Just to clarify right away, that’s not a misspelling in the headline. It was intentional.
Lately I’ve come across new terms such as “fash,” “fashing,” and “fashism” among reactionaries and the Alt. Right on social media, as well as even some libertarians. This seems to have come from a podcast therightstuff.biz has called “Fash the Nation,” a playoff of “Face the Nation.”
According to their Lexicon, the definition of “fash” is as follows (emphasis added)
Short for Fascist. An epithet hurled by left-anarchists at rightist libertarians on the internet. It is our word now.
A brilliant strategy as it is, I think it also shows how desperate things have gotten in the political scene, how used and abused the word is to where people are using it in jest.Ten years ago, would anyone be trying to “own” the word fascist?
However, the last sentence sent a chill through my bones. It is our word now.
To me, this is another way of saying the Right finally decided to stop fleeing the Left’s assault on them by using this word as a weapon. They’ve seized it, and are now holding it in mockery of the Left.
My question, of course, is what will be done with it in the long run? The word may not mean in the future what it does now, and it may not even be defined by those defining it now. Whatever the eventual outcome, I wouldn’t be shocked if in a short time the term “fashism” goes from the fringe to the mainstream, a tactful and subversive way of saying “fascism is back in fashion.” Whether it’s done in a lighthearted manner doesn’t matter.
Left has succeeded in portraying communists as harmless hippies rather than mass murderers and tyrants. To call one of them a “commie” is seen as being over the top, yet how far has the Left pushed the Overton Window to the left by doing so? There is no reason to think the Right can’t do the same with “fashism” and portray it as a perceived alternative solution to the current government if nothing is done to stop the current stampede of cultural Marxist madness. One thing I’ve observed is that when the Overton Window shifts, it can act more like a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to another very quickly.
As I was about to schedule this post, I came across Christopher Cantwell’s latest article on why libertarians are hopeless. He isn’t dismissing the philosophy but acknowledging that due to fatal strategic decisions by the movement, it will not be able to fulfill its goal anytime soon. At the end he made the same observation I have about where the country’s direction is quickly going that I thought prudent to quote below.
The time for a dictator and monarch is upon us, and however much this may displease the libertarian matters not. His goals were sabotaged by his acceptance of the rodent, and the time of the wolf has arrived. I fear the best we can hope for is that our ruler be benevolent, and that under his reign a better humanity emerges. But with history as my guide, I won’t be holding my breath for such an outcome.
By the end of the decade we could even see someone run as an out-and-out fascist in a political election, just as right now we have an open socialist in the Democrat race (though they might not call themselves one; still, a rose is a rose…..).
Fascism, of course, comes from the Italian word fasces, which refers to an unbreakable bundle of sticks tied around an axe, a weapon used during the Roman era.
Fascism is a more or less a right-wing totalitarian state that uses coercion and aggression to promote what are generally considered to be right-wing views. Although Hitler is considered to have been a fascist, he was actually a national socialist (Nazi stood for German Workers Socialist Party). Mussolini, Franco, and Pinochet were fascists.
The rise “fashism,” which I think could come the same way it did in Spain, will really be another way of saying “We’ve concluded there is literally no other more practical solution to our present situation, so we’re going to have to go with the least worst one, roll up our sleeves, and get our hands dirty if we’re going to turn things around in time.”
This is not good, just not the way you think. While “fashists” themselves would be concerned about their own fate in the long run and what will occur once their preferred wise overlords get into power and begin to wield it, it is their enemies who should stop to think about whether they want to continue antagonizing these people.
Inasmuch as their foe would like to think fashism is their preferred political ideology, it’s not. I see it as nothing except an act of desperation.
So far, I don’t see any self-awareness about this from the Left, which doesn’t shock me.
For all the talk about political autism, an inability to perceive social context when using logic and reason, there is lot of this when it comes to Left criticism of right-wing behavior. For instance, some of you might say, “Nobody who believes in freedom should support fashism or whatever you want to call it! Everyone knows fashism or fascism is evil!”
To which I would reply, “Yes, yes, yes, I know, but what does that have to do with anything?” Sure, there might be some who have always been fashists, but how did the rest get to this point?
For people who choose fashism, it’s a question of selecting the least worst choice they see in front of them. This doesn’t speak to their emotional reasoning, irrationality, or blindness as it does to the circumstances we find ourselves in. If a man is trying to protect his home and family from a mob outside coming to murder his sons and rape his daughters and wife, he’s going to shoot at the crowds whether or not not there are innocent people amid the barbarians. Someone can insist there are innocent people in the mob and that the only acceptable way for him to defend his home is to engage in an wholly unrealistic process of proving the people he’s killing have criminal intent, but as he sees it, these kind of demands of his behavior (while ignoring the behavior or desire of the mob outside his home) is really just a deceitful way of saying “I don’t care if your daughters are raped or your son is decapitated or what happens to you. I’m more interested in making sure you don’t kill those innocent people mingling with a mob, and if I were more honest I’d include the would-be rapists and murderers as well on my list of people to look out for.”
For the man, it is simply the lesser of two evils in a situation where a morally upright solution isn’t available. Unless someone is able to find a third way, one in which his loved ones are spared and no innocent people are shot, then he’s not going to be talked out of it.
That summarizes the rationale neatly, but let’s explore how the country itself will get there.
The Death of Liberty, the Rebirth of “Fashism”
There are really two ways that fashism could gain popularity.
The first is by creating a conflict, a crisis. Which we have.
