OG Fascist

No, The Other One

by baldilocks

I’ve been trying to read this very long piece on Mussolini by Angelo Codevilla for a few days now — mostly because I need a primer on fascism as do, apparently, some of my friends who are quick to wield the Cudgel of Fascism against actions they frown upon and against actors of whom they disapprove. And, yes, I’m talking about conservatives this time.

I’m just going to leave a slice of it here.

Today, the adjective “fascist” is an epithet—often mixed promiscuously with “white supremacist,” “sexist,” etc.—that the ruling class uses to besmirch whoever challenges them, and to provide emotional fuel for cowering, marginalizing, and disempowering conservatives.

This maneuver consists of defining fascism in terms of unpopular ideas, political practices, and personality traits observable in many times and places; then, having cited Hitler’s Nazi movement as fascism’s quintessence, of pinning those deplorable characteristics on the intended targets. This reductio ad Hitlerum aims at no less than to outlaw conservatives. As the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin exclaimed: “these people are not fit for polite society…. I think it’s absolutely abhorrent that any institution of higher learning, any news organization, or any entertainment organization that has a news outlet would hire these people.” And the New Republic explains “why fascist rhetoric needs to be excluded from public discourse.” The establishment doesn’t seem to realize that they are preaching some of fascism’s practices.

This essay looks behind fighting words to fascism’s reality. Although Benito Mussolini, fascism’s artificer and personifier, died discredited in 1945, fascism’s socio-political paradigm, the administrative state, is well-nigh universal in our time. And as the European and American ruling class adopted Communism’s intellectual categories and political language, the adjective “fascist” became a weapon in its arsenal.

We begin with how fascism developed in Mussolini’s mind and praxis from 1915 to 1935, how it was hardly out of tune with what was happening in the rest of the Western world, as well as how it then changed and died. After considering how fascism fit in the 20th century’s political warfare doctrines, we explore its place in contemporary political struggles.

If it does nothing else, it will help heal that attention span of yours that has been splintered by social media.

Okay maybe I’m projecting. Anyway, enjoy.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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One thought on “OG Fascist

  1. Prior to 1914, Mussolini was the Editor-in-Chief of the Italian Social Party’s newpaper. The ISP was a doctrinaire marxist party, and Mussolini was a leading marxist theoretician for the Party.

    In 1914 he was expelled from the Party for promoting nationalism. Mussolini argued that the nation was more important than social class (a major heresy), and that Italy should enter WW I and seek territorial gains, specifically the Austrian territories abutting the northern Adriatic Sea and Trieste. Italy did and did.

    Mussolini formed his own Fascist Party. The symbol is on the back of the Roosevelt dime. Through the 1920’s and 1930’s Fascism was a respectibly political movement in Europe and the US. There is a YouTube video of G. B. Shaw expressing admiration for Mussolini’s economic achievements and calling for “Liberal Fascism” in the West.

    Fascists, like their siblings the Nazis and Communists, were a violent movement and suppressed dissent by beatings, censorship, and propaganda.

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