A spectre is haunting America— the spectre of fascism.
From what one can gather from watching the nightly news, overhearing the chatter in the halls of our universities or by reading article after article on webzines catering to both the Left and the so-called “Right”, it seems as if the spectre of fascism is slowing creeping up again in every institution, business and place of learning. All the while the eidolon of Hitler glares down with otherworldly chagrin at anyone who advocates for equality, progress and human rights™.
If one did not know any better, one could assume that there was a Nazi around every street corner, hiding in every shadow and lurking underneath every bed waiting to drag away any apostle of the social justice creed down into the craggy depths where all ideologies that wind up in the “dustbin of history” go to after their inevitable defeat.
The reality, however, to any sane person is much different.
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States sent a shockwave throughout the Liberal archipelago of the densely populated and, often coastal, urban metropolises that made up much of the country that went for Hilary Clinton in the 2016 election.
It was inconceivable to the minds of the denizens of the archipelago that a brash, unapologetic, pussy-grabbing playboy billionaire who epitomized the unabashed capitalist ethos of the 1980’s and, the opulence that went with it, could have not only won the office of the presidency, but did so in an electoral landslide.
Even during the early months of the campaign, Donald Trump’s success in the primaries was the stuff that made anyone left of the political center break out in cold sweats. It wasn’t until August 25th of that election year that the creeping paranoia of the American Left manifested itself into conspiracism. Then candidate for president Hilary Clinton gave a speech in Reno, Nevada denouncing the “emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’”
To many people who were active within Rightist circles, this apparent name-drop on the part of a candidate for president was nothing short of jaw-dropping.
The Alternative Right, much to the contrary of its detractors, did not emerge out of the wake of the 2016 election. Rather, it had been growing steadily as a distinctive movement since the early 2000’s and only became recognizable by name from roughly 2012 onward; although many of the ideas adopted and promulgated by the Alternative Right have their roots in the Paleoconservatism of figures like Pat Buchanan whom preceded it. Regardless, the cat (or Nazi) was out of the box and could not be put back in.
Americans, by which I mean White Americans, are very proud of their involvement in the war that brought down Hitler’s Germany. The victories over National Socialist Germany and Imperial Japan have been so deeply ingrained into the American imagination through both pop-culture and cinema as a titanomachy between the forces of Good and Evil that any affiliation with the Third Reich or it’s symbols has been met with utter disgust and condemnation towards those who use them.
To everyone else living in the United States, by which I mean everyone who does not make up the historical American nation, fascism was seen at first as a weird curiosity and then, through the ascendency of cultural Marxism, seen as a dark totemic fetish to be feared; epitomizing the mechanical ruthlessness of which the White man can exert his will over other people’s and legitimatizing the calls for his extermination.
In the leftist imagination, any policy concerning the restricting of immigration or any other policy that happens to be to the right of normie-safe conservatism for that matter immediately invokes images of black-clad columns marching in unison as jack boots hit the cobblestone in Riefenstahlian synchronicity.
The situation seems to be that any serious talk about the dangers imposed by multiculturalism, unrestricted immigration, the Islamization of Europe— all grave concerns in their own right— cannot happen because such talk inevitably leads to the gates of Auschwitz.
Hitler and the National Socialist movement, and to a lesser degree the rest of the fascist movements of the interwar period, no longer represent a point in history which arose as a response to various tendencies throughout Europe; of which the rapid growth of Leftist groups willing to use violence was a prime motivating factor. It would be easy to dismiss figures like Mussolini, Franco, Salazar and Metaxas as Caesar figures belonging to a long line of European strongmen. The person of Hitler, however, is another matter entirely.
Adolf Hitler belongs to a special category of would-be World-Emperors and by any historical margin should be seen as a kind of successor to Napoleon. Instead, Hitler’s name incites in rational adults the same irrational fear that the boogeyman instills in children. Over the passage of many years, his name has been invoked primarily either as a warning of the alleged dangers of ‘race-based totalitarianism’ and as a kind of curse wished upon those looking to undermine the views of their opponents. So prevalent is it to accuse anyone or anything or being “literally Hitler” that the adages reductio ad Hitlerum and Godwin’s Law have been coined precisely because to deal with this phenomenon.
It is interesting, however, to think about why fascism as a whole and National Socialism in particular carry the kind of unique hauntological importance that they do among people today.
One can rightfully point out that Communism, from the years 1917 to 1991, had the highest kill count of any ideology in terms of sheer bodies sent to the gulag or firing squad with one estimator suggesting between 80 to 100 million killed during the last century¹, far dwarfing the Nazi’s own alleged 11 million killed. This suggested estimate is again dwarfed by another supposed genocide alleging that the British Empire had killed as many as 29 million Indians in what is now being called the “Victorian Holocaust.”
