8-4-14 – Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” Provides Insights Into Vermont

by Tom Licata

Progressivism in general and specifically the more virulent kind found in Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier is both fascist in nature and totalitarian in its beliefs. It’s hard not to come to this conclusion – though it is my conclusion – after reading Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism,” an excellent historical account of the intersections of Italian Fascism, German Nazism, Soviet Communism and –yes– American ‘Liberal Fascism’… albeit with a smiley-face.

What if I was to tell you that Progressivism in general and specifically Vermont’s Progressive Party Platform contain or once contained the following six objectives:

(1) Reform of the old-age and pension system and the establishment of age limits for hazardous work

(2) The creation of various government bodies run by workers’ representatives…

(3) Promote cooperative, worker-owned enterprises as an alternative to huge profit-driven multinational corporations

(4) Promote a public education system, that provides equal and equitable opportunities for all our children [and] reduces postsecondary tuition costs…; include free housing…

(5) [F]undamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious [student] to obtain higher education

(6) Elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness… of the young

These six objectives are all familiar to Progressivism, but not all are Progressive sources. Objectives one and two are from Mussolini’s 1919 founding of “Fasci di Combattimento,” the beginning of Italian Fascism. Three and four are from Vermont’s Progressive Party Platform. And five and six are from the 1920 Nazi Party Platform, as translated at the Nuremberg Trials.

Correlating Progressivism with Italian Fascism and German Nazism isn’t to imply any diabolical intent. Until the mid-1930s, many fascist objectives or tenets were supported by many American Progressives, as evidenced by the overlapping six objectives I’ve outlined here. And Progressives saw many of the fascist tenets as useful “social experiments” to learn from. It’s important to note that this support occurred before the horrific Holocaust. It was only after the Holocaust became known, that the Left began to distance itself from Fascism and Nazism and began a propaganda campaign to associate these two ideologies as “right-wing” or conservative.

Fascism is “the view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union toward the same goals overseen by the State. Fascism is a religion of the State. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy,” writes Goldberg.

“Everything in the State, nothing outside the State,” is how Mussolini defined Fascism.

Mussolini coined the word “Totalitarian” to describe not a tyrannical society but a compassionate one in which everybody belonged, where everyone was taken care of and contributes equally: Ominously sounding like Montpelier’s political formation.

Comedian George Carlin unwittingly described Progressivism’s means to a “tyrannical society but a compassionate one” when he quipped: “When Fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts, Smiley-smiley, Fascism.”

What’s missing in today’s debates is moral-clarity. And here we turn to President Ronald Reagan:

“They preach the supremacy of the State, declare its omnipotence over individual man and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth…. The Soviet Union is an Evil Empire, and Soviet communism is the focus of evil in the modern world.”

Who in today’s America “preach the supremacy of the State, [declaring the common good] over individual man.…”?

Going by the very definitions I’ve provided here, declaring Vermont’s Progressive-Democrat dominated Legislature and Governor’s office fascist in nature and totalitarian in their beliefs – albeit the gradualist and “Smiley-smiley” kind – is arguably not only not beyond the pale of argument but the beginning of moral-clarity: For individual inalienable rights can neither be bargained for nor coerced from, regardless how “compassionate” our subjugator’s motives may be.

– Tom Licata is a member of the Ethan Allen Institute Advisory Board

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

David Usher September 5, 2014 at 11:58 am

Progressive socialism is soft tyranny that must eventually control via taxation, regulation or otherwise the means of production in order to pay for the dependency created.
Liberty is eroded until the individual becomes an appendage of the state.

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Ivan Smith September 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I have studied Fascism. Is the mutually beneficial relationship between Corporations and the state. Like where corporations are considered people with the same rights as the flesh and blood kind, and money is speech. Both ideas embodied in the SCOTUS ruling, Citizens United.

Or, any of these tell tale signs look familiar in the last 15 years:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution. 6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. 7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. 8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions. 9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite. 10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed. 11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked. 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. 13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders. 14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

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David Bresett September 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm

This is a perfect life of the McLaughrey/Roper form of governance. It is exactly what the Koch brothers are paying for. This is what the EAI so wants in Vermont as well as the rest of the nation. Very fascist in all they say and do. Still hope to someday meet McLaughrey and Roper, not because I think they are some kind of hero, but I want to see the face of true fascism in the flesh.

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Rob September 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

David, once again you appear clueless. I don’t think you have the foggiest idea what fascism is. Fascism was an ANTI-capitalist movement. It is based on a powerful, centralized government, government control of private enterprise, and repression of opposition. As Mussolini defined it, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” If that echoes cries for single payer of “everybody in, nobody out,” well… enough said. Fascism embodies everything free market capitalism opposes.

