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Liberalism & Fascism
Aired February 22, 2008 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the word "fascist" gets thrown around a lot, and it`s usually at us conservatives. Well, that`s about to change. A new book gives fresh perspective to the history of the political left. A book that says it`s the liberals we should be worried about.
Its author has written for the "Los Angeles Times," "The Wall Street Journal," and he`s a contributing editor for the "National Review." His name? Jonah Goldberg. And he`ll face honest questions for a full hour.
BECK: Hello, America. I was having a conversation just before I went on the air with one of the producers of the program and I said, you know, I have been a conservative my whole life. But living here in New York City, I have met unbelievably bold liberals who don`t have a problem calling you the "F" word, no matter where you are.
There are several different "F" words that I`ve been called here in Manhattan, one of which always seems to turn out to be wrong. That word is "fascist."
When you really look at the history of fascism, and I don`t mean through prism of NPR or "The New York Times," I mean, when you really examine the past and the realities of the present, true fascism lies not with conservatives but in the foundation of the political left.
A new book lays it all out for you. And it is an absolute must-read. I`ve been begging my radio audience to buy this book and not because they`re conservatives. Buy it for their liberal friends who have not been sucked into the dark side and actually care about history. Otherwise, we`re doomed to repeat it. It is called "Liberal Fascism." Its author is Jonah Goldberg, and he joins me now.
Jonah, how are you?
JONAH GOLDBERG, AUTHOR, "LIBERAL FASCISM": Glenn, thanks for having me.
BECK: I have had one amazing journey in the last year, probably eight months, because I`m learning things in history that I have never learned before. And my journey started with a question that happened in one of the debates with Hillary Clinton. And I want to -- I want to play this question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mrs. Clinton, how would you define the word "liberal"? And would you use this word to describe yourself?
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unfortunately, in the last 30, 40 years, it has been turned up on its head. And it`s been made to seem as though it is a word that describes big government.
I prefer the word progressive, which has a real American meaning, going back to the progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century.
I consider myself a proud modern American progressive, and I think that`s the kind of philosophy and practice that we need to bring back to American politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I heard that and I went immediately -- I had my laptop. I went immediately and I look up early American 20th century progressive. I couldn`t believe she actually wanted to call herself that. These are the people that brought in Prohibition. They brought in the income tax.
Explain the significance of what she`s just said.
GOLDBERG: It is -- it is amazing. Imagine if, for a moment, Mike Huckabee had said in the debate, "You know, I don`t like this word `conservative.` It`s been flipped on its head. I really consider myself a modern confederate." People would go ballistic.
You know, Paul Krugman would have his dress over his head: "Confederate? Don`t they understand what the confederacy was? You know, the racism, the history?"
But to call yourself a progressive, "The New York Times" liberals call themselves progressives. Everyone calls themselves progressives. And Hillary Clinton does. And no one seems to care what the actual progressives did. And the actual progressives were state-ists run amok.
Hillary tries to get away by saying, "Well, liberal has come to mean big government." The progressives were the original big-government people.
BECK: But in a spooky sort of way.
GOLDBERG: Yes, they believed -- progressives come of age, what I call in the book, of this fascist moment. But they believed that the age of the individual was over, that we had to redefine ourselves only through the collective, through the group and through the state. And therefore, the individual had to be crushed. The concept of the individual had to be crushed. We all had to work towards the larger collective endeavors.
And that expressed itself in all sorts of ways. Through World War I was a great example. And it`s important to remember that many of the progressives, the most important progressives, like John Dewey, the most important liberal philosopher of the 20th century. He liked World War I but not for the foreign policy reasons but because of what he called the social benefits of war.
The ability to use rallying for war to crush the concept of laissez- faire capitalism, free market capitalism, individualism, to crush those concepts and forge a new collective identity, a new American man.
BECK: But what`s so amazing is this is exactly -- everything that liberals say about conservatives is actually based in progressive liberal thought. When you say fascist -- George Bush is a fascist. No, he`s not. Not in comparison to the progressive movement of the early 20th century.
When you -- when you talk about what you were -- what you were just speaking -- shoot. I just -- I juts forgot what the point you brought up about Dewey. What was the...
GOLDBERG: He wanted to use war to crush the...
BECK: Yes. They say that George Bush is trying to use war just to terrorize people, just to bring people together so he can move forward. That`s what they`re doing with global warming and everything else.
