speaking for many, paints the 1960s as a time of great unity. “People my age really felt that way.” But this is patent nonsense. “People” didn’t feel that way. The people Howard Dean knew felt that way — or at least their nostalgia causes them to think they did. It’s bizarre how many people remember the 1960s as a time of “unity” and “hope” when it was in reality a time of rampant domestic terrorism, campus tumult, assassinations, and riots. [Which is how I, an unpoliticized small child during that era, remember it.] Nostalgia for their own youth can’t explain this myopia, since liberals also pine for the 1930s as a time when “we were all in it together.” This, too, is a gross distortion. The United States was not unified in the 1930s; it was torn by political unrest, intense labor violence, and the fear that one totalitarianism or another lay just around the corner. If unity alone was the issue, the left would pine for the 1950s or even the 1920s. But the left didn’t thrive in these decades, so any unity enjoyed by Americans was illegitimate.

In other words, it is not unity the left longs for but victory; unity on terms not their own (such as the “staid conformity” of the 1950s) is false and misleading. In the 1930s and 1960s, the left’s popular front approach yielded real power — and that is the true object of liberal nostalgia; nothing more, nothing less. (pp. 171-172.)

Immediately following the above words, but in a new subchapter, Goldberg expands on the left’s obsession with unity — solely on its own terms, of course:

The elevation of unity as the highest social value is a core tenet of fascism and all leftist ideologies. Mussolini adopted the socialist symbol of the fasces [bundle] to convey that his movement valued unity over the liberal democratic fetish of debate and discussion. That clanking unrhymed chant we hear at protect rallies today — “The people united will never be defeated!” — is a perfectly fascist refrain. Perhaps it is true that “the people united will never be defeated,” but that doesn’t mean the people are right (as Calvin Coolidge liked to say, “One with the law on his side is a majority”). We tend to forget that unity is, at best, morally neutral and often a source of irrationality and groupthink. Rampaging mobs are unified. The Mafia is unified. Marauding barbarians bent on rape and pillage are unified. Meaningwhile, civilized people have disagreements, and small-d democrats have arguments. Classical liberalism is based on this fundamental insight, which is why fascism was always antiliberal. Liberalism rejected the idea that unity is more valuable than individuality. For fascists and other leftists, meaning and authenticity are found in collection enterprises — of class, nation, or race — and the state is there to enforce that meaning on everyone without the hindrance of debate. (p. 172.)

If the above sounds familiar to you, it may be because you read Dennis Prager last week in which he reflected on the practical implications of the Democratic obsession with unity:

Virtually all calls for unity — whether national, international or religious (as in calls for Christian unity) — do not tell the whole truth.

If those who call for unity told the whole truth, this is what they would say: “I want everyone to unite — behind my values. I want everyone who disagrees with me to change the way they think so that we can all be united. I myself have no plans to change my positions on any important issues in order to achieve this unity. So in order to achieve it, I assume that all of you who differ with me will change your views and values and embrace mine.”


It is fascinating how little introspection Sen. Obama’s “unity” supporters engage in — they are usually the very people who most forcefully advocate multiculturalism, who scoff at the idea of an American melting pot and who oppose something as basic to American unity as declaring English the country’s national language. Their advocacy of multiculturalism and opposition to declaring English the national language are proof that the calls of the left-wing supporters of Barack Obama for American unity are one or more of three things: 1. A call for all Americans to agree with them and become fellow leftists. 2. A nice-sounding cover for their left-wing policies. 3. A way to further their demonizing of the Bush administration as “divisive.”

Given what Sen. Obama’s calls for unity really mean — let’s all go left — it is no wonder he and his calls for unity are enthusiastically embraced by the liberal media.

For nearly eight years the media and Democrats have labeled President Bush’s policies “divisive” simply because they don’t agree with them. They are not one whit more divisive than Sen. Obama’s positions. A question for Democrats, the media and other Obama supporters: How exactly are Mr. Obama’s left-wing political positions any less “divisive” than President Bush’s right-wing positions?

Second, the craving for unity is frequently childish. As we mature we understand that decent people will differ politically and theologically. The mature yearn for unity only on a handful of fundamental values, such as: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Beyond such basics, we yearn for civil discourse and tolerance, not unity.

A byproduct of the obsessive need for unity is the fact that truth becomes unnecessary.  As long as everybody can be brought around to believing the same mythology, truth can actually be a liability.  After discussing a phony cross burning incident that was used to justify the student takeover at Cornell University, Goldberg points out that the fakery behind the cross burning was unexceptional on the left:

As the cross-burning incident at Cornell demonstrated, this preference for arousing passions at the expense of truth and reason defined the agenda for those fighting in [the 1960s Leftist] trenches.  The practice of “lying for justice” — always acceptable on the communist left — was infused into the American New Left with potency.  The catch-phrase at the Columbia uprising was “the issue is not the issue.”  No wonder, since the actual “issue” — building a gym in adjacent Harlem — was such small beer.  For most of the activists, deceit wasn’t the point.  The point was passion, mobilization, action.  As one SDS member proclaimed after he and his colleagues seized a building and kidnapped a dean, “We’ve got something going on here and now we’ve just got to find out what it is.”  (p. 179.)

