Friday, January 18, 2008

Fascism and Fetishes

I decided, I'm not going to read Liberal Fascism. Would its author read a book called Jews Are Mud People to see if its thesis were unexpectedly insightful? But, at the risk of being tendentious I'll respond to the surely essential quotes I've picked up on the internets.

Jonah Goldberg wants to make fascism a school of thought, a philosophy, to which he does not subscribe and so he can see its operation in the policies of others, the hated Libruls. In fact, of course, fascism is not a school of thought at all. On the contrary: it is the anti-intellectual reflex ("Wenn ich 'Kultur' höre, nehme ich meine Pistole."). Fascism is more properly understood as a neurosis, something that springs from the reptilian regions of the brain that connect to fucking, feeding, fighting and fleeing, structures that infuse the mind with infatuations, fetishes, phobias, and addictions. It's an atavism, a throwback to Royalist reflex, which in itself is just a sort of dressed up pecking order, a codification of respective mate-value within the primate pod. We do fascists an undeserved favor when we treat fascism as a philosophy; simply and properly understood it's really a paramilitary fan club.

But not to Jonah:

Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body
politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is
totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action
by the state is justified to achieve that common good. It takes responsibility
for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to
impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation
and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be
aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the "problem" and
therefore defined as the enemy.

But fascism is emphatically not a religion of the state. The visceral reflexes it exploits, even requires, do not attach themselves to abstractions like "the state" or "the will of the people" or "the common good," even if lip service must sometimes be paid by the Leader to these notions in order to gull his enthusiasts and lull the opposition. Fascism is a cult certainly, like most it coalesceses around a personality. As in any cult, when the personality at its vanishing point dies, the fascist system falters. Sometimes a new figurehead is erected and rallied round, but the succession rarely matches the fervor of the founding father's cult. This is partly why the Soviet system fragmented slowly after Stalin, why post-Mao, China is evolving toward modernism, and why Cuba is likely to begin liberalizing as soon as Castro is finally known to be dead. Partial recognition of this is precisely what causes "conservatives" such anxiety about the succesion to the Unitary Executive, such a yearning for a square-jawed, broad-shouldered, macho-man to come in and save us with a few of his tersely barked, yet instinctively correct orders.

Besides a leader Fascism, like any cult, needs dogma, ritual, logos, icons, costume, choreography, litany (this is where its paramilitarism serves so nicely) and above all it needs enemies --the anti-personality. It won't really do to hate the sin, for these people. There must be an actual sinner, and actual punishment thereof. Punishment is the libido of the movement. Like a retrovirus the dolchstosslegende has seroconverted all the redemptive, romantic, and transcendent narratives in its heart to rationale for the cruelty it uses on it chosen enemies. Libruls, in the case of Jonah.

What a weird hall of mirrors we enter in the "thought" of Jonah Goldberg, Jew and fascist. What a strangely, desperately self-blind, projective formula lies at its heart, a fervent reconstitution of racial identity/victimhood : "The white male is the Jew of liberal fascism." Translation: "Mommy, I get to be an Aryan this time!"


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