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View Diary: Bush Authoritarianism: Blackwater+Amway=GOP, Pt. 2 (295 comments)

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  •  I would rather confine fascism ... (1+ / 0-)
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    Major Danby

    To systems that actually drew inspiration from Fascist Italy - Germany, more superficially Spain, and in various lesser degree various midcentury regimes that went in for torchlight parades and fetish uniforms.

    When you draw the definition of fascism much wider than that, you end up using it for almost any thuggish regime, and good old Sulla was a fascist. (Maybe I shouldn't go there - Mussolini might have agreed, and I'd be in a jam. :)

    But more consequentially, defining fascism broadly opens the door to bullshit like "Islamofascism." Like jeez, we have to call Osama a fascist to know he's a bad guy?"

    The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

    by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:42:57 PM PDT

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    •  Yeah, Almost Every Argument Here... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      al Fubar, Alfred E Newman, badger

      ...against saying that Bush isn't fascist appears to be predicted on a desire to not give up a loaded word that some people seem to find emotionally satisfying to use.  

      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:47:35 PM PDT

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      •  Wouldn't it be easy for you (8+ / 0-)

        if we were all just wild-eyed self-indulgent hooligans.  No, the reason many of us don't want to give up the word is that it is meaningful, but simply not as narrow as you would have it be.  You treat it as a fashion, something that came into style around the 1940s -- like women drawing lines down the back of their legs to make it look like they were wearing nylons.  I treat it -- and taught it, using a well-established textbook that took the trouble to situate it within an ideological 2x2 dimension -- as a radical version of political ideologies that exist in our normal environment.

        For you and for al Fubar, with whom I generally agree on most matters, Fascism is something that existed for a brief period and then went away, leaving us without a term for an ideology that opposed civil liberties at home, whipped up and focused public rage on external enemies and those who would support them at home, bolstered the power and just role of the state in national security and imposition into personal morality, and largely joined ruling party and corporate interests.  Surely this is not so unusual a constellation of characteristics as to not need a label.

        It has elements of both conservatism (economically, although it is compatible with a Bismarckian social service regime) and right-wing populism, with which it tends to be more closely identified.  It did not stop in 1945 or even 1975 with the death of Franco.  You would call it what, exactly?  "Authoritarinism"?  Thin gruel, that, if so -- and far overinclusive besides, as it might apply to communism, socialism, left-wing populism, tribal cultures, and anyone other than libertarians (according to them.)

        There's no "right answer" to this question, DH, which is why it is supposed to be open to temperate and open discussion.  As is usual whenever we categorize anything, there are dangers to both overinclusiveness and underinclusiveness, some of the former of which al Fubar points out.  (N.b.: I wouldn't have much problem calling Sulla a fascist if the shoe seemed to fit -- the fasces were a Roman symbol, after all -- but I think that fascism implies something other than a tribally oriented authoritarianism alone.  Nor would I have had trouble calling Saddam a fascist if that shoe seemed to fit.  (I think he was a very bad authoritarian tribalist with some socialistic leanings, not nearly fascist by most definitions, but I'd be willing to argue it out on the merits.)

        What does not make sense is the pejorative assertion that those of us who are trying to have a political discussion are just barking and honking for our own gratification.  It's insulting dismissiveness that is both wrong and, in your case, unearned.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:54:52 PM PDT

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        •  Making Yourself a Victim... (0+ / 0-)

          ...of being a "wild eyed holligan" has nothing to do with the accuracy of the term. So don't try to be a martyr.

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:30:12 AM PDT

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          •  That doesn't even make sense (1+ / 0-)
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            Inky

            You are not discussing this issue with academic detachment and are instead questioning the motives of those who disagree with you.  I'm challenging you on it.  I'm not trying to claim martyrdom -- frankly, I don't even feel wounded by your insults here -- but am simply responding to your criticisms of a position.  You've largely ignored the substance of those responses.

            We disagree on the propriety of the deployment of the term "fascism" out of a limited context.  I could be wrong about that (though I don't think I am), if this is the kind of thing one can be "wrong" about, which I've argued it may not be.  But you've staked out a stronger claim than that, which is that I am people like me are simply using this term because it feels good, not because we think it is meaningful and justified.  I don't think you can defend that.  And, I note, you are not doing so here.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 11:53:50 AM PDT

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    •  I can accept that to be useful and meaningful (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, nancelot, Naniboujou, Neon Vincent

      the concept of fascism may have to be extended with some care in order to fit on the standard 2x2 ideological grid based on regulation of economic and social behavior.  But I do think that that grid is a pretty decent start to an analysis of ideology, and that it doesn't make sense to say that fascism somehow doesn't fit on the grid.  While there are dangers of overinclusiveness, there are also dangers of underinclusiveness.

      So far as I can tell the alternatives to deeming the constellation of ideological characteristics I've mentioned several times here now as "fascism" is to say that it's just "authoritarianism," which I find pallid and useless, or to assert that it's not ideological at all (so there's no problem to it being on the grid) and the people in charge are just self-serving non-ideological criminals.

      Taking those in order:

      What I've described as "fascism" is not just any authoritarianism; it's not "nanny state"ism, for example.  It imposes a particular view on a society that I believe (though a libertarian would not, and perhaps DH -- who is who knows what ideologically -- would not as well) is different from, say, Castro's Cuba.  I think that we need a term for ideological tendencies that would merge corporate power and a monopoly of force.

      Nor do I think it's non-ideological.  There is an ideology there: a conservative, authoritarian, paranoid, bellicose one.  These people may be as much looters and leeches as Tony Soprano, but they sell it to others (and probably justify it to themselves) using ideas that are quite well reflected in the political culture of Nazi Germany -- from anti-egalitarianism to corrupt art to ginning up threats from within and without and beyond.  This ideology may not have its Karl Marx or Adam Smith -- though I'd say Adolf Hitler enunciated one example of it pretty damn well -- but it's still an ideology.

      Anyway, I appreciate the constructive and polite argument on your part.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:37:25 PM PDT

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