Living in a democracy converts every question into a personal one because, being equal, we as individuals suffer only one real question, which is “what do I want?” Never mind that most of us have no idea what that might be for the first half of our lives, or that meaning is found through union with orders larger than the individual. Our dogma is fixed.
That affects politics as well, turning complex questions of the interactions of different issues into shouting matches over symbols. We want our symbols to win out over those from the other team, and while we all know this will not fix the problem or stop our long slow decline into irrelevance as a dying civilization, it might make us feel better about ourselves.
Consequently, no one understands politics as anything but slogans, signs, symbols, teams, and moral condemnation of the other side. They do not probe into the philosophies behind the choices, nor think to what type of society each team would create if given unlimited power. To them, all is mysticism, and they want their god to beat back the other gods.
As a result, most have no idea what Right and Left signify, or what those groups actually desire. We are caught up in the drama of reacting to each other and have lost knowledge of why people hold certain viewpoints or what we might stand to gain by adopting them as policy.
In addition, we have fallen into pidgin language where terms are thrown about with no regard to the continuity of meaning from their origin. Language changes over time, true, but when it reverses its original meaning, that is not organic change but propaganda.
Looking past the pidgin, we see that the Left tends to call the Right “Nazi,” “Racist,” and “Fascist” without regard to anything other than the non-Leftist status of those Right-wingers. In addition, the Right seems confused on whether the KKK, Nazis, and fascists were Leftist or Rightist or some kind of bizarre hybrid. Most Rightists think classical liberals are Right, confusing things further.
We all benefit from better understanding what we are talking about. With that in mind, it makes sense to distinguish some different political philosophies and civilization systems:
Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied – the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society
After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….
Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality — thus it may be called the “ethic” State
Fascism is the doctrine best adapted to represent the tendencies and the aspirations of a people, like the people of Italy, who are rising again after many centuries of abasement and foreign servitude. But empire demands discipline, the coordination of all forces and a deeply felt sense of duty and sacrifice: this fact explains many aspects of the practical working of the regime, the character of many forces in the State, and the necessarily severe measures which must be taken against those who would oppose this spontaneous and inevitable movement of Italy in the twentieth century, and would oppose it by recalling the outworn ideology of the nineteenth century – repudiated wheresoever there has been the courage to undertake great experiments of social and political transformation; for never before has the nation stood more in need of authority, of direction and order. If every age has its own characteristic doctrine, there are a thousand signs which point to Fascism as the characteristic doctrine of our time. For if a doctrine must be a living thing, this is proved by the fact that Fascism has created a living faith; and that this faith is very powerful in the minds of men is demonstrated by those who have suffered and died for it.
Fascism might be called “inverted utilitarianism” or an attempt to make the State into pure function, by which it will allow natural systems such as race and culture to thrive. For that reason, the Fascists were not racial fanatics, nor anti-Semitic until they entered into treaties with National Socialists.
The ideal fascist society resembles an advanced anarcho-capitalist, libertarian, or neoreactionary regime. Citizens have delegated power to the corporation government which then rules with an iron hand. Their only representation comes at the moment of choice to spend their money on that government versus another, and they expect it to ruthlessly clear out dysfunction and install function.
We might see fascism, then, as an ultra-administrative society which backdoors in non-utilitarian thought via capitalism, much as libertarianism and classical liberalism do. In fact, its only difference from those is that instead of liberty, it believes in strong power as a means of guaranteeing function, without which “liberty” is nothing more than a buzzword.
While it is hard to say that the fascists were wrong, and fascism in Spain at least was semi-functional through the 1970s, the basic modern problem still persists: we have a bureaucracy applying power externally to the culture and citizens in order to keep them in line. That produces an inherently unstable state, and retains the State, despite the knowledge that it is self-serving.
We demand that the State shall make it its primary duty to provide a livelihood for its citizens. If it should prove impossible to feed the entire population, foreign nationals (non-citizens) must be deported from the Reich.
All citizens shall have equal rights and duties.
It must be the first duty of every citizen to perform physical or mental work. The activities of the individual must not clash with the general interest, but must proceed within the framework of the community and be for the general good.
We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle class, the immediate communalizing of big department stores, and their lease at a cheap rate to small traders, and that the utmost consideration shall be shown to all small traders in the placing of State and municipal orders.
National Socialism has visual appeal because it represents the last time that the world truly feared and respected European man. Everyone knows Hitler as the incarnate spirit of the raging subconscious of the Hyperborean which wishes to crush disorder, impose order, and act with the savagery of a wild beast in destroying parasites and weakness.