GOLDBERG: George Bush, right after 9/11, what does he tell Americans to do? Tell them to go shopping. This is not a terror presidency.
GOLDBERG: Maybe it was a mistake to tell them to go shopping, but it doesn`t fit the terror presidency part.
And if you believe -- look, if you believe that George Bush, if you believe he is a fascist, if you believe he`s a dictator, and if you believe the arguments that the left uses to justify that, you know, the fact that there are two American citizens who have been denied habeas corpus because they`re enemy combatants and all that kind of stuff.
By those standards, George Bush looks like the host of "Romper Room" compared to, say, Woodrow Wilson, who put thousands of political prisoners in jail, arrested people without warrants, beat people up in the street, used a propaganda ministry.
BECK: OK. We`re going to get into the history of that...
BECK: ... here in just a minute. And it is phenomenal that America doesn`t know it. I mean, I remember FDR. I don`t remember him this way. But if you don`t know the history, you can`t see people like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or even Mike Huckabee, to name a conservative "fascist," if you will. You can`t understand who they are.
So let`s look at the current people.
BECK: Let`s look at Hillary Clinton. I want to play something, another -- another piece of -- or no. Do I just have the clip here?
She said, April 24, 1996, "As adults we have to start thinking and believing that there isn`t really any such thing as someone else`s child."
She has also said, from "It Takes a Village," "Videos with scenes of commonsense baby care -- how to burp an infant, what to do when soap gets in his eyes, how to make a baby with an earache comfortable, could be running continuously in doctor`s office clinics, hospitals, motor vehicles or any place where people gather and have to wait."
This smacks of "1984."
GOLDBERG: Right. And that`s the relevance. You know, our image of "1984," the giant Jumbotron TVs in all public places saying, "Work makes you free" and all that kind of stuff.
Well, Hillary Clinton`s vision is to have the big Jumbotron TVs and still give the message of the state. But it`s not this mean Orwellian thing. It`s this nanny state, hug you, love you to death kind of vision.
GOLDBERG: But still to me, it`s still a tyrannical vision. And you know, this notion that the quote from Hillary Clinton, where she says, you know, we have to move beyond the idea that there`s any such thing as somebody else`s child, this was central to the progressive vision.
The whole idea of progressivism was to crack the outer shell of the nuclear family, get rid of the sovereignty of the nuclear family, get rid of this concept of local communities. Everything had to be in relationship to the state. Mussolini defines fascism as, you know, everything in the state, nothing outside of the state.
And so Woodrow Wilson, when he`s the president of Princeton University, says the chief job of the educator must be to make your children as unlike you as possible.
The early feminist progressives were all about liberating children from the tyranny of the family and reorienting them toward the state.
In the harsh totalitarianisms like Stalinism and Nazism, that kind of thing, children were encouraged to inform and to spy on their parents. They made heroes of the state out of children who turned their parents in to have them executed.
Now obviously nothing like that is going to happen here. At least, I hope not. But if you -- since your kid goes to a typical school in this country, your kid is encouraged to sort of rat out his parents about whether or not they`re recycling at home.
BECK: Let`s go -- let`s go to the green movement. RFK Jr. has called me a corporate fascist because I say that I don`t think that we can solve global warming through government.
BECK: We can solve it through capitalism.
BECK: But not through government. And yet I watch these TV commercials where, all of them, for these SUVs, these green SUVs, are all the children saying, "I don`t know if I can ride in that car, mom. I don`t want to be dropped off in that car." They`re using the children almost to shame the parents into it. I mean, it`s the same kind of thing, isn`t it?
GOLDBERG: You should find some clips from the old cartoon "Captain Planet." It was just relentless propagandizing of children where the villains were all these cartoonish -- literally cartoonish -- corporate CEOs who wanted to destroy the environment. And all that -- the only thing that could save the world was if all the children from all over the world got together and formed this super hero to save the planet.
It was pure environmental propaganda. But you find that kind of thing all over the place.
BECK: OK. So real quick, because I only have a minute here before we go into the break. Let me just back up the statements that I said. You know, it`s Hillary Clinton. It`s Obama currently. But it`s also people like Mike Huckabee.
GOLDBERG: I agree.
GOLDBERG: The central vision of the progressive era was basically the social gospel. The attempt to turn politics into a religion. And there was therefore no room for heresy of any kind.
And in my argument, compassionate conservatism isn`t really conservatism. It`s right-wing progressivism. It`s using the state in sort of a totalitarian vision, one size fits all.
