Modern liberalism derived from twentieth-century progressivism, and shared commonality with European fascism, where it was expressed as militant nationalism with blatant racist overtones.
Before World War II, fascism was viewed as a positive, progressive social movement in both America and Europe. Then the Holocaust completely changed our view of fascism to that of evil nationalism and genocidal racism.
Under FDR’s presidency the term “liberalism” came to replace “progressivism” to describe center-left politics. In order to purport that the totalitarian New Deal was the opposite of fascism, liberals then created a straw man out of the conservative movement. The term “right-wing” had already been used to describe a position opposed to Roosevelt, so it was a relatively small incremental step to associate the American right with despised Nazi fascism.
Today’s liberalism embodies a soft, yet still totalitarian, form of fascism. Fascism in the United States is expressed in the milder form of progressivism – as a softer form of totalitarianism more in alignment with American culture. We see in the U.S. a form of liberal fascism manifested as an ever-expanding nanny state.
Notable author Dinesh D’Souza writes in his August 11, 2017 FrontPage Mag article, Big Liar – How Theodor Adorno redefined Fascism:
Fascism and Nazism are both phenomena of the left. This makes ideological sense, because at their core they represent ideologies of the centralized, all-powerful state. Moreover, fascism grew out of Marxism, and fascism’s founder Benito Mussolini, was a Marxist and lifelong socialist. Hitler, too, was a socialist who headed the National Socialist Party and in fact changed the name of the German Workers Party to make it the National Socialist German Workers Party.
How, then, did progressives in America re-define fascism and Nazism as phenomena of the right? This sleight-of-hand occurred after World War II, once fascism and Nazism were discredited with the reputation of Holocaust. Then progressives recognized it was important to cover up the leftist roots of fascism and Nazism and to move them from the left-wing column into the right-wing column.
The man most responsible for the progressive redefinition of fascism is Theodor Adorno, a German Marxist intellectual and a member of the influential Institute for Social Research, otherwise known as the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School scholars were leftists and most of them were refugees from Nazi Germany. Some settled in Europe; others like Adorno and Herbert Marcuse came to the United States.
Adorno’s influence in defining how fascism came to be understood in America cannot be underestimated…
Adorno decided to repackage fascism as a form of capitalism and moral traditionalism. In effect, they reinvented fascism as a phenomenon of the political right. In this preposterous interpretation, fascism was remade into two things that real fascists despised: free markets and support for a traditional moral order…
Here, after all, was a German Jewish scholar declaring fascism a phenomenon of the right. Clearly he was sticking fascism on conservatives who supported capitalism and affirmed religion and traditional families. This was a lie—real fascists detest those institutions and want to destroy them—but it was a politically convenient lie…[ ]