The Marxist Impulse in Conservative Polemic: “Liberal Fascists”

Jonah Goldberg, the man famous for redrawing the political spectrum to equate “liberals” with Nazis, shares an important trait with Conservapedia — a passion for historical revisionism. For both, the war against liberalism is a quest that spans the epochs. There were Jewish liberals in ancient Jerusalem, eager to kill the Son of God; and there were German liberals in the Weimar Republic, eager to kill the Jews. What a difference a few millenia makes!

Curiously, this need to remake all of history to demonize one’s foes is not conservative — it’s Marxist. Politicians have manipulated history for millenia to aggrandize themselves, but it was Marx who first took that impulse to its extreme, in framing his epochal struggle between workers and merchants. How curious that expansive revisionism now undergirds the modern right-wing fringe.



  1. I always chuckle at the idea of “liberal Nazis” when the philosophy is undeniably ultra right wing complete with adoration of Christian superiority and a belief that ‘traditional values’ trump the rights of minorities and other undesirables. Seriously, you can take many of the talking points from Nazi propaganda and it will fit neatly into just about anything put out by Focus on the Family.

  2. Aw, come on. Seriously. You do understand Marx better, don’t you? He simply interpreted history as being shaped by struggles of economic interests, which, even if too one-dimensional if taken on its own, is a big step forward in comparison to interpreting it only as a bunch of dynastic marriages and battles as was done before. I do not remember him writing that proletarians and capitalists existed in the Roman Empire – quite the opposite, actually.

    Is that some kind of weird reflex in the USA? I need to bash my opponent – hey, got an idea, why not say he is a commie?

    1. Yes, I realize it’s more complicated than that. I should have framed this post as “this is what conservatives think Marxism looks like” — that, I think, would be accurate.

    2. However, there have been quite a number of later Marxist historians who have tended to interpret history that way – Maurice Dobb on the later Middle Ages, for instance, with his overly strong focus on social classes which may or may not have existed at the time, and which really obscures some rather complex social dynamics.

      That said, I certainly agree that Marxism has had a positive influence on historiography through its contributions to social history and the Annales School in particular.

      “Who built Thebes of the seven gates?” and all that.

  3. I noticed the Tennessee Democratic Party website doesn’t list Congressman Jim Cooper as a declared Democratic candidate for 2010. So I called his office in Nashville and they said Congressman Jim Cooper is a declared Democratic candidate for 2010. I suspect the Tennessee Democratic Party website has left him off the list because they don’t want to help endorse him again.

    For example:

    Jim Cooper does not support habeas corpus for prisoners at Guantanamo, and has refused to support legislation to close Guantanamo.

    Jim Cooper has refused to support the “Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007,” which would make “significant changes to provisions of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 by restoring the writ of habeas corpus for individuals held under U.S. jurisdiction, narrowing the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant, preventing the use of evidence gained through torture and coercion, and requiring the U.S. to abide to its Geneva Convention obligations.” More importantly, Jim Cooper has declined to sign onto legislation that requires the U.S. to live up to the Geneva Conventions.

    Jim Cooper has refused to support efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Iraq.

    Jim Cooper supports continuing the U.S. aggression in Iraq, he is against insisting on Congressional oversight of the war effort, and wants to give the NSA a pass to go around the FISA Courts.

    Jim Cooper refused to support legislation that would hold mercenaries (a/k/a “contractors”) to the same standards of conduct expected of American soldiers.

    Jim Cooper has refused to push for a ban on cluster bombs used in the vicinity of civilians.

    Jim Cooper has refused to support legislation that would ban the so-called “outsourcing” of torture.

    Jim Cooper has refused to sign onto legislation that would investigate and probably reign in WHINSEC, the U.S. government’s notorious training school for torturers and terrorists.
    Jim Cooper isn’t interested in repealing the so-called “Real ID” act. In case you have not heard, “Real ID” was slipped through into law without debate a few years ago. It gives states a very expensive unfunded mandate to create a national ID card, and many privacy experts see the database it is supposed to create as an invitation to snooping and identity theft.

    Jim Cooper has failed to achieve a leadership position within the U.S. House of Representatives over the past six years in office.

    Jim Cooper voted for the $825 billion economic stimulus package without reading it first.

    Jim Cooper refused to have hometown meetings with the citizens of his community on the issue of Health Care.


    Hint: It’s not the voters of Nashville and Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, who strongly support a public option. Here are the industries who have donated to Jim Cooper’s campaigns, according to

    $651,803 Lawyers/Law Firms
    $502,323 Securities & Investment
    $216,255 Real Estate
    $197,306 Retired
    $184,759 INSURANCE
    $128,930 Misc Finance
    $125,398 MISC HEALTH
    $112,050 Commercial Banks
    $107,696 Accountants
    $105,107 Education
    That totals up to almost $1 million for Jim Cooper from health care special interests!

    No wonder Congressman Jim Cooper is fighting for them — and and not for his constituents — when it comes to health care.

    More information about Congressman Jim Cooper can be seen at:

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