The F Word
I've been interested in Fascism for a long time. What is its appeal? And what is it, really? Nowadays, it has pretty much degenerated into a simple hate word -- "You fascist!" just means "I don't like you". Best article I'd seen to date is Umberto Eco's article Eternal Fascism. The problem with trying to study Fascism is that post WWII writings have a heavy moral overlay. "This is garbage", they say. "Utter nonsense." No way can you get an objective view from something with this attitude. The current attitude is that everybody in Italy and Germany went into some sort of fit of temporary insanity triggered by Mussolini and Hitler. It was strictly a one-time aberration and not worth studying. Move along, folks; it’s all over. Nothing to see here.
The reason for my interest is that I have very deep fears for the way the US is moving. In particular, I see two very disturbing trends:
- The merging of interests between our largest corporations and government interests
- The increasing influence and irrationality of the extreme right wing, combined with its out-and-out calls for violence against "enemies of the State".
Then there's the meme (I don't know how true it is) that "democracies don't start wars" vis-à-vis the current Iraq hoohah. "It's not starting a war" say the hawks. "It's just continuing the last one". Yeah, right -- and WWII in Europe started when Poland invaded Germany. (I've seen the German newsreels.) Sorry, guys, we're starting a war here. It's an "elective war" (like "elective surgery"), but a war nonetheless.
Fortunately, I'm not the only one who's worried. David Neiwert is also worried, and he is a lot better at research than I am. Here's the latest of his series on Fascism, with links to the earlier installments.
Scary. Very scary.