Paul Gottfried’s Latest

Paul Gottfried has a new book out. I’ve mentioned Professor Gottfried here before (in particular, I strongly recommend his books Multiculturalism and the Politics of Guilt: Toward a Secular Theocracy and After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State); his latest is called Fascism: The Career of a Concept.

The word “fascism” has become little more that a polemic catchall used by liberals to refer to whatever ideas they detect to their right; Gottfried makes clear that in his opinion the term now has “no meaning at the political and journalistic level.”

But is fascism, rightly understood, a creature of the Left or the Right? Pace Jonah Goldberg, as well as everyone on the Left, the question is not a simple one, and one of Gottfried’s aims in this book is to make a close examination of the points of contact that the various forms of fascism have had with both Left and Right. He also seeks to explain why fascism is so broadly reviled in the modern West, while Communism, which killed more people in the last century than fascist movements (and vastly more than the holotypic Italian Fascists ever did) still enjoys such a warm reception.

I’ve just begun reading it. Gottfried’s books are, perhaps, a little demanding for the lay reader who isn’t accustomed to this sort of scholarly material, but they are always rich in insight and detail, and for those of you who are interested in understanding how the modern world came to be in such a pickle, they are very helpful indeed.

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