A disgraceful display of white supremacy, Nazism and Apartheid occurred over the weekend in a sleepy town in Virginia, an incident compounded by the seeming inability by the office-holder of the US executive to categorically denounce the marchers. Such demonstrations are, simply put, sinful. But it’s not the purpose of this blog post to rake over events which all right-thinking men and women denounce. It’s simply to give the facts about certain terms being bandied about, in the hope that such information can help people of conscience fight the insurgency from extreme right-wing forces who are gaining ground and legitimacy across the world.
In particular, persons of conscience should distinguish between Fascism and National Socialism. A key difference is that Fascism is not necessarily racist, as opposed to Nazism. Mussolini, the archetypal Fascist, curried the support of minorities, for example. Franco used Moroccan soldiers to overcome the Republicans. Nazism, on the other hand, is inherently race based.
So, Fascism … how can we understand it? It is a complete subordination of all the forces in society to a national, as opposed to a racial, ideal (although racists are drawn to both). In one sense, it differs little from Communism because all authority emanates from the State, although the Fascist State is ruled over by a charismatic authority figure as opposed to a workers’ dictatorship. The key distinction between Fascism (and indeed Nazism) and Communism is not the method of rule, but rather the interpretation of the State’s role. This is further based on an interpretation of humans in either natural or historical terms. In Communism, the State is seen as a necessary evil, useful for steering people towards a natural state, where they are liberated from neccesity. Fascism/Nazism views the State as the realization of a people’s historical destiny. But, crucially, Fascism doesn’t limit such destiny within racial parameters. Lastly, myth is critical for extreme right-wingers because it generates heroes and monsters.
So, if Fascism is not racist (at least not fundamentally), why should we be against it? The reality is that Fascism is mob-rule, which dehumanizes the ‘other.’ However Fascists define their national identity, they believe that the people’s will embodied by ‘the chosen one’ can legitimize any evil. They exalt negative characteristics of people above noble ideals. And they imvariably look for scapegoats and outsiders to beat up on.
Fascists and Nazis are becoming increasingly bullish and sophisticated. People of conscience have to use their nous, as well as their wits, to defeat this. The representatives of compassionate conservatism and the ‘true right’ should especially stand up and object to those who cloak their sinfulness in the garbs of sacredness and tradition.