Anyone interested in the history of biblical interpretation in the twentieth century should read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism to understand the political movements and forces that formed the wider context in which biblical scholars have done their work. This book will also serve as a kind of apologetic antidote to the selectively told story (if it was told at all) that most of us either heard in our US History classes or picked up along the way. Goldberg’s account of The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Change (the book’s subtitle) is a fascinating look at what amounts to the deification of the State. Having recently preached through the book of Revelation, there are, as Mike Bird might say, gobsmacking parallels between what those who make the State their god have done and what John depicts in Revelation 13 and 17.
Goldberg’s history teaches that conservatives are the true liberals. He refers to their position as “classical liberalism.” Champions of freedom and the free interchange of ideas. The word “liberal” has been hijacked–in politics and in theology–by people who are not liberal at all. They are champions neither of freedom nor of the free interchange of ideas. Rather, they have a perverted version of the truth that they substitute for orthodoxy, then their pseudo-orthodoxy is enforced–not by defending their ideas as superior through persuasive argumentation, but by dismissing, excluding, or if necessary shouting down those who deviate from the lies told by the false prophet to make those whose names are not written in the book of life worship the dragon’s beast. Those who have hijacked the word “liberal” are better described as liberal fascists.
All this to say, I commend this book to you.
Goldberg is also a regular contributor to the National Review blog, The Corner. The posts there merit a daily skim.