Here is a summary of what I found:
A set of ideas is emerging from today’s academic world that is startlingly reminiscent of what the fascist theorists were saying in the 1930s: individual identity is a myth, insofar as identity is really determined by culture and ethnicity; laws and social conventions are only masks for power; human-centered values are part of a corrupt Western civilization; the transcendent meaning of reason, objectivity, and language is an illusion. Is it possible that those who hold these views do not realize that these are also the doctrines of fascism?
In the 1990s, those ideas were “emerging” in academic circles, but today, they dominate universities, to the point that dissenters are silenced. And they have spilled over into popular culture, public policy, the government, and the attitudes of ordinary Americans.
To be sure, such views are associated with the “left,” and such “critical theory” derives from “post-Marxism.” But, as I show, despite Marxist propaganda and the antics of today’s “Antifa” anti-fascists—who emulate Mussolini’s agitators down to their black shirts—fascism is not extreme conservatism. No one who believes, as most conservatives do, in limited government and individual liberty could be a fascist. Rather, fascism was an alternative form of totalitarian socialism (as in Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or Nazis), which replaces Marxist class conflict with the conflict between ethnic groups. Which is exactly the post-Marxist innovation.
To be sure, today’s critical theorists who reduce all of culture to one group exercising power over other groups do so in a professed attempt to liberate the oppressed. The Nazis, on the other hand, exulted in their exercise of power over others. Today’s humane-seeming leftists, as I say, “work with unexamined moral assumptions, overlooking the way they have demolished the basis of those assumptions.”
In the book’s chapter on ethics, I discuss how the fascist thinkers were replacing a transcendent, objective approach to ethics, which is the legacy of the Bible, with an ethics constructed by the will (you can see it in the euphemism of being “pro-choice” in matters of abortion). Though the unreflective masses simply follow the values of their culture (e.g., “cultural relativism”), the elite construct ethics as an act of power, whether in subjugation or in resistance.
I show how this approach to ethics, combined with the pseudosciences of Darwinism and race theory, led to the notion that there is “life unworthy of life,” in the words of a Nazi propaganda movie, that should simply be extinguished. I trace the straight line between eugenics, euthanasia, and the death camps.
I find other parallels with fascist religious ideas, both neopagan and the attempt to de-Judaize Christianity, and the popular spirituality and liberal theology of today. Also, fascist philosophy is evident in aesthetics and popular culture.
But I didn’t predict everything, and sometimes today’s reality is worse than I predicted . When I wrote about mass-consciousness and propaganda, I discussed the chief Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels’ use of film and radio, comparing it to the 1990s mass media. I wrote, “One wonders what he could have done with television.” One wonders what he could have done with the internet!
But what I said about Hitler’s mob psychology sounds startlingly descriptive of what happens on today’s social media, something unknown either in the 1930s or the 1990s: “Individuals who are personally gentle and kind-hearted can turn murderous when they give up their personalities to that of the larger group.”