Wednesday, May 7, 2014

14 Points Of Fascism...

from: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth


Fascism, a word tossed about frequently. Conservatives will say progressives lean fascist and progressives will say conservatives lean fascist. So, what's the truth? Or is there some truth both display some if not all of the characteristics?

Dr. Laurence Britt, a political scientist who studied the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and found common themes running through of all these. He compiled a list called "The 14 Points of Fascism."

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
5. Rampant sexism
6. A controlled mass media
7. Obsession with national security
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
9. Power of corporations protected
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

Do you see any evidence that some (or all) of these are present in America today. If so which political party do you believe demonstrates the most attributes of fascism and why?

24 comments:

  1. I don't know about today but under the regimes of Lincoln, Wilson, and Andrews Johnson and Jackson, America was basically a country under lockdown for quite some time. Hopefully, such things will never happen again.

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  2. It's a real and ugly element in America today. For the common folk, it is a defensive reaction to the changing times. For those who harness that discontent, it is the opportunity to do immense harm.

    JMJ

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  3. Only a few things on that list apply, which is why fascism is probably an inapt term for what is going on in our country. I prefer statism or corporatism, and both criminal gangs in the District of Criminals are complicit.

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  4. So Silver, in your view which of the 14 do NOT apply?

    Fascism is in and of itself a form of statism. Corporatism is likely a natural offshoot of fascism IMO.

    As Professor Leonard Piekoff argued in his 1980 book "Thee Ominous Parallels" in which he compared similarities in the government of Nazi Germany and present day United States it does seem a case can be made that the USA has been trending toward fascism. Particularly under 20 years of republican administrations.

    While many argue that Obama (and the Clinton) is more socialist or Marxist I do not see a strong connection. If anything he is, as Clinton was, a pragmatist, a smooth talking politician, and understands he needs corporate America while at the same time playing to the lower and middle economic strata. He also has proven himself to be MORE "inclusive" in a broad sense than the republicans have.

    At any rate, we are not IMO living in the republic we once were. Politics has always been about winning, today governance has become about the PARTY winning and to hell with the rest of it. I guess this is a little off topic but it is relevant if one stops to think about it. So yes, I do believe our government (our people) does demonstrate many of the attributes on this list to a lesser or greater degree.

    The future certainly will be intersecting. It is good to be 62.

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  5. First, some caveats: There are dozens of varieties of conservative and liberal thought, if not more. While some may bear the signature traits of fascism more than others, only the most extreme outliers truly fit the category. Furthermore, ours is a nation governed by Constitutional law overseen by the courts; any fascist proclivities of one faction versus another rarely turns into national policy, although partisan rhetoric often rises to this level. That said, here are musings from the (O)CT(O)PUS:

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
    7. Obsession with national security

    I lumped #1 and #7 together because these are variations of the same signature trait. Generally, nationalism is a neo-conservative trait although not exclusively. Let’s just say the party in power will invoke appeals to nationalism to discipline critics from the opposition party. Attack dog politics are decidedly signature traits of fascism.

    2. Disdain for the importance of human rights

    First, let me say that human rights versus individual rights are not coequal. Advocates for human rights do not necessarily support individual rights when bigoted speech is considered private and/or protected under the First Amendment. That is why liberals are often criticized for “political correctness,” i.e. acting as “the thought police.” On the other hand, libertarians are not necessarily the strongest advocates of human rights given their emphasis on individual rights. Since religion has often been used and abused to justify racism, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, social conservatives, in my opinion, are more likely to fit this signature trait for fascism.

    3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause

    Currently, anarchists of nullification (i.e. Oathkeepers and other militia groups), social conservatives, former Dixiecrats, current neo-Confederates, and the Tea Party fit this character trait as evidenced by daily news accounts of what we now call “Obama Derangement Syndrome.”

    4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism

    For the most part, neo-conservatives OWN this category, but not exclusively.

