Pajamas Media: Fascism is Seductive — to Liberals and Conservatives Alike

Sunday, March 02, 2008
Pajamas Media: Fascism is Seductive — to Liberals and Conservatives Alike

My newest contribution at Pajamas Media.

Update: My favorite comment so far:

I don't disagree with your assertion that a classic conservative wouldn't flirt with fascism, I'm merely stating that we don't have any classic conservatives, we have Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians --> all of whom exhibit fascist behavior on occasion. Conversely, the Green Party will occasionally not exhibit fascist behavior.


9 comments:

MeaninglessHotAir said...

I think Wolfgang Schivelbusch got there earlier and is the one who really deserves credit for this whole line of thought.

Skookumchuk said...

Schivelbusch has a few revelatory passages quoting some FDR staffer gushing over Mussolini's draining of the Pontine marshes. The admiration of the tyrannical is never far from the surface in the heart of the social engineer.

chuck said...

...and is the one who really deserves credit for this whole line of thought.

I think James Burnham, along with others, had thoughts along the same lines quite some time ago.

Burnham loathed the paternalistic, big government policies of Roosevelt, describing the New Deal as “Fascism without shirts.”

It's not as if these observations aren't obvious, it's mostly that they are inconvenient. Schivelbusch deserves credit for bringing serious scholarship to bear on the topic.

The admiration of the tyrannical is never far from the surface in the heart of the social engineer.

For some, it's not a question of jackboots, it's a question of what color.

The common strand in all of these movements is government power and centralized planning. I think the national mobilizations of WWI provided the template.

Seneca the Younger said...

I don't have the book right at hand, but I'm almost positive Jonah cites and quotes Schivelbusch.

Skookumchuk said...

I think the national mobilizations of WWI provided the template.

Yes. Like Wilson nationalizing the US railroads in WW1. It is like they were looking for a reason. Like the omnipresent CCTV cameras that suddenly appeared in London post-9/11. A handy rationale.

Skookumchuk said...

StY:

Yes, Goldberg does quote him.

Seneca the Younger said...

Skook, thanks. I thought so, if only because I couldn't think of any other reason I'd have seen that rather distinctive name.

Skookumchuk said...

Here it is, though not as I mentioned in connection with the Agro Pontino. Rexford Tugwell, a lefty within Roosevelt's inner circle:

...Mussolini certainly has the same people opposed to him as FDR has. But he has the press controlled so they cannot scream lies at him daily. And he has a compact and disciplined nation although it lacks resources. On the surface at least, he has made enormous progress.

It's the cleanest, neatest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I've ever seen. It makes me envious."


Schivelbusch, p. 32.

chuck said...

social machinery

Bingo. And that is the other overriding influence on the politics, philosophy, and psychology (think Freud) of the day: machinery. Mass production, railroads, electricity, oil, automobiles, and communications had all come together to produce the industrial state. I think the whole idea of the state as a giant industry was a natural, if misbegotten, thought that occurred to many at the time.