Tag: fascism

Some thoughts on the American politics topic du jour

There’s no substantive difference between the attempts by right-wingers to define Nazism as a phenomena of the left and Marxist attempts to define Soviet Socialism as “state capitalism.”

Anyway, I think the speed with which the right-wing blogsphere has circled the wagons over the shooting at the Holocaust museum speaks for itself.

It should be patently obvious that any disagreements your typical conservatives have with someone like Von Brunn are far more important than relative location on a one-dimensional political spectrum.

So why bother? The two major theories right now:

• They realize they look pretty silly for their attacks on the DHS right-wing extremism report, i.e., it’s CYA time.

• They’re freaked out that people will draw a connection between the increasing paranoia found online (and on conservative talk radio) and both the Holocaust Museum attack and the George Tiller murder.

I sympathize with the second concern, but not at all with the first.

I find it pretty hard to blame typical right-wing bloggers and message-board posters for the actions of an octogenarian neo-Nazi, or even the murder of an abortion doctor [update: maybe I’m being too generous when it comes to the Tiller murder].

But they should recognize this strategy is a total loser. For example, arguing that a racist couldn’t be right-wing because right-wingers oppose Affirmative Action just makes you look like an idiot. No one outside the bubble is buying it. In fact, we’re in “don’t think of an elephant” territory here: the more they protest, the more the rest of us think about the possible connections.

(They also need to muzzle people like Randall Terry. Now.)

And frankly, they need to take a long and hard look at themselves. Because violent resistance is the logical conclusion of their rhetoric; if they really believe the US is turning into a left-wing police state run by a foreign agent, then they should be at least planning for insurrection.*

I almost have to wonder if some of the people peddling this stuff might be, perish the thought, insincere.

*Note the difference between this and, say, claiming that the Bush administration’s interrogation and executive power policies justified impeachment or voting the bums out of office. But, of course plenty of left-wingers made parallel accusations about the “fascism” of the Bush regime. I seem to remember right-wingers excoriating them for doing so.

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They clearly don’t think much of the Germans

Hasn’t it occurred to any of these idiots that adopting Nazi iconography and aesthetics is the last thing a US Presidential candidate would want to do to improve his popularity in Germany?

Unless he’s aiming for that all-important 14-25 East German demographic, half of whom apparently believe that “National Socialism had good sides” (meaning that the other half believed it had no positive qualities whatsoever, I might add).

As Haaretz reported:

A poll published Wednesday showed a quarter of Germans believe there were
at least some positive aspects to Nazi rule – a finding that comes after a popular talk show host was fired for praising Nazi Germany’s attitude toward motherhood.

Pollsters for the Forsa agency, commissioned by the weekly Stern magazine, asked whether National Socialism also had some good sides (such as) the construction of the highway system, the elimination of unemployment, the low criminality rate (and) the encouragement of the family.

Forsa said 25 percent responded yes – but 70 percent said no.

Somehow, though, I doubt the pro-Nazi imagery of half-African Barrack Obama will hold out much appeal to the NPD‘s supporters.

Next week: Obama borrows Quisling motifs for speech in Norway.

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Conservative Fascism

Goldberg’s definition of fascism:

Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve that common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the “problem” and therefore defined as the enemy.

Goldberg on Edmund Burke.

Well, we know he was a hoss. We know that he was the founder of modern conservatism. We know that he was the Nostradamus of the Right, anticipating the success of America, the futility of slavery, the French Reign of Terror (no, not Jerry Lewis, the original one), Indian autonomy, and the rise of Bonapartism, years and years ahead of time.

Burke on the relationship between state, society, and individual:

Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure—but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primæval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place. This law is not subject to the will of those, who by an obligation above them, and infinitely superior, are bound to submit their will to that law. The municipal corporations of that universal kingdom are not morally at liberty at their pleasure, and on their speculations of a contingent improvement, wholly to separate and tear asunder the bands of their subordinate community, and to dissolve it into an unsocial, uncivil, unconnected chaos of elementary principles. It is the first and supreme necessity only, a necessity that is not chosen, but chooses, a necessity paramount to deliberation, that admits no discussion, and demands no evidence, which alone can justify a resort to anarchy. This necessity is no exception to the rule; because this necessity itself is a part too of that moral and physical disposition of things, to which man must be obedient by consent or force; but if that which is only submission to necessity should be made the object of choice, the law is broken, nature is disobeyed, and the rebellious are outlawed, cast forth, and exiled, from this world of reason, and order, and peace, and virtue, and fruitful penitence, into the antagonist world of madness, discord, vice, confusion, and unavailing sorrow.

Clearly, conservativism spawned fascism.

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The evolution of punditry (updated again)

The recently leaked photographs of Liberal Fascisms table of contents have provided some of my favorite bloggers with an excuse for another round of snark at Jonah Goldberg’s expense. John Cole mostly hits the proverbial nail on the head when he writes:

The most depressing thing about Jonah Goldberg’s new book is that this whole “liberals are fascist” argument is going to morph from something idiot frat boys would argue after three credit hours in poly sci. and a dozen Mickey’s Big Mouth and would be laughed out of the room to something that idiots like Peggy Noonan and David brooks will peddle with straight faces on Hardball.

But that’s not quite right.

Goldeberg’s basically a second-rate right-wing blogger with family connections. And such bloggers would, about ten years ago, have been right-wing usenet trolls. So the fact that he’s written a book reproducing one of the most common arguments among faux-intellectual usenet ideologues shouldn’t shock anybody. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Goldberg main research involved using google to access old posts on alt.politics groups.

My recommendation? Skip Goldberg’s remake and read the original version.Hayek’s far too smart to rely on “similar element” comparisons among European political ideologies that, by their nature, all share some features by virtue of descent from common ancestors and mimetic transfer.

UPDATE: I was thinking about posting a long overdue response to a series of critiques Donald Douglas leveled at “What’s at Stake in the American Empire Debate” when I came across a real gem: a piece by Goldberg rejecting the “American Empire” label:

Critics of American foreign policy point to the fact that the U.S. does many things that empires once did – police the seas, deploy militaries abroad, provide a lingua franca and a global currency – and then rest their case. But noting that X does many of the same things as Y does not mean that X and Y are the same thing. The police provide protection, and so does the Mafia. Orphanages raise children, but they aren’t parents. If your wife cleans your home, tell her she’s the maid because maids also clean homes. See how well that logic works.

Now, I happen to think these are pretty good arguments against some of Ferguson’s warrants for declaring American an empire (‘it’s big, it’s powerful, it’s got troops all over the place….’) but its also a stunning display of the kind of reasoning that should have prevented him from writing the book in question.

UPDATE II: It turns out I already wrote a better version of this post two years ago.

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