    5. Rampant sexism

    I believe the Senate vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (2009) says it all: 63 Democrats (including all five female Republicans) in favor, 36 against (including every male Republican except Arlen Specter). BTW, shall we mention Todd Legitimate Rape Akin and Richard Rape is the will of God Mourdock!

    Well, I have errands to run. I’ll return later and respond to the rest of this list.

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    Replies
    1. Thus far your thoughts pretty much parallel my own.

      I need to think more on your comment regarding human rights and individual rights not being co-equal. My initial thoughts are what you seem to be saying (advocating) is a very slippery slope. Although institutionalized bigot concerns me as well.

      My view is strongly held that individual rights must be co-equal and that to preserve individual rights requires REPECTING the individual rights of others and treating others as you wish to be treated.

      I look forward to your continued responses.

      Delete
    2. Reasons why I made this distinction between individual versus equal rights:

      In a more perfect world, one may expect a perfect intersection of equal rights and individual rights wherein, as you say, a respect for the individual rights of others produces equal rights for all as an inevitable outcome; however, ours is not a perfect world. History is rife with examples of gross inequality; and American history in particular pays lip service to the concept of “All men are created equal;” we have not always practiced what we preach.

      From this viewpoint, the U.S. Constitution is a document that is more libertarian than liberal; it allows virtually limitless expressions of free speech, even speech many of us consider objectionable.

      In contrast, nations of the EU tend to be more liberal than libertarian: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, supremacist groups, anarchists, militias, and specific religious cults are outlawed. Does this mean Europe is less free than the U.S.? Hardly. What Europe ties to accomplish: To outlaw those conditions that gave rise to fascism and ultimately WWII – conditions that resulted in genocide and the death of over 50 million people. European attitudes are an inevitable consequence of deep historical trauma.

      Wherein lies the nexus between equal rights versus individual rights? The intersection, IMO, is Free Will - an ancient philosophical and religious concept as old as civilization itself. Free Will confers an ability to choose between good and evil, between right and wrong - the ability to make ethical and moral choices. While the First Amendment may confers upon us the right to say virtually anything we want, we can also chose to act with civility, responsibility, and discretion.

      On the Internet, you will find nasty children playing “bully” in the sandbox of comment threads. Some will make racist statements but claim they are not racists. How is this possible? Because the First Amendment says “they can;” because “they can” without forethought; without making ethical and moral choices in their conduct.

      Liberals are often accused of “political correctness,” of acting as the “thought police.” As annoying as liberals may appear to you, they too are exercising their free speech rights in order to make ethical and moral distinctions.

      So who is right? Those who exercise their rights with responsibility and discretion, or those who exercise their rights simply because “they can” (while enjoying the adrenaline rush of “getting in your face” with verbal abuse). You decide; the choice is yours.

      I hope this comment puts more flesh on a bone of contention.

      Delete
    3. I see your point(s) and they are certainly valid. However, I am very reluctant to allow government to place restrictions on speech, thought, or beliefs. Those who exercise their 1'st amendment rights responsibly, and this is the vast majority, show proper civility, respect, ethical behavior, and recognize right view the 1'st amendment as a safeguard against government control over political discourse.

      Thug groups like the "militias" you mentioned are certainly something to be concerned about. These types of citizen "militias" can, if organized and led by a wacko who appeals to other wackos present a danger to our civil society. How we feel about them should perhaps become a point of national discussion. AND, the political power of the NRA needs to be neutered.

      I don't believe this is a bone of contention, rather I view it as an opportunity to strike a broader understanding between various viewpoints. Balance is possible, a balance in which the individual and human rights of all are protected.

      It isn't a perfect world as you point out (O)CT(O)PUS and humans, as imperfect as we are, will never succeed in making it perfect.

      Delete
  6. BTW, a challenging and thought-provoking post. Good job.

