I think a good way to start off a look at fascism is to look at the root: fasces.

Fasces are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center, which is an image that traditionally symbolizes summary power and jurisdiction, and/or "strength through unity".
In other words the root of fascism is government power. The power to make people behave the "right" way. In the modern sense it is the exaltation of government power. The idea that government force is the answer to most questions.

We have two sets of fascists in America. A division of labor from the Progressive (among the people who brought you alcohol prohibition) idea that one party should stand for both economic and personal morality (as they defined it). Today we have the economic fascist party and the moral fascist party. And both of those groups believe they are opposed to each other. Too funny.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 07.19.10 at 01:43 PM


Are you sure that the root isn't faeces?

Phelps   ·  July 19, 2010 2:25 PM

During the presidential campaign, I would think of that symbol every time "Il Dufe" talked about "unity."

Bilwick   ·  July 19, 2010 2:42 PM
Eric Scheie   ·  July 19, 2010 8:39 PM

I guess "statist party" is a more polite term. But isn't the essence of the state force? And don't the fasces represent the force of the state?

I like calling an axe an axe. A guitar can also be an axe. I'm not sure about a harmonica. But I digress.

The initial fascist idea was the economy will prosper, the trains will run on time, and people will stop using illegal drugs. Well OK the last was more a progressive idea. But the 1920 fascists were not above cribbing if they found a good idea. Any way all this goodness was going to be ENFORCED. STRICTLY. Some real D&S excitement that could get you killed.

As you might guess the fascists eventually ran out of excitement.

In any case it is not my fault that the Germans and Italians ruined a perfectly good term and now the PC thing to do is to substitute the wet dishrag and totally PC "statist". I like fascist. A guy wrote half a book about it:

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

What he left off was a critique of Conservative Fascism.

I do acknowledge that fascism may have more bite. But I also contend it is descriptive.

M. Simon   ·  July 19, 2010 9:41 PM

It's very easy to call the republicans the "moral fascist party" and to fall into that way of looking at politics. Makes ones lefty intellectual friends understand that one is not a neanderthal, at least. I fall into this trap myself, sometimes.

But in reality, the democrats are the "pure" fascist party. Where republicans have these one-off moral stands like abortion and prostitution and drugs, democrats seek to enforce an entire moral code - ALTRUISM - from top to bottom, since we humans (in their view) are depraved and selfish creatures posessed of no free will to act in the ways they define as moral.

Mark Lindholm   ·  July 20, 2010 9:12 AM

I've found that the best way to deal with intellectuals is to confront them on that point.

"Why do you feel the need to legislate morality? Why can I not live selfishly while you live altruistically? I would give you the option to live however you want, were I in power. And if we have no volition, and reason is worthless, as you say, what catalyst in that congolemeration of chemicals you call your mind has caused you to lust for such utter control over me? Because you certainly can't KNOW you're right with any certainty."

Mark Lindholm   ·  July 20, 2010 9:21 AM


The dangers IMO are equal. Although not equally immanent.

In one the criminals are the government. In the other criminals are the shadow government.

I think a narco state is just as unappealing as a socialist state.

M. Simon   ·  July 21, 2010 12:56 AM

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