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RRoper September 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm

IVAN, THANKS VERY MUCH FOR THIS OUTLINE, AS IT SERVES TO PROVE TOM’S POINT PERFECTLY. SEE COMMENTS IMBEDDED BELOW IN CAPS…. I have studied Fascism. Is the mutually beneficial relationship between Corporations and the state. Like where corporations are considered people with the same rights as the flesh and blood kind, and money is speech. NO, IVAN. IT MEANS WHEN BIG GOVERNEMNT ESSENTIALLY CONTROLS BUSINESS VIA REGULATION, BUT GUARANTEES CERTAIN BUSINESSES PROFITS VIA REGULATION (SEE VERMONT’S HEALTH CARE, ENERGY AND EDUCATION POLICIES.) Both ideas embodied in the SCOTUS ruling, Citizens United.

Or, any of these tell tale signs look familiar in the last 15 years:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. YES, IVAN. KIND OF LIKE WHEN VERMONT SAYS WE CAN SUCCEED IN IMPLEMENTING A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM WHERE ALL OTHER STATES HAVE FAILED BECAUSE “WE ARE VERMONTERS.” VERMONT STRONG! AND THE PATHOLOGICAL NEED FOR VERMONT TO ALWAYS BE FIRST IN THIS OR THAT. WE’RE NOT A NATION, SO I GUESS THIS IS NOT TECHINCALLY NATIONALISM, BUT IT IS SERVES SAME PSYCHOLOGICAL PURPOSE. 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” YES, IVAN. KIND OF LIKE HOW INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS TO LIFE LIBERTY AND PROPERTY ARE DISCARDED BECAUSE WE ALL NEED TO BE “SECURE” IN OUR HEALTHCARE, FOR EXAMPLE. The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. DO YOU MEAN LIKE CAPITALISTS? THE 1%? CORPRATIONS? THE KOCH BROTHERS? 4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized VERMONT DOESN’T HAVE A MILITARY, BUT THE SAME COULD BE SAID OF THE BUREAUCRACY. 5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. I DON’T THINK THIS IS A FASCIST TRAIT. ALL GOVERNMENTS IN THE 1930’S – 40’S WERE MALE DOMINATED, AND MOST STILL ARE TODAY. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution. 6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. YOU MEAN LIKE THE LEFT’S DESIRE TO SQUELCH OPPOSITION BY BRINGING BACK THE “FAIRNESS” DOCTRINE, OR THE CURRENT ATTEMPT TO ERADICATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT IN THE WAKE OF CITIZENS UNITED BY GIVING GOVERNMENT THE POWER TO CONTROL AND CRIMINALIZE POLITICAL OPPOSITION? 7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. 8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions. 9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite. YES. SEE HOW VERMONT’S ENERGY POLICY IS PUT IN PLACE TO ENRICH SHUMLIN/DEMOCRAT DONORS (DAVID BLITTERSDORF AND HIS COMPANIES). HOW SINGLE PAYER IS REALLY GOINGT TO ENRICH BCBS BY HANDING THEM A MONOPOLY ON HEALTH INSURANCE. HOW EDCUATION POLICY IS IN PLACE TO ENRICH THE TEACHERS UNIONS. 10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed. UHHH… FASCIST MOVEMENTS HAVE BEEN LABOR DRIVEN. POWER TO THE PEOPLE. WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE. THE NAZI PARTY WAS AN OUTGROWTH OF THE GERMAN LABOR PARTY. 11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. ARE YOU KIDDING? HITLER WAS AN ARTIST. ONE OF HIS MAJOR GOALS WAS TO GLORFY GERMAN CULTRUE THROUGH ART. ONE OF HIS MAJOR GOALS WAS TO CREATE A “SUPER MUSEUM” TO SHOWCASE GERMAN ART AND CULTURE. MUSSOLINI SIMILARY WITH A REVIVAL OF ROMAN CULTURE THROUGH THE ARTS. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. YEAH, BUT ONLY IF THEY ARE IN OPPOSITION TO THE FASCIST POWER. KINF OF LIKE THE CURRENT SCANDAL WITH THE IRS. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked. 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. 13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. AGAIN, LOOK AT VERMONT’S ENERGY POLICY (EG DAVID BLITTERSDORF), HEALTHCARE POLICY (EG NO BID CONTRACTS TO ANYA RAYDER WALLACK, AND WHY DO MARK LARSON AND ROBIN LUNGE STILL HAVE LUCRATIVE JOBS AFTER BOTCHING THE ROLL OUT OF VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT? CRONYISM, PERHAPS?) It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders. 14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. SEE OPPOSITION TO VOTER ID LAWS, EXPANSION OF ABSENTEE BALLOT USE (WHO’S REALLY FILLING THEM IN? NOBODY KNOWS), EXPANSION OF EARLY VOTING… ALL OF WHICH MAKE MASS VOTER FRAUD MORE POSSIBLE. THANKS, AGAIN, IVAN.

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