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Wednesday, February 13. 2008
I'm weary of everybody finding fascism in the unlikeliest of places. I'm tired of finding little cookie duster moustaches photoshopped onto politicians that remind me of church wardens, not mail-fisted strongmen. I'm worn out from the endless denouement of every discussion on every topic, no matter how mundane, being a reference to that weird Austrian corporal.
It's a looming Weimar you're all not recognizing, not the next Fuhrer. Everybody's oblivious to the cobbling together of a miserable tottering spineless Byzantium, because they want to spot Mehmed in every passerby,when they should be fixing the chinks in the walls and looking to the horizon.
I said I was weary of it, and just look at the picture I offered. I apologize. It's not the Hitlerjugend I read about yesterday. It seemed to me Weimar being remade, not the Third Reich. Lord knows what will come after this Weimar falls. Or perhaps, Lord, peace be upon him is more to the point.
It was just a quotidian item, one of many such bits of squishy government minutiae you see bandied about; some little encroachment of government into things that are none of their affair, always with the eye towards finally making sure nothing is none of their affair. It wasn't even the main topic of the story out of Great Britain in the Times Online. That story is tedious enough:
People who illegally download films and music will be cut off from the internet under new legislative proposals to be unveiled next week.
I am put in mind of Kissinger's mordant observation of the Iran-Iraq war of decades back. "Too bad they can't both lose." It's tiresome to listen to people justify plain stealing as somehow noble and appropriate, and it's equally tiresome to see just how venal and rapacious the entertainment industry is. The government whipsaws between freaking out over whether an ISP throttles back users downloading enormous files of purloined material, then freaking out over piracy. If any government understood the Internet it wouldn't exist anyway. They'll muck it up in stages as they figure it out.
As I said, that's garden variety foolishness. And only a proposal. Skip on down and get a load of this:
Other high-profile elements include a pledge that children will be entitled to five hours of culture a week overseen by a new youth culture trust. The pledge will give children the right to learn a musical instrument, visit art galleries and museums and even make films.
If this is Hitler, it's the Dick Shawn version in The Producers. But anyone who can read that, and not feel that whatever elements of it wouldn't be a profoundly stupid waste of time will be profoundly bad precedent for who decides what, has lost their perspective and their individuality.
Great Britain and much of multi-culti Europe have an interesting near future. There is one element of their society, maybe two, that is always and forever immune to such Weimar style twaddle. They refuse to participate in any way, and when coerced, immediately resort to violence, so they are generally left alone by the authorities -- authorities who know they'll have an easier time harrying concave-chested disarmed law-abiding citizens about whether they've got their culture ration card on them at all times or something equally niggling.
It'll be fun -- sorta --watching suicidal Muslims fighting homicidal soccer hooligans in the ruins of the European Union in a few years.
I bet none of them play an instrument.
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Who Is “Fascist ?
The abuse and proper use of a political label.
By Thomas Sowell
Those who put a high value on words may recoil at the title of Jonah Goldberg’s new book, Liberal Fascism. As a result, they may refuse to read it, which will be their loss — and a major loss.
Those who value substance over words, however, will find in this book a wealth of challenging insights, backed up by thorough research and brilliant analysis.
This is the sort of book that challenges the fundamental assumptions of its time — and which, for that reason, is likely to be shunned rather than criticized.
Because the word “fascist” is often thrown around loosely these days, as a general term of abuse, it is good that Liberal Fascism begins by discussing the real Fascism, introduced into Italy after the First World War by Benito Mussolini.
The Fascists were completely against individualism in general and especially against individualism in a free-market economy. Their agenda included minimum-wage laws, government restrictions on profit-making, progressive taxation of capital, and “rigidly secular” schools.
Unlike the Communists, the Fascists did not seek government ownership of the means of production. They just wanted the government to call the shots as to how businesses would be run.
They were for “industrial policy,” long before liberals coined that phrase in the United States.
Indeed, the whole Fascist economic agenda bears a remarkable resemblance to what liberals would later advocate.
Moreover, during the 1920s “progressives” in the United States and Britain recognized the kinship of their ideas with those of Mussolini, who was widely lionized by the Left.
