I disagree often with Professor Robert George of Princeton but even I am shocked at his willingness to be a frequent guest on the Glenn Beck Show. Last week, Professor George outdid himself, not only appearing on the show but serving as part of a panel that included the Rev. John Hagee, a minister whose anti-Catholic ravings were so bigoted, even then-candidate Sen. John McCain had to decline his endorsement. But, that is not the half of it.
The panel was convoked by Beck with the evident purpose of furthering his ridiculous assertion that social justice concerns are some kind of Communist plot to takeover Christianity. Professor George, to his credit, defended the central role that social justice plays in Catholic moral theology, but he did so with appropriate right-wing caveats. And, what was most alarming was his willingness to endorse one of Beck’s singularly stupid canards, the idea that the Nazis were really socialists. Fascism and socialism share certain similarities, to be sure. Better to say, the Stalinist iteration of socialism shares certain affinities with fascism. But, the similarities are far outweighed by the differences. To cite only one obvious example, because fascists worship the “Volk” not the “class,” they did not embark upon the central feature of a communist state, complete control of the means of production by the proletariat. This is why histories of Nazi Germany have references to prominent Nazi industrialists like Gustav Krupp but histories of the Soviet Union lack such historical figures.
And, of course, neither Beck nor George pointed out the most significant similarity between communism and fascism: The opposition to both, the sworn enemy of both, was liberal democracy. Ah, but “liberal” is an epithet at Fox, so the host and his guests couldn’t go down that path.
Is it really too much to expect a tenured professor at Princeton to object to such nonsense, instead of endorsing it? And for what? Fifteen minutes of FoxNews fame?