Liberalism sure isn't what it used to be
Liberalism sure isn't what it used to be.
More than once during the recent campaign cycle, we heard liberals call their opponents "fascists." What many don't realize is that liberals have inverted the historical meaning of the term. The pervasive assumption that American conservatism is fascistic is fundamentally incorrect.
Modern liberalism derived from twentieth-century progressivism, and shared commonality with European fascism, where it was expressed as militant nationalism with blatant racist overtones.
Fascism in the United States was expressed in the milder form of progressivism - as a softer form of totalitarianism more in alignment with American culture. In other words, we see in the U.S. a form of liberal fascism manifested as an ever-expanding nanny state.
In America, from the 1890s to World War I, it was commonly understood that progressives were furthering the same agenda as the socialist and “new liberal” movements in Europe.
When President Woodrow Wilson was elected, he immediately began to convert the Democratic Party into a progressive party in order to make it the engine for a “transformation of America” - similar to Obama’s progressive pledge to “fundamentally transform America.”
Before World War II, fascism was viewed as a positive, progressive social movement in both America and Europe. Then the Holocaust completely changed our view of fascism to that of evil nationalism and genocidal racism.
Under FDR’s presidency the term “liberalism” came to replace “progressivism” to describe center-left politics. In order to purport that the totalitarian New Deal was the opposite of fascism, liberals then created a straw man out of the conservative movement. The term “right-wing” had already been used to describe a position opposed to Roosevelt, so it was a relatively small incremental step to associate the American right with despised Nazi fascism.
Today’s liberalism embodies a soft, yet still totalitarian, form of fascism. The threat of an ever-growing nanny state comes from the liberal left, not conservatives who wish to mediate its pervasiveness.
Modern liberalism is amalgamated with racial and sexual identity groups whose members have been conditioned to expect reward simply by virtue of their gender, racial, or sexual status. Today, postmodern leftists feel that they need to control everything in order to protect the narrative of their own relativistic truth. The result is a preposterous and overarching demand for conformity under the guise of liberalism. In other words, we end up with a bipolar ideology that embraces intolerance in the name of tolerance.
Liberal intellectuals used to be known as free thinkers. Today progressive liberals are the custodians of an intolerant ideological orthodoxy, particularly within the rigid confines of higher education. Today’s progressive liberals are in essence illiberal in that they adhere to an inflexible set of ideas in government, politics, and popular culture that increasingly reflects anti-democratic and authoritarian values.
Progressive liberals have likely overplayed their hand. Bully tactics only go so far, and beginning with the American Revolution, Americans have demonstrated an overt distrust of bullies. With the election of Donald Trump, they have said that enough is enough.
Read more: see two book reviews:
A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Close, by Fred Elbel, The Social Contract, Winter 2017. Review of the book:
By Kim R. Holmes
New York, NY: Encounter Books
Liberals' Fascist Inversion - How liberals have permuted the meaning of the term 'fascism', by Fred Elbel, The Social Contract, Winter 2017. Review of the book:
Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change
by Jonah Goldberg
New York, NY: Crown Forum, 2009