BOOKS: Turn Left, No Right; A New Book Challenges Our Accepted View about Fascism. Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg Penguin: Pounds 9.99
Byline: Review by Lorne Jackson
It's no easy task attempting to have a serious argument with the sleekly-smug left-wingers who have kidnapped vigorous political debate in Western nations, then smothered it beneath the soft yet savage pillow of their own dogma.
To disagree with them is to be disagreeable; to offer a different point of view is to be rendered pointless.
Can't stand the witterings of Ken Livingstone? Then you're beyond their ken.
Revolted by the speeches of George Galloway? Prepare to be dragged towards the gallows of public opprobrium.
Standing against the liberal agenda and liberal propaganda has become an almost impossible task.
When you mildly complain that the number of migrants allowed into the UK should be monitored more effectively, or even shrunk to a manageable number ... you're labelled a right-wing fascist.
If you claim that suicide bombing should be blamed on bile-burping radical Islamists ... you're labelled a rightwing fascist.
If you show any sympathy towards Israel, or baulk at the anti-Semitic ideology of Hamas and Hezbullah ... you're labelled a right-wing fascist.
Even if you believe in lower taxes, less state control or admire the bravery of the British military, you're ...
Well, you get the idea.
Anyone who is not for the Left must have fascist tendencies, which means their arguments immediately become redundant, racist and easy to ignore.
After all, itwas those despicable rightwing ranters who pushed Hitler into power in the first place, and backed Mussolini to the hilt.
So nothing they say or write can have any merit.
That's the standard argument, at any rate.
An argument that has been expertly debunked by American political commentator, Jonah Goldberg, in his magnificently sharp and very readable Liberal Fascism.
Goldberg argues that fascism is no right-wing phenomenon, but the poisonous offspring of the Left.
You won't think so after reading this book. In fact, I was left feeling rather foolish for having been duped into believing that fascism was a right-wing phenomenon in the first place.
Goldberg begins his historical and philosophical argument in Italy, the birthplace of Benito Mussolini.
He may have ended-up as Adolf Hitler's puppy, but it was Mussolini who fathered fascism, years before the Nazis came to power.
Yet he didn't begin his political life as a fascist. Benito's seminal years were spent as one of themost prominent and charismatic socialist leaders and thinkers in Europe.
As a journalist, he edited the most influential left-wing newspaper on the continent. So prominent was he, in fact, that admiring glances stretched all the way to the USSR, where Lenin admitted being a groupie.
The First World War, in which Mussolini served with distinction, mutated Il Duci's political convictions, leading him to devise a new concept - fascism. He also coined the term total it arianism, though for him it was a positive idea, involving the State benevolently embracing the people.
Goldberg argues persuasively that Mussolini may have used fresh language, but his left-wing ideology never loosened its grip.
He retreated from international socialism, but his new-fangled fascism was merely old-fangled socialism, slightly curtailed by an acceptance of State borders. …