Joel Schlosberg tells me I’m cited in Jonah Goldberg’s one-sided screed Liberal Fascism (a book that, I gather, quite correctly points out the fascist aspects of the statist left but studiously ignores those of the statist right). Apparently Goldberg has some kind words for Herbert Spencer on pp. 257-8:
Herbert Spencer, the supposed founder of social Darwinism, was singled out as the poster boy for all that was wrong with classical liberalism. Spencer was indeed a Darwinist – he coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” – but his interpretation of evolutionary theory reinforced his view that people should be left alone. In almost every sense, Spencer was a good – albeit classical – liberal: he championed charity, women’s suffrage, and civil liberties. But he was the incarnation of all that was backward, reactionary, and wrong according to the progressive worldview, not because he supported Hitlerian schemes of forced race hygiene but because he adamantly opposed them. To this day it is de rigeur among liberal intellectuals and historians to take potshots at Spencer as the philosophical wellspring of racism, right-wing “greed,” and even the Holocaust.
And then there’s a footnote to my LRC article “Herbert Spencer: The Defamation Continues.”
I’m glad Goldberg likes Spencer, I guess; but I’m not sure why he does. As a cheerleader for war, censorship, colonialism, torture, and dictatorship, and an inveterate foe of libertarianism (incidentally, the libertarian he refers to in that last article was my student), Goldberg ought to hate everything Spencer stood for.