Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The Rhetoric of the Anti-Masonic Party Revisited

The word fascism is useless rhetorically, but I sometimes wish it were still possible to use it analytically because the politics it names is not some historical curiosity but a recurring tendency with great appeal to many people. This fact was conveniently forgotten in the aftermath of the wars of the first half of the last century and not just in liberated France. It's as if we thought that thing itself could not come back if we didn't utter its name. As a result of this linguistic prohibition, still in force, we have no usable name for a political syndrome characterized by:

Coercive patriotism
Populist rhetoric
Non-stop, ubiquitous propaganda
Programmatic official deception
Contempt for individual rights
Demonization of foreign and domestic enemies
Machismo – the Cult of Attitude
Glorification of ignorance as a cultural value
Obsession with violence as a solution to problems
Fascination with weapons
Fear of sexuality
Disgust with parliamentary politics, non-stop calls for national unity
An interlocking directorate of big business and government officials
Cronyism on a vast scale
A politicized justice system
Hostility to labor unions
Regressive taxation
An aggressive, unilateral foreign policy

So what should we call this system now that Hitler has given fascism a bad name? I am keen to hear.

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