So when Mike Huckabee talks about, you know, banning smoking, a federal ban for smoking, he ground it in some right-wing rhetoric. But essentially, it`s the same vision for the role of government, that the government is going to love you. The government is going to take care of you. It`s government for your own good.
BECK: This is -- this is an hour that is not just for conservatives. I -- I am hoping that in the next hour, no matter how much blood shoots out of your eyes, that if you are a liberal, and you are open-minded enough to learn the history of progressive thought, that you will stick with us. We`ll be right back. Jonah Goldberg.
BECK: There is a great new book out that examines the history of fascism, and you may be surprised by the facts. I can`t tell you. It`s probably the first book that I have taken and went and looked for second sources myself because I was just jaw-dropped shocked that I didn`t know these facts. I figured, they`ve got to be untrue.
Too often, the word "fascist" gets thrown at conservatives, but as it turns out, according to Jonah Goldberg, and -- oh, I don`t know -- the facts, the real face of fascism is liberal. The book is called "Liberal Fascism." Its author is Jonah Goldberg.
Jonah, first of all, the thing that really hacks me off about the book is I want to throw it across the room so many times, because you keep trying to make the point that "I`m not calling liberals Nazis."
BECK: And, you know, about here, I`m like, I get it.
GOLDBERG: Right, right.
BECK: But still, I have asked liberals, would you read this book? Have you ever read this book? Just because of the cover, they say no.
GOLDBERG: Yes, yes, yes.
BECK: Why the smiley face with the Hitler mustache? What does it mean?
GOLDBERG: Well, I agree with you. Reviewers, critical viewers have said that I keep calling liberals Nazis, and I don`t do that. I must say at least 50 times I don`t. And apparently, they`re impervious to it.
Anyway, the smiley face thing, it`s explained on page 1 or maybe 2 of the book. And it`s a reference to an exchange between Bill Maher and George Carlin on Bill Maher`s television show, where George Carlin says that, "Look, if fascism ever comes to America, it`s not going to be in jackboots and uniforms. It`s going to be happy fascism, smiley fascism."
BECK: When he said this, because I read this. When he said this, did he know what he was saying? Did he know...
GOLDBERG: I don`t think, really, but he gets at a core insight which I think he`s right about...
GOLDBERG: ... which is simply this. Fascism is popular. We have trained ourselves in America, because the left has so controlled fascism, to define it as anything they don`t like. I mean, you know this from talk radio. The best definition for fascist in America is a conservative who`s winning an argument.
GOLDBERG: But the real lesson of history is that fascism is popular. That`s why it`s dangerous!
GOLDBERG: You know, if it was only evil mustache-twisting villains with, you know, British accents from World War II movies, who cares? But it turns out that, you know, the reason it appealed to people is that it`s appealing.
And that`s the -- that`s the point of the cover, is to point out that the things that we like may be fascist. It`s very easy to say we`ll never be fascist if you only point to evil things and death camps.
BECK: Everybody has -- everybody has defined -- and it`s actually a redefinition of the word "fascism" -- everyone has defined fascism as Adolf Hitler.
BECK: And one of the things that -- I mean, it`s just been an amazing journey, looking at fascism and the history of it. Mussolini was extraordinarily popular here in the United States.
GOLDBERG: Oh, yes, yes.
BECK: And Hitler was actually a vegetarian. Wanted to take and spread the glories of vegetarianism and saying, you know, it`s good for everybody, we should eat this. It`s the same kind of things that we`re dealing with now here in America in many ways. What`s good for you is just forced upon you. You no longer have a choice of choosing anything else.
GOLDBERG: A famous Hitler youth slogan was "Nutrition`s not a private matter." You know, it was the idea that what you wanted to eat, that wasn`t up to you anymore, it was up to the government, and we`re finding that in all sorts of -- there`s a reason why we talk about food fascists.
GOLDBERG: These people who want to get rid of transfats, want to determine what you eat, because -- because the more socialized medicine we have, the more rationale they think they have to determine what you can eat, what you can put in your body.
And in terms of Mussolini`s popularity in the United States, it is almost exactly like the popularity that we`ve seen Fidel Castro enjoy on the left for the last 35, 40 years and that we now see Hugo Chavez enjoy, and they were the exact same kinds of guys. They were nationalist socialists.
Mussolini was this guy who was a nationalist socialist, and he appealed to the same segments of society that today still get, you know, these full-blown crushes on people like Hugo Chavez.
