This raises the first of many common features among New Deal liberalism, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism, all of which shared many of the same historical and intellectual forebears. Fascist and Nazi intellectuals constantly touted a “middle” or “Third Way” between capitalism and socialism. Mussolini zigzagged every which way, from free trade and low taxes to a totalitarian state apparatus. Even before he attained power, his stock response when asked to outline his program was to say he had none. “Our program is to govern,” the Fascists liked to say.

The “middle way” sounds moderate and un-radical. Its appeal is that it sounds unideological and freethinking. But philosophically the Third Way is not mere difference splitting; it is utopian and authoritarian. Its utopian aspect becomes manifest in its antagonism to the idea that politics is about trade-offs. The Third Wayer says that there are no false choices—“I refuse to accept that X should come at the expense of Y.” The Third Way holds that we can have capitalism and socialism, individual liberty and absolute unity. Fascist movements are implicitly utopian because they—like communist and heretical Christian movements—assume that with just the right arrangement of policies, all contradictions can be rectified. This is a political siren song; life can never be made perfect, because man is imperfect. This is why the Third Way is also authoritarian. It assumes that the right man—or, in the case of Leninists, the right party—can resolve all of these contradictions through sheer will. The populist demagogue takes on the role of the parent telling the childlike masses that he can make everything “all better” if they just trust him.

Excerpt From: Jonah Goldberg. “Liberal Fascism.” iBooks.

This book is a must read for one seeking to clarify our political terms.