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Compassionate Fascists

Todd Seavey has the effrontery to thoughtfully review Jonah Goldberg's book:

I always thought H.G. Wells’s stories smacked of his arrogant Fabian Society-style socialism, but even when he depicted things like a human race that suddenly gains super-intelligence and thus (naturally) decides to hold massive book burnings to destroy now-obsolete works of bourgeois art, I never thought Wells was consciously fascist — just naively socialist. Thanks to Goldberg, I now know that Wells and others took inspiration interchangeably from both socialism and fascism — and why not? Both (closely related) movements were efforts to end the fragmentation caused by capitalism, individual freedom, and industrial modernity, drawing everyone together into a single, tribe-like collective. If socialism and fascism seem like “opposites” now, it’s only because we’ve allowed the left to claim for decades that they are.

But if we drop the partisan allegiances and look with fresh eyes at, say, FDR interning tens of thousands based on their race or denouncing as “traitors” any businesses that failed to display his Blue Eagle symbol and follow his industrial-planning orders, how vast are the differences between Italian, Russian, German, and American collectivism, really, at their philosophical bases (different by far though their body counts may have been — America and Italy being relatively benign and Germany and Russia each killing tens of millions)?

And of course, no good deed going unpunished, he is attacked for it by the usual suspects.

I’m sure it all seems like productive, funny activity on the commenters’ end, but — to use that imagination thing I mentioned earlier — how would the results of the week’s comment-fest have been substantially different if, say, I had posted an entry asking leftists to weigh in with evidence that they’re a bunch of spiteful assholes who find it inherently amusing to gang up on people, and they had responded with frank confessionals affirming that hypothesis?

Keeping in mind that what I did to get them started was write a book review, note that they’ve so far, among other things, (a) bandied about outdated financial information about me, (b) called me clinically insane, (c) used various obscenities, and (d) suggested that I’m gay or some sort of ill-defined sexual deviant (which seems to be a favorite and almost inevitable tactic of online leftist commenters, which you’d think would raise questions about their qualifications to be the great defenders of diversity and tolerance and all that). As sociologists have observed time and again, a mob, not the most imaginative of beasts, tends to do exactly the same things wherever it manifests and regardless of its cause — such as go for the genitals. Clever move, mob. Keep up the innovative work.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 27, 2007 02:49 PM
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