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  7. I think I felt very much the same way that you did when you wrote this post some five years ago. I wanted to step in and define fascism to confound or support various arguments that I encountered on bloggers and comment threads. I think even in the days of GWB, such arguments proved quite specious. I haven't seen an intelligent argument that the U.S. is suffering under any form of fascism. In 2009, I actually transcribed the 1954 Encyclopedia Britannica article on the origins of Fascism with Mussolini and the Black Shirts, (as well as some interesting precursors, early personalities and some propaganda newspapers from early twentieth century Italy.) This article also used the term fascism as a description of Hitler's Germany without mentioning Spain, Argentina or any other twentieth century dictatorships. I trotted it out a couple of times four or five years ago whenever the discussion came up. One fellow on Digby actually responded quite learnedly. I never bothered with people who called Obama a fascist. Last year I actually deleted it from my hard drive as I found it had very little relevance outside of a historical context. The term only sounds ridiculous when applied to modern governments. Point by point, I guess there remain true parallels. Certainly the ideals which glorify warfare, nationalism and the identification of a common enemy have not gone away. "You're either with us or against us!" These were the primary reasons why the Cheney administration was often labelled as fascist.

    Fascism also relied on a complete takeover and control of transportation, communication and means of production. Although Mussolini very quickly aligned himself with the ruling classes to accomplish these purposes, since communists were painted as the true enemies of the state.

    I will add this. I believe a defining characteristic of fascism is that of taking control of the government by force. I am not convinced that any form of government ever devolved into fascism. I believe that a coup d'etat is necessary to institute such a radical form of government.

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  8. 1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
    No

    2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
    No on the surface, yes in reality, if the perpetrators happen to be in protected group

    3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
    Yes. Tea partiers, Sarah Palin, gun owners, NRA, Bible clingers...

    4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
    No. Although all sides in government cynically invoke the military for its own political ends

    5. Rampant sexism
    No. Actually the reverse: Rampant feminism

    6. A controlled mass media
    Definitely. The political class has captured the press, full of member of the same class as the politicians. The press has Stockholm Syndrome

    7. Obsession with national security
    Yes X1000

    8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
    No. Christianity is a negative now. Gaia is the new Goddess one must bow down and worship

    9. Power of corporations protected
    Absolutely, and by both wings of the DC criminal gang

    10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
    No. We have a cabinet-level department devoted to labor

    11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
    No. Thank God

    12. Obsession with crime and punishment
    Yes

    13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
    Yes. Big time.

    14. Fraudulent elections
    No.

    As I wrote in my article, "Shut up," the Progressives Explained


    The apocryphal Sinclair Lewis quote has been proven wrong:

    Fascism has arrived in America, and it isn't wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross. It is a false-flag operation wrapped in Progressive PC Speech Codes of "Tolerance" and "Diversity" and carrying a Rainbow flag, the sword of islam and the Democrat party logo.

    In saying this, I do not indict all muslims, all gay people, or all Democrats. Instead, I indict the small-in-number, large-in-mouth leftwing fasci (predominately guilty white latte leftists) in this country who brilliantly manipulate symbols and emotion to mau-mau ordinary Americans into sitting down and shutting up. Normal people detest how this agenda-driven outrage kabuki has trashed our public discourse, but the leftwing cray cray's march on.


    Having said that, I wish I could get my conservative Chrisitan friends to understand that standing up for gay rights protects religious freedom as well, since they both stem from the same natural law, and the constitution that protects one also protects the other.

    Whatever happened to toleration?

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    Replies
    1. Silver, you really don't see any of the elements of fascism in today's conservatives in America?

      JMJ

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    2. In saying this, I do not indict all muslims, all gay people, or all Democrats. Instead, I indict the small-in-number, large-in-mouth leftwing fasci (predominately guilty white latte leftists) in this country who brilliantly manipulate symbols and emotion to mau-mau ordinary Americans into sitting down and shutting up. Normal people detest how this agenda-driven outrage kabuki has trashed our public discourse, but the leftwing cray cray's march on.

      Silver, I get what you're saying and yes for the leftwing outliers it is true. I would add however the same is true for the rightwing outliers.

      More later.

      Delete
  9. In the above comment, perhaps my only point of agreement is this:

    [Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause] “Yes. Tea partiers, Sarah Palin, gun owners, NRA, Bible clingers...

