The left’s totalitarian vision

Our future according
to Liberals
Dr. Helen, who comments on society “from a (mostly) psychological perspective”, lays it out in all its horrifying detail. Liberals want to turn America into
a college campus with free food, shelter and recreation.
The good doctor’s perspicuous view of liberal aims owes something, no doubt, to her having interviewed Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism, a book that has already received the strong endorsement of Charles Murray. Goldberg believes that
[…] for a lot of liberals and progressives, the end of history is a giant college campus, or increasingly, Europe. You know, this place where you’ve lost any great ambition, everyone’s much more concerned with self-esteem, with caring for each other.
What Goldberg means by ‘ambition’ is something like this:
I’ve long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the “Ledeen Doctrine.” I’m not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” That’s at least how I remember Michael phrasing it at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute about a decade ago.
It’s true that no university has yet thrown any small countries against the wall. I’m afraid that in all likelihood none has even wished to do so. That is a definite flaw in their character. Only the School of the Americas has shown some gumption in this respect.
So there you have it: caring for each other is bad, whacking small little countries is good. Anti-fascism in a nutshell.
As an antidote to Goldberg’s pretenses to scholarship, Jean-Pierre Faye’s work on “totalitarian language” is a good starting point. See
Langages totalitaires. Critique de la raison narrative, l'économie (Hermann, 1972) German translation: Totalitäre Sprachen (Ullstein, 1977).
Théorie du récit. Introduction aux Langages totalitaires (Hermann, 1972) — a briefer presentation.
La Raison narrative (Balland, 1990).
Le Piège (Balland, 1994)—on Heidegger and the language of National Socialism.
Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any translations of these works into English, but see “The critique of language and its economy”, Economy and society 5.1 (Feb 1976) 52–73. Langages totalitaires is a minute examination, first of narratives and events in the French Revolution, and then of key phrases like “conservative revolution” and “national socialism” in Germany during the 1920s and 30s. The bits and pieces that were compounded to form the ideology of Nazism were indeed more complicated than one might have thought. But they don’t amount to anything resembling liberalism. Not if by that you mean a historically real liberalism—the New Deal, say, plus the anti-racism and anti-bigotry that became part of the Democratic party’s platform in the sixties.
Added 31 Dec: The “Ledeen Doctrine” could just as well be called the “Presidential Initiation Rite Doctrine”. See R. W. Apple, Fighting in Panama: The Implications; War: Bush’s Presidential Rite of Passage, New York Times 21 Dec 1989. See also Spiderbytes; Allan Nairn, “No More Coddling Big Criminals. Huckabee Fails to Get Tough on Crime”, News and comment 18 Dec 2007.

LinkDecember 28, 2007 in Society · Unenlightenment