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An article I'd like to share with (especially, but not exclusively) my Catholic friends at RFO


By alina - Posted on 29 July 2009

In my now daily internet search for the latest on Fascism's comeback in Italy, I ran across an article that has little or nothing to do with today's Italian shenanigans, but very relevant, I think, to many of us here with a Catholic background. Especially those dealing with family opposition to their support for Obama and all he stands for.

The article's title sums it up so well, but since I can't publish it, you'll have to trust me and check out the link:

http://pubrecord.org/commentary/2892/torture-loving-italiancatholic/

PS. To the dear trolls who think Fascism is a left-wing phenomenon embodied by (of all things) the Obama Administration, don't bother reading the article - (you know who you are: the ones arguing that the National Socialist (Nazi) party of the Third Reich and Public Option healthcare are related somehow) - it will only confuse you.

 

 

 

Your postscript made me LOL. 

 

PS. To the dear trolls who think Fascism is a left-wing phenomenon embodied by (of all things) the Obama Administration, don't bother reading the article

Fake Magus, Convenient Crash-Test Dummy: Drat.

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I'm not Catholic, but I read the article and the writer makes some good observations although I disagree with some of them especially that the mainstream news media marginalized the anti war movement.  I would say the opposite is true and they were probably given more attention than their numbers warranted.

He loses some credibility by putting Fox News in the headline with fascist and torture loving.  While Fox News may be biased toward the right and have some wingnut hosts, all their shows including Bill O'Reiley always have people who present the other side.  

I also firmly believe that fascism is a left wing phenomenon.  Read Liberal Fascism for a very in depth look at that subject.  But anyone who thinks the Obama Administration or public option healthcare represent fascism has pretty much left the planet is far as critical thinking is concerned. 

"....facism is a left wing phenomenon."

Yes. In the same way that communism is a right wing phenomenon.

ZING!

Have any of you actually read Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism?

If so, could you please cite where his research and conclusions are incorrect. 

As far as I can understand (and I haven't read the book, I'm reading/watching reviews and summaries), Goldberg engages in a bit of a game of connect-the-dots. For example, because progressive rag The New Republic was once a pro-fascist publication, the modern progressive movement is pro-fascist. Because Nazis were obsessed with the idea of the organic and natural, the organic foods people (who tend to be leftist) must then be fascist. That's like saying Eisenhower is a Nazi, by the way, because the interstate highway system is based on a Nazi public works project-- the Autobahn. It's like saying the Apollo program was a big hurrah for Hitler because the principal architect of NASA rocketry at the time was Werner von Braun, inventor of the V2 rocket.

It reminds me of the alleged ties to Ayers, Rezko, and Wright that the political right went on and on about last year. "Because the thinking is similar, they must be cut from the same cloth." However, this sort of thinking is perilous, because it encourages opponents of the left to go about using the "fascist" label on the left and thereby imply that the left is in favor of repressive statism, racism, etc. etc.

Put another way, just because modern society managed to divorce whatever advancements that Nazi Germany thought up doesn't mean that people today, liberal or conservative, should bear the label "fascist"; nor does it mean that simply because of some similarities in philosophy, fascism is a construct of the political left.

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Good points, real Magus.

My larger concern, though, is that this sort of revisionist bull is exactly what allows negative history to repeat itself. It's important for us to clearly remember how social abberations like Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or any of the Communist regimes came about in the past, in order to avoid repeating those mistakes. 

Rewriting history to say that Fascism came from the left (or Communism from the right, for that matter) breeds ignorance we can't afford. Why? Because when either rear their ugly head again, we'll be looking on the wrong side of the street and won't see them coming.

 

 

That's partly why I think a linear scale of liberal/conservative is flawed, because you can have a left/libertarian (Dalai Lama) or left/authoritarian (Stalin). I think anyone here can agree that the best argument for keeping tabs on our government (i.e., staying involved) is so that the government neither takes too much authority (totalitarianism), nor gives up so much as to sacrifice order (anarchy). Arguing that one end of the assembly hall is any more or less good than the other can make one blind to the real deal wiring explosives on the supports below.
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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

wow. Very well-said, Magus.

At the end of the day, I think that many political disagreements are more ones of authority and who wields it and to what purpose than over whether an idea is "liberal" or "conservative". 

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." -- Douglas Adams

Magus, didn't you post this link a while ago. It gives examples of what you just said basically, Ad hominem.
It would be an ad hominem if a personal attack is used to refute a person's argument, I think. Goldberg probably drops a few (and really, what pundit doesn't these days?-- not that it's excusable, but he's hardly an exception in the wide world of political discourse), but the more dangerous fallacy was the generalization, IMO, which is why I went for that route.

