A provocative comparison between fascism, Nazism, and the modern political left.
According to libertarian activistSamuels (In Defense of Chaos, 2013), the “so-called polar-opposite ideologies” of fascism and communism are “virtual carbon copies” and “almost indistinguishable” from each other. Both share common traits of authoritarianism, he says, as well as a preference for collectivism over individualism, a hostility to free market capitalism, and a predilection against freedom of speech and thought. Although much of his book centers on proving his contentious thesis on the communist origins of Italian fascism and German Nazism, his underlying objective is to connect them to today’s left. Samuels sees such parallels in leftist protests against conservative speakers on college campuses; what he calls the “Big Lie” of accusations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh; and what he terms the “positive racism” of affirmative action. Though starkly polemical, Samuels’ prose style is sophisticated, and at its best when challenging the contemporary right-left ideological axis. His discussion of the connections between the “Old Right” and communist governments are notable, as he points out that they both favor monarchic regimes and government-enforced morality. However, Samuels’ political agenda often lends itself to sloppy analysis when asserting connections between fascism/Nazism and the contemporary left. For example, his claim that today’s “Democratic Party still seems to attract racists and admirers of Hitler’s military and economic accomplishments” ignores myriad racist organizations to whom the Democratic Party is anathema. He also cites the alleged “popularity” of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan among Democrats as evidence of their racism; however, Farrakhan’s stances on traditional gender roles, and his skepticism of the federal government, are closer to those of the right than the left. Samuels accuses leftists of having “a muddled sense of history,” but much of his own retelling of the history of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany seems deliberately constructed to discredit his political opponents in today’s America.
An agenda-driven history that will appeal only to those who already share the author’s disdain of contemporary leftism.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)