Some people have noticed that the current global totalitarian system is more like fascism than communism, specifically in terms of its relationship between the state and the corporations. (In the sense that communism has every-thing nationalized, and included in the state system, while in fascism the state and corporations are aligned by a single, compulsorily-enforced ideology, but not ownership...)
On this basis, it is being said that we live in a fascist system; here-and-now, in 2021...
Well, I am tempted to say "I wish!" - because what we actually have is far, far more evil than any of the fascisms.
A form of economic ownership and state-corporate relationships was hardly the defining feature of real-life fascism, as it briefly existed in mid-twentieth century Italy and Germany!
Fascism was characterized ideologically by being a secular, explicitly-leftist movement that was also strongly anti-communist (which meant, mostly, anti-nationalization). But hardly anybody notice that aspect of fascism (except for the owners of corporations, hence their support for fascism when it was the most viable alternative to communism)
Positively fascism was a dictatorship motivated by militaristic nationalistic pride.
The country was to be run on military lines, and the country was to be celebrated and glorified. That was was people saw, and liked, about fascism - and where it scored so heavily over communism.
The motivations of fascism were comprehensible, human, and non-paradoxical - whereas communism was - like mainstream modern leftism - negatively, oppositionally, motivated. The communist atrocities and purges were all 'against' something (the bourgeois, the Kulaks, the Jews, reactionary saboteurs...); whereas fascism was motivated by nation-building.
Of course, communists have since tried to reframe fascism as mainly 'about' racism. That clearly was not the case - but it is a telling projection; because if the communists had been running fascism, then it certainly would have been about racism!
In other words, to the communist-leftist mind, the only way to motivate people is in opposition; thus they cannot even imagine the kind of positive national pride that was crucial to the (brief) success of fascism. Communistic leftists can only suppose that nationalism was a mask for oppositional racism directed against some particular groups or groups.
Nationalism, including fascism, offered a kind of halfway house - a positive (but temporary) alternative to religion; briefly uniting the country around its positive celebration.
Nationalism/ Fascism still used habits of thinking and motivations derived from the Christian era - but as a secular society, it had no way of renewing these resources - so all nationalisms, everywhere, weakened and declined - and it has not proved possible to revive an effective nationalism anywhere in the world for several decades.
By this analysis, in 2021 we have something new and unprecedented.
What we have is nothing like fascism - except in the double-negative way that it has enlisted the mega-private corporations by Not nationalizing them; and by (for mow...) coopting their interests in the totalitarian world government (public-private partnership).
What we have is much more like communism than fascism - especially The Establishment's uncritical/ warm feelings towards the communist dictatorships of past and present. But this 21st century leftism is post-communist; and has shed the economic focus of Marxism.
(No more nationalization of banks, media and corporations! Come and sit at the high table! So the billionaires are kept wealthy, and 'happy'...).
Gone, too, now - are any positive notions of building a utopia; indeed, any attempt to represent a positive vision of the future sound like one of the fictional nightmare dystopias. We now have the implementation of post-1960s New Left oppositional-identity politics, which grew in the USA and is anti-nationalist, anti-military, anti-white, anti-men, anti-working class (aka. 'white nationalists') etc.
Consequently, They keep the masses focused on rotating negative, oppositional scares and crusades; without mentioning where all this is supposed to be going...
Anyway; the main point here is that what we have now is not fascism, neither is it communism - but is something new and different.
We have a regime built almost entirely on negative and oppositional motivations. We have a populace who do not require heavy-handed violent and physical coercion; because they are so profoundly demotivated, passive and short-termist; that they will believe and go-along-with almost anything that is suggested by their state-media-corporate rulers.
We have a world government of state-media-corporate rulers, we have a world ruled in conformity and global masses who are acquiescent to this totalitarianism ... yet there is no clear, simple, comprehensible positive ideology in which they are ruling.
We are not going-towards any-particular-thing - or maybe, we are pretending to go-towards dozens of particular but incompatible things, each pretense being maintained for a few hours, days or weeks... Then swapped-out for something else equally temporary and insincere.
The obvious but ignored fact is that we now (obvious since early 2020) have a world government for the first time, with an international scope for action...
But that government is not aiming to build anything in particular; instead it is being used* to destroy itself - partly by setting each against all; and partly by Just Plain Destruction... Stopping great swathes of the economy, stopping human interaction, stopping... almost everything.
Just Plain Destruction.
Not-doing, Stopping, Preventing... these are the huge facts of these times; and these times are fundamentally un-like any time or place before, ever.
*'Used' by whom? By the evil supernatural forces of evil - Satan, and the demons of destruction.
There's no ideology behind any of any of this, just asset stripping of entire nations and peoples. And not just material assets, but also their cultural and spiritual heritage. Why? I suppose so that these nations and people can never assert themselves again.
I understand your reasoning about fascism, but fail to understand it with respect to nationalism.
Fascism imlies nationalism, but nationalism (as I presently understand it as a non-native speaker) is not necessarily fascist. Do you agree? If so, why do you argue that nationalism necessarily implies a secular society?
I understand nationalism to mean:
loyalty and devotion to a nation.
Nations are defined by common ancestors, common culture and language. So loyalty to a nation is loyalty is like layalty to an (extended) family
@jas - The question you need to ask is why the rulers of the world would asset strip themselves; why they would actively destroy the system that gives them power, wealth and gratification? Why destroy science and technology, why destroy the police and military? In the past, people would want to hand something on to their children and grandchildren - but even allowing for the sterility of the current rulers, it is quite likely that things will not even last their own life expectancy. This is not how the ruling class of the past behaved - ever. The current (human) ruling class are dupes of demons or actually-possessed, acting against their own medium-/ long-term interests (unless some have been promised some kind of necromantic eternal life).
@Karl - Read more carefully. I am saying that nationalism (here and now) is too *weak* to serve as the basis for positively motivating a nation. This is obvious. In the past (in the immediately post-Christian era) nationalism was like a wildfire - needing but a spark to ignite it, and with tremendous spontaneous power once lit. But as the effects of a religious upbringing faded, that strength did not last, and has now gone.
Bruce, this is REALLY good. I would like to see zman’s take on this as he has written quite a bit about fascism.
@Bruce’s response to Jas. Many in our ruling class have no children (or few children). There’s no one to hand things down to.
@Karl, I don’t know if this helps but I think of 19th century nationalism as attempting to unite somewhat related but distinct peoples (e.g. “Germans”) and contemporary nationalism as going in the opposite direction i.e. opposing globalization (one people, worldwide). But I’m not sure this is how Bruce C. is using it here.
The best way of understanding fascism is as a nationalistic variant of socialism.
Broadly speaking socialism had two main streams, the internationalist and the nationalist. One of best authorities on this subject is James A Gregor, who passed away in 2019. His book: Marxism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism: Chapters in the Intellectual History of Radicalism shows how Fascism developed as an outgrowth of socialism. When Hitler described the Nazi party as National Socialists, he was stating exactly what his party stood for. In fact, the country that is most resembles the Nazi party now is China. It is both Nationalistic and Socialistic.
I agree with Bruce in that what we have now here in the West is not Fascism. It's more like a soft oligarchic totalitarianism with a leftist flavour.
I am not a particularly religious individual, but after living through the events of the past few years I can only conclude that there is a much larger evil force driving the situation.
Is this force knowable to most of humanity? So far the answer is a resounding, "No!"
That answer needs to change if we are to have any hope of leaving, then reversing this destructive path we are on.
"The current (human) ruling class are dupes of demons or actually-possessed, acting against their own medium-/ long-term interests (unless some have been promised some kind of necromantic eternal life)."
I have seen many references over the past few years where the current ruling class are looking to live forever by such things as 'uploading their brains onto computers', I'm not quite sure how that is supposed to work but I think they all believe the TV series 'Six Million Dollar Man' is not only possible but entirely reasonable. Eternal life is possible by a merging of machine and human. You may have seen references to transhumanism and the WEF web site is full of references to the possibilty of achieving eternal life. This is one such about how to abolish old age - https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/09/could-we-one-day-cure-old-age-these-scientists-think-so (You will note the suggestion that there will be a much reduced population but with a healthier and better life)
Necromantic eternal life? Selling their souls and their bodies to the devil is what they are doing; transhumanism is part of their Great Reset as explained here -
@SP "fascism is as a nationalistic variant of socialism"
Yes, but I think one needs to stress its anti-communist aspect, which was very important at the time (when, post 1917, there was a great and realistic fear of communist revolutions elsewhere); plus the overt 'military dictatorship' aspect of 'getting things done' (as contrasted with the increasingly-regarded, again reasonably, ineffectuality of discredited democracies (recession, inflation, mass unemployment etc).
So, in the context of the 1920s and 30s, when democracy looked to be incompetent, and communism was a terrifying threat, fascism briefly seemed (to a pretty wide range of people) the best option.
In terms of providing cohesion, as religion declined/ was destroyed, and the economic collapse prevented the population simply being bought-off (and when Western populations remained vigorous and courageous!) - there was a felt need to provide some positive and hopeful ideology.
This was possible, again briefly - until residual Christianity had more-completely gone, by encouraging some combination of positive spontaneous patriotism and negative resentment against an historical national enemy/ threat.
(Most nations had at least one of these traditional rival/ enemies/ baddies - although not really England; which is why nationalism [and fascism] never got anywhere here; although it did in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, where the Nationalist enemy was/is England.)
Leftist have positive politics they think that withiut borders people will use their abilites in the place where it most needed and take resources from the place where its located
@JD - I agree. I think there are at least two levels - transhumanism is a (vague) promise directed at the 'second tier' rulers; and then there does seem to be some genuine black magic stuff going on at the highest level, and related to paedophilia (which is not only absent and abhorrent but *incomprehensible* among normal people - but which gets more common and valued, the higher towards the pyramid apex one approaches) - and I would expect that here, some kind of eternal ghost-like spiritual existence is being promised, and perhaps delivered.
Great insights. John Gray the English philosopher had a piece a year ago or so making a similar point. He pointed out that "the woke" have no vision for the future and merely opposse and are ultimately destructive. Gray has done short work of the folly of the elites in much of his work.
@RJC - I know of Gray's work; but really he is a bit of a waste of time - and tends to induce despair! One of those who does good negative analysis but then stops short of the obvious conclusion that without God, i.e. when God is deliberately excluded from his consciousness, Man goes literally insane.
WM Briggs just released a good post about the rise of secular neo-pagan cults as replacements for Christianity.
@awg. I am usually a fan of WmBriggs but that seems pretty silly to me! Of course environmentalists aren't pagans, they don't really believe in gods. They are just a subtype of leftist, with the usual incoherent, ignorant and brainless oppositional motivations. When people are ruled by sins of fear and resentment, and despair; they grasp at psychological palliatives including symbolic propitiations. But these are always inadequate because they are this-wordly materialists.
Leftist have the ideology and vision of utopia. Utopia is world withour borders where every person can use their abilities and knowledges where it most needed/or where they wants to and take resources they needs from place where they located.
"The question you need to ask is why the rulers of the world would asset strip themselves; why they would actively destroy the system that gives them power, wealth and gratification?"
Perhaps the desired Great Reset requires a state of brokenness to be enacted? The powers that be would want a state of affairs where things are so messed up that people willingly give up the last vestiges of freedom and where all societal institutions have crumbled to the point where it becomes easy to bring in a great broomstick and instate new structures.
"Most nations had at least one of these traditional rival/ enemies/ baddies - although not really England;"
The Normans, obviously.
Great essay. Reminds me of the book "The Three Faces of Fascism" (English title) by Ernst Nolte. And like his magnum opus, I'm sure leftist academics would slam you as being an apologist for fascism.
However, I believe you are correct.
I've been subtly irritated over the past year at those who whine endlessly about the fascism we are under. What we are under is far more disgusting in how deeply it tries to claw its way into your soul, into your life, into your relationships.
Into your thoughts. If you do not believe the fake reality they have created, you are subversive. It's not enough to comply, you need to believe.
At least in fascist Germany or Italy you could go to a cafe and kvetch with friends about the price of bread or the losses in the war. Well, I guess the German gov't might not like you being too defeatist, but still... this is spiritual warfare of a far more totalitarian sort than even the commies could have imagined.
And the undermining of cultural life far wors.e
@AR - It doesn't sound much like a *utopia* - just a libertarian rationalist *policy*.
@Ranger - If only...
@Jake - What people nowadays seem to miss is that This (here, now) is exactly what successful totalitarianism looks like. One where purges and camps are not needed - and their potentially resistance -generating aspects can be avoided, because propaganda is almost completely effective.
wrt the apologist business - of course, leftist academics really are apologists for communism. But we need to be able to recognize that communism was worse than fascism; since fasicsm worked for the large majority for several years, evoked strong motivation and (in Germany) tremendous loyalty and courage. Whereas - after 25 years of communism - the Soviet troops needed to herded into battle like cattle, with the officers walking behind them, pistols trained on their own troops to shoot deserters.