    I would have selected the same examples, but the concurrence of opinion ends there. When I read further down in the same comment …

    false-flag operation wrapped in Progressive PC Speech Codes of "Tolerance" and "Diversity" and carrying a Rainbow flag, the sword of islam [sic] and the Democrat party logo

    large-in-mouth leftwing fasci

    white latte leftists

    outrage kabuki

    … there is really no point in continuing any discussion with subject commenter, especially when I read at the end of his comment:

    Whatever happened to toleration?

    How ironic indeed when one invokes the word “toleration” but demonstrates through sheer sneer and jeer and offensive vituperation, just how “intolerant” subject commenter can be. Internal inconsistency? Contradiction? Or outright hypocrisy? No matter. My point: If you can’t check your anger management problem at the door, then you have no right to expect any courtesy in return.

    This is not a matter of PC. It’s a matter of mutuality. Or to put it more bluntly: The Golden Rule. Shall I turn the other check, or smack you back!

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  10. I am happy that someone on the left agrees that leftists use Tea partiers, Sarah Palin, gun owners, NRA, Bible clingers, etc as scapegoats to rally their extremist base.

    Jersey: In short. Yes. Rightwingers use the appeal to flag, etc.

    You know my views. I see the great struggle today less as a left-right struggle and more of a liberty v. tyranny, or the people v. the state.

    Poor little delicate otco... Rise from your fainting couch and rejoin the discussion. What separates me from the fascists of all stripes is that I vigorously support your right to exercise your God-given liberties. Indeed, is anyone wanted to shut you up, I would stand with you, Voltaire and all that.

    See? That's toleration. Every individual is free to live his life as he sees fit so long as he does not interfere with the liberties of others to do the same.

    We're all familiar with your noxious ink. Squirt away!


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    Replies
    1. See? That's toleration … (skip) … We're all familiar with your noxious ink. Squirt away!

      No, it is not tolerance when above commenter fails to understand the relationship between freedom and responsibility, and civil exchange and ethical conduct. Failure to understand these relationships merely makes you obnoxious.

      What do I mean with the words “ethical conduct?” Years ago, subject commenter visited the weblog community of the Swash Zone - feigning gestures of friendship and complementing members for their humor, playfulness, and wit. In due course, subject commenter collected material for ridicule - plagiarizing over 8,000 words. In essence, those gestures of friendship were a ruse and a deception because what subject commenter actually had in mind was to stab decent people in the back – betraying the trust of people who welcomed him and treated him with courtesy and respect.

      To make matters worse, one member of this community sent subject commenter a private email, which subject commenter promptly posted on the Internet for more ridicule – thus betraying another trust: The confidentiality of private correspondence.

      No, this exchange is NOT about free speech or partisan differences of opinion. It is about deceptive, unethical, untrustworthy, and predatory behavior on the Internet.

      Reports of similar behavior surrounding subject commenter come, not from liberals and progressives, but from conservative and libertarian colleagues who have confirmed that subject commenter is “ethically challenged” to say the least.

      Delete
    2. Ahhh... Those were the days!

      I have the blog posts archived for posterity:

      You've got Hate Mail!

      Eyeless in Left Blogistan

      I think the back and forth ribbing is the mark of a healthy society. Neither side has called for the death or dismemberment of the other. All harmless fun, and the plagiarizing charge never fails to crack me up.

      This was a delightful end to the work week!

      Delete
    3. SF - "I am happy that someone on the left agrees that leftists use Tea partiers, Sarah Palin, gun owners, NRA, Bible clingers, etc as scapegoats to rally their extremist base."

      This post is about "The 14 Points of Fascism", Silverfiddle, not leftists. I suggest you stick to the subject.

      Delete
    4. Jerry: I was responding to Octo, who is indeed a man of the left.

      I suggest you read the thread before jumping in a making ill-informed statements.

      Delete
  11. See? That's toleration. Every individual is free to live his life as he sees fit so long as he does not interfere with the liberties of others to do the same.