Famed British novelist and prominent Fabian socialist H. G. Wells called for “Liberal Fascism,” saying “the world is sick of parliamentary politics.”
Another literary giant and Fabian socialist, George Bernard Shaw, also expressed his admiration for Mussolini — as well as for Hitler and Stalin, because they “did things,” instead of just talk.
In Germany, the Nazis followed in the wake of the Italian Fascists, adding racism in general and anti-Semitism in particular, neither of which was part of Fascism in Italy or in Franco’s Spain.
Even the Nazi variant of Fascism found favor on the Left when it was only a movement seeking power in the 1920s.
W. E. B. DuBois was so taken with the Nazi movement that he put swastikas on the cover of a magazine he edited, despite complaints from Jewish readers.
Even after Hitler achieved dictatorial power in Germany in 1933, DuBois declared that the Nazi dictatorship was “absolutely necessary in order to get the state in order.”
As late as 1937 he said in a speech in Harlem that “there is today, in some respects, more democracy in Germany than there has been in years past.”
In short, during the 1920s and the early 1930s, Fascism was not only looked on favorably by the Left but recognized as having kindred ideas, agendas, and assumptions.
Only after Hitler and Mussolini disgraced themselves, mainly by their brutal military aggressions in the 1930s, did the Left distance itself from these international pariahs.
Fascism, initially recognized as a kindred ideology of the Left, has since come down to us defined as being on “the Right” — indeed, as representing the farthest Right, supposedly further extensions of conservatism.
If by conservatism you mean belief in free markets, limited government, and traditional morality, including religious influences, then these are all things that the Fascists opposed just as much as the Left does today.
The Left may say that they are not racists or anti-Semites, like Hitler, but neither was Mussolini or Franco. Hitler, incidentally, got some of his racist ideology from the writings of American “progressives” in the eugenics movement.
Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is too rich a book to be summarized in a newspaper column. Get a copy and start rethinking the received notions about who is on “the Left” and who is on “the Right.” It is a book for people who want to think, rather than repeat rhetoric.
— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Dang, you stepped on my post, H. I was gonna post that in the morning....I will anyway.
Sorry man..can you pull it down? do so if you can ..won't hurt me a bit.
"Only after Hitler and Mussolini disgraced themselves, mainly by their brutal military aggressions in the 1930s, did the Left distance itself from these international pariahs."
Wow, here is a bit of historical revisionism straight out of Stalin's play book. "Kindred ideas and assumptions"? It's as though Mein Kampf (in the mid-1920s) didn't declare communists to be as pernicious enemies of the German state as Jews. It's as if German labor organizers weren't persecuted by the Nazis. To accept this bald-faced misinformation, one needs to ignore that the Nazis were ardent supporters of the Fascist Franco's overthrow of the Leftist Spanish government in the 1930's.
Only if you replaced the names "Hitler and Mussolini" with the name "Stalin" would that first quoted sentence make an iota of historical sense. Up is down. Black is Red. All bad must be Left.
Can you believe that Webster chose 2008, an election year of all years, to remove "gullible" from the dictionary?
The youth culture trust. sheesh. Good catch Roger. I saw that article but missed the 'youth culture trust pledge'. They buried that nugget.
RE:I bet none of them play an instrument.
You might lose that bet. Fair Warning. Turn down the sound.
This is the way the world ends,
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang, but a series of mandates from the youth culture trust.
It's the guys wearing the hats.
They're the classy, liberal fascists who carteled the cannon fodder kids.
That should be, the lefties by choice & accident set up the conditions for wars, then the righties come into office with no choice but to fight them.
Righties are lefties.
The guys in the hats pied-piping cartel march the kids towards revolutionary change.
Just another brick in the wall.
Keep your eye on the blokes wearing the hats.
I will also launch a program of public diplomacy that is a coordinated effort across my Administration,... We will open "America Houses" in cities across the Islamic world, with Internet, libraries, English lessons, stories of America's Muslims and the strength they add to our country, and vocational programs. Through a new " America's Voice Corps" we will recruit, train, and send out into the field talented young Americans who can speak with -- and listen to -- the people who today hear about us only from our enemies.
Pied Hussien aka Barack Obama from "The War We Need to Win" speech, August 1, 2007