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The Liberal Fascism Effect

A distracting side-effect I’ve experienced from reading Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is a newfound mental habit of playing Spot the Fascist Tendencies with everything I read.

Case in point:

“The Overview Effect,” a phrase coined in the book of the same name by space philosopher and writer Frank White. It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.

Oh, I know they mean well, and are probably not likely to start strutting around in jackbooted spacesuits, pressing us all into the worship of a unified pan-human World-State or whatever. But it’s hard now to read such things without noticing the odor of mystical collectivism they emit. It’s also difficult to read things like this and not speculate on where such mysticism could easily lead — namely, regarding space as some sort of sacred wilderness to be preserved in perpetuity from intrusive human activities.

Personally I prefer rationalism and individualism as the basis for the permanent settlement of space.

On the other hand, I can’t fault them for wanting more people to go into space (even if we may disagree as to the why of it). At least they get that part right.

[via Clark Lindsay]

6 comments to The Liberal Fascism Effect

  • Will D.

    I haven’t yet read that particular book, but I understand your mindset. When I was younger and reading Ayn Rand’s books (and others about the evils of collectivism, globalism, the NWO, etc.) I had a tendency to view everything that I read in the news as leading towards or indicative of some sort of coming global communist or fascist state. It all seemed so ominous at the time. … But, I’ve gotten older, read more widely, and mellowed quite a bit since then and now it just doesn’t seem to me that our bungling leaders could be that organized. Sure, the politicians and businessmen TRY to control as much as they can. But others are doing it too, and I don’t think that any one group is ever going to completely control the World. And even if they did, there would be dissent within the group. … I think what I’m trying to say is that the best laid plans often go awry, and in a strange way, we can take comfort from that.

  • Right, I learned much the same lesson from reading Rand. My point is that Goldberg handed me a shiny new prism through which to look at things, and the novelty hasn’t worn off yet to the point where it can be used as a tool rather than a toy.

  • Will Doohan

    Yeah, that happens to me to after I’ve read a compelling book. (sorry about some of my comments being so long)

  • Alex Howerton

    Seeing the Overview Institute as having overtones of Liberal Fascism speaks more to one’s tendency toward steroetyping, oversimplification, and lack of critical analytical skills than it does to spotting potential threats. As a libertarian who participated materially in creating the institute, I welcome all criticisms, because that can only sharpen our message and improve our ability to communicate. Experiencing the Overview Effect is rather an innoculation against fascistic tendencies. You get out there and see the Earth for what it is, rather than what media controllers (left, right, or other) would have you believe. Each response is different, personal, and unique, leading to greater, not less, diversity. It’s harder to goosestep when you know, from personal experience, that those telling you to do so are concealing reality from you.

  • T.L. James

    Um, you *did* read the post and my followup commment, right? I attributed the “liberal fascist” whiff to having read Goldberg’s book recently and then spotting your organization’s call for unity, etc.

    As for welcoming all criticisms, you might have a bit more credibility in that regard if you didn’t start off your comment by airily dismissing what criticism I did offer…then making my point about the mystical element and tying a little ribbon of paranoia around it to boot.

    It’s a lot easier to goosestep when you see yourself as part of an elect collective with a mystically-ordained mission and a shadowy Other conspiring to keep you down.

  • space case

    LOL! Go T.L.! U-tell-’em!