Blogs by David Arthur Walters
Fascism is not a rational ideology
4/21/2007 8:02:29 AM
Mussolini inspired neoconservative prophets of the death of liberalism.
Mussolini inspired the prophets of the death of liberalism. Fascism had no rational philosophy. It was in fact anti-intellectual, opposed to abstract rationale, to the reasoning liberalism inherited from the Enlightenment. Fascism was pragmatic, concerned only with "What works", action and the "facts." That is, with consequences. But if "what works" is right, then anything that happens to work at the time is right. For instance, any state or no state, or any politico-economical state imposed by force is right. Of course the "facts" are often contrived or manipulated; for instance, the facts used to support the outcome of Pinochet's economic program were carefully selected and then misinterpreted: subsequence economic analysis by impartial observers lead them to conclude that his program was a failure.
"Know then, once and for all," declared Mussolini, "that Fascism recognizes no idols, adores no fetiches; it has already passed over the more or less decayed body of the goddess of Liberty, and is quite prepared, if necessary, to do so once more."
Italian Facism was intent upon creating a state of economic necessity by fear and force, overlooking the "abstruse rationale of political liberalism." Now Mussolini said liberalism was just another passing phase, and stated "Communism and Fascism have nothing to do with Liberalism." In fact Fascism accepted not the political but the economic motivation of Liberalism, operating through privately owned (big) industry. In practice, however, the revaluation of the lire did force a collective control over wages, rents and prices. Nonetheless the profit motive of industry was carefully safeguarded, one major incentive being to attract foreign trade for investment. The economic motive is not the only aspect that differentiates Fascism from Communism. Another difference is that Communism had a coherent ideology - Lenin persisted and overcame obstacles, starting with a small cadre of about 100 hard core Bolsheviks, by insisting that theory must be practiced in a certain way and that everyone must know where they are on the path to the goal.
The repudiation of abstruse generalizations in favor of "What works", the pragmatic approach, was actually nurture in the United States, particulary by William James, whose pragmatism was "romantic" or "spiritual", and Dewey, whose pragmatism was "instrumental" or "scientific."
Mussolini attributed his intellectual shaping to William James, and placed him on a pedestal equal with Machiavelli, Nietszche, and Sorel - the syndicalist. Pragmatism in politics (which is currently said to be the operating force in the U.S., where party affiliation or ideology makes little actual difference in voting behavior) became popular in the U.S. after the failure of Wilson's plan for world peace - Wilson was the personification of the world's faith in good will and human reason. He wanted to make the world safe for democracy and establish a new world order after the war to end all wars.
With Harding the general policy was to do nothing on principle, to avoid entangling alliances, to ignore academic proposals, to manfully face actual realities, and not to intervene unless specific interests were threatened. The variations since then are intriguing.
Most recently, the policy of President Bush, Sr. and its resumption by President Bush, Jr. is sure to occupy historians for years to come. Junior appears to be one of the greatest political hypocrites ever to hold office - almost every ideological statement was reversed by actual deeds save in two areas, in domestic economics and militant foreign policy. He appears to be a pragmatist of the "fascist" or "right wing authoritarian" type, who gives lip-service to "democracy" with evident distaste as he does what is "good for the world" whether the world likes it or not. Despite his boring and "moronic" behavior, he has built up a cult of authoritarian personality around his hawkish "cowboy" stance, one that is attractive to many Americans. We have plenty of justification for doubting the sincerity of his apparent Wilsonian internationalism, whether he really intends to liberate the world, to bring it under the principles of Liberalism. If he is sincere, his approach is not very pragmatic in my opinion, and has reverted to abstract liberal ideology, for that can only be accomplished through a world federation holding a monopoly of force over all regions of the world, the establishment of a United States of the World. As H.G. Wells pointed out, the problem with the viability of a League of Nations is in the title: "nations." An assembly of nations with independent military forces is an assembly carrying the seeds of its eventual discord and ineffectiveness.
As for the United States of the World, that is way beyond the go it alone capabilities of the United States.
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Ms. Bloghog Strikes Again! - Friday, September 05, 2008
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Note on the Nature of Mysticism - Sunday, October 21, 2007
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Fascism is not a rational ideology - Saturday, April 21, 2007
Self-Certainty and Self-Doubt - Friday, April 13, 2007
Arguments - Thursday, February 08, 2007
Absolute Faith - Thursday, January 04, 2007
Faith In Nothing So To Speak - Tuesday, January 02, 2007
the little hitler in everybody - Wednesday, December 27, 2006
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