Friday, July 22, 2016

How do you know if you're seeing fascism?

I gave up years ago on trying to characterize what counts as a "fascist" movement. Mussolini clearly qualifies because he called his party Fascist and that's pretty much where the label came from. They used From the Roman symbol of authority, the fasces (plural of the Latin fascis) in the picture, as their symbol. The Dollfuss-Schuschnigg "corporate state" regime I count in because it was pretty much modeled on Mussolini's. There's even a serious scholarly debate about whether Hitler's regime should be classified as fascist or whether it was a distinct form of dictatorship. My working definition is like Justice Potter Stewart's famous definition of pornography: I don't know how to define it, but I know when I see it. At least I think I do. Because I'm pretty sure I caught some glimpses of it on TV Thursday evening.

BTW, I've creating my own variant on Godwin's Law: whoever first brings up Peronism in an online discussion of fascism loses. Peronism is complicated. The current Pope back in the 1970s was affiliated with a Peronist group called the Sons of Iron (Hijos de Hierro) that had a paramilitary wing and was considered more-or-less neofascist. Go figure. Although I guess I just violated my own Godwin's Law variant already. Also, Peronism and Martin Heidegger? Don't go there.

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