This is Nuts!


A friend just sent me a rather shocked link to’s page for Jonah Goldberg’s new book with the utterly crazy title: “Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Hegel to Whole Foods.” The original subtitle was “The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton.” That one was unhinged enough, but the new title is simply deranged.

Now, I should admit that I don’t shop at Whole Foods, not because I think it’s “fascist,” but because I don’t like cooking, so I pay other people to prepare my food. (I’m a regular at the “Health Bar” around the corner from my place and I get 15% off the meals; that and my microwave do me fine.) If I liked to cook and if I had more time, I think I just might shop at Whole Foods, since the food’s really good. (It’s a bit pricey, but the quality is superb.) And I’m not afraid that the eggplant will be “totalitarian.” I’ve met John Mackey a number of times and I know for a fact that he’s not a “fascist,” nor does he distribute “fascist food.”

I know that authors don’t always come up with the titles or covers of their books, but they do get to veto them. This one is so utterly stupid that I hope that Goldberg is ashamed to show his face in public.

59 Responses to “This is Nuts!”

  1. Tom G. Palmer

    The most recent comment is interesting for what it says about standards of civil discourse today. Being told by someone that your deepest convictions are wrong and even harmful is hard to take. Most people don’t like it. Indeed, they are offended when told such things. Is it offensive for someone to say you are wrong? If so, then most of the religions in the world are inherently offensive, since they say that those who don’t follow their path are doomed, damned, cast out, and so forth. But…it’s authentically what they believe. It’s not offensive for them to believe it or to proclaim it. I find the mentality that says that exclusive claims are “offensive” far too sensitive, not only for my tastes, but for the persistence of civil discourse. “The Earth Isn’t Flat and Those Who Believe It are Wrong,” or “Flat Earthism Poisons Everything” may hurt the fellings of some, but if an argument is offered, I don’t think that people should find it “offensive,” just as “X Is the Only Path to Salvation” shouldn’t be considered “offensive.” Stupid is one thing; offensive is another. One can be both, of course.

  2. Anonymous

    Well, “offensive” might be not the exact word to use here. Since I am not the native English speaker, I might have used the wrong term. But I think there is clear difference between “The Earth Isn’t Flat and Those Who Believe It are Wrong,” or “Flat Earthism Poisons Everything” and what “Mein Kampf” claims with regard to Jews.

  3. Tom G. Palmer

    Yes, of course. But “religion poisons everything” is a claim that the author can sustain or not. It’s not a blood libel. People who take religion seriously (as I do) should take the time to read serious criticisms and to think about them. The same is not true of pseudo-scientific anti-Semitic rants.

  4. Anonymous

    Absolutely, this was exactly the point that I’ve been trying to make. The title “Religion Poisons Everything” is just an opinion of author, and he tries to justify his claim in the book. While accusing anybody (either through title or through the contents of the book) of things he/she did not do and did not even intend to do (however hillarios or stupid it might sound or read) can be pretty offensive.

  5. Although he will mention fascism has in common with modern day liberalism, I doubt he’ll mention all the similarities between fascism and the neoconservatism that he and his NR warmongers espouse. I doubt Goldberg will mention much about fascists affinity for preemptive wars or executive power or concentration camps for example.

  6. Whole Foods isn’t fascist (necessarily) but the company is extremely conservative in some surprising ways. CEO Mackey is an avowed “conscious capitalist”, which is the kind of forward oxymoron you’d expect from a longtime vegetarian who makes quite a bit of money selling dead meat (and adds to the profit margin with “grocery lit” descriptions of the ideal settings in which the animals were raised and killed – it’s all about the ad line no doubt).

    Also WF has a policy towards unions that makes Walmart seem liberal. A good part of the holistic image of WF is directed outwards at the consumer; much less of that towards the employees, who often would have financial problems actually shopping at the store in which they work. Difficult to imagine why a company built upon the interests of what were counter-cultural ideas would be so fearful of collective bargaining.

    Not to be overly negative, the company has helped create an international market for conscious food consumers, and for that I’m thankful. They’ve done a lot of things well.

    To go forward however they really, really need some honest competition. Buying all of it actually won’t help either their long term service to the general public or their employees either.


  7. Tom G. Palmer

    Now that is a remarkably obtuse comment. Mr. Goldberg’s use of the term was not to complain about union relations (unions were, in fact, a major component of fascist movements, by the way), but — it seems — to suggest that organic foods are somehow fascist. The comment immediately above is nearly as strange as Mr. Goldberg’s title.

  8. Tom G. Palmer

    The last commentator should try to read with more care. I did not judge the book by the title; I judged the title by the title:

    “I know that authors donâ??t always come up with the titles or covers of their books, but they do get to veto them. This one is so utterly stupid that I hope that Goldberg is ashamed to show his face in public.”

    The author of the book evidently was convinced that the title was absurd and changed it. So, no, I don’t “feel dumb.” But perhaps the commentator should.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>