The other thing is, Goldberg probably wants to avoid the accusation by "proving" that fascism is a construct of the political left, so that those trying to refute his argument on the grounds of personal attack can be directed to his reasoning that it's merely a statement of reality. In other words, calling an argument ad hominem is pointless against someone who will categorically deny it.

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

all their shows including Bill O'Reiley always have people who present the other side.

... whom they nearly consistently intimidate, talk over, or cut off the microphone. While the conservative side gets no such treatment. Tell me again, where is the balance?

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I wouldn't call Fox News "balanced."  But they always have someone from the other side on their commentary shows and are usually treated with respect.  

Just ask Bob Beckel.

The same can't be said of the "liberal" commentators on MSNBC. 

Again, I'm not sure if multiple accounts of yelling at/talking over their guests or playing with source material/quotes is indicative of respect...

As for MSNBC, I'm thinking they haven't yet found a conservative aside from Pat Buchanan who wouldn't start off attacking their network (but then, I only have 2 examples there).

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I don't want to defend either network but MSNBC has morning Joe and Pat Buchanon on a lot.

I'd forgotten about Scarborough. Thanks for the reminder.

I actually don't know why Olbermann doesn't do opposing viewpoint guest as Maddow does sometimes (but then, his show is intended to be more of a rant box than Hardball); there's something to sift through his blogs to find out.

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

In defense of MSNBC, The Ed Show has guests from various viewoints. Also, Maddow often says: We invited ____ (insert opponent to what she is talking about) to be on the program numerous times but _____declined our offer or would not return our calls. I think most on the right are afraid of her. She uses the best weapon: well-researched facts and persistent, direct questioning.

Seig Heil, Comrade! ;)

But seriously, I moved to Italy in late 2004, and missed a lot of US MSM coverage of the war, so I'm not sure what went on.

As for Fox News, I'm not sure the author meant to equate it with Fascism (I thought he was referring to his family's misguided Mussolini worship, thus the Italian/Fascist reference and then worked it into more general tendencies). Torture-loving was probably linked to Fox, though.

I was not referring to you in my PS, but please... Liberal Fascism? Don't make me go there. I won't. Period. Enough real-world stuff to deal with here.

But anyone who thinks the Obama Administration or public option healthcare represent fascism has pretty much left the planet is far as critical thinking is concerned.

Thank you! Finally something we can agree on...

Brandon, I have a serious question for you, and would really like to understand how you think.  Why do you always have to defend Fox, no matter what, or how small their role may be in a conversation?

(I could also point out the fallacy in your statement about all shows presenting the other side, but don't want to distract from the question, as it is real, and not meant to be at all confrontational.)

I sincerely believe that most of the major media is hostile toward conservatives especially ones from the South.  I think this can be factually proven.  The Media Research Council has a website called Newsbusters that documents this daily.

The liberal/moderate viewpoint has the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CBS, Time, Newsweek etc.  

Conservatives have the Wall Street Journal editorial page, talk radio, some small circulation magazines (National Review, Weekly Standard etc) and Fox News.  It is not a fair media fight.

Conservatives get one tv channel and it is maligned night and day by liberals and moderates.  I think it is worth defending.

I actually don't watch it that much.  I refuse to watch Beck  and just don't like the kind of shows Hannity and Greta do.  I will sometimes have O'Reiley on in the background.  I did like Britt Hume's old show a whole bunch.

Conservatives get one tv channel and it is maligned night and day by liberals and moderates. I think it is worth defending.

I don't think the maligning has much to do with Fox News' (Roger Ailes', perhaps) philosophy, but with their honesty, particularly of the commentators you avoid watching. I suspect that if they called themselves "the voice of the Right" or something instead of their usual tagline, they would still get great ratings because the conservatives would still love them, because people do find them entertaining and informative, and because comedians and critics will still find great material. I firmly believe that if one's philosophy is sound, they would not have to distort facts as Hannity and Cavuto do, or outright lie as Beck and O'Reilly do. Nor would they have to bring in people who are known to lie or have known extremist beliefs. This applies just as well to Chris Matthews (especially loose cannon Matthews), Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Cenk Uygur, and Rachel Maddow. Heck, I'll toss in NPR hosts Robert Siegel and Michelle Norris, though their biases tend to be divorced from their reporting. The thing is, these other names in news tend to start with actual, documented fact (with the occasional dip into hearsay) rather than an unlikely but possible interpretation thereof.