American conservatives, fat on donuts and Fox News slogans, further confuse the point by insisting that Hitler was a Leftist. Unfortunately, they are fundamentally correct, in that Hitler still wanted a State and other trappings of the modern time, and believed in a subsidy-based economic and political system.
Ironically, Hitler won in that his system has been adopted by the rest of the West: strong capitalism, encouraging both the growth of small business and of super-massive corporations, used to fund a tax-and-spend agenda which then applies the money toward ideological programs. For Hitler, those were eugenics and wars; for liberal democracy, the focus turns to diversity and poverty.
In the end calculus, National Socialism turns out to be a highly competent version of The Boromir Strategy, or the idea that we can use the weapon of the enemy — in this case, modern society — to defeat the enemy. However, modern society by its nature is so corrupting that even a racial hygiene oriented dictatorship becomes weakened from within.
In 1889, on the centenary of the French Revolution, a Second International emerged from two rival socialist conventions in Paris. Intended as a revival of the International Working Men’s Association, this new organization was dominated by Marxists in general and the SPD in particular. By this time the SPD was both officially Marxist and a force to be reckoned with in German politics. Despite Otto von Bismarck’s attempts to suppress it, Wilhelm Liebknecht, August Bebel, and other leaders had transformed the SPD into a mass party. But its considerable success—the SPD won almost one-fifth of the votes cast in the parliamentary elections of 1890, for example—raised the question of whether socialism might be achieved through the ballot box rather than through revolution. The “orthodox” position, as developed by the SPD’s chief theorist, Karl Kautsky, tried to reconcile the SPD’s electoral practice with Marx’s revolutionary doctrine. But others had begun to think that it would be better to recognize that circumstances had changed and to revise Marx’s doctrine accordingly.
…Among the remaining orthodox Marxists was the Russian revolutionary V.I. Ulyanov, better known by his pseudonym Lenin. As the leader of the Bolshevik, or “majority,” faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party, Lenin himself had been accused of straying from the Marxist path. The problem for Russian Marxists was that Russia in the late 19th century remained a semifeudal country with barely the beginnings of industrial capitalism. To be sure, Marx had allowed that it might be possible for a country such as Russia to move directly from feudalism to socialism, but the standard position among Marxists was that capitalism was a necessary stage of economic and historical development; otherwise, there would be neither the productive power to overcome necessity nor the revolutionary proletariat to win freedom for all as it emancipated itself from capitalist exploitation.
This had been the standard position among Russian Marxists too, but it was not Lenin’s. Lenin had little faith in the revolutionary potential of the proletariat, arguing in What Is to Be Done? (1902) that the workers, left to themselves, would fight only for better wages and working conditions; they therefore needed to be educated, enlightened, and led to revolution by a “vanguard” party of professional revolutionaries. Moreover, the authoritarian nature of the Russian government required that the vanguard party be conspiratorial, disciplined, and elitist. Lenin’s Russian-Marxist rivals disputed these points, but his manipulation of the vote at a party congress enabled him to label them the Menshevik, or “minority,” faction.
Lenin’s commitment to revolution thus put him at odds with those who advocated a revised, evolutionary Marxism. In Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), Lenin argued against the revisionists, stating that the improvement in conditions enjoyed by the proletariat of Europe and the United States was a kind of bribe made possible by the “superprofits” that their countries’ capitalists were extracting from the labour and resources of the poorer parts of the world. But imperialism would also be the last stage of capitalism, for it was bound to expose the contradictions of capitalism not only in the industrial countries but also in the countries exploited by the imperialistic powers—hence the possibility of revolution in a country that had not itself gone through capitalism.
…Lenin’s commitment to revolution thus put him at odds with those who advocated a revised, evolutionary Marxism. In Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), Lenin argued against the revisionists, stating that the improvement in conditions enjoyed by the proletariat of Europe and the United States was a kind of bribe made possible by the “superprofits” that their countries’ capitalists were extracting from the labour and resources of the poorer parts of the world. But imperialism would also be the last stage of capitalism, for it was bound to expose the contradictions of capitalism not only in the industrial countries but also in the countries exploited by the imperialistic powers—hence the possibility of revolution in a country that had not itself gone through capitalism.
Individualism creates the seed of modernity: the individualist says he wants the ability to act in a “me first” manner before any order larger than the individual — including nature, civilization, logic, and the metaphysical — and so becomes a pure materialist. He does not believe in honor, glory, goodness, beauty, and excellence above personal convenience and comfort, but in fact the opposite. On a battlefield we would call this man a coward; in the art world, a sell-out; in friendship among the old gang, a turncoat. However, most people either think this way or are easily seduced by it.