The truth is that fascist regimes, while authoritarian, are not necessarily as blood thirsty as their communist counterparts. This is born out by the fact that even with the defeat of the Axis powers, fascism itself survived as a form of government for many decades after the end of the war.
Falangist Spain survived well into the 1970’s and while it was by all means repressive, it was not particularly bloody. The same can also be said of the Estado Novo regime in Portugal under Antonio Salazar. Likewise, in Argentina under Juan Peron, whom while associated with the closing down of many newspapers, mass expulsions of university professors who opposed him and credited with the quashing of left-wing guerillas, political dissidents and socialists, Peronism cannot be seen as analogous to the kind of industrialized bloodshed seen during the Second World War.
The same can be said with other Latin American “pseudo-fascists” such as Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay and Alberto Fujimori of Peru amongst others. Interestingly, one can also draw parallels between fascism and Indonesia under the rule of Suharto.
So why is it 70 years after the end of the Second World War that the spectre of Hitler and fascism still invoke the kind of dread that borders on the superstitious seriousness assigned by primitive cultures to curses and hoodoo?
If the talking heads in the legacy media or the histrionic modern-day jesters who fill the late night time slots in the ‘infotainment’ industry were to be believed, America is currently ruled over by a horrible racist, bigoted, sexist, fascist and must— for the sake of democracy— be deposed as soon as possible.
Donald Trump, they claim, is a fascist. As are his supporters as well as the entire Republican party. In fact, depending on who you ask, all White men are fascists; if not openly then secretly. Taken even further we conclude that paternalism (i.e. Patriarchy) is fascistic, as is the family. Gender norms are products of proto-fascism which are oppressive to non-binary people. Western standards of civility are also fascist because they impose Eurocentric standards of common decency on poor oppressed people of color.
The pattern seems to be that anything is either fascist or proto-fascist if it traces its origin back to White people or to Western civilization in general. Whether or not one actually identifies as a fascist or not seems to be irrelevant. One can be a fascist without even knowing one is.
All this begs the question: what is fascism?
The Oxford dictionary defines fascism as: “An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.”
This definition, while simple, is also troubling. As mentioned before this could apply to all the “pseudo-fascist” military dictatorships in Latin America and possibly the warlordoms all so prevalent throughout the African continent. For the purposes of this article, we shall define fascism as such:
Fascism is a nationalistic form of government which seeks a national rebirth (palingenesis) through either the resurrection of an idealized past or a projected future. Fascist governments need not be authoritarian, but when they usually are are led by a paternalistic figure who acts a “father of the nation.”
This definition will helpfully be more useful to help prevent the misunderstandings that comes from lumping together any and everything “Right-wing” as being de facto fascist.
Even still, the fact that fascism can be called an expression of “Right-wing” authoritarianism has not stopped hopelessly naïve Breitbart reading econo-patriots from Boomersplaining to the rest of us about how groups like AntiFa, whose very name is an abbreviation of “Anti fascist action”, are in fact the “real” fascists despite that group openly embodying the most violent tendencies of anarcho-communism. Fascism, so it seems, is nothing more than a buzzword; epitomizing everything negative to provoke a quick knee jerk response out of the accused forcing him to defend himself from accusations of being associated with anything remotely Hitlerian.
The problem is that the word fascism is essentially meaningless. It’s nothing more than an epithet like every other -ist, -ism, -phobe and -iot detached from all historical context and reference points used to shut out dissenting opinions through psychological fear and intimidation. Even self avowed fascists are nothing like their 1930’s predecessors and neo-fascism itself is just another hauntological anomaly in which present day actors participate in a simulacrum, aping the forms and styles of regimes that no longer exist.
America as well as Europe need to finally put the ghost of fascism to rest. Irreparable damage has already been dealt to both societies as the collective form of inherited guilt hanging over the heads of people who aren’t old enough to remember or had anything to do with the Second World War has allowed the rulers of their societies to be convinced into throwing open the borders of the nations of the West allowing for the settlement of people’s with such distinct cultures and incompatible views and lifestyles that any hope of assimilating them into Western society is immediately made impossible.
Nothing good can come of allowing ourselves to be coerced into civilizational suicide through the continued policies of the past half century. We must not allow ourselves to be taken for suckers every time we stand up for our own self interests. Our countries are our own and to simply give up the only spaces allotted to us on this planet out of some perverse sense of altruism is madness.
There are no ghosts in the cupboard room, haunting us for some past atrocity committed against some guiltless unfortunate. The proof is as easy as turning on the lights. We have to start learning not to compromise with groups who use our empathy against us. Because, as I’m sure you already know, they certainly won’t afford us the same kindness.
- Malia, Martin. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes Terrors, Repressions. Harvard University Press. pg., ix-xx.