    As long as everyone understands and practices respect, personal responsibility, common decency, civility we're all set. Since not everyone does there is the reasons for laws.

    I don't believe (O)CT(O)PUS is desirous of telling us how to live our lives. I think he is tired of the BS just as we are and understands that to elevate society from the political cesspool in which we have willingly created and dove into will require people (politicians) to work together rather than against their own rational interests.

    Octo, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Replies
    1. RN,
      Agreed. I think most of us are well beyond the point of dog whistle fatigue. It is a cancer that has metastasized into every corner of our lives, and the patient is dying.

      From responses to the checklist thus far, I note two points of agreement: Rogue voices trading on “enemies and scapegoats;” and a mutually shared fear of corporate power – points of agreement than can start a constructive and productive exchange.

      Yet, there are people who do not want such an exchange, perhaps perceiving themselves as self-styled foot soldiers in a self-appointed war. Speaking on my behalf, I would prefer to respond to subject commenter using my own words because there is more to this exchange than mere partisan agreement.

      See? That's toleration … (skip) … We're all familiar with your noxious ink. Squirt away!

      No, it is not tolerance when subject commenter fails to understand the relationship of civil exchange and ethical conduct. Failure to understand and practice this relationship merely makes subject commenter an obnoxious person.

      What do I mean with the words “ethical conduct?” Years ago, subject commenter visited the Swash Zone community - feigning gestures of friendship and complementing members for their humor, playfulness, and wit. In due course, subject commenter collected text for ridicule - plagiarizing over 8,000 words. In essence, those gestures of friendship were a ruse because what subject commenter had in mind was to stab us in the back – betraying the trust of people who welcomed and treated him with courtesy.

      To make matters worse, one member of this community sent subject commenter a private email, which subject commenter promptly posted on the Internet for additional ridicule – thus betraying another trust: The confidentiality of private correspondence.

      No, this exchange is NOT about free speech or partisan differences of opinion. It is about acting in a deceptive, unethical, untrustworthy, and predatory manner - a different kind of behavior compared with a mere partisan difference of opinion.

      Delete
    2. Octo: You said that already, up above.

      For the record, I believe fascist and fascism are outmoded terms, too fraught with their well-earned negativity.

      I don't think we have any fascists of consequence in this country. We have people, left and right, who yank the machine of state one way or the other when they get their grimy hands on the levers, but that in itself is not fascism. It is human nature. See John Dalberg-Acton.

