Saturday, March 26, 2016

Were Fascists Leftists or Rightists?

I've blogged about this before, but the misconception is still vigorously making the rounds, and it's time to make the point again. The notion that fascism, and therefore naziism, are somehow left-wing movements, and not right-wing at all, probably wasn't originated by Jonah Goldberg's book, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning [link], but was certainly popularized by it.

Goldberg, of course, is a neoconservative, AKA, neocon, and that particular political faction is leftist, deriving, as it does, from the Trotskyite faction of the communist movement [link]. Now, of course, a lot of rank-and-file neocons have no idea about the origins of their political movement, and think they're standard conservatives. They're not. Actual conservatives have been pretty much purged from both parties over the years. Real conservatives, like Bob Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Grover Cleveland, and even Barry Goldwater, were proponents of small, limited governments and opposed unnecessary military intervention abroad and social engineering. Neoconservatives, of course, take the opposite, liberal positions on all these issues.

And, since, neoconservatives are masquerading as conservatives, it's to their advantage to confuse the matter still further and accuse their ostensible opponents, liberals, of being fascists, and accuse fascists of being leftists. It keeps Americans from catching on that the ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties are basically the same, and that their alleged differences are mainly rhetorical, not real.

To make a very simple, quick refutation of the classification of fascism as leftists, consider that the left is anti-nationalistic, anti-tradition, anti-reli dismissive of racial and cultural differences, and in general in favor of the destruction of social order and its replacement by institutions recommended by Marxist theory. Fascism tends to be strongly nationalistic, respectful of tradition and religion, respectful of racial and ethnic differences, and in favor reforming the social order to make it more stable and efficient, not destroying it. The fact, made much of by Goldberg and his sort, that fascists formed organizations of street fighters like the communists did, is easily explained: The communists formed such groups first, and the fascists formed their own for defense against the communist groups.

Indeed, the only leaders in the United States these days who can be regarded as genuine conservatives are pretty much rejected as "extremists" or "isolationists" by both political parties — people like Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan. And a great many rank-and-file conservatives, like myself, avoid the term because of all the confusion and call themselves paleoconservatives, libertarians, libertarian nationalists, alt-rightists, or something else.

Some years back Paul Gottfried very clearly explained that fascism is not leftist. His essay appeared at Takimag [link] and begins this way:

The “F” Word


  1. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn claims fascists were leftists, along with the Nazis (of course they are, which is obvious).

  2. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn is wrong, which is obvious.

  3. So if being Nationalist means you can't possibly be Liberal. Then we've never had a Communist state, certainly not Russia.

  4. Benito Mussolini started out as a Socialist, before becoming enamored of nationalism. Fascism, in many ways, was Socialism's reaction to the shock of WWI, when the workers, instead of shooting their officers and joyfully welcoming their worker brothers from the other side, marched off to war under their officers, cheerfully singing patriotic songs. This was not supposed to happen according to classic Socialism; the working classes of all nations were supposed to unite against the upper classes and "bourgeoisie." A lot of old-line Socialists never did get over the shock.