BECK: There`s two things that come to mind, and first one is -- and maybe you can comment on this -- when people try to shut you down by calling you a fascist, doesn`t that make them more of a fascist, no matter what I`m saying?
GOLDBERG: There`s a weird catch-22. It`s this -- because the use of the word "fascist" in American political culture is essentially, it`s a way to silence people. It`s a cudgel. It`s a way to shut someone up. "Oh, he`s a fascist."
When Al Gore says his critics on the Web are digital Brownshirts, when he says people who disagree with him on global warming are like Holocaust deniers, it`s his way of saying, "Oh, you don`t have to listen to these people. They`re crazy. They`re illegitimate. They`re evil. They`re bad. They`re fascists."
And so in that sense, if you want to call it fascism or not, it`s undemocratic to simply demonize anyone who dissents from the popular, conventional view that people like Al Gore are putting out. You know, when you call them a fascist, basically what you`re doing is you`re saying we don`t have to listen to them anymore.
BECK: And the other thing that shocks me is so many people on the left, they hate corporations.
BECK: Hate them. And yet, they are fine with corporations, as long as they`re doing good. And it goes back to this. You`ll make all kinds of special exceptions. You won`t notice things that corporations are doing, as long as it`s happy, as long as it`s for global warming, for example.
BECK: Where does that split come? Can you explain how people don`t see the connection?
GOLDBERG: Right. It`s funny. I mean, the -- the reaction from the left whenever corporations do bad things, is they say, "OK, we need more regulation of corporations."
And then the reaction from corporations is, "OK, well, if you`re going to regulate me, I`m going to get more involved in the crafting of the regulations that affect me." And so government and corporations get in bed together.
The right wing, i.e., free market response, is to keep government and business as far apart as possible. Let businesses fail in the free market when they need to, not use corporations as government by proxy for health care and that kind of thing.
BECK: OK. We`re going to get back to this and the economy and everything else. Liberal fascism. More with Jonah Goldberg in just a second.
BECK: We have talked over and over again on this program about the nanny state. I, for one, am tired of the government-knows-best attitude, and it`s getting worse and worse every year.
There`s a new book that is a revealing look at the nanny state and a whole lot more. It is called "Liberal Fascism." Joined once again by its author, Jonah Goldberg.
The nanny state. When I saw a story come out of California about Californians, many of them, actually willing for the government to control the thermostat in their house, I thought, oh, my gosh, what have we come to?
GOLDBERG: I know. I loved that, because it was a perfect metaphor. They literally wanted the state to control the air they breathe, you know? It was perfect!
And we`re seeing more and more of that around the world. In Canada, you have people being denied surgeries. In Great Britain you have people being denied surgeries if they`re fat, just simply saying you don`t deserve these kind of surgeries.
BECK: Well, Mississippi, they were talking about a new law where restaurants would have to refuse service if you were obese. You couldn`t have certain things. Did you read that?
BECK: You didn`t -- you wouldn`t have to give them service if they were obese. What is that?
GOLDBERG: Yes, and it`s important, because there are two things that are going on. One is there`s a very serious snobbishness to the progressive mindset, this idea that we need to take care of the little people. The little people can`t control their own lives, and therefore, we know what`s best for them.
And then there`s actually a sort of green-eye-shade public policy here, which is that the more the government is picking up the tab for your health care, the more the people running the government feel obligated or permitted to determine how you run your own life, because they`re picking up the tab.
BECK: But you know what? That one actually makes sense. That one actually kind of works, because if we`re paying for health care, and you`re doing something stupid, well, then I shouldn`t have to pay for you.
GOLDBERG: Right, but then we should stop paying for health care.
BECK: Exactly right. Exactly right.
GOLDBERG: And you look for issue after issue after issue. Wherever there is a problem -- you know, when Hillary Clinton says that she`s not for big government, then why is it there`s not almost a single social program that she doesn`t have a government program for? Why is it that progressives, their answer to any social problem is an expanded role for government?
BECK: Well, just last week they were talking about -- what was it? -- the trailers for Katrina victims.
GOLDBERG: Right, right.
BECK: They have them all in -- and they`re trying to get them out because the air has formaldehyde in it and, you know, people are getting sick, and they said the government is not telling us the truth. They`re telling us it`s no big deal. They`ve been -- they`ve been passing this off.
And I thought to myself, this is a government program. Here it is. This is the way it works. And yet, people still want that nanny state.
