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Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" is deceptive propaganda

Reader comment on item: Fascism's Legacy: Liberalism

Submitted by Carl Stoll (Norway), Aug 18, 2010 at 19:22

In Liberal Fascism J Goldberg proposes to demonstrate that Fascism and socialism share a common authoritarian approach to politics. No doubt they have SOME things in common. However Goldberg forges the evidence to make it conform to his game plan. Specifically Goldberg suppresses evidence that disproves his thesis, and very weighty evidence indeed: in his account of Italian politics in the 1920s he names dozens of politically active men, but the single most prominent and celebrated opponent of Fascism is never named in Goldberg's book.

This man, Giacomo Matteotti, was the leader of the opposition in the Italian parliament at various times. He vigorously opposed Fascism in at least three long and impassioned orations in the Chamber of Deputies and in two books that he published denouncing the coercion, intimidation and fraud practiced by Fascists in election campaigns. He appealed to liberal democratic ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, majority rule, freedom of voters to elect whom they chose, etc. In 1924 Matteotti was abducted and murdered by Fascist thugs. His murder was a cataclysm and provoked a severe political crisis that made Mussolini's government falter. It was a turning point in the history of Fascism and of modern Italy. Matteotti's assassination persuaded Benedetto Croce to turn his back on Fascism, with which he had sympathized until then (despite Goldberg's denial). None of that gets a single mention in Goldberg's book. The reason: Matteotti, the defender of freedom and popular sovereignty, was a left-wing socialist.

Since that single fact basically disproves Goldberg's thesis, it is conveniently concealed in what can only be called an Orwellian fashion. Moreover the parliamentary elections of 1924, bitterly denounced in parliament by Matteotti – whose opinion has been confirmed by reputable historians -- are described by Goldberg in the following terms: "In 1924 he [i.e. Mussolini] held reasonably fair elections, and the Fascists won by a landslide." (page 50). Such cynicism is mind-boggling. Goldberg stands exposed as a forger and falsifier of history, a loyal follower of Josef Stalin.

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