Archive for October 24th, 2008
I made it through two audio books recently; first, Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World’s Greatest Investor. While parts of the book are enjoyable, I can tell there are large parts that I would skip were I reading an artifact. I didn’t buy the book to hear “People whine about Warren Buffett” or “Warren Buffett has made some enemies”; why give these people the freaking time of day? The Buffett bons mots, though, need some leavening; a steady diet of one-liners gets old, quickly, as well.
Secondly, Joe and Lyle recommended Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left. While none of it is new, and all of it is tedious, the book is worthwhile if only to remind you that fascism is primarily a product of the left. One trivia point I re-learned (or hope to have learned the first time) is that Mussolini was well along his path before Hitler came on the scene; the mutual admiration society of Wilson, Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and FDR is much deeper than one might think. The downside of this fourteen hour journey is that it’s fourteen hours out of your life. The salient points are:
- Fascism, socialism, and communism all sprout from the same intellectual seeds.
- The early players were all at least aware of each other, if not in active contact. Nothing happens in isolation.
- Mussolini was the tyro that built an intellectual foundation for fascism.
- Hitler popularized currents in place in German society without much, if any, intellectual basis.
- The “New Left” of the 60’s onward were overt in using the same intellectual basis for what they are up to.
I picked up a lot of trivia from the time spent; this may redeem the book. Mussolini’s lack of enthusiasm for Hitler was open and based, primarily, on Hitler’s being an intellectual lightweight.
I like to think I’ve grown out of my fascist phase, but it’s hard to tell. Over the years, my interaction with religion has gone from being an antigen and actively attacking it to treating it like brain cancer; I’m sorry you have it, but I can’t do much about it and I won’t beat you up about it. I still have a strong tendency, though, to trust technicians and scientists over everyone else; this is one of the common intellectual underpinnings of fascist dogma. Perhaps my antipathy to this audio book is more tied to hearing someone intone “hey, you suck. You used to do this, you used to do this, you still do this…” for fourteen hours than the tension from having heard it all before.
My own journey from far left to libertarian (described as classic liberalism in this book) is not complete, but I hope to keep up with that process.