Why Fascism is Wrong for the Fascists

Fascism is not wrong simply because it carried out the Shoah.  Every other political ideology has empowered their adherents to perpetrate mass crimes against humanity.  The communists persecuted and often killed kulaks and ethnic minorities by the hundreds of thousands.  The western liberal tradition may have been the most effective killer of all, murdering and exploiting millions in its quest for empire. A few specific examples include the U.S. mistreatment of the Native American population, the Belgians’ cruel decimation of the Congo, and the British annihilation of the Benin Kingdom. This extremely abbreviated list shows that the western world managed to spread its transgressions over a long period of time, which suggests that liberal democrats (ideology, not the party) had a tenacious capacity for believing the self-delusion that they were really helping spread civilization.  However liberating liberal democracy may have been for Europeans, it was the opposite for the subjects of the empires. In terms of the amount of carnage, the destruction of cultures, and mass murder, none of us has clean hands.

There is a difference though.  Central to liberal and Marxist ideologies is the theme of liberation, which can ultimately be used to demand change.   Liberalism entails the emancipation of the free will of the individual.  In a liberal society, citizens are not only free to be themselves, they have a duty to be themselves. Socialism, in theory, presents a dialectic of rising freedom resulting in a truly free utopia.  Since Marx argues this historical process is inevitable, modern socialist movements, like their democratic liberal competitors, mandate human liberty. Even when they act like a fascist state, as the Leninist and Maoist models have done (fascism and communism share an unfortunate dependence on the idea of a utopia), the rhetoric of freedom is still there waiting patiently. Increased contact between the west and the rest eventually exposes the hypocrisy of empire, and provides a powerful weapon against colonialism—its own cultural norms. 

The fascists have no such liberating idea in their world view. Thus, anyone who fell under the sovereignty of a fascist government could expect no support and no ideological justification for their liberation.  For fascists, the center of all public endeavor is the state, and individualism and class conflict are ruthlessly persecuted.  The state, under the guidance of a leader would ensure order in a totalitarian utopia of voluntary submission.  The fact that racial, religious, and ideological homogeneity is not possible only spurs more herculean efforts.

So, it is not simply that fascism killed Jews. Fascism requires the sacrifice of the ‘other,’ whether it be Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, communists, social democrats, priests, the eugenically unfit, or simply the asocial.  In other words, virtually everyone in a fascist society has the potential to be the ‘other.’  To paraphrase the German theologian Martin Niemöller,

First, they came for the Jews, but I did nothing because I am not a Jew.  Then they came for the socialists, but I did nothing because I am not a socialist. Then they came for the Catholics and I did nothing because I am not a Catholic.  Finally they came for me, but by then there was no one left to help me.

In other words, everyone is a victim, always on the brink of heresy, and no one is truly free to be themself.

Those Americans who are gravitating towards fascism have either told themselves they are not drifting towards fascism or they believe White Supremacy, evangelical Christianity, or whatever will actually liberate them.  The current system, in their view, is derisive and dismissive of their culture. Urbanites support globalism at the expense of their well-being. Under fascism their lives would not be their own, they would have no freedom to be themselves, and their pursuits would be directed by the state.  Regulations intended to promote safety may be irritating, but they are not the same thing as a government that seeks, but never attains, complete collaboration from each individual and uses every social mechanism to convert us all.

If your goal is freedom of any sort, fascism has nothing to offer.

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