Saturday, July 30, 2016

It is an honor to be critiqued by the Vulture

It is indeed. I always learn a lot when the Vulture of Critique pedantically disagrees with me, and I encourage him to do so whenever he thinks it a necessity, or just an occasion for putting some knowledge out there. A teaching moment, if you will. His latest such critique seems to have been triggered (look! — I used a trendy word, but probably not in a PC way) by the cartoon here [link]. I rush to assure Vulture that the cartoon isn't an endorsement of Pinochet, a man of whom I know very little, but rather a send-up of the libertarian "non-aggression principle" dogma, which wouldn't work in a day-care center, let alone a planet full of contending religions and ideologies. The point of course is that such libertarian high-minded principles are totally useless in combatting any contending aggressive ideology, like communism, whereas a man like Pinochet, whatever his flaws, knows very well how to handle people like that.

But that's really a side issue. What Vulture mainly reacts to is this post [link], where I argue that fascism is a tool that came into being as a direct result of the communist threat. Yes, that's a gross oversimplification, but it has validity. And I pause here to point out the obvious, that most people the liberals and neocons call "fascists" are nothing of the kind. Fascists are defined as Mussolini and his followers and their ideology. Nobody can argue with that. Then, you can add those people and movements that explicitly consider themselves imitations of Mussolini's fascists, like the National Socialists in Germany, the British Union of Fascists, the Lapua Movement in Finland, Engelbert Dollfuß' austrofascists, the Iron Guard in Romania, and, most lately, George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party. More dubious is designating Franco's  Falange movement as fascist, which is based more on his connection with the Axis than with his actual ideology, which has too much Christian sensibility in it to be truly fascist.

Another dubiousness is George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party, which is often said not to be really Nazi — which needs a more restrictive definition than that for "fascist" — but just a standard right-wing American movement that used Nazi symbolism to attract attention. I believe some such criticism can be found in Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven's Escape from Hell [link].

Regardless of other truths about it, I continue to contend that fascism arose as a reaction to communism. In the interwar period, it became clear that liberal democracy was ineffective in resisting communism, as were most other government forms. On the simplest level, the fascists knew that if the communists used street thugs to break up meetings of their political opponents, they needed their own street thugs both to protect their own meetings and to break up communist meetings. Fascists had no qualms about using communist methods to fight communism.

And, at this point, due to Vulture's critique, I modify my previous assertion that "fascism is a tool" to "fascism is a political system, a dogma, a belief system, a guide to life, and a paradigm for reality, and can also be used as a tool."

But enough about all that. Clearly, there's more to fascism than I know, so I direct you to Vulture, who will teach us all about the phenomenon. This is from:

Fascism assumes that the universe is governed by strife. Does anybody else see a downside to such an assumption? [link]

I love Ex-Army, mostly because he always gives me something I can pedantically disagree with.
Some of Ex-Army’s endorsements are genuinely stupid, such as the one where he posted a cartoon which praised Pinochet as a cool guy:
That’s so stupid I don’t have time to prepare a remedial lesson about why Pinochet was not cool.  If time permits, I may post a short listicle on the topic: Top Ten Dick Moves That Proved Pinochet was an Ass-Clown, or something to that effect.
 But sometimes Ex-Army trolls me on some point that I had been meaning to address, so I have my remedial lesson all typed up and ready to go.  This post is one of those times.
So Ex-Army (and his cartooning partner, Baloo) have endorsed a guy called Doolittle who is seriously out of touch with what fascism is all about.
Doolittle is wrong because he claims fascism is just a tool, not a model.  If Doolittle has not lost himself in fascism, he has not practiced fascism at all.  If Doolittle has lost himself in fascism, he is telling an untruth – regardless of whether he believes what he is saying.
In fact, fascism is a paradigmatic model. If your thought accepts a critical mass of the axioms of fascism, part of your critical thinking ability dies and you brainwash yourself into believing the fascist propaganda.
(Propagandists who believe their own propaganda often make stupid mistakes.)
I encounter online fascists on various chans very frequently.
Online fascists have a very forceful rhetoric. The part that I most often run into is some poor soul pleading with the anonymous flames of the chans.
Poor soul: How can we stop life from sucking so much?
Chan Fascist: Stop asking for release from strife. There is only strife. There is only conflict. Seek only victory, rejoice only in glory. If you die nobly for OUR tribe, we will honor your memory; if you die heroically for our enemies, we might remember you as a worthy adversary, but if you don’t live and die for the glory of a tribe, you are beneath contempt and have no standing as a human being. 
Now, many channers are weak in real life, and some are not, but I always note that fascist channers use fascist rhetoric to express their contempt for the weak.
If Uncabob were here, he might claim that fascist channers have a “grandiose” self and a “devalued” self.
We can give a short summary, and an in-depth explanation, of fascism:

1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.
2. Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.
3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake.
4. The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.
5. Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.
6. Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.
7. To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.
8. The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.
9. For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.
10. Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.
11. In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.
12. Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters.
13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say.
14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.
There's a lot more, mainly in a long essay by Umberto Eco dealing with fascism, and who should know better than he? He writes a hell of a novel, anyway. So continue to read here [link].
Quibcag: the illustration is a version of the Italy mascot from Hetalia: Axis Powers (Axis Powers ヘタリア).

1 comment:

  1. The Alt-Right needs a colonoscopy to remove these tumors. This sentimental claptrap of abusing the weak is what you would expect from a woman. Most charities are simply slush funds and scams that do little or nothing for the weak. We already have hospitals and doctors to treat those with deficiencies. This womanly attitude of not saying bad things about the weak and cowardly is what you would expect from someone who follows the path of John Galt, who runs from his enemies and hides in a Utopian hideaway from the world. What a cowardly and childish way to confront or rather NOT CONFRONT enemies. Bullies will not stop if you run and hide, and abandoning the country to Socialists is hardly heroic.