1984 Meets the Age of O'Reilly

This, of course, refers to the famous remarks (almost four days old now) in which Richard Dawkins' suggestion that there be a separation of church and state in public schools was shouted down by O'Reilly's claim that he was imposing fascism.

Poor Winston Smith. When Orwell wrote his novel there was only a three minute hate. Now FOXNews runs 24 hours a day.

Watch the full "interview" here.

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I'm continually amazed how they succeeded in redefining the word "fascist" to mean "secular and liberal". By now I've had several discussions where I tried to convince people of the historical meaning of fascism (me being German afterall), but it's gotten to the point where you can't even say publicly that fascism is actually a far-right totalitarian concept without being attacked for confusing the facts.

By the way, before someone says "but Hitler was an atheist": he was not, the Nazis had a deeply convoluted mystical ideology. But even if they didn't, the reverse "all atheists are Nazis" is a ridiculous logical fallacy that still draws people in for some reason.


Good points. I think that there is a push on in the US by the right wing to redefine fascism to include American Progressivism of the early 20th Century, so as to link it with modern American liberalism. (given a push by Jonah Goldberg's ridiculous book, "Liberal Fascism") Totally silly, of course, but it is eaten up by the historically ignorant, but politically energized followers of the right wing, talk radio, etc. It is amazing how often right wingers argue that because the NSDAP contained "sozialismus" as part of its name, that means that Hitler and all the Nazis "really" were socialists.

By Woody Tanaka (not verified) on 12 Oct 2009 #permalink

Goldberg's point, the meaning of his book once you get past the title, the presentation of an argument being entirely beside the point, is that words are simply tools for sophists. They are entirely independent of any meaning beyond the work product produced as they are used to maneuver the targeted demographic into and through a mental space.

The right wing feels it has too long chafed under the saddle of images and ideas from Nazi Germany that are identified with them. By using 'fascism' to describe anything and everything. To swing it as a club independent of meaning and context is to rob it of meaning. By calling everything fascist it no longer bites where it naturally resides.

There was a similar attempt to rob the word nigger of content. To shout it so often and apply it to so many different things and situations that it lost meaning and ceased to have any meaning as an insult. Irony being that the change would be something of a return to origins because it is simply an adaptation of the Spanish word for black.

Goldberg is clearly making symbolic linkages toward the desired end of sowing confusion as to what what liberalism is and means and what fascism is and was. A rehabilitation of the right's reputation and dimming of the memory of the right's fascistic tendencies and what happens when they gain power.