Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, Part II

Read Part I, Read Part III.

When we left off last time, Goldberg’s book was just beginning. Here’s what happened in the States.

Progressives in America approved heartily of Europe turning Red, and they set about duplicating the successes of their foreign brothers. To get a rolling start, they looked to the settled science of eugenics.

Nobody did more to advance the practice of eugenics (in America) than Margaret Sanger. She took her cue from sophisticated intellectuals like Karl Pearson, Ronald Fisher, John Maynard Keynes, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Julian Huxley (founder of the World Wildlife Fund), Adolph Hitler, and others. They thought “undesirables” were breeding so fast that the world would soon be overrun.

Sanger said, “The mass of significant Negroes…still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes…is [in] that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” She also said, “We do not want word to go out…that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Some things are better kept quiet.1

Sanger founded Planned Parenthood whose then mandate was to issue condoms and literature to help slow breeding. She would have had mixed feelings of that organization’s eventual success. Thanks to Planned Parenthood, there are a lot fewer “Negroes” around than there otherwise would be. But most of this surplus population was prevented by abortion, which she did not cotton to. (Blacks disproportionately account for the largest number of abortions in the States.2)

Was Sanger the only American eugenicist? Not hardly. There was also progressive jurist Oliver Wendel Holmes, who thought imbeciles should be sterilized. He was broad minded, however; he wanted degenerates’ tubes clipped, too.

President Woodrow Wilson, PhD, a progressive intellectual, thought himself superior. Before he assumed the American throne, he created in New Jersey a eugenic-minded “Board of Examiners of Feebleminded, Epileptics, and Other Defectives.”3 Progressive Teddy Roosevelt warned of “race suicide.” It wasn’t just whites. W.E.B. DuBois wanted to blow out the racial pipes, too.

True, there was the odd liberal who disputed the consensus, just as there was the occasional right winger who was for it. But it was largely conservatives who had inveighed against the settled science of the day.4 This quotation from G.K. Chesterton is long, but worth reading carefully:

It is necessary to point out the essential fact which the eugenists seem to have forgotten all over again. We breed cows for milk; and not for a moral balance of particular virtues in the cow. We breed pigs for pork…Therefore we cannot, and do not, criticise them in the way in which we criticise our fellow creatures when we call them feeble-minded; or when we betray our own feeble-mindedness by calling them Unfit. For the very word Unfit reveals the weakness of the whole of this pseudo-scientific position. We should say that a cow is fit to provide us with milk; or that a pig is unfit to provide us with pork. But nobody would call a cow fit without naturally adding what she was fit for. Nobody would call up the insanely isolated vision of the Unfit Pig in the abstract. But when we talk about human beings, we are bound to break off the sentence in the middle; we are bound to call them Unfit in the abstract. For we know how varied, how complex, and how controversial are the questions that arise about the functions for which they should be fitted.

How did the scientific consensus of eugenics dissolve when there was such overwhelming support for it? Well, there are two ways to rid yourself of “undesirables.” You can whack or prevent them before they make their first appearance, or you can kill them afterwards. Like Hitler did.

After the Holocaust, progressives looked into the mirror and did not like the evil they saw staring back at them. But they were unable to admit that the faces they saw were their own. So they convinced themselves that what they were seeing were hate-filled Others.

Why? Progressives then, as now, thought themselves both purer of heart and blessed with more intelligence than the other fellow. Accepting these comparators as axiomatic, it followed that the other fellow’s motives were either evil, inferior, or both.

For example, Wilson, PhD, said that the rule “that all just governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed, applies only to those who are capable of self-government.” And since only a few had that capability, the state would have to look after the rest. Intellectual newsman Walter Lippmann, who leg was thrilled by Wilson, said that most citizens were “mentally children or barbarians.” (Nowadays they say we are “ungovernable.”)

Luckily, Wilson, PhD, had the advantage of the War that did not end all wars to mobilize his progressive army. He created a Sedition Act, which banned “uttering, printing, writing, or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the United States government or the military.”5 (Nowadays we hear of the “Fairness” doctrine.)

