Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Jonah note of the day

-- by Dave

Well, while we twiddle our thumbs waiting to see if Jonah Goldberg even acknowledges, let alone responds to, my lengthy response to his counter -- what was that Jonah was saying about how he can't find any liberals to properly engage him in reasoned discourse? -- I thought I'd continue to share a few notes and pointers about just how misbegotten Goldberg's text really is.

One of the major ways that Liberal Fascism connects modern liberals to 1930s fascists is by the various "socialist" economic and cultural programs sponsored by the Nazi regime, particularly its program for universal education. The current embrace of such programs by liberals, Goldberg argues, makes clear their descendancy from Hitler's ideology.

Using this logic, one could make precisely the same case for modern conservatives. "Privatization" has been a major conservative watchword since at least the Reagan era. Yet, as it turns out, the Nazis similarly pursued such a program as well.

Germà Bel of the University of Barcelona explored this in considerable detail in her thesis, "Against the Mainstream: Nazi Privatization in 1930s Germany" [PDF file]. Its abstract covers the relevant points:
The Great Depression spurred State ownership in Western capitalist countries. Germany was no exception; the last governments of the Weimar Republic took over firms in diverse sectors. Later, the Nazi regime transferred public ownership and public services to the private sector. In doing so, they went against the mainstream trends in the Western capitalist countries, none of which systematically reprivatized firms during the 1930s. Privatization in Nazi Germany was also unique in transferring to private hands the delivery of public services previously provided by government. The firms and the services transferred to private ownership belonged to diverse sectors. Privatization was part of an intentional policy with multiple objectives and was not ideologically driven. As in many recent privatizations, particularly within the European Union, strong financial restrictions were a central motivation. In addition, privatization was used as a political tool to enhance support for the government and for the Nazi Party.

So, applying the Goldberg Standard, we can clearly deduce that the modern conservative movement -- including the Bush administration and the Republican Congress of 2000-2006 -- is also an ideological descendant of the Nazis.

I guess we're all just Nazis on this bus, eh, Jonah?


Jonah writes:
Pretty much all the leftwing blog stuff I've seen is too vile to pick through the trash in search of a good argument. Some conservative friends have some thoughtful and constructive critiques (Yuval Levin's going to write some of them up to get a conversation going). I would like to see such a critique, but the leftwingers don't seem interested in providing it, invested as they are in the character-assassination gambit.

Evidently, a “good argument” is now “any argument I anticipated beforehand and have some notes about in my index-card file.” Any argument outside those Jonah is already prepared to answer is, by definition, a “bad argument”.

See? The Goldberg Principle in action!

No comments: