Friday 17 August 2012

Is fascism nationalist?


Following my negative definition of fascism as a secular (not religious), anti-egalitarian (reacting against Leftism, to at least that extent) and non-monarchial form of government...

(Insofar as fascism is monarchial, religious and/ or egalitarian - it is to that extent not fascism. of course, pure forms or types of political system are seldom/ never seen in reality - or at least not for long...)

, and considering the discussion in the comments,

there arises the matter of whether fascism was nationalist?


The answer, I think, is that successful fascism was nationalist.

Because fascism is a secular form of government, unless there is a strong nationalist sentiment, fascism cannot achieve the cohesion necessary to defeat Leftism.

And this is why fascism was a temporary phase during the early/ mid twentieth century - because strong nationalism is merely temporary (immediately post-religious) phase, and rapidly dwindles in just a few decades.


(Modern nationalism is merely a sub-type of Leftism - the self-award of victim status to a whole nation.)


So, a non-nationalist fascism was possible, but it would probably be small and weak. The fascisms which were successful enough to get themselves a piece of power were nationalist. 



JP said...

"this is why fascism was a temporary phase during the early/ mid twentieth century - because strong nationalism is merely temporary (immediately post-religious) phase, and rapidly dwindles in just a few decades."

Fascism was a "temporary phase" because it was crushed by the armed forces of the Left not because it rapidly dwindled through some mysterious and inevitable process.

World War II was the Left's victorious crusade against the international status quo.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - well what about Spain and Portugal - and why did fascism not arise again elsewhere (the the way that communism did)?

It was crushed because it was weaker, it was weaker because strong nationalism is temporary - driven (merely) by the resentment of local elites and their desire to be big fish in a small pond.

Either the process continues, with continuing fragmentation of nations, or else it weakens before this happens.

Nationalism just is *not* a powerful motivator of human beings, not a powerful and sustained reason for cohesion - that it is, is just another Leftist myth.

Leftism is, of course, anti-cohesion - a parasitic process of a nation feeding-upon-itself; the 'cohesion' of a band of pirates.

Leftist anti-cohesion (i.e. highly pure evil) has beaten cohesion whether religious or nationalist; it has triumphed due to the evil choices of innumerable people.

For a Christian this is not a surprise (since evil has the upper hand on earth) but is nonetheless a terrible, terrible thing.

dearieme said...

Was Salazar a fascist? Surely he ran a conservative, authoritarian Roman Catholic regime of the sort that that church would like to have seen more of.

WKPD: "Despite the repressive character of his rule and controversial colonial policy, Salazar remains thoroughly popular among the Portuguese. On 26 March 2007 he was elected "Greatest Portuguese" in the public poll Os Grandes Portugueses."

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - I don't really know anything about Salazar, or indeed Portugal (but I am pretty well informed about Spain) - except that 'everybody' used to say he was a fascist before he was deposed.

Of course, most Leftists use 'fascist' to refer to any government to their right of which they disapprove, while mainstream secualr conservatives also use the to refer to theocracies.

I suppose the point of these posts about fascism is to suggest that there *could* be a reasonably specific use of the term, to refer to a particular type of right wing government of the twentieth century (not earlier) - my suggestion excludes all more ancient forms of government on the one hand, excludes theocracy as well, and differentiates fascism from communism on the other hand.

dearieme said...

For what it's worth, my own conclusion is that the only unmistakably fascist regime (at least in Western Europe) was Il Duce's.

You could argue that

Hitler = fascism + anti-semitism

Franco = Fascists + Royalists + authoritarian Roman Catholic reactionaries

Salazar = authoritarian Roman Catholic conservatives

Of that lot I know least (by far) about Salazar.

What about Eastern Europe?

JP said...

Spain and Portugal hung on for a while but ultimately were unable to resist the power of the international Left. Not being world powers in any case, they were hardly able to lead the forces of Fascism to a resurgence.

Fascism did not arise elsewhere after WW2 because the United States and the Soviet Union did not permit it to do so - least of all in Europe, the birthplace of Fascism. Together, the Americans and the Soviets eliminated the old European political operating system, and reinstalled a new one in which only different shades of Leftism could flourish (Fascim, of course, being legally proscribed in most countries).

Strong nationalism - not necessarily in the "Fascist" form - persisted for a long time after World War II.

The reason nationalism is a powerful motivator is that it is the natural basis for the expression of ethnic groups - a force that even the Soviets were unable to suppress. Speaking of which, Leftist anti-cohesion in the Soviet Union did not beat religious or nationalist cohesion either in Eastern Europe or the USSR itself.

baduin said...

For a good introduction to nationalism, I suggest "Holy Madness" of Zamoyski.

For an example of a resurgence of Fascism, I suggest China.