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Ed Driscoll

The Godfather Turns 143

September 21st, 2009 - 1:57 am

Google’s latest splash page commemorates the 143rd anniversary of the birth of H.G. Wells, the man whom Fred Siegel of City Journal recently dubbed “The Godfather of American Liberalism”, and who, in 1932, gave a famous speech which, after being embargoed down the memory hole for decades, would begin to have repercussions beginning last year:

By 1932, a frustrated Wells found his superior wisdom bypassed time and again by the superior mass appeal of fascism and Communism. In a talk at Oxford provocatively titled “Liberal Fascism,” he called for liberalism to be “born again.” After his customary denunciation of parliamentary politics as an anachronism, he let out his frustrations, calling for fascist means to serve liberal ends by way of a liberal elite as “conceited” and as power-hungry as its rivals. “I suggest that you study the reinvigoration of Catholicism by Loyola,” Wells said. “I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti.” It was also to Communism that “we shall have to turn—we outsiders, that is, the young people with foresight for enlightened Nazis; I am proposing that you consider the formation for a greater Communist Party; a western response to Russia.”

Liberal Fascism? Why, what a title of a book that would make!

Fortunately for all concerned, modern liberalism has come far from those days of admiring the streamlined brute force of collectivism.

Or not.

(To hear my interview with Siegel on Wells, click here.)

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