Consider the firestorm brewing around CNN's Lou Dobbs because he's winking and nodding at the birthers. Despite the fact that people have repeatedly produced solid evidence as to the President's American birth, he consistently speaks as if all the President has to do is flash an ID and this will all go away, when everyone knows it will not, as is the nature of conspiracy theories. This has nothing to do with Dobbs' ideology, but it has everything to do with the fact that he is dishonest. This is usually Jon Stewart's or Stephen Colbert's point when they make a joke of anyone in the media or politics.

I think all journalists should return to the standard of giants like Walter Cronkite and Helen Thomas, where "news" was simply news and not a catfight over media bias, nor a ratings arms race. But there are still too few journalists who would defend their craft from those who command a huge audience but cannot tell the truth if it hurts their ad revenue.

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Actually what I found really interesting in the article was the author's account of how his parents found ways around their own supposedly iron-clad faith to satisfy their political allegiance. I've seen that a lot growing up, and am watching it happen big time now with Berlusconi supporters here in Italy.

Italy is 90% Catholic, and the Vatican has all but excommunicated the guy over recently surfaced affairs with teens and call girls, not to mention well-documented orgies, yet nobody seems to care. As a social libertarian of sorts, the only part of the scandals that bugs me personally are the teens, but there are many other, more pertinent issues the Vatican has voiced opposition to, including a law that goes into effect August 8th allowing the State to seize infants born to unregistered immigrant mothers and put them up for adoption with Italian families (not even Mussolini tried to pull anything like that!)... yet the most reaction I've seen from the general populace is a shrug and grunt.

The comment section of the article is worth a read too. Especially the last 4 or 5.
Alina : I totally agree with your main point : that by using this historical revisionism to say that Naziism was a phenomon of the left, it increases the ability for fascism  to make a comeback.  That is the danger, that is the threat.  Because of it's totalitarian nature, many aspects were similiar to soviet communism, but that doesn't make it a phenomon of the left.  Hitler and Mussolini clearly were anti-communist and trying to create a system and thought that distinguished them from communism, but the nature of the totalitarian aspect created some similarities.
I used to have a website that defined the differences in facism, nazism, communism, etc.  I lost it when my computer crashed....does anyone have it, by any chance??
I remember that, you posted it on here a while back....
I sure did, Hope, and was hoping that someone had bookmarked it.

This one?

http://www.politicsdefined.com/ 

I bookmarked it. :D 

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." -- Douglas Adams

Yes, that one!!  Thanks Tin.  Now if your computer crashes (heaven forbid) I'll have it for you. ;-)

I did a search and found that you wrote this on an old thread. Is this what you are talking about?

Ah, the National Review...why not choose a source that isn't a mouthpiece for right wing talking points?  Expand your horizons. ;-)

Instead of the current right wing attempts to remake fascism into a left wing phenomena, using twisted misinformation, lets look at the two from an unbiased and and educational resource, Politics Defined.  Here is only one excerpt from a non-partisan source. 

While certain types of socialism may superficially appear to be similar to fascism, it should be noted that the two ideologies clash violently on many issues. The role of the state, for example: Socialism considers the state to be merely a "tool of the people," sometimes calling it a "necessary evil," which exists to serve the interests of the people and to protect the common good (in addition, certain forms of libertarian socialism reject the state altogether). Meanwhile, fascism holds the state to be an end in of itself, which the people should obey and serve (rather than the other way around).

Proving a political point by giving a highly biased source is as fruitless as attempting to prove the truth of the Bible by quoting the Bible. ;-)

 

Thanks so much, Izzy.   Instead of restating all of that, I'll refer Brandon back to this original post, as Goldberg also writes for the National Review, and I would be curious if his writings are what started this previously.  I knew we had discussed this before. (Since you found this once, I would really appreciate it if you could post a link to the thread where we discussed this liberal/fascist theory before.

Now, I've bookmarked the site again, and can have it for handy reference.  Thanks again, GF!!

Jonah Goldberg has frequently written for National Review.

I find it funny that many here consider him a "biased" source because of his National Review connection, so he should be dismissed without even being read.

Yet Rachel Maddow, who hosted a show on Air America which has employed such left wing loons as Mike Malloy and Randi Rhodes is considered by many here to be credible?????????????????? 