BECK: It`s only going to get worse when they control everything.
GOLDBERG: Right, right. And it`s -- you know, what is the old proverb about, you know, if you`re digging -- the sign of insanity is you`re digging a hole and you keep digging to get out of it, you know?
Whenever we run into one of these, you know unintended consequences of, you know -- and well-intentioned unintended consequences of one of these government programs, the response seems to be, oh, more government programs.
Barack Obama`s solution for our education problems in this country is to say, well, we haven`t spent enough on education. We`ve been spending, you know -- we`ve been spending money on education...
BECK: Let me tell you something. We have spent enough money on education.
And you will get quite an education, and the truth on fascism and its history and the connection to the progressive movement in his new book, "Liberal Fascism." Jonah Goldberg.
Back in a minute.
BECK: The economy is on the front page of the newspaper almost every single day. We`ve been talking about it for a very long time. It`s a mess. We need to do something to turn it around, and we have to do it fast.
That is one of the things that scares me so much about this upcoming election, because that`s people`s attitude. We`ve got to do something.
A modern progressive like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama will shoulder this country with untold billions in spending, and you know what? It`s already happening before anything has happened in an election.
Here with more on the fiscal sensibility of the left is Jonah Goldberg. He`s the author of the new book, "Liberal Fascism."
Jonah, you know what scares me? Is as I`m watching what`s happening with our banking system right now, you have one of the main guys over at AIG over in London last week said we should -- the United States government needs to start investing. They need to buy stocks, they need to buy assets.
It`s the only thing they can do and it has to be New Deal size, otherwise we`re going into another great depression. That`s from him.
You have these banks starting to come in and say, we need to -- we need to have the government take these bad loans that we wrote...
BECK: This is -- this is New Deal era, gigantic government right around the corner.
GOLDBERG: I think that`s right. And I think it highlights one of the most important points that I try to the make in the book, especially in the chapter on economics, which is part of -- you know, sort of tied to the myth of conservatives being fascists is this myth that corporations are inherently right wing.
You know, there`s this idea that corporations are right wing. It comes out of this idea that -- it basically comes out of Marxism.
Corporations are useless on the culture war. Right? They have no use for the right. They`re in favor of affirmative action, all this kind of stuff.
They like big regulations because they keep out competition. And so you have these corporations who are constantly trying to get the government to bail them out, to give them favorable legislation, to give them subsidies for this, trade benefits for that, to hurt their competitors, to keep certain technologies from coming up that might hurt their products.
They`re for free markets when free markets are to their advantage. When free markets aren`t to their advantage, they`re against free markets.
And that was the story of the New Deal, that was the story of the progressive era, where big corporations and government worked hand in hand. And we`re seeing it again today, where these big corporations are delighted to have government bail them out. And you see the progressive, you know, liberal Democrat saying that they would love to do it.
And it`s a sign of where the real nexus is. It`s between, you know, big corporations and regulators wanting to work in tandem and hand in hand. And that`s not free market, and that`s not right wing, if you define right wing as free market capitalism, belief in the idea that business should be on its own and sink or swim on its own.
BECK: You know, you have Chris Dodd coming out, and this -- I saw an article in "The Wall Street Journal" a couple of weeks ago. They said this kind of thinking would have been unheard of just a couple of months ago, just to kind of give you a feel of the pace that this is coming at us. It would have been unheard of.
Chris Dodd is actually proposing a resurrection of the homeowner`s Preservation Corporation, which is a -- which was started in 1933.
BECK: It was a New Deal program, basically will not allow you to fail in your mortgage.
BECK: How do you survive in that kind of situation? How do you -- how does somebody look at -- I had a caller ask me this. They said, "Glenn, I don`t agree with the big government. I don`t agree, but this program is important."
BECK: How do you separate on what`s important or makes you feel good and feels like the right thing and fascism?
GOLDBERG: Well, that`s sort of a big point. I mean, part of the smiley face on the cover of the book is that often the things that we want are fascistic.
I mean, we like fascistic economics. We like the idea of corporations and businesses -- corporations and government working together to help the little guy.
We want to -- you know, we`re willing to take any, you know, corporate subsidy, farm subsidy, whatever it is, if it helps me. And that creates a constituency. And this comes out of FDR, who, you know, radically transformed, revolutionized American politics, by turning citizens into clients of the government.
They got checks. They became dependent on government in one way or the other. And that was the New Deal coalition.
