Thomas Sowell

In short, during the 1920s and the early 1930s, Fascism was not only looked on favorably by the left but recognized as having kindred ideas, agendas and assumptions.

Only after Hitler and Mussolini disgraced themselves, mainly by their brutal military aggressions in the 1930s, did the left distance themselves from these international pariahs.

Fascism, initially recognized as a kindred ideology of the left, has since come down to us defined as being on "the right" -- indeed, as representing the farthest right, supposedly further extensions of conservatism.

If by conservatism you mean belief in free markets, limited government, and traditional morality, including religious influences, then these are all things that the Fascists opposed just as much as the left does today.

The left may say that they are not racists or anti-semites, like Hitler, but neither was Mussolini or Franco. Hitler, incidentally, got some of his racist ideology from the writings of American "progressives" in the eugenics movement.

Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" is too rich a book to be summarized in a newspaper column. Get a copy and start re-thinking the received notions about who is on "the left" and who is on "the right." It is a book for people who want to think, rather than repeat rhetoric.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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