A fine definition from Discover the Networks:
[A] working definition of fascism is in order. A comprehensive discussion of fascism's tenets and variations can be located here, but for the purpose of this discussion, fascism can be distilled down to this: It is a totalitarian movement that empowers an omnipotent government to control every nook and cranny of political, economic, social, and private life – generally in the name of “the public good.” Its leadership is commonly spearheaded by a powerful, charismatic, even deified figure who is viewed as uniquely capable – along with his hand-picked advisers – of leading his nation to new-found or restored greatness. Its economics are collectivist, socialist and redistributionist – supremely hostile to free-market capitalism and wealth inequalities. And it tends to promote and exploit the grievances of “the common man,” portraying society as the theater of a ceaseless conflict – a class war – between oppressor and oppressed, victimizer and victim. Consequently, identity politics are central to fascism.A good definition. Historically in the United States, fascism is a movement of the left, closely associated with Progressivism in the first decades of the 20th century.
Does the description above, which is quite accurate, sound vaguely familiar, in the context of the current American political scene?
If I were you, I'd be embarrassed to quote Jonah Goldberg as an authority on anything. Here is what actual historians think of his work:ReplyDelete
Robert Paxton, emeritus professor of history at Columbia University, author of Anatomy of Fascism.
would you care to discuss what Goldberg actually said, instead of arguing to authority?Delete
What is inaccurate about the definiton of fascism given above?
Why does that definition upset you?
Does it perhaps hit too close to home?
No, it doesn't hit close to home. I am merely laughing at the Right's level of intelligence. Jonah Goldberg is their go-to history guy. David Berlinski is an authority on evolution. Vox Day passes for an economist. It's the party of stupid.Delete
In other words, no, he doesn't want to address what Goldberg actually said, or sprain his brain trying to decide what is wrong with the definition given, or deal with facts an arguments whatsoever, other than to appeal to authority.Delete
I see no point in addressing stupid ideas. If it's your idea of fun, go ahead, wallow in the stupid.Delete
And how do you know that a position is stupid in the first place if you don't even attempt to assess the arguments and facts that are appealed to in support of it? Ah, that's right, you appeal to your preferred authorities to assure you that the position is stupid and that you don't need to think about it. Leave it to inverted left-wing view of reality to define intelligence as the refusal to think.Delete
I have read enough of Jonah Goldberg (and the rest of the above-mentioned individual) to make an opinion about their works. Do I want to explain to you and Egnor why I don't think highly of them? No. It isn't my goal. I am just here to laugh at your shenanigans, not to engage you in any serious manner.Delete
Taking Goldberg and the like seriously and having a discussion about his book with right-wing nuts would be like trying to convince Star Trek fans that it's not exactly serious movie making. It's just not worth it.Delete
And, of course, the fact that you're posting here at all puts the lie to the notion that you "see no point in addressing stupid ideas", as does the fact that you even know about Berlinski and Vox Day's interests and are bothered enough by them to bring them up here in an unrelated conversation.Delete
You're not above addressing them. On the contrary, you're clearly quite bothered by what they say, to the point that you feel a compulsion to let us know how stupid and wrong they are. You simply lack the wherewithal to rebut them in a coherent fashion using to reason and objective reality, and so appeal to your preferred authorities instead, and passive-aggressively attempt to play off your inability as a lack of interest.
A couple of unforced errors, Deuce. One, I mentioned the stupid, but I did not address it. Two, Berlinski and Vox don't bother me as such. What "bothers" me is the fact that some people take them seriously.Delete
Other than that, fine analysis.
Btw, notice how nobody actually cited Goldberg as an authority. Rather, Mike cited a specific one of his arguments and invited argument over it. Meanwhile, the leftist bluff-artist comes along, ignores the argument at hand and combines an ad hom against Goldberg with a rank appeal to his own preferred authority, and then accuses everyone else of relying on "stupid" authorities who nobody had even mentioned. It's an almost textbook display of left-wing psychology, folks.Delete
Whatever rocks your boat, Deuce. If you wish to seriously discuss stuff that comes out of Jonah Goldberg's ass, by all means do it. Don't mind me. I am just here to entertain myself watching, not to prove something.Delete
I've told Anonymous on at least two occasions that he should quit preaching to us troglodytes. He's brilliant and we'd recognize that if we weren't so dumb. What an exercise in futility it must be to have to convince stupid people that he's right.Delete
>>I am just here to laugh at your shenanigans, not to engage you in any serious manner.<<
I would agree with the second part, that you are not here to engage us in any serious manner. But the first part, that you're here to laugh at us, seems less than believable. You aren't a jovial guy. Your tone is hardly humorous. You're here to berate and insult. So I would amend your statement to read, >>I am just here to insult you, not to engage you in any serious manner.<< And then I would agree with you whole-heartedly.