BECK: We were never like this. We were never like this until Wilson and FDR.
BECK: This is a totally new concept. And it really stemmed from seeing the great success in Italy. Seeing -- I mean, I`ve read things about the scholars that went over and looked at Stalin and said, look at what he`s doing. Look at what he`s doing for industry, look what he`s doing for people.
This is the future. OK, he`s killed a million people at the time, but he had to do it for the good.
GOLDBERG: You`ve got to break some eggs to make an omelet.
GOLDBERG: No, Woodrow Wilson says it quite plainly. He says the essence of progressivism requires that the individual marry his interests to the state. Those are his words.
It`s the idea that the individual has to define himself in relationship to the state, that he gets his livelihood, his meaning -- FDR comes out what he calls the second Bill of Rights in 1944, addresses the nation and says basically what he wants to do is basically overturn the Bill of Rights. Remember, the Bill of Rights is negative rights. It says the government has no right to take your gun away, has no right to go into your home, has no right to bridge your speech.
He wants to create the second Bill of Rights, which are all positive rights. You have a right to a home, you have a right to a job. It`s things government can give you, and that you can demand from government, and if government isn`t giving you these things, if it isn`t giving you these trinkets, then the government has violated your rights.
It is a radical redefinition of our Constitution and our understanding of what makes a citizen in this country.
BECK: Isn`t what is going on with our enemies in China and Russia, isn`t that the future of America in many ways? These -- just a happier face.
You`ve got this gigantic, crushing, oppressive government in Russia -- look, I`m just taking the mob away. The Russian mob, it`s horrible. I`m just being a strongman because I have to be a strongman.
BECK: And they couple with these giant corporations. There`s no way to destroy that, because you`ve got -- democracy is too slow.
You can`t rally the troops and say, hey, we`ve got to go to war. We`ve got to -- we`ve got to do all this, because you`ve got to convince people.
GOLDBERG: Right. Right.
BECK: And then you couple that -- so you`ve got the totalitarian dictator who says, let`s go, we`re going right now because it`s right for the country, and you couple it with the engine of capitalism, the engine of these giant corporations, you can buy as many bullets as you want.
Isn`t what we`re seeing the seeds of here already in China and Russia?
GOLDBERG: In a lot of ways, yes. I mean, China and Russia fit the classic fascist model a lot better than the United States, by orders of magnitude.
BECK: But we have...
GOLDBERG: Those are authoritarian regimes and all that kind of stuff.
GOLDBERG: I agree with that. But, you know, in the United States, I mean, you know, you have some of the things -- you know, GE with its -- remember Green Week?
GOLDBERG: Where they basically say -- you know, GE is looking to get all sorts of contracts with the government for alternative energy, for, you know, solar energy, all these kinds of things.
GOLDBERG: And so it agrees to put on like 100 hours of green-friendly, essentially propaganda, incorporating it into its sitcoms, into its dramas, into its news, into its sports. And all because this is essentially what the government wants it to do, and so it can win a closer relationship with the government. It is propagandizing for a popular -- again, that`s popular -- issue like global warming, so that it can curry favor with the government.
It`s very much the fascist...
BECK: We talked about it during Green Week almost every night. I think we were the only show on television that was talking about it.
This would have been decried from the highest mountaintops. If I would have done it for some cause that I cared about, or if, you know, the FOX network -- and I don`t mean FOX Channel -- I mean the FOX network decided to take on some conservative thing -- you know, waterboarding, it`s waterboarding week.
GOLDBERG: Right. Right. No, exactly.
BECK: You know what I mean? And it`s the same kind of thing.
BECK: There is -- there is -- there are people who believe in it, people who don`t believe in it.
BECK: And yet nobody said a word, and they never had to disclose that NBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GE, the largest lobbying group has billions of dollars to make on green energy.
GOLDBERG: That`s right. And it`s -- and it`s good corporate promotion for the company.
I mean, the company seems progressive and popular and all these kinds of things. But I agree with you entirely.
We only recognize as fascist those things we don`t like. And so, you know, if -- I agree. You know, if FOX had came out with a -- you know, it says, we`re going to incorporate pro-life images, or pro-life themes into our programming for a week.
BECK: Imagine that.
GOLDBERG: You know, people would go batty about it, and they would say it`s propaganda, it`s government -- you know, it`s corporate collusion with politics and government and all this kind of stuff, and they would decry it as fascist, and they would have a point. But it`s the same point that we have about things like Green Week.
