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.