So you think every form of disastrous government: fascism, nazism, communism etc are all left wing phenomena?
Correct me if I'm wrong, Brandon, but aren't you asking us to take an entirely opposite tack; i.e., Goldberg is very, very credible whereas Maddow is a hack? Moreover, wouldn't it help this discussion if you would raise some of the arguments Goldberg used rather than argue as if his word were gospel (that's an appeal to authority, you know)?
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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Here's the deal, Brandon.  Goldberg is countering the established scholarly definition of fascism.  Not only countering it, but turning it a full 180.  No, I haven't read the book, but I did read a lot of excerpts and reviews on line.  What I read, both pro, con and neutral tells me that is isn't anything I care to read. 

If someone has research that brings to light new information that indisputably changes accepted definitions, then I am open to it.  But to go from A to Z by a series of squiggly lines is one man's opinion, not fact.  May I remind you that the "birthers" can "prove" that Obama isn't a citizen, by conveniently ignoring all of the factual evidence out there.  This is much the same thing.

To take the conversation from Goldberg's writings to Maddow seems like another squiggly line to me, or at least an attempt to muddy the waters.  No one ever claimed Maddow is unbiased.  Far from it.  But she IS interesting and asks very pointed questions....but she was NOT the topic of conversation here.

BTW, when I looked at Amazon for Goldber's book, in the section that shows what other books those who buy his book also bought, two Glen Beck books were in the top portion of "also boughts".  That speaks volumes to me, in an of itself. 

Again, I will point out that Goldberg's book is extremely well written and has over 60+ pages of footnotes where he fully documents his research.  

To compare a scholarly book by an acclaimed conservative writer to the "birther" nonsense is simply ridiculous even if you disagree with Mr. Goldberg's conclusions.

Glenn Beck sells a lot of books to conservatives, so it should not be surprising that his works  would show up on Amazon as having been purchased by people who bought other conservative works, but I think it is unfair to judge someone else's work on that basis.

I was simply making the point that if I link to National Review, it will be considered biased and not worthy to be read unlike links to places like the Huffington Post.

National Review, even if one disagrees with their politics, is a respected opinion magazine that does not publish articles by crazies.  The same can't be said for the Huffington Post. 

Documenting research and reaching conclusions from it are two different things.  Comparing it to the birther movement is one of process, not personalities, therefore not ridiculous.

You just said that Goldberg is an acclaimed conservative writer, and that Beck sells a lot of books to conservatives, which makes Beck a conservative writer also.  If the same people often buy both of their books, it says a lot about the mindsets.

As for National Review (and I do read their links) I would have to say that blogs, opinion pieces etc on both are each greatly slanted to their respective political positions. HuffPo also links to to outside, credible news sources.  The biggest difference to us right now, is that the right leaning sites are intent on tearing President Obama down in any way they can.  That is a big turn off for most of us.

I wouldn't say every form of disastrous government is left wing, but the 3 you mention (fascism, nazism, communism) would generally be left wing.

Certainly one could be a right wing fascist, but left wing fascism is more common. 

But to be clear you would categorize the type of controlling Muslim governments we see in some area's of Africa and the middle east as right wing, right? I mean they are based on religion and social conservative ideals.

It is hard to summarize a 400+ page book in a posting or two on a political board.  His book has over 60 pages of footnotes, so it is very well researched.

I'm also not saying that Mr. Goldberg's writings in National Review are not biased.  I just find it funny that so many leftist sites and pundits aren't held to the same standard here.  The Huffington Post is probably the most frequently linked to site at RFO.

It is especially funny considering this site has the word Republican in the title.  I try and get other Republicans interested in reading the interesting discussions here and if I don't get the "why are you still hanging out there, I thought they got rid of you" answer, I get the "I read some of the threads and it was just a bunch of Dems quoting the Huffington Post."

I had hopes that maybe the Lincoln Coalition site could serve the purpose of getting more "traditional" Republicans interested in a dialogue with moderates since the "for Obama" part here carries so much baggage.  Unfortunately, TLC seems to have not had much traffic lately.

As to Muslim governments being right wing, let me say I'm against all forms of governments that are not democracies.  It is really academic if one calls them right wing or left wing.  I only bring up the "Nazis are leftist" viewpoint because I'm sick of right leaning Republicans being called fascists by people who don't know or understand history. 

I am going to try to address some of the things you said here, Brandon, paragraph by paragraph.....

1.  I hate to repeat using the birthers as a comparison, but they too have their research and footnotes.  None of that makes it factual.

2. The Dems here do link HuffPo a lot, but most of the Republicans most often link other sites.  We take our information where we find it, and read all sides of an issue.

