Michael Ledeen, who has some bizarre views about the Middle East but indisputably knows a lot about fascism, has a worthwhile pan of Liberal Fascism made all the more devastating by the fact that Ledeen’s no liberal but is unfailingly polite to Goldberg. Highlights:
The great masterpiece that drew the blood lines from Robespierre to modern mass movements and regimes, is Jacob Talmon’s “The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy,” now nearly half a century old. There’s no evidence that Jonah has read it. […] It doesn’t seem that Jonah is aware of this literature. […] What is missing from Jonah’s book — he mentions it in passing a few times, but never gives it the weight it deserves — is the specific historical context from which fascism was born […] Jonah, instead, says (pg. 80) “Fascism, at its core, is the view that every nook and cranny of society should work together in spiritual union toward the same goals overseen by the state.” That is not fascism […] Just a few lines later, he claims that “Woodrow Wilson was the twentieth century’s first fascist dictator,” and that’s just silly. […] Jonah trivializes Nazi racism […] The best that can be said about this is that it’s imaginative. But it’s what happens when you are bound and determined to put liberals, Socialists, Communists, fascists and Nazis into a common political home.
It’s not a very good book.