Just for fun, see if you can think up some fakeries used by the liberals and their fellow travelers at home and abroad in the last few years alone to incite mobs.  My first thought is Rathergate.  There, even though the media was eventually forced to conclude that the documents were probably forged, that didn’t matter because they were “fake but accurate.”  Other examples abroad including the Jenin Massacre that wasn’t; the fake death of Muhammad al-Durah; and the Temple Mount lies.  There are more, but that’s a start.  For the Left, whether fascist or communist, truth is an irrelevancy that gets in the way of power politics.  You have to pity the right (whether Christian or otherwise), which is inconveniently burdened by Christ’s injunction that “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:32.


11 Responses

  1. […] The second place Council post was Soccer Dad’s marvelous Get a Clue, which guides the reader, step-by-step, through AP, AFP and Reuters coverage of the Palestinian people, just so you can see the level of dishonesty permeating this repeating, as well as the emotionalism that is meant to take the place of truth.  (And for more on that, see the post immediately preceding this one.) […]

  2. There is Valerie Plame and her husband’s claim that they were outed by Bush and the VP Cheney, when the reason we know about Wilson is because he self-publicized and fetted himself as a propaganda whore.

    There is the Left’s call that “Bush is a divider, not a uniter” as if they would be for a “Bush that can unite”. A Bush that can unite would be able to force the Left to go with his wishes, something I don’t think the Left is calling for when they say Bush is not a uniter.

    There was Haditha. Abu Ghraib where the media seemed shocked that Hollywood’s sexual and fetish standards would be able to influence members of the US military when it was the media propagating such sexual mores and fetishes in the first place.

    All of this was obvious when the Left made the mistake of even suggesting that Bush should be a uniter instead of a divider. There was no way I would believe that the Left would consent to be “united” under Bush’s leadership. At best, it would be Chirac’s act of uniting with America. A good chance to stab Bush in the back later.

    The Left prefers unity because as individual parasites, they need hosts upon which to feed. One parasite alone has little chance of surviving. One Leftist has little chance of toppling society and burning up human liberties. THey need more people, cannon fodder essentially, to start with.

    This is all due to the simple fact that as individuals, Leftists are weak. It is debatable whether a single member of the Left is any more a cannon fodder material than Jihadists that blow themselves up with suicide vests.

    The Left doesn’t believe in arming themselves to protect them or their family from violence. They rely upon other people to do that, other stronger people. This is the behavior of parasites and sheep. The Helots existed as serfs and slaves under Sparta because Helots were protected by the Spartan army. Some may not have liked it, but they continued to exist in such a way because they were not able to truly surpass the societal barrier that was in the form of military training and ability of the Spartans.

  3. Well, there was the time NBC news blew up a GM truck to illustrate how dangerous its fuel tank was.

    NBC news was shocked to its socks when GM, a much bigger advertisier then than now, threatened to pull all its ads. More of the “fake but accurate” genre.

  4. Companies are still under the delusion that they can forward their business interests by paying the media money.

  5. 650,000 dead Iraqi civilians headlining every paper. last week, small articles describing partisan “research”, faulty in every respect, and off the mark by hundreds of thousands.

    I too have wondered about the claim of Obama as unifier. How can he unify when fully half the country reject his ideas? If I get it straight it goes something like this:
    Bush is divisive. Those opposed to him are standing up for what is right.
    Obama unifies. Those opposed to him are divisive.

    Or, Left is always right. Left can’t divide because they are right. Right are wrong. Therefore they are divisive.

  6. Wasn’t it MLK who said, “The road to truth is not paved with lies” or something to that effect?

  7. This is a key point for analyzing and confronting jihad, as well as multicultural (demagoguery). “Unity” is frequently hyped in religious, or quasi-religious, commentary. This no doubt is in ways that run contrary to republican American concepts of unity (as in “E pluribus unum”).

    Unity originates, I presume, somehow (and legitimately) with the Shema prayer – “… the Lord is One,” but has been propagated variously since.

    For example, the “umoja” part of Kwanzaa,

  8. As for unity during “the 60s,” that meme is one of convenience only. Black militants have no use for it when they’re narrating the tension between MLK and Malcolm X, and later between the Black Panther Party and older civil rights organizations. Feminists have no use for it when they talk about when they got sick and tired of making coffee for antiwar activists.

    Dreams are important. Very, very important. But the dream and the reality are always separate, now matter how passionate the dream, no matter how improved the reality.

  9. […] fake but accurate — this time from Israel Posted on January 18, 2008 by Bookworm In one of my recent posts fawning over Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From […]

  10. […] side of the spectrum, especially with reference to Obama.  As Prager has pointed out before, and as I have blogged about before, “unity” is Democratic code for “agree with me or else.”  There is no […]

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