After the turmoil of the Trump inauguration, I’ve gone back to reading Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, and have encountered in it a plausible explanation of why, in America at least, “liberal” no longer means “liberal”.
Liberal intellectuals and activists insisted during the 1920s that [Woodrow] Wilson’s war socialism had been a smashing success and its failures a result of insufficient zeal. “We planned in war” became their slogan. Alas, they couldn’t convince the yokels in the voting booths. As a result, they came more and more to admire the Bismarckian approach of top-down socialism. They also looked to Russia and Italy, where “men of action” were creating utopias with the bulldozer and the slide rule. The Marxist emphasis on scientific socialism and social engineering infected American Progressivism. And since science isn’t open to democratic debate, an arrogant literal-mindedness took over Progressivism.
It was also around this time that through…
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