Goldberg's definition of fascism sounds fine to me. Perhaps you could voice an objection to it, other than the fact that it comes from Goldberg.
What an exercise in futility it must be to have to convince stupid people that he's right.Delete
No, no, you're not on board with the narrative. He's not trying to show us that he's right, because it's just not worth his time, you see.
It's worth his time to tell us repeatedly about how he could prove that he's right and everyone is stupid if only he wanted to, but not to demonstrate his ability by actually doing it. Cause that would make us feel bad, or something, and he's such a magnanimous guy.
Try reading some history, Deuce. Hitler had no problem at all with wealth inequality. He came to power with the support of the wealthy industrialists, who made out like gangbusters during his rule while workers' wages actually shrank. The Nazi party platform had many socialist ideas prior to their coming to power, but Hitler never had any intention of honoring any of them and never made any move to do so. In fact, after coming to power he launched a bloody purge to get rid of, as Shirer puts it, those who "believed in the socialism of National Socialism."Delete
Quoting Jonah Goldberg for an understanding of fascism is about as stupid as quoting Michael Egnor for an understanding of physics, evolutionary biology, or climate science.ReplyDelete
Who could've possibly foreseen that leftists would respond to this with rank appeals to authority, angry denunciation, and sarcasm, rather than actually attempting to counter-argue from facts? It's so unlike them, right?ReplyDelete
It's not unlike them at all.Delete
They are caught in the hidebound ideologue's circular logic. Only those people who agree with him already are authoritative sources, and thus all reliable sources always tell them that he is right. People who disagree with him can never be right, because they're obviously biased by being on the other side.
>>I have read enough of Jonah Goldberg (and the rest of the above-mentioned individual) to make an opinion about their works.<<ReplyDelete
I take it you've never read the book?
No, I haven't read the entire book, just some excerpts. I have also not watched all of Star Trek, but I have seen enough to choose not to watch any more.Delete
I have also read reviews of the book by serious historians (one of which I linked to). This is the analog of reading movie reviews and deciding that this particular work of art isn't worth your dime.
I hope this analogy works for you, JQ.
The only reason I mention this, Anonymous, is because you told me that I can't criticize a court decision until I've read it, nor can I criticize the health care bill until I've read it. And lo and behold, you haven't read Liberal Fascism.Delete
You think you know enough to judge it, but apparently I don't know enough to determine that a supreme court decision that finds that the constitution means the opposite of what it says is actually bogus.
Your analogy works just fine, so long as you're willing to admit that you're a big hypocrite.
JQ, I hope you will allow me to point out the obvious. Anonymous is not exactly a last name or a pseudonym. In other words, it does not identify a unique individual.Delete
Hope this helps.
Are you going to admit your hypocrisy at some point?Delete
You don't have to read a document in its entirety to come to a conclusion about it, but I do. You can get your information from third parties, but I cannot.
He said that to me, too. He said that because I hadn't read the decision in Korematsu v. United States that I wasn't in a position to criticize it. Korematsu was the case in which Roosevelt's internment camp policy was put to the test. The court gave it the thumbs up. I guess I just have to go along with it until I read the decision. Anonymous doesn't have to read Goldberg's book, however, because someone else told him it was stupid.Delete
Here is another hint, guys. THERE IS MORE THAN ONE ANONYMOUS COMMENTATOR HERE. Don't ascribe to me what someone else told you.Delete
Hope this helps.
He said that because I hadn't read the decision in Korematsu v. United States that I wasn't in a position to criticize it.Delete
On that point he is correct. Korematsu means much more than just its holding.
And my use of the word stupid gives you the vapors, you should feel free to criticize Egnor for posting multiple pics from Liberal Logic 101. Which invariably say "Yes, they are that stupid" about some straw-man version of a liberal position. Egnor doesn't want to engage liberals in any serious way, he just wants to make them look stupid.ReplyDelete
Sauce for the goose, and all that.
Feel free to make an argument on the above definition of fascism, any time you'd like.
What is it about the definition that you disagree with?
Ooh, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Take just this sentence:Delete
"And it tends to promote and exploit the grievances of “the common man,” portraying society as the theater of a ceaseless conflict – a class war – between oppressor and oppressed, victimizer and victim."