      Delete
  12. Fascism was originally an authoritarian movement started by Benito Mussolini in March 1919, which came to power in Italy in Oct. 1922. Later on it became the general name for similar movements started in other countries, among which German national socialism is the most prominent. By 1940 fascism could be regarded as a form of societal organization and as an attitude of mind which had its adherents in practically all countries of the earth. The original Italian name of “fascismo” is derived from the Latin “fasces,” bundles, denoting in ancient Rome a bundle of rods with an axe, borne before Roman magistrates as a symbol of authority.
    The origins of the fascist movement in Italy are to be found both in the wave of disillusionment and at the same time in the exacerbated nationalism which swept Italy after 1918. Even before the war of 1914-1918, Enrico Corradini had propagated a doctrine of extreme and belligerent nationalism, which had fanned enthusiasm for the Libyan War of 1911 and for imperial expansion, and the poet Gabriele d’Anninzio had exalted in verse and prose not only the mission of a victorious Italy, but also the love of danger, adventure and war. In the military coup by which he and a legion of black-shirted followers gained possession of Fiume in Sept. 1919, and during the 16 months in which he as Duce ruled the city, d’Annunzio introduced a constitution foreshadowing the “corporative state” and all the rites, salutes, allocutions and mass shouts which later became characteristic of the fascist movement. Mussolini himself before 1914 had been a leading member and editor of the Italian Social Democratic party, but he had always represented the tendencies of revolutionary syndicalism with their emphasis on direct action and enthusiastic will. Against the attitude of his party, Mussolini supported Italy’s entrance into the war in the fall of 1914; on November 15 he founded his own newspaper, the Popolo d’Italia, in Milan, which called itself an organ of combatants and producers and carried the social revolutionary motto by Blanqui, “Who has steel has bread,” and Napoleon’s saying, “The revolution is an idea which has found bayonets.” Mussolini’s first famous editorial bore the characteristic title, “Audacity.”
    In the social unrest and moral confusion which followed the war of 1914-1918, Mussolini founded the Fasci di Combattimento on March 23, 1919, in Milan. The new group had no definite program; at first Mussolini was still a revolutionary syndicalist, who propagated the expropriation of the land, the mines, and all means of transportation. It was not until the beginning of 1921 that he allied his group openly with the propertied classes, with the landowners and the industrialists. But whatever his sociological affiliations, he was moved throughout by a fierce nationalism and by the love of violence and adventure. When he ran in Milan for a parliamentary seat in the elections of Nov. 16, 1919, he got less that 5,000 votes out of 346,000. But the deep social unrest prevailing in Italy in 1920 gave Mussolini a chance, and though the danger of any bolshevist or socialist success had entirely faded by the end of the year, Mussolini and his squads of violent young men appeared to the frightened upper classes as a guarantee of security. Thus, with the army conniving, Mussolini’s followers set for themselves the task of “restoring order” and breaking up the socialist movements and organizations. With a boastful ruthlessness, with the proud sacrifice of all ethical scruples to success, the local squadristis, under the leadership of men like Grandi, Balbo, Farinacci and others, set out for the conquest of power in the name of youth against what they called “the tottering parliamentarism” of the “senile” and undecided liberals. The lack of resistance on the part of the government, the army and the police, emboldened the fascists who had formed themselves into the national fascist party in Nov. 1921.

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  13. In the following year Mussolini completely abandoned his original socialist, anti-monarchist and anti-Catholic program. He had no definite doctrine to offer. “Our program is simple: we wish to govern Italy. They ask us for programs, but there are already too many. It is not programs that are wanting for the salvation of Italy, but men and will power.” On Oct. 28, 1922, the famous march on Rome was staged. Though the fascists and the nationalists were outnumbered in the Italian parliament by ten to one, and though with some show of resolute action the fascists could easily have been stopped, the king refused to sign the proclamation of the state of siege which his government had prepared, and on Oct. 29 invited Mussolini to form the new government. Though the new prime minister at first accepted a coalition cabinet and preserved some of the forms of the liberal state, within a very few years all the trappings of parliamentarism were gone, all other parties outlawed, all civil liberties and constitutional guarantees suppressed, and a full dictatorship established. The process was accelerated by the reaction of the country and of the civilized world to the murder of the socialist deputy Matteotti, in June 1924, on the eve of his exposure of the graft and corruption of the fascist party. Highest fascist officials were alleged to have been implicated in the murder. In his effort to save his regime from the outraged feelings of the country, which in turn was identified with its leader. Though he professed to fight bolshevism, he successfully adopted its methods, without, however, being able to carry them in the different climate of Italy as far as they were carried in Russia and later on in Germany. The different squadristi organizations had been reformed on Feb. 10, 1923, as the Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale.
    Fascism in its beginnings was not a doctrine and had no clearly elaborated program. It was a technique for gaining and retaining power by violence, and with an astonishing flexibility it subordinated all questions of program to this one aim. But it was dominated from the beginning by a definite attitude of mind which exalted the fighting spirit, military discipline, ruthlessness and action, and rejected contemptuously all ethical motives as weakening the resoluteness of will. Fascism is power politics and realpolitik in their most naked form; all theoretical considerations are subservient to what is regarded as the “inexorable dynamics” of the factual situation. Ultimately everything depends upon the ever-changing will of the leader, decisions which cannot be discussed, but are blindly obeyed and immediately executed. Thus fascism could present itself in a given situation as a bulwark of the social order against social revolution, against Marxism and the proletariat, and could in a different situation become the propagandist and spearhead of a proletarian world revolution against conservatism and wealth, against bourgeoisie and capitalism.

    ReplyDelete

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