Saturday, October 09, 2004
We have been meaning for some time to recommend the new series by David Neiwert, The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism. Installment #3, "The Pseudo-Fascist Campaign," was posted ealier this week at Orcinus:
The mutability of truth is what has made confronting the conservative movement so maze-like -- you never know what kind of bizarre argument they're going to come up with next. At times they even turn established historical consensus on its head. First we get Ann Coulter penning a defense of McCarthyism in her book Treason; then we get Michelle Malkin justifying the forced incarceration of 122,000 Japanese Americans with In Defense of Internment. What's next? A text outlining the virtues of fascism? (Calling Michael Ledeen!)Coming up next: "The One-Party Apocalyptic State" (and we only hope Mr. Neiwert finishes the essay of that title before the real thing arrives.)
But the movement not only makes reality a function of the movement's agenda; its agenda itself can shift rapidly according to the strategic needs of the movement in its acquisition of power. Thus, as described in Part 1, the conservative movement has come to resemble nothing so genuinely conservative at all but rather something starkly radical: profligate spending; incautious and expansionary wars, pursued unilaterally; the steady dumbing-down of the nation's education system. The neo-Confederate-laden GOP no longer has even a passing resemblance to the "party of Lincoln." Even at the micro-political level, in interpersonal debate, the famous conservative carefulness, politeness and reserve has utterly vanished.
The conservative movement, as such, is an ever-shifting beast. Its drive is power, and as such it has gradually adopted the familiar architecture of another power-mad phenomenon of mass politics: fascism . . . .
This fist-shaking style of response to normative political discourse, in fact, was one of the real hallmarks of fascism. It signaled, above all else, the rightness of power by virtue of its naked use to intimidate and silence dissent. To the fascist leader, diplomacy is a parlor game for the weak; what counts is the raw will of the man of action. Whether he is right is moot; what counts is his strength and resolve in the exercise of power . . . .
As Umberto Eco described it:The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.
In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.