This would work for the Soviet Union, where Marxism was the official ideology and class struggle was one of the favorite subject. But it won't work for either the Nazi Germany or for Mussolini's Italy. So that particular feature isn't characteristic of the two truly fascist regimes.
Whether one wants to lump the Soviet Union under the same definition (which is debatable), it clearly does not fit the two actual fascist states. The only reason why this silly part is there is to pivot from fascists to communists (opressor v. oppressed) to liberals (victimizer v. victim). It's not a subtle sleight of hand.
One can analyze this entire sorry passage with similar results, but there is no point in doing it. Teh stupid, it burns.
>>This would work for the Soviet Union, where Marxism was the official ideology and class struggle was one of the favorite subject. But it won't work for either the Nazi Germany or for Mussolini's Italy. So that particular feature isn't characteristic of the two truly fascist regimes. <<Delete
Wrong again. Scapegoating rich Jews for the benefit of the common man was central to Nazism. That's why they seized their wealth and their businesses. German non-Jews saw themselves as getting what was rightfully theirs. At the base of their anti-Semitism was the belief that a small coterie of Jews had conspired for centuries to keep down the majority.
Hitler appealed to the people, to the workers. I'm sure you know what NSDAP means. I'm sure you know that the real name of Nazism is actually National Socialism. His appeals to common Germans weren't sincere, of course, but that's not unusual. Fascists never give a crap about the people they claim to be helping. As Goldberg said, they "promote and exploit" the grievances of the common man.
You missed that last fish in the barrel, Anonymous.Delete
If if you want to water it down to "exploiting the grievances of the common man," JQ, then this distinction becomes so broad as to become meaningless. Every political party exploits one or another grievance of the common man. That's how parties work. Democrats pit the top 1 per cent against the rest of the US population. Republicans want to kill all the lawyers.Delete
The definition above doesn't just mention exploiting grievances (everyone does that). It specifically names the "class war." Jews v. Germans wasn't a class war. It was good old antisemitism.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
You just made a complete reversal. First you said that German and Italian fascism weren't really about exploiting the grievances of the common man. Now you're saying that everyone does that. Which is it?Delete
You're right that Democrats pit the top one percent against the rest of the population. Agreed.
I don't know if it's correct to say that all parties resort to exploiting the greivances of the common man, but I will say that Hitler took it to a new level. His message was clear: The rich Jews are keeping you down. Lash out at them. Take what's yours. Take the goods from their shops, take the gold from their teeth, take their watches from their pockets. Hitler blamed Jewish bankers for the economic malaise of Weimar Germany, saying that they were getting rich by loaning money to Germany to pay their reparations to England and France, who paid their war debts to the United States. His message resonated, as he knew it would. He had found a scapegoat.
In other words, he >>tend[ed] to promote and exploit the grievances of “the common man,” portraying society as the theater of a ceaseless conflict – a class war – between oppressor and oppressed, victimizer and victim.<<
>>It specifically names the "class war." Jews v. Germans wasn't a class war. It was good old antisemitism.<<
The two aren't mutually exclusive. It was both.
No one is watering down fascism to mean "exploiting the grievances of the common man." That was one defining aspect among many. It was also the one you chose to "debunk." Now you're admitting that fascists do in fact do exactly what Goldberg said they did, but that doesn't mean anything because other parties do it too.Delete
You might as well insist that fascists tied their shoe laces and ran trains. And, conspicuously, so do Democrats.Delete
JQ- Hitler's persecution of Jews was based on race. Economics was decidedly secondary. And as has been exhaustively documented by real historians, Hitler never had the slightest intention of implementing any of the socialist planks in the Nazi platform and got rid of them as soon as he came to power, with the enthusiastic backing of industrialists and business leaders. He also broke Germany's unions.Delete
Does the description above, which is quite accurate, sound vaguely familiar, in the context of the current American political scene?ReplyDelete
Yeah, it seems to fit the current Republican party quite well, with minor exceptions.
It also doesn't fit the self-named fascist governments of the twentieth century. So as a definition, of "fascism" it is a failure.
Oh, since Paxton's review of Goldberg was appealed to here, it's probably worth it to link to Goldberg's reply to him and others (it was part of a symposium) as well: http://www.hnn.us/articles/122667.htmlReplyDelete
Fascism has always been a power-sharing pact between right-wing politicians and big corporations. Usually with the help of the Catholic church, because the church preferred theist fascists over godless communists.ReplyDelete
Egnor is a classical fascist. He would fit right in with Mussolini and his buddies.