His Justice Department created a Night Watch-like group6called the American Protective League which encouraged citizens to rat out their neighbors. APL patrols cracked the heads of those deemed against the government. These culminated in the Palmer raids, where subversive (i.e. non-progressive) elements were rounded up.

Goldberg says, “Hard numbers are difficult to come by, but it has been estimated that some 175,000 Americans were arrested for failing to demonstrate their patriotism in one way or another. All were punished, many went to jail.”7 175,000!

In what must seem like a shocking coincidence, these were the same sorts of things Mussolini was doing.

Looking back on this era, progressives now say, ”                       .” And they say it often.

In Part III: FDR, the Camelot myth, Johnson, and more!


1 Goldberg, p. 273. (All references are from the 2009 paperback edition.) Amusingly, a whitewasher has been active at Wikipedia (which I won’t link to). The entry on Sanger contains the words “Despite allegations of racism…” Allegations! Sanger is a secular saint, of which no progressive dares speak ill, even anonymously.

2 If you want to have fun with a progressive, remind them of this fact.

3 Goldberg, p. 255.

4 No, I am not comparing climate science with eugenics; just as those who call skeptics “deniers” are not invoking the Holocaust.

5 p. 112.

6 Yet another gratuitous Babylon 5 plug.

7 p. 117.

Read Part I, Read Part III


  1. dearieme

    An explicit example occurred in Britain, where Sir Oswald Mosley went through a complete “progressive” trajectory. As Wikipedia recounts:

    He became a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP ) at only only 21, fell out with the Conservatives, and “crossed the floor” to sit as an Independent MP on the opposition side of the House of Commons.

    In March 1924 he joined the Labour Party. He immediately joined the Independent Labour Party (ILP) as well and allied himself with the left. Mosley and his wife Cynthia were ardent Fabian Socialists in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1926 Mosley returned to Parliament and when Labour won the 1929 general election he was appointed to the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, de facto Minister without Portfolio, given responsibility for solving the unemployment problem, but found that his radical proposals were blocked. Mosley was always impatient and eventually put forward a whole scheme in the ‘Mosley Memorandum’ to find it rejected by the Cabinet; he then resigned in May 1930. Thirty years later, in 1961, R. H. S. Crossman described the memorandum: “… this brilliant memorandum was a whole generation ahead of Labour thinking”.

    Determined that the Labour Party was no longer suitable, Mosley quickly founded the New Party. The New Party increasingly inclined to fascist policies, becoming more radical and authoritarian. After his election failure in 1931 Mosley went on a study tour of the ‘new movements’ of Italy’s Benito Mussolini and other fascists, and returned convinced that it was the way forward for him and for Britain. He determined to unite the existing fascist movements and created the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932.

    So there you have it: impatient with compromise, radical, keen to learn from foreign example, he differed from many American progressives by being rather honest about his increasingly loathsome and authoritarian ideals.

  2. Kevin

    The history professor at my college has answers to all of this, cleaner even than the pages of Wikipedia. Of those imprisoned in the Palmer raids, and who were released by Harding, of all people, he says “Harding was simply following the commands of the Supreme Court.” As though the original imprisonment had no significance at all, and that Harding obviously would have kept these people in prison without the Court commanding otherwise. In his mind Harding is somehow the less honorable.

    Our arguments about the Mellon Tax Cuts, and the New Deal, and the Hoover Administration (being not free-market oriented as he maintains) are all equally unsatisfying. Once these historians have settled on an explanatory story, no doubt about it ever creeps into their minds again.

  3. John R T

    Though the 1960s, Byrd Machine bureaucrats followed the worst of ´progressive´ impulses. Virginia´s totalitarian regime was not unique, in the South nor nationally. ¨Science,¨ mis-read Darwin and Freud, translated by politicians, produced what I consider the worst and most harmful violations of human rights.

    ´Post normal science´globally echoes the attitudes and actions of my grand-parents´generation.

  4. Keith

    “… just as those who call skeptics “deniers” are not invoking the Holocaust.”

    Are you being sarcastic? Because it seems quite obvious that is precisely what is implied by the term “denier.”

