Sunday, May 01, 2011


Jonah Goldberg, Glenn Beck, and their acolytes argue that the true fascists in America are mainstream liberals; they cherry-pick the historical record to find links between liberalism and the fascism. Meanwhile, as this week's New York Times Magazine reports, Marine Le Pen, who's inherited the leadership of her father's National Front party in France, is actually exhibiting a sort of left-wing fascism, and she's not alone -- but I haven't seen much evidence that this particularly upsets Goldberg and Beck:

The real secret to her success, however, may be in her adroit scrambling of traditional leftist and rightist positions. Signaling a clear break from her father and the right in general, she has come out with a detailed critique of capitalism and a position promoting the state as the protector of ordinary people. "For a long time, the National Front upheld the idea that the state always does things more expensively and less well than the private sector," she told me. "But I'm convinced that's not true. The reason is the inevitable quest for profitability, which is inherent in the private sector. There are certain domains which are so vital to the well-being of citizens that they must at all costs be kept out of the private sector and the law of supply and demand." The government, therefore, should be entrusted with health care, education, transportation, banking and energy....

Le Pen's mix of far-right nationalism and frankly leftist economics is related to the platforms of other fringe parties in Europe that have surged recently....

The advances made by the National Front and other parties in Europe today -- the Swiss People's Party, the Northern League in Italy, Geert Wilders' Freedom Party in the Netherlands -- are all based on the combination of anti-immigrant stances plus economic populism and national patriotism.

But gosh, the American righties like Geert Wilders, don't they? (Pam Geller is a big fan.) And bashing Muslims rather than Jews, as Le Pen does -- that's kind of a good thing in American righties' eyes, isn't it? So I guess they're willing to overlook the economic populism, and certainly they're not keen to lump these actual fascists in with the "liberal fascists" -- Obama, Hillary Clinton -- they despise.

Of course, the American "liberal fascists" actually avoid economic populism for the most part (yeah, Obama's invoking it a bit, but you know he'll compromise on entitlements, and he certainly doesn't believe that "the government ... should be entrusted with health care, education, transportation, banking and energy," except in the fever dreams of American right-wingers.)

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