Yes, but I think one needs to stress its anti-communist aspect
Respectfully, I think that stressing the anti-communist aspect obscures rather than clarifies the issue because in many aspects the fascists were just as communistic as the communists. Take a look at modern China. The recent resurgence of nationalism and a limited free market have not undermined the underlying communist state, in fact, modern China bears a very strong resemblance to Mussolini's Italy. In his early youth, Mussolini was seen as one of the rising stars of communism.
I think the best way to think about the relationship between Communism and Fascism is that they are sectarian divisions of an underlying materialistic socialism, in the same way that Protestantism and Catholicism are different sectarianisms of Christianity.
It's true that there ARE differences between the two, and in the early 20th C, when masculinity was not seen as toxic, the "aesthetics" of fascism would prove to be very appealing. I agree, that with the decline of masculinity in the West, patriotism is far less a unifying factor than what it used to be in the past. I also think that fascism appealed to a certain type of "spiritually hollow" traditionalist Christianity which was prominent in European societies in the early 20th C. Groups like Action Francaise are typical of this latter group.
@SP - "in many aspects the fascists were just as communistic as the communists"
To us - yes. But not at the time, which is what matters! Your comparison
"the best way to think about the relationship between Communism and Fascism is that they are sectarian divisions of an underlying materialistic socialism, in the same way that Protestantism and Catholicism are different sectarianisms of Christianity."
...supports my contention. The fact that we now regard Protestantism and Catholicism as merely different types of Christian misses entirely how they seemed to people at the time of the reformation; when the differences were literally life and death.
An abstract conceptual outsider analysis, while correct in its terms (and, of course, the National German Socialist Workers Party was indeed what it called itself: a socialist workers party!) misses the main point.
Would feudalism be a proper description? This demon-inspired elite, working their way through bankers, corporations, elected officials down to bureaucrats, professionals and then everyone else. Top-down. As Miklos Lukacs said it: "Private persons purchasing political power" (https://patrickcoffin.libsyn.com/203-the-final-goal-of-progressivesdr-miklos-lukacs). In the 20th century systems described above politicians ran corporations (in)directly yet nowadays it is rather the other way around. The largest corporations have gotten much bigger and multi-national/global powerful. Notice these corporations barely if at all suffer from the draconian pandemic measures; on the contrary, they thrive (e.g. Amazon, big data, big tech, big pharma, bankers)! And next to come, already in the process, is a huge transfer of wealth (e.g. property takeover) from family and small businesses to those who already have too much. Even gold from central banks after re-evaluation may be sold to those who have too much just to pay of the countries' debts. Clearly along the way a lot is permanently damaged so it will not be re-built/re-started at all thereby causing a total disbalance between supply and demand, poverty, starvation, devastation and crime by the peasants in despair. To stay alive many will sell their soul to be allowed to eat the crumbs that fall off the table of the-powers-that-be.
@Pangloss - Feudalism? There seem to be so many deep differences that what we have is more like the opposite of feudalism.
I think people should stop seeking historical parallels for the current situation; or at least do so only in a light and suggestive fashion. Clearly the situation now has evolved from leftism, but is new and substantially unprecedented (as is the public (non-) reaction) most likely because of the generations-deep atheistic materialism of public discourse (which deeply has permeated Christianity as well). Since sustained atheism produces a cumulative mental pathology - what is happening now has much to do with that.
A very timely article Bruce. This is indeed "new and unprecedented". But there are parallels with a previous age. Steiner often spoke of the dangerous cultural resonances between our own time and that of Ancient Egypt - the "onefold" society of the priest-king.
Terry Boardman has a good article in the latest issue of the New View magazine - "21st Century Neo-Fascism: the Coming Era?". Well worth the digital download fee in my opinion.
"Unless we awaken to what is happening today, the form of society approaching in our time will not be a twofold society [politics vs business] let alone a threefold one, but a onefold society in which a pseudo-religious ideology – that of Baconian natural science – will, through the instrument of the State subjected to it, utterly dominate our world through the tyranny of medical, ‘environmental’ and technocratic experts; our new priesthood upon whom we will have allowed all aspects of our culture and society to become dependent."
@Moons - Yes, I have already read Terry B's article, and this response was partly triggered by it because I think he is basically mistaken (although, as always with TB, there is much that is insightful and valid in his article).
There are always parallels and similarities between things; but they may nonetheless be fundamentally opposed in terms of where they are aiming.
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