Category Archive 'Fascism'
18 Jul 2016
Jeffrey Tucker explains that the Trump Nationalist agenda is just another version of Socialism, and that the world has seen the rise of precisely this kind of nationalist socialism before.
The rise of Fascism and Nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period,â€ wrote Hayek, â€œbut a necessary outcome of those tendencies.â€ In Hayekâ€™s reading, the dynamic works like this. The socialists build the state machinery, but their plans fail. A crisis arrives. The population seeks answers. Politicians claiming to be anti-socialist step up with new authoritarian plans that purport to reverse the problem. Their populist appeal taps into the lowest political instincts (nativism, racism, religious bigotry, and so on) and promises a new order of things under better, more efficient rule.
Hayekâ€™s thesis is very similar to Misesâ€™: that the greatest threat in the world today comes from a version of socialism â€” a rightist socialism â€” cobbled together in the name of fighting authoritarianism abroad and countering leftism at home. The road to serfdom, in Hayekâ€™s view, is paved by a blind pursuit of unified nationhood and central planning in the name of national greatness. Or, to use todayâ€™s language, â€œmaking America great again.â€
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton agree on a lot, especially on the need to protect and enlarge state power. None of them accepts any principled limits on what the state may rightfully do to the individual. Even on big issues where one might think they disagree â€” healthcare, immigration, and control of lands by the federal government â€” their positions are more alike than different. …
Most of these candidatesâ€™ supporters donâ€™t see it that way, of course. They imagine themselves to be rebels fighting power itself, however they want to define it: Wall Street, the party establishment, the paid-off politicians, the bureaucracy, the billionaires, the foreigners, the special interests, and so on.
But notice that neither Trump, Sanders, nor Clinton attacks government authority as such. Instead they aspire to use it and grow it for their purposes. â€œThe conflict between the Fascist or National-Socialist and the older socialist parties must indeed very largely be regarded as the kind of conflict which is bound to arise between rival socialist factions,â€ Hayek wrote. â€œThere was no difference between them about the question of it being the will of the state which should assign to each person his proper place in society.â€
As the campaign progress over 2015, the close relationship between right and left socialisms became more obvious. On the surface, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump represent opposite extremes. But in their celebration of the nation state as the peopleâ€™s salvation â€” their burning calls to overthrow the existing elites and replace them with a more intense form of top-down rule â€” they are morally indistinguishable, and equally un-American.
Read the whole thing.
06 May 2016
There occurred a bizarre psychologically-inexplicable transference phenomenon by which voters distressed and made unhappy by the results of Barack Obama’s performance and leftist democrat policies, turned in fury on the opposition leadership, blaming it for supposedly being in cahoots with the enemy, and then ran off with an unprincipled, non-conservative celebrity clown with a lengthy record of supporting liberal democrats.
In the primary contests this year, there was little voter interest in returning to Republican pro-growth, pro-freedom, economic restoration policies. What the yobbo voter wanted, it turned out, was essentially Fascism: a blend of Socialism and Nationalism.
The new primary voter ecstatically opted for a crude, loud, and abrasive leader (most decidedly not a gentleman) unburdened by ethical inhibitions, conventional speech taboos, or even good manners, who rather than promising to dismantle government, affirmed the Welfare State safety net, and promised special governmental protection for the working-class voter’s particular special interests above the general interest. To the American worker he promised to give protection from labor competition domestically through a crackdown on immigration (Nativism) and –a bit late!– protection from labor competition abroad via tariff barriers, trade wars, and specific presidential intimidation of companies considering lower costs by exporting jobs.
Trump won his massive and enthusiastic following by appealing frankly and openly to crude selfishness, to class animosity, to anti-intellectualism, and to dim and brutish nationalistic hostilities: hostility toward immigrants, hostility toward foreign labor and business competition, and even hostility toward American military alliances with other countries and toward America’s international role and international responsibilities.