In spite of his beltwayite perspective on a myraid of issues, Jeffrey Tucker actually wrote a very profound piece a while back differentiating communists from fascists and I think it’s some of his best writing. Whereas the former is an avowed enemy of the church, the family, and business, fascism cuts deals with all three to get into power. They claim to preserve private property and private business. On the surface, they seem to defend religious freedom (The Nationalists in Spain during the Civil War sought to defend the Catholic Church, which the communist Republicans openly hated). Once fascists get into power, however, all bets are off on these deals.
But what makes the deal irresistible is the Left. Its continuous war against these institutions, while hijacking any peaceful means of resistance for those who wish to preserve it, drives them into the hands of fashists. The choice is either make a pact with the devil or suffer his wrath. Again, not a good choice, but it all comes down to “What’s the alternative?”
And that’s where the second part comes in, the perceived lack of a superior practical solution.
Consider a German citizen in 1935. The Nazis are now in power. They’re openly rejecting provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, unlike the Weimar Republic. By then plenty of them knew what the Nazi ideology was, that it had unpleasant aspects to it. But what was the alternative? Go back to submitting to a humiliating treaty? I’m sure some wondered if they could have a republic and reject the treaty at the same time, but it wasn’t considered a viable option.
As I’ve said before, what many consider to be libertarian autism is just someone willfully ignoring social, cultural, and religious contexts that get in the way of how they want things arranged. Certain state violence is ignored – indeed, they pretend the question is never asked – while they obsess over other instances of state violence. Progressive libertarians are the most guilty of this, because unlike the Right, they refuse to openly say what their intentions are. The Right’s objective is fairly evident; to get the state to stop from destroying Western culture.
If a person were to ask left libertarians, “How can we use libertarianism to protect and preserve Western culture and values?” they would most likely dodge the question entirely. It doesn’t even register for them.
To answer the question, they would be forced to address state violence that has harmed Western culture and is undermining it. Consequently, it is also the same state violence they would rather not see go away anytime soon, as it’s bringing about results they wish to see occur peacefully but know would take much longer without state coercion and aggression to speed things up.
The Betrayal of the Libertarian Left
The problem with this is that progressive/left libertarians have done everything they can to infer, if not state outright, that for those on the Right there is no libertarian solution to their legitimate grievances. In fact, to be a libertarian is to reject these beliefs and allow them to die.
I would almost argue that there is a unorganized but nevertheless evident effort by the Left in the liberty movement to convince those on the Right, which pose the greatest threat to the state, to reject state violence that benefits them while the Left simultaneously seeks to indirectly preserve state violence that benefits their interests by either distracting or reframing the discussing, chiefly through ignoring the context of a situation where NAP is being applied to their disadvantage but acknowledging context where the NAP benefits them.
This is what we call political cuckoldry.
Obviously, this is absurd, but when the same message gets pounded away again and again, sooner or later even the most ardent freedom lover will call them out on it. “Fine, if you’re going to use the state as a means to an end, so will I, and I’m not going to stop until you back down. When you stop, I’ll stop.”
Now we look at the idea of stupidity, the tendency toward self-destruction. The thing is, blowback is a concept most have a hard time understanding. While the Right struggles to grasp it on a foreign level, though many of them do and quite well, the Left is utterly incapable of comprehending domestic blowback in any way whatsoever. You can see this is how they react toward Trump supporters. They’re amazed that these people exist, that they hate. No doubt some of them are unsavory people, but once more what does that have to do with anything? The Left has no intent of listening to them or asking any sensible question, like “Why are they this way?”
Why should those whom they hate care what they think of them? It smacks of open double standards, of a shameless elitism.
Recall what CJay Engel at Reformed Libertarian wrote in his piece about the open letters to Ron Paul.
This, is the Progressive Libertarian war on the Old Guard. We must be honest with ourselves. We must see this trend as reflective of the world in general. The new libertarian tendency sits in the context of society at large: those with traditional views on things, who are wary of the Progressivist takeover of culture, are not to be accepted in polite society. They are outcasts, not only in the libertarian world, but in the world at large. Your religion, your views on morality, your standards of virtue have no place in Progressive Utopia. Flee or die.
Combine that with another left libertarian calling white men a “deservedly dying demographic.
I can tell you right now that this was the final straw for a lot of right libertarians or those friendly to the liberty movement – even if they didn’t realize it at the time.
It was a moment of clarity when they decided that abolishing the state wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, that the liberty movement didn’t have the strength to get it done because even those leading it lacked the willingness to fight against the quislings within their ranks, and any attempt to fight the state would just remove state violence against the Left, while maintaining it against the Right. So rather than seek to abolish the state, they formed their own movement that seeks to use state violence in their favor and against their enemies.
From their perspective, it’s perfectly logical. If there is no practical way to reduce or abolish the state, then might as well take control of it.
And yet I pose again to those who might protest their decision the same question. What does that have to do with anything?
What’s stupid about the Left is that they are doing everything to create the necessary context for this new fashism to blossom and grow. And the more they corner those on the Right, the more they attack their institutions, the more they attempt to block any peaceful means of achieving their ends, the more they insist on confrontations, the more they force them into flight or fight mode, the more of them will pick up the fasces until you don’t have a few disgruntled fringe elements but an entire society carrying them.
And then it is too late to apologize.
For all their talk about right-wing hate, the Left is to hopelessly blinded by hatred of the Right that they can’t even stomach the notion of allowing them a peaceful alternative, even if it results in a fashist movement that spells their ultimate doom.
What about yours truly, you might wonder, a libertarian through and through? What say I about the future?
I think of the words spoken by Benjamin the donkey in the Orwell novel Animal Farm: Donkeys live a long time. None of you have ever seen a dead donkey.