Impulse reading is not something I usually do. My reading is usually planned out books in advance and dependent on what I need to review and books which have an associated interest for me. Little attention is paid to the release date of a work.
This book is an exception – though I’ve long meant to do more reading on fascism. Paul Gottfried is a political scientist whose writing I’ve liked when coming across it. Austere, clear, pointed, and willing to question assumptions others often didn’t know they were making, he can be found these days, after being kicked out of the National Review club, at Unz.com, a site full of writers of various political persuasions willing to question common wisdom.
So, after reading his criticism of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, a book I favorably reviewed (a review which seems to have vanished from Amazon and I have no copy) I wanted to read his take on the subject.
If you have to choose between the two books, go with Gottfried.
Review: Fascism: The Career of a Concept, Paul Gottfried, 2016.
The current career of the word “fascism” is to stand in
for a host of iniquities that progressives, multiculturalists, and libertarians all oppose, even if they offer no single, coherent account of what they’re condemning.
Gottfried wants to correct that and, in a greater sense, remind us that the terms Right and Left have “essentialist” meanings.
The literature on fascism is vast, and Gottfried mentions a lot of scholars on the subject. (My Kindle edition tells me that 58% of the book is notes and an index.) The predominant ones he uses are German Ernst Nolte and American A. James Gregor. They represent two views, respectively, that fascism was “a counterrevolutionary imitation of the revolutionary Left” and a “variant on Marxism” that used nationalism.
Nazis as Marxists? Continue reading