Donald Trump succeeded precisely by appealing to the worst prejudices, the worst ideas, and the worst attitudes of the American electorate. And he successfully won their hearts and enthusiastic support by fighting dirty: by shamelessly lying, by contradicting himself and reversing statements and positions, by bullying and name-calling, by interrupting, and by generally misbehaving.
Trump turned the Republican Primary Contest into a combination of TV reality show and professional wrestling extravaganza. Trump’s characteristic man-bites-dog behavior kept the attention of the dim-bulb media fixated on him, and delivered an estimated $2 billion in free publicity. And the unhappy Republican voter ate it all up.
Donald Trump built a successful candidacy essentially by the grossest kind of inversion of values. He appealed to voters by breaching good manners and decorum and by an extraordinarily open display of contempt for civility, integrity, and principles, with wheedling, limitless braggadocio, and flattery piled high on top. It seems possible that he could go on to win the presidency by outdoing even the democrats in appealing to the basest and most contemptible aspects of human nature. You can’t blame any Republican leadership failure for any of this. You can only blame what Isaiah Berlin used to speak of as “the crooked timber of Humanity.”
Principled Republicans should not unite behind Donald Trump. What we need to do now is to stop Donald Trump and to nip everything he stands for in the bud.
28 Jun 2014
Jorge Luis Borges
Shaj Matthew, in the New Republic, explains why one of the last century’s greatest writers justly despised his own country’s national obsession.
Soccer is popular,â€ Jorge Luis Borges observed, â€œbecause stupidity is popular.â€
At first glance, the Argentine writerâ€™s animus toward “the beautiful game” seems to reflect the attitude of todayâ€™s typical soccer hater, whose lazy gibes have almost become a refrain by now: Soccer is boring. There are too many tie scores. I canâ€™t stand the fake injuries.
And itâ€™s true: Borges did call soccer â€œaesthetically ugly.â€ He did say, â€œSoccer is one of Englandâ€™s biggest crimes.â€ And apparently, he even scheduled one of his lectures so that it would intentionally conflict with Argentinaâ€™s first game of the 1978 World Cup. But Borgesâ€™ distaste for the sport stemmed from something far more troubling than aesthetics. His problem was with soccer fan culture, which he linked to the kind of blind popular support that propped up the leaders of the twentieth centuryâ€™s most horrifying political movements. In his lifetime, he saw elements of fascism, Peronism, and even anti-Semitism emerge in the Argentinean political sphere, so his intense suspicion of popular political movements and mass cultureâ€”the apogee of which, in Argentina, is soccerâ€”makes a lot of sense. (â€œThere is an idea of supremacy, of power, [in soccer] that seems horrible to me,â€ he once wrote.) Borges opposed dogmatism in any shape or form, so he was naturally suspicious of his countrymenâ€™s unqualified devotion to any doctrine or religionâ€”even to their dear albiceleste.
Soccer is inextricably tied to nationalism, another one of Borgesâ€™ objections to the sport. â€œNationalism only allows for affirmations, and every doctrine that discards doubt, negation, is a form of fanaticism and stupidity,â€ he said. National teams generate nationalistic fervor, creating the possibility for an unscrupulous government to use a star player as a mouthpiece to legitimize itself. In fact, thatâ€™s precisely what happened with one of the greatest players ever: PelÃ©. â€œEven as his government rounded up political dissidents, it also produced a giant poster of PelÃ© straining to head the ball through the goal, accompanied by the slogan NinguÃ©m mais segura este paÃs: Nobody can stop this country now,â€ writes Dave Zirin in his new book, Brazilâ€™s Dance with the Devil. Governments, such as the Brazilian military dictatorship that PelÃ© played under, can take advantage of the bond that fans share with their national teams to drum up popular support, and this is what Borges fearedâ€”and resentedâ€”about the sport.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to the Dish.
Borges, of course, was perfectly right.