  5. Briggs


    Sarcasm? Me?

  6. bartlees

    Seldom if ever mentioned by anyone, but particularly by liberals, is the fact that Catholics and Evangelicals had as a primary reason for opposing the teaching of evolution as then practiced the support in evolution instruction for eugenics; that’s also why they favored the prosecution of Scopes as a way to oppose eugenics and propaganda in favor of eugenics.

  7. Ray

    In Germany the academics and medical doctors were ardent supporters of Hitler. The head of the German equivalent of the American Medical Association wrote a gushing letter to Hitler declaring they were at his service.

  8. Anonymous

    I strongly suggest that anyone interested in this topic get a copy of a stunning 2 hour documentary called: Maafa21 . Maafa21 is the most stunning and “offensive” look behind the eugenic agenda still going on today. The producers of Maafa21 went directly to the source, researching the information from the papers of Margaret Sanger , Planned Parenthood, their board, and their eugenic supporters. Fully documented quotes and video of the founders and US eugenics society links to Hitler and the Nazis will leave you stunned. Maafa21 shows evidence that Margaret Sanger – founder of Planned Parenthood was a member of the American Eugenics Society (AES), spoke to their meetings, met with their VP’s and also spoke to the KKK (proof in Sanger’s autobiography). In addition, other Planned Parenthood members were Eugenics Society members, including Alan Guttmacher, who was at one time the Vice President of the AES. Maafa21 will leave you asking how Planned Parenthood receives millions of tax dollars a day from the American Government. . Maafa21 will tell you things the media and the government do not want you to hear. This film is not partisan either. Maafa21 shows how both parties are involved in eugenics against the Black Community and includes racist audio of President Nixon explaining why people vote for abortion – any guess? Maafa21 will walk you through history and push you straight into the 21st Century where you will see all the dots connected and this evil and racist Eugenic Plot revealed right in front of your eyes. Get a copy of Maafa21 – here (clip)

  9. III
    The twin fascisms that causes most massacres, wars, “conflicts” today:

    Arabism is racism (Arab racism)
    Millions upon Millions are/became victims of [pan-] Arabism which is the worst current form of racism in its gigantic proportions, like: Kurds Jews (not just in Israel) Berbers (the real natives of North Africa), Africans (not just in the genocide in the Sudan or in Egypt on native Nubians by Arab invaders – till today), Persians, etc.

    Islamism is bigotry (Islamofascism)!
    The Islamic supremacy that “works” towards its vision of “final Islamic domination on the entire planet”, from Middle east to Africa from Asia to Eurabia, from terrorism & massacres in multiple countries (like: Thailand, Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon India, USA, France, Israel, Russia, UK, etc.) to propaganda, the war includes on Muslims who are not radical enough…,

    Let’s face it! that entire war on Israel & the Jews since the 1920’s by infamous facsist Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini who started the “genocide campaign” [and continues by the children, grand children of Arab immigrants into Israel – Palestine – now convenienently called “palestinians”] in a clear outlined declaration to ‘kill all Jews’, is nothing but out of pure Arab Muslim bigotry.

    Why does biased media blame Israel defenders from vicious Arab Muslims who use civilians when they attack Israeli civilians… so that their civilians (they prefer kids to) die then parade with the casualties as “innocent victims”???

    While the Islamo Arab dictatorship goes on…
    Israeli [ungrateful] Arabs won’t mention FAVORITISM by democratic pluralistic multi-racial Israel in: land, courts & universities, by the same token, the totalitarian & mullahcracy dictators of Iran with its Hezbollah thugs & militant “Palestine” anti-freedom forces cast their genocide plan under “freedom fighting.”

  10. Keith

    William, sorry, my sarc-o-meter must have been on the fritz! Excellent article, by the way.

  11. Todd

    Sorry I missed it.

    “Progressive Teddy Roosevelt warned of “race suicide.” It wasn’t just whites. W.E.B. DuBois wanted to blow out the racial pipes, too.”

    Never mind.

  12. Briggs


    FDR shows up in the Part III, tomorrow. The final installment!

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