Goldberg: A Perfectly Fascist Refrain

“The elevation of unity as the highest social value is a core tenet of fascism and all leftist ideologies. Mussolini adopted the socialist symbol of the fasces to convey that his movement valued unity over the liberal democratic fetish of debate and discussion. That clanking, unrhymed chant we hear at protest rallies today – ‘The people united will never be defeated!’ – is a perfectly fascist refrain. Perhaps it is true that ‘the people united will never be defeated,’ but that doesn’t mean the people are right (as Calvin Coolidge would say, ‘One with the law on his side is a majority’). We tend to forget that unity is, at best, morally neutral and often a source of irrationality and groupthink. Rampaging mobs are unified. The Mafia is unified. Marauding barbarians bent on rape and pillage are unified. Meanwhile, civilized people have disagreement and small-d democrats have arguments. Classical liberalism is based on this fundamental insight, which is why fascism was always antiliberal. Liberalism rejected the idea that unity is more valuable than individuality. For fascists and other leftists, meaning and authenticity are found in collective enterprises – of class, nation, or race – and the state is there to enforce that meaning on everyone without the hindrance of debate.”

– Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism (p. 172)


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