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View Diary: We Should Not Redefine "Fascism" - Fascism Super Meta Diary (64 comments)

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  •  that's perhaps (2+ / 0-)
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    bernardpliers, Onomastic

    a bit of an exaggeration.  It is certainly present in many, but I think you lose too much if you define too narrow . . .

    Robert Paxton defines fascism as:

    “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”
    Paxton wrote his definition clearly intending to describe the Nazi movement in Germany in the 30’s (which is, after all, his scholarly area of expertise).  He avoided "racism" in his definition, although I suppose one might claim it's implied by the "purity" attrubute.  I wouldn't agree.  I have no idea whether (or not) he simultaneously realized how perfectly he described other, more contemporary, fascist states.

    My own understanding of it is a bit broader, although I don't disagree that most, if not all, of the characteristics Paxton enumerates are commonly present.  What I've suggested is

    “There is nothing new about Fascism (it barely differs from Feudalism) . . . the rich have always felt "entitled" to rule, and have expressed that entitlement with a lesser or greater (usually greater) degree of authoritarianism.  And there is nothing new about racism . . . probably since the dawn of time some tribes have felt themselves superior to, and more "entitled" than, well, everyone else.  And there was nothing new about Nazism . . . it is simply another unhappy convergence of those two "entitlements" that had happened before and, unfortunately, has happened since as well.”
    To that I would add exaggerated nationalism (which might converge with your "xenophobia" concept) and militarism . . . the "warrior ethic" and "loyalty and service to country" are common if not universal themes in fascist states, and probably should be included as defining characteristics of fascist states, if not fascism (the ideology) itself.


    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:26:51 PM PDT

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    •  Paxton Seems Very Readable (1+ / 0-)
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      I have not gotten to him yet.

      But yeah, the rural parties that the Nazis absorbed in the 1920s were notoriously racist. And Mein Kampf is loaded with nasty racism, and that was 1927.  

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 08:42:29 PM PDT

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      •  Not all xenophobes are fascists. (1+ / 0-)
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        I was talking about historical fascism.
        But all xenophobes bear watching.

        •  But You Can Bet They Know A Few (2+ / 0-)
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          AoT, devis1

          As the Orcinus blog often pointed out, Jonah Goldberg had to tie himself in knots to avoid mentioning real Fascists in the United States, from the German American Bund in the 1930s to the present.

          It would be possible to debate whether the KKK is actually "Fascist," but they do march with NeoNazis. So, maybe not "Fascist" per se, there's a big overlap in their beliefs and even group affiliation.

          Whenever some goober on the WaPo comments section would say "Nazis were  liberals" I would say "Well there are plenty of real Nazis around, and I'd be happy to drive you around to find some so you can explain to them that they are "liberals," just as long as I can record the video of when they curbstomp you."

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:05:18 AM PDT

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