Smart individualists use egalitarianism to conceal this seed. Instead of demanding “me first,” they say, they want “us first” or the right to stop caring about good behavior for everyone. This fools a crowd of people of low intelligence and moral character, which is most of humanity, and that then creates the peasant revolts that overthrow kings. This pattern repeats everywhere that civilization dies, even outside of Western society.
Having thus concealed their actual objectives, the individualists seduce the lonely, poor, unhappy, lost, unpopular, drunk, and miserable into a constituency and use them to take over society from within. Their egalitarianism takes on several stages: when they are few, they want “equality under the law,” or the idea that a hardened criminal gets the same rights as his victims, when common sense says that it matters less if injustice is done to him because his lifestyle is based around injustice to others; when they are moderate in number, they demand social equality, or no loss of social status for being less competent or less morally good; when they are many, they demand socialism or economic equality, which comes through taking from the successful and giving to the less successful (the Robin Hood strategy).
Communism formalizes this process by blaming it on capitalism, and it is partially right. Monarchies produce stability; this produces mercantilism; when combined with peasant revolt, mercantilism becomes consumerism or something like it, where the society “makes money” from selling stuff to its proles and then re-investing that money in government, military, technology, and other agencies of power. This seems to work well until it abruptly fails, mainly because it has secondary effects such as driving intelligent people from the society because it has turned itself into a prole-run horror where every day is boring and frustrating and most people in power are idiots whose only virtue is that they vociferously affirm the ideology of their masters. Without this wealth, egalitarianism could never have come to pass, and with egalitarianism, society becomes so destroyed that it needs increasingly intense levels of control to maintain order. Hence, Communism, which is effectively simply authoritarian egalitarianism.
We all know the glorious history of Communism, namely that wherever it is tried it both fails and destroys the population genetically, leaving behind zombie peasants who cannot act without being told explicitly what to do. Coincidentally, most of the third world demonstrates the same pathology, leading us to think that Communism is one variety of a human dysfunction (called Crowdism or collectivized individualism) that eventually destroys all prosperous civilizations unless they explicitly wage war against it, as Plato urges us to do in The Republic by restarting the civilization cycle.
In any case, most people use “fascist” as a substitute for one or both of these terms:
The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.
Totalitarianism is best understood as any system of political ideas that is both thoroughly dictatorial and utopian. It is an ideal type of governing notion, and as such, it cannot be realised perfectly.
The former proves more neutral: every system is somewhat authoritarian in some contexts. If there is a fire, people need to lose some personal freedom stat and get out of the building, and a normal law enforcement person will toss them out of the building so they do not get in the way of others trying to evacuate (a really good law enforcement officer will find a way to set them aside so that Darwin’s natural selection can do its blesséd work).
Totalitarianism however refers to the nature of egalitarianism itself: it is Utopian, in that it envisions a future where all problems are solved by this one trick, namely making people equal; it is also dictatorial, in that even if it does not use the methods of dictatorship, it is evangelical and sees people as either compliant or enemies, with no grey area or excluded middles considered. Democracy inverts authoritarianism by using personal freedom as the method of creating an authority in the mob, which then denies anything but the mob view.
When the Left calls the Right “Nazis,” they are alluding to the nationalism in National Socialism, or the idea that the nation-state (an arbitrary state created of an economic and political system, comprising multiple ethnic, religious, and/or racial groups) is corrupt and that only the nation (an entity created of the culture, people, customs, genetics, and spirit of one ethnic group) serves as a stable platform for human thriving. However, they conflate this with “racism” which shows a desire to use inverse authoritarianism to exclude the right of a people to ethnic self-determination.
When the Right calls the Left “fascists,” they are misstating the fact that all of Leftism is a spectrum. Democracy, socialism, individualism, Communism, utilitarianism, and diversity are all subsets of egalitarianism. Calling the Left “Communists” is more accurate because someone who endorses democracy when he has little power will endorse socialism when he has more power, and when he has total power, will plunge society into a Communist state because it is the ultimate fulfillment of egalitarianism, a system so unstable that it eventually requires a totalitarian solution to keep it minimally functional.
In a dying society where most people are either drunk with power or idiotic because they are proles with power, insisting on the clarification of these terms is akin to screaming into the winds of a tempest, but to simply slide into sloganeering and a pidgin lexicon would be to rubber-stamp an intellectual evil, so even seemingly futile resistance demands attention where going along with the herd deserves no respect, hence this somewhat detail-oriented clarification.
Tags: authoritarianism, communism, fascism, modernism, national socialism, nationalism, racism, socialism, totalitarianism