BECK: So how do you -- how do you stop it? How do you -- how do you wake people up?
I`ve been saying -- a couple of weeks ago, Jonah, I said, please, stop buying my book. Buy this book and give it to your liberal friend. One that is open-minded enough that says, OK, I may agree on these policies, yadda, yadda, yadda, but it`s important that I learn the history of...
BECK: ... liberal fascism so I can then judge for myself.
I know, oh, this is what I`m doing. If you know what you`re doing, well, then you`re making an intelligent choice.
How do you stop this?
GOLDBERG: Well, I think one of the things that is decidedly fascistic, or at least just a bad idea, is looking for silver bullets. You know, when Barack Obama campaigns, he`s basically saying, I`m a silver bullet, I`m going to solve all your problems just by electing me.
FDR, Hitler, all these guys, they basically said, all your problems can be solved. I don`t think conservatives should buy into that logic.
The logic of conservatism says that there are no final -- there are no perfect solutions to anything. It`s just going to take a long argument.
I mean, this argument has been going on in America for a century now. You know, during the Cold War, this was an intense argument.
You had liberals constantly looking to places like the Soviet Union as a model. You know, saying that it was a better place. You still have these incredibly sand-poundingly stupid people talking about how Castro has a better model. You know?
BECK: I wonder who that is.
GOLDBERG: And all you have to do is just -- you have to just keep having the argument, you have to keep focus -- it`s a door-to-door fight.
GOLDBERG: And saying, you know, it`s first principles, and even if freedom makes things harder, it`s better to have it harder than to not have it free.
Benjamin Franklin said you have a right to fail in America.
Coming up, more with Jonah Goldberg.
BECK: When you say the word "fascist," most people`s minds go right back to the Nazis, jack-booted storm troopers, World War II. But the true history of the word and the entire fascist movement is a little more complicated than that, and it`ll blow your mind when you actually know history.
It is outlined in a great new book I think everybody should read. It is called "Liberal Fascism."
I`m joined again by its author, Jonah Goldberg.
Jonah, my trail started on this with just a few things. I was reading another book that was printed in the 1950s and it was from -- it had a quote from George Bernard Shaw, who was a Fabian socialist. I put the book down and I thought this writer no longer has any credibility with me because this cannot be true.
I went and I started second sourcing. I couldn`t believe some of the history.
Let`s start with George Bernard Shaw. He said the state has a right to kill you, right?
GOLDBERG: Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes.
I mean, George Bernard Shaw was a eugenicist who believed in wiping out vast swathes of the darker, duskier races that didn`t deserve to be living. He was an open fan of Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, all of these guys. You know, talked glowingly about gas chambers as this wonderful solution to all sorts of social problems.
BECK: I mean, I can`t believe I didn`t -- I didn`t know any of this.
GOLDBERG: ... intellectual of the 20th century in a lot of ways.
BECK: And he and H.G. Wells were part of something called Fabian Socialists.
GOLDBERG: Right, the Fabian Socialists -- Fabian Society still exists today. You can go to their Web site.
They were the cutting-edge intellectual socialists of Great Britain. Huge influence on American progressives. And the title of the book, "Liberal Fascism," comes from a speech by H.G. Wells where -- and he was enormously influential in the United States. It cannot be exaggerated how influential.
And when he`s asked to describe his philosophy and where liberalism needs to go, he says what we need is liberal fascism or enlightened Nazism. And he says this in 1932, and he meant it seriously. He thought fascism really was a good idea.
BECK: Basically Nazism without the gas chambers.
GOLDBERG: Right. In 1932, there were no gas chambers.
BECK: Right. OK.
Now, Woodrow Wilson, I was talking to my teenage daughters, and I said, "Tell me about Woodrow Wilson." And we started looking at the history of Woodrow Wilson.
Never really talked. You know, Woodrow Wilson and you`re like, oh, League of Nations and First World War. And he was kind of a good guy.
Not what they say about Dick Cheney. This guy actually did and was.
GOLDBERG: Right. Now, Woodrow Wilson is the first Ph.D. to get in the White House, and I think the only one, thank God. And he -- if you just go by a layman`s definition of a dictator, some guy who throws political prisoners in jail, sends goon squads out to beat people up in the street, creates the first propaganda ministry in western civilization, the first modern one, sends propaganda agents out throughout the United States in secret to foment, you know, pro-government, anti-immigrant and all these kinds of ideas, Woodrow Wilson in every way comes across as a fascist.