Soccer is just the most popular commercial team game in the world outside the United States. All commercial team games are modern developments organized originally by carnival impresarios to separate the urban proletarian from his beer nickel. These teams and the games they play are totally and completely meaningless spectacles performed purely for commercial purposes. The teams’ regional identifications and mascots are utterly meaningless. Players come from anywhere. Teams may be sold and relocated, coaches and recognizable styles of play & performance may be routinely altered on the basis of owners’ whims at the any moment.
Commercial game teams stand for absolutely nothing, and fan identification and loyalty is, as Borges recognized, a kind of willful stupidity constituting an intentional surrender of self to a totally ersatz sort of group identity.
24 Aug 2009
In a perfect vignette from those Town Hall Meetings on Health Care Reform that have been making news, David Hedrick, a Marine Corps veteran, makes mincemeat out of Rep.Brian Baird (D- Wash) at a meeting somewhere in Washington State.
Hedrick’s point, that Congress has absolutely no right to interfere with our right to chose our own health insurance, is dead on.
Mr. Hedrick was clearly far from alone in his sentiments. The crowd cheered his remarks.
From Simon at Classical Values via Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.
17 May 2009
Fjordman observes that the Chinese have a special enthusiasm for Western classical music while Muslims commonly care little for Western music or art. When Muslims look for inspiration to the West, their admiration is focused on weapons of mass destruction, the authoritarian state, socialism, and militaristic nationalism, in other words: fascism. The leading political movement in the post colonial Islamic world has been Ba’athism, a political movement specifically modeled on German National Socialism.
Despotism comes quite natural to Islamic culture. When confronted with the European tradition, many Muslims freely prefer Adolf Hitler to Rembrandt, Michelangelo or Beethoven. Westerners donâ€™t force them to study Mein Kampf more passionately than Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Goetheâ€™s Faust; they choose to do so themselves. Millions of (non-Muslim) Asians now study Mozartâ€™s piano pieces. Muslims, on the other hand, like Mr. Hitler more, although he represents one of the most evil ideologies that have ever existed in Europe. The fact that they usually like the Austrian Mr. Hitler more than the Austrian Mr. Mozart speaks volumes about their culture. Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Middle Eastern Muslims have been confronted with the same body of ideas, yet choose to appropriate radically different elements from it, based upon what is compatible with their own culture.
09 Nov 2007
Liberals like Paul Krugman deny that there is any such thing as Islamofascism.
There isnâ€™t actually any such thing as Islamofascism â€” itâ€™s not an ideology; itâ€™s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didnâ€™t.
Raymond Ibrahim, editor of the Al Qaeda Reader, a collection of texts and documents produced by the leaders of the Islamic extremist movement, compares the statements and positions of Al Qaeda to Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
How is The Al Qaeda Reader similar to Mein Kampf? A single sentence from the introduction of the 1999 edition of Mein Kampf, published by Mariner Books, goes a long way in answering this question: â€œHe [Hitler] had made his ultimate goals clear in Mein Kampf as early as 1926: rearmament, the abolition of democracy, territorial expansion, eugenics, the â€˜eliminationâ€™ of the â€˜Jewish threatâ€™â€ (Mein Kampf, xv).
The Al Qaeda Reader dwells on, if not obsesses over, four of these same five â€œultimate goalsâ€ of Hitlerâ€”everything but eugenics, which is a temporal byproduct of 19th century pseudo-scientific racial theories. But al-Qaedaâ€™s writings certainly dwell on dealing with the â€œJewish threat,â€ overthrowing the â€œpagan religionâ€ of democracy, both territorial re-conquests (from Palestine to Andalusia) and territorial expansion (to the whole world), as well as rearmament. Even more telling, the â€œfascisticâ€ tone of Mein Kampfâ€”ridicule and contempt for modernity and peace, praise for heroism and martyrdom, condemnation of promiscuity and lax moresâ€”saturates The Al Qaeda Reader. Indeed, that there are many similarities is best represented by the fact that the German words â€œmein kampfâ€ translate to â€œjihad-iâ€â€”or, â€œmy jihadâ€â€”in Arabic.
Read the whole thing.