Teaching political science to my students, I would typically draw a continuum of political monikers that looked something like this with the extreme liberal as Radical and the extreme conservative as Reactionary.
According to the typical definition, the Radical (1) places high trust in human nature, (2) sees change in culture or institutions as progress and (3) holds individual freedom as paramount.
At the other end of the continuum is the Reactionary. He is (1) distrustful of human nature, (2) places great trust in tradition and institutions and (3) sees individual freedom as important, but subject to social mores.
The ideal government of the Radical is anarchy or communism, the ideal of the Reactionary is fascism. (Pop Quiz: Which governmental system has been given much more time by books, movies, etc., outlining and examining the atrocities? Which governmental system killed more people in the last century? What do you think is the cause of the discrepancy? Please comment!)
All this has been radically altered in the last twenty years by everyone's favorite generation, the Boomers. The arrogant idealism of the 60's has revealed the lie in these definitions. The Boomers as a generation are so arrogant that they truly do believe that, even though they don't trust institutions in general, their institutions should be trusted. Individual freedom is paramount, but only according to their definition.
So, now we have this thought process that not only promotes individual liberties, but forces others to not only accept, but to approve of and participate in the exercise of those (contrived) liberties. This is the essence of collectivism, found in both communism and fascism.
Which brings me to Jonah Goldberg's new book, Liberal Fascism. I don't believe it's out yet, but Glenn Reynolds said that
Goldberg has a lot to say about the “progressive” roots of both socialism and fascism and the way they’re reflected in contemporary politics.If you go to the above link, Glenn conducted a very interesting interview with a good discussion on the content of the book. See some rough notes of the interview below:
Mr. Goldberg encourages people to read Hillary's It Takes a Village. Her vision of a village is a "profoundly totalitarian one...in which the helping professions are empowered to intervene to smash the sanctity of the family." Quoted Woodrow Wilson in saying that "educator's job is to make children as unlike their parents as possible." No natural boundary where the state stops and the family begins -- no islands of "separateness"--"if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem - very fascistic."
Referring to the nice liberalism that just wants to help..."An unwanted hug is still an oppressive thing -- soft totalitarianism is still dangerous."
Compares the platform of 1932 Nazis with 1972 McGovern - practically the same minus the ethnic Jewish hatred. From the beginning, Nazis were socialists.
Left wing believes that they are the arbiters of political morality.
He also see "compassionate conservative" as being dangerously close to Liberal Fascism. It works on the assumption that the government can love you...It can't...It's not your daddy or mommy. Talks about Huck coming from the classic social gospel position.
Nationalism and Socialism is the same thing...when you nationalize health care, you socialize it.
Great Interview...listen to it, then buy the book!