3. <and if I don't get the "why are you still hanging out there, I thought they got rid of you" answer>  You haven't gotten anything like that in a long time, and frankly, your second quote in that paragraph doesn't make sense to me.

4. Actually, the moderates ARE the "traditional" Republicans.  It is the right wingers that are the usurpers of the party.  And as long as the they continue to spout the right wing agenda, there will be little common ground, sad to say.  I think that is why TLC, for now, is not catching on.   The "Obama part" carries weight here, not "baggage".  We voted across party lines because we believe in his vision for the country.  That hasn't changed.

5. So Goldberg and his readers are the only ones who know and understand history?  I'm sure the other scholars and historians over the past many generations will now change their minds because a revisionist deems it truth.  If you bring of the "left is fascist" because you are sick of the other, then you perpetuate the "us vs. them" mentality....which is another thing we are sick of, and Obama is attempting to overcome.

"I hate to repeat using the birthers as a comparison, but they too have their research and footnotes.  None of that makes it factual."

Those who believe we didn't go to the moon or that Bush caused 9/11 or that Johnson killed Kennedy have their research and footnotes, but they are still lunatics.  There is a difference between scholarly research and conspiracy kooks.  

"We take our information where we find it, and read all sides of an issue." 

How many people here do you think regularly read National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, Washington Times, Pajamas Media, American Spectator, American Thinker etc? 

"You haven't gotten anything like that in a long time," 

 I think you misunderstood that paragraph.  I'm saying that is what I get from other Republicans when I get them to read this site.  I'm not saying I get it from fellow RFO posters.

" The "Obama part" carries weight here, not "baggage"." 

Unfortunately, it does carry "baggage" when trying to get many, if not most Republicans to accept this website is a legitimate Republican site.  The perception is that those who believe in "Obama's vision" are not Republicans.  You and I may know that not to be the case, but believe me it is hard to convince people otherwise.

How long and how many emails did it take to convince me? 

 

I just can't see it Brandon.  Here is how it sounds to me...a lightweight comparison...

Golf is from the south, I am from the south.  Golf likes grits, I like grits. Golf is friends with John Martin, I am friends with John Martin.  Golf is a Republican for Obama, I am a Republican for Obama.  Golf is black in lives in NY, therefore I must also be black and live in NY. 

You lost me Suzi, what is the "lightweight comparison?"

It's called a failure of logic!

Here is another example. Our country was attacked by al Qaeda on 9/11 in 2001. George W. Bush, the president at the time, attacked al Qaeda in Afghanistan, where they were presumably based, then two years later attacked Iraq, to take out Saddam Hussein. We were not attacked again by al Qaeda; therefore, what Bush did prevented another attack.

Above is an example of flawed logic. Why? Because there are other possible explanations as to why we were not attacked again (for example, al Qaeda was planning another big attack, but it takes, say, 10 years to organize and pull it off). In other words, while it could be true that what Bush did prevented another attack, there are other logical explanations. So the statement that what Bush did prevented another attack fails the logic test.

Jonah Goldberg also fails the logic test here.

Using the Golf/Suzi analogy is lightweight, compared to which "side" is or isn't fascist.  But from what I read of Goldberg's book, that is how he reaches his conclusions.

 "Jonah Goldberg also fails the logic test here."

You might read the book and come to the conclusion that he is an idiot, but I don't believe criticism of a literary work is credible from those who haven't read the book.

I'd like to go back to Magus' point a half a page back and say instead of proclaiming Goldberg's book as being truthful, why don't you bring up some of the reasons and ideas from the book that seem to make sense to you. We can go back and forth about the validity of the sources but discussing the ideas on your own using what you found factual from the book and combining it with your own thoughts, could make a more understandable discussion than just saying we need to read his book. Sometimes it seems like rather than thinking for yourself you present the opinion of a conservative writer or media source as truth instead of breaking it down with your own thoughts and analyzing it more from other angles. Like the Jon Stewart piece.
I don't believe criticism of a literary work is credible from those who haven't read the book.

Brandon, a lot of us here aren't particularly motivated to go out and buy a book that attempts to "disprove", or what have you, decades of hard work by actual political and philosophical historians. If you cannot or will not summarize Goldberg's theses and reasoning, I wonder what makes you think that we'll take Goldberg on your word alone?

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It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

<a book that attempts to "disprove", or what have you, decades of hard work by actual political and philosophical historians.>

Thanks, magus.  That is what I have been trying to point out.

Brandon, we would appreciate it if instead of criticizing us for our opinions, you would summarize his reasoning.  I've read summaries elsewhere, and do not reach the same conclusions as you.

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