Paul Ryan: I Voted for TARP Because of Jonah Goldberg’s ‘Liberal Fascism’

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Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

An interesting admission in Benjy Sarlin’s interview with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the GOP’s brainy ranking member on the House Budget Committee who’s been targeted by Democrats for his entitlement-cutting proposals.

Ryan said his vote for the bailout was influenced by Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, a popular book among conservatives that argues that Nazism and other fascist movements were actually left wing in origin, and his belief that a second Depression would threaten capitalism—and rescue Obama’s presidency.

“I’m a limited-government, free-enterprise guy, but TARP… represented a moment where we had no good options and we were about to fall into a deflationary spiral,” he said. “I believe Obama would not only have won, but would have been able to sweep through a huge statist agenda very quickly because there would have been no support for the free-market system.”

I’ve had other Republican members of Congress with impeccable fiscal conservative credentials explain their votes in similar terms — I’m thinking Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) — but the citing of Goldberg is a first.

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Comments

13 Comments

mepmep09
Comment posted February 11, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

So this guy (Paul Ryan) is put forth as one of the brainiacs of the modern Republican Party?

Oh
  Mah
    Gaw!

Goldberg's idiotic book was the subject of a recent group review by historians which was organized by David Neiwert, a former reporter who these days follows the right wing extremist movement in the U.S., as well as the more mainstream media people (e.g., Jonah Goldberg) who so often enable such extremists. (BTW, Goldberg accepted the opportunity to reply to the review – his response is available via this site.)

In his typically accurate – and (also typically) his crude and funny – fashion, blogger Thers provides a summary of the historians' findings.

Leftie bloggers (and those of us who read them) had a lot of laughs at Goldberg's expense, from the time we first heard he was working on the book. Unfortunately – for much the same reason that Ms. Palin is taken seriously – such intellectually dishonest and dishonorable productions can do damage, when accepted uncritically by political and media authority figures who should (and perhaps do) know better.


chrisjay
Comment posted February 11, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

During the Reagan era, mid-'80's, Merriam Webster was purchased by the Rand Corporation. Shortly thereafter, new editions of the dictionary they published offered an “edited” definition of the word fascism—-suddenly, the definition no longer included reference to “…the mingling of corporations with government.” In his preposterous screed Liberal Fascism Jonas Goldberg executed the next logical step in the systematic corporatist/revisionist clampdown aimed at low-information, rightwing dupes.
Enter the teabaggers…


mepmep09
Comment posted February 11, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

Aw, jeez; never heard about that, but at this point, it doesn't surprise me.

The big corporations sure have been unceasing in their chipping away at the Republic's foundations since at least 1886*, haven't they?

*If not earlier


chrisjay
Comment posted February 11, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

I'm going with “if not earlier” :
Thomas Jefferson considered the emergent corporations of the early 19th century in America as a clear and present danger to our democracy.He equated them with the over-privileged, leech-like anti-democracy aristocracies of Europe.
As per, the man was a visionary


brainwav93
Comment posted February 12, 2010 @ 3:42 am

I call bullshit!
Do you have a source for this claim? Otherwise, I'll simply have to presume that YOU are the one practicing Orwellian historical re-write.


chrisjay
Comment posted February 12, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

have the source?


brainwav93
Comment posted February 12, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

What is your evidence that Rand Corporation bought Merriam-Webster?


chrisjay
Comment posted February 13, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

Correction here (freudian slip?):
It was not Rand Corp but Random House Corp who purchased the name Webster.
My point remains unaltered. Anyone can purchase a Merriam Webster pre-1987 and see a more expansive definition of 'fascist' than they've been allowed to see since then. I can't think of a more textbook case of revisionism, pardon the pun.


chrisjay
Comment posted February 13, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

Also, 1983 American Heritage Dictionary, under “fascism”:
A system of gov't that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership.

1933 Encyclopedia Italia contains this entry by Giovanni Gentile:
“Fascism should be more appropriately called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”
—-Mussolini famously took credit for this quote.
It was Orwell's observations on Mussolini's and Franco's corporatist utopias, aka fascist states, which inspired 1984.
I learned that in an American junior high, but I don't think they're allowed to teach that “leftist propaganda” anymore…


brainwav93
Comment posted February 13, 2010 @ 8:32 pm

Yes, economic fascism is the merger of government and corporate power.
Examples: 1) The takeover of GM by the federal government.
2) The economic policies of the New DealP
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Recovery_…

Btw, dictionaries typically follow usage, did it occur to you that perhaps this particular use of “fascism” simply became less popular over time, and so was revised? Fascism once had a specific meaning, but has since become much more generalized, and used in many more contexts. If you want to accuse lexicographers of conspiracy, I personally find it highly suspicious that the old meaning of “liberal” is retained in modern dictionaries, meaning “lover of liberty”, when it appears to me that sometime around 1930, the meaning shifted sharply, to something closer to “unreasoning admirer of federal/centralized power.”


chrisjay
Comment posted February 15, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

I'm pleased that you took the time to attempt to put this discussion in a useful historical context. Although your attempt to equate the GM situation with the NRA is untenable, I am always happy to have a dialog/debate about the New Deal-era economic models, both here and abroad. Although there was a brief debate at the time in which the NRA was compared by some to corporatist fascism in Germany, Italy and Spain, by far the more widely-held criticism was to compare the New Deal with socialism which—then as now—is as far from corporatism (economically and politically) as one can get. So, as you can see, the discussion has come full circle to the original subject of this thread. To wit: the absurdity of equating liberalism to fascism


chrisjay
Comment posted February 15, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

I'm pleased that you took the time to attempt to put this discussion in a useful historical context. Although your attempt to equate the GM situation with the NRA is untenable, I am always happy to have a dialog/debate about the New Deal-era economic models, both here and abroad. Although there was a brief debate at the time in which the NRA was compared by some to corporatist fascism in Germany, Italy and Spain, by far the more widely-held criticism was to compare the New Deal with socialism which—then as now—is as far from corporatism (economically and politically) as one can get. So, as you can see, the discussion has come full circle to the original subject of this thread. To wit: the absurdity of equating liberalism with fascism


Jethro
Comment posted December 22, 2010 @ 2:02 am

Way to do due diligence buddy. Reading the book would have helped. From the book:

“The introduction of a novel term like “liberal fascism” obviously requires an explanation. Many critics will undoubtedly regard it as a crass oxymoron. Actually, however, I am not the first to use the term. That honor falls to H.G. Wells, one of the greatest influences on the progressive mind in the twentieth century (and, it turns out, the inspiration for Huxley’s Brave New World). Wells didn’t coin the phrase as an indictment, but as a badge of honor. Progressives must become “liberal fascists” and “enlightened Nazis,” he told the Young Liberals at Oxford in a speech in July 1932.” — P.21

The fascist bargain goes something like this. The state says to the industrialist, “You may stay in business and own your factories. In the spirit of cooperation and unity, we will even guarantee you profits and a lack of serious competition. In exchange, we expect you to agree with — and help implement — our political agenda. — P.290

This is the hidden history of big business from the railroads of the nineteenth century, to the meatpacking industry under Teddy Roosevelt, to the outrageous cartel of “Big Tobacco” today: supposedly right-wing corporations work hand in glove with progressive politicians and bureaucrats in both parties to exclude small businesses, limit competition, ensure market share and prices, and generally work as government by proxy. — P.308


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