He`s the first president of the United States to openly disparage the U.S. Constitution, saying it`s no longer relevant, we need to evolve past it and have a living Constitution, a phrase you hear a lot these days.
BECK: And he`s also the guy who also -- the Fed came from Woodrow Wilson.
GOLDBERG: That`s right.
BECK: So all of these giant insidious things. He was -- basically, it was the beginning seeds of the United Nations. And when you look back at Woodrow Wilson, you`re just kind of like, OK, he`s just a president.
FDR, you look back at FDR and I remember thinking, well, I mean, they changed it because he -- you know, he was just in office too long. I don`t even know why he was in office too long.
Why would they change the Constitution and say a president couldn`t be president for four terms?
BECK: Because he wasn`t a good guy. The things that he did were wildly out of control.
GOLDBERG: Right. Well, he was president for life, essentially, you know, which we never had in the United States before then.
GOLDBERG: And what needs to be remembered is what FDR was explicitly trying to do. This is not my theory, he said he was trying to do this, was to recreate the war socialism of Woodrow Wilson. That what they did during the war by bringing corporations into government and having government and corporations run society with propaganda ministries and political prisoners and all these kinds of things, they wanted to recreate that to fight the Depression.
And FDR said so explicitly. And basically FDR was a Wilson retread.
He was the assistant secretary of the Navy under Wilson. Had no problem with the propaganda and the political prisoners and all that kind of stuff. And they want to recreate that spirit, that moral equivalent of war in peace time to fight the Depression. And that`s what the New Deal was about.
BECK: Yes. And he had the corps for forestry, where they would go out and it was basically an army, which was frightening to me to read because I have read Barack Obama`s plan, where he wants to create a green corps, pretty much the same thing that we had in the New Deal with FDR.
Please, America, I`m begging you, read the book "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg.
Back in a minute.
BECK: Jonah Goldberg has been my guest all week, and for this full hour. He is the author of "Liberal Fascism."
You`ve been called a fascist for writing the book?
GOLDBERG: I was called a fascist and that`s why I wrote the book. And now I`ve been called a fascist more for having written it.
BECK: And it`s amazing because "fascist" implies that I`m going to shut you down. I`m going to do whatever I have to do to shut you down.
You`ve been shut down on amazon.com by what I would describe as fascists.
GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, some of them -- "fascist" is almost a compliment for some of them. Some of them are just tools. You know?
But, you know, my Amazon page has been hacked several times now. They`ve replaced pictures of the book with pictures of me in a Hitler moustache and some even less charitable things which we don`t need to get into.
The hate mail has just been through the roof. The left-wing blogs despise me, you know, which is not shocking.
A lot of ridicule. A lot of the reviewers even in elite publications very clearly either distort what I`ve written or just simply ignore it.
BECK: I have to tell you, Jonah, I said this at the beginning of the show. Your book pisses me off at times because you keep going -- I don`t know how anybody misses the point. You are not calling liberals people who want to kill Jews.
BECK: It has nothing to do with that. Liberal -- or fascism meant something different in the early progressive movement.
BECK: And yet, now, didn`t you have somebody say that they were kicked out of an ice cream parlor for even reading the book?
GOLDBERG: Oh, yes. One of my readers wrote in and said that he got kicked out because they took offense to his book. I`ve had all these stories from across the country, people hiding the book in the stores.
But you`re right about the fascism. One story, the last substantive point, you know, socialism. More people have been murdered, rounded up and put in camps and slaughtered, in the name of socialism than were ever killed in the name of fascism. And that doesn`t even count the national socialists of Germany, right?
Mao killed 65 million people. Stalin killed at least 20 million people. If I call you a socialist, it just sounds like you`re...
BECK: I know. It`s not a bad word.
BECK: It`s not a bad word.
GOLDBERG: And that`s all I`m trying to do. I`m trying to say that fascism means something. And then we can have a conversation about what it means.
How much trouble do you think we`re in for this full hour in this week?
GOLDBERG: Oh, I`m changing my name.
BECK: All right.
There are rare few books that I honestly feel are worth reading by everybody, liberals and conservatives. This is one of them.
Please read it, "Liberal Fascism," Jonah Goldberg. It will likely change the way you and your children think. With the election coming up, do yourself a favor and pick a copy of "Liberal Fascism" up.
From New York, goodnight, America.