Wednesday, January 30, 2008


David N. Mayer (MayerBlog) parses "fascism." He uses the term
in its broadest sense, as a political philosophy holding among its essential precepts the claims that individuals have no inherent rights, and that their interests are subordinate to, and therefore may be sacrificed for the sake of, the presumed collective good, whatever it’s called – “society,” “the race,” “the state,” the “Volk,” “the nation,” “the people,” “the proletariat,” “the common good,” or “the public interest.” Purists may object that what I’m really calling “fascism” would be more properly termed collectivism, and that my use of the term fascism is not only historically incorrect but also deliberately provocative – and to a great extent, they’d be right. In defending my use of the term, however, I’d note that as originally coined by Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator of 1930s Italy, the term referred to the fasces, the bundle of rods wrapped around an axe carried by the lictors who guarded government officials in ancient Rome, where it symbolized the sovereign authority of the state. In this original sense of the term, fascism thus is roughly the equivalent of “statism,” the form of collectivism in which the entity known as “the state” holds the highest political authority in society.... I have an additional justification for using the term fascism. Notwithstanding the arguments of political scientists – who would distinguish fascism from other collectivist –isms such as communism, socialism, or national socialism (Nazism) – these distinctions are really irrelevant because all these forms of collectivism are equally pernicious to, and destructive of, individual rights and freedom. Leftists like to use the terms fascism or fascist as pejoratives because they naively believe that socialism is somehow less evil than collectivism of “the right” – that the murder of millions of people killed by Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet Union, by Mao in Red China, or by Pol Pot in communist Cambodia somehow was less evil than the murder of millions of people killed by Hitler’s regime in Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s regime in fascist Italy. Leftists have no legitimate claim on the truth, and neither do they have any monopoly on use of the terms fascism or fascist as pejoratives.
Mayer, in a typically long post at his excellent blog, goes on to tackle the
“Four Fascisms” of 2008 ... : (1) Eco-Fascism, the tyranny of radical environmentalists, including the global-warming hoax and other myths propagated by “green” activists as a rationale for imposing their agenda on us by force; (2) Nanny-State Fascism, the tyranny of the health police, who seek to turn everyone into wards of the state, including the movement pushing for “universal” health care – that is, government monopolization of the health care industry (what used to be called, and still is, socialized medicine); (3) Demopublican/ Replicrat Fascism, the tyranny of the two-party political system in the United States, particularly dangerous in 2008 as an election year; and last, (4) Islamo-Fascism, the danger of militant, fundamentalist Islam to the United States and the rest of the civilized world.
Go there and read. All of it. You many not agree with Mayer in every detail (I don't), but he aims at the right targets and hits them hard.

Related posts:
"FDR and Fascism" (20 Sep 2007)
"A Political Compass: Locating the United States" (13 Nov 2007)
"The Modern Presidency: A Tour of American History since 1900" (01 Dec 2007)