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Friday, June 26, 2015

No more silly denials please!

Dan Hannan on the Socialism-Fascism Sisterhood




- by their own admission

- by placing the collective far above the individual

- even by iconography

...

Only by wearing blinders can this be denied.

24 comments:

Clovis e Adri said...

Ah, proof by iconography?

I'd suggest passing eyes on the examples set up here.

You don't need to do the exercise, for I'll advance the answer: by iconography, Americans would pretty much qualify as socialists too.

That's what I love about proof by iconography...

Harry Eagar said...

He wrongfooted from the start by quoting Goebbels's diary. Goebbels was, in fact, left and represented a left tendency in Nazism, which was suppressed by the dominant right tendency. Nazism was not a coherent system but it was never socialist, at least not after Hitler remade it starting in 1926 (when he also ditched its Catholic roots).

He also misrepresented fascism, which was originally (Action Francaise) Catholic and monarchical (even if its founder was atheist), and almost all fascist regimes (even in Asia) were Christian or Catholic and monarchical.

They were not uniform, any more than it could be said that all the democrats in England today are monarchists even if most are. but they were not socialist. (It is amusing to me as a newspaperman to know -- which I bet none of the socialists-and-commie-are-the-same people know -- that the Hungarian fascists attempted to recruit a very capitalist aristocratic newspapermantotbe their king.)

erp said...

Harry, This is silliness notched up quite a few notches. BTW - who are socialists-and-commie-are-the-same people?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis when you are reduced to misrepresenting an argument by picking nits, you've lost. Hannan's argument is not "proof by iconography" and neither was the original post.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, as usual, you completely fail to present a coherent argument, and engage in a great deal of sloppy thinking.

For a start, how about defining the terms "Left" and "Right" in with enough specificity and clarity so that they can meaningfully categorize political philsophy and implementation.

He didn't misrepresent fascism, you failed to listen. The origins of fascism are irrelevant. One could as easily say that communism's origins are in Christianity, which would be both true and useless.

You have never described a single significant difference between communism and fascism as practiced, and completely ignore the tumbrel load of similarities, although they are so obvious that they don't need listing here. Among them is this: Nazism was not a coherent system. Neither was communism. For just one example: the labor theory of value.


[Clovis:] You don't need to do the exercise, for I'll advance the answer: by iconography, Americans would pretty much qualify as socialists too.

I think you miss a couple of very significant, but perhaps not particularly obvious, differences.

First, in the US, that iconography was confined almost exclusively to WWII. In fascist/communist countries, it was endemic. This is also relevant to Harry's previous insistence, baseless though it turned out to be, that socialist innovation was essential to the development of mass production. It wasn't, but it is instructive that Harry's examples all demonstrated that socialism is good at only one thing: war.

Second, in fascist/communist countries, much of that iconography was dedicated to leader worship and cults of personality, whether in Germany, Italy, Russia or China. In contrast, none of the US examples shown, or any I know of, glorified, say, Roosevelt or Churchill.

So perhaps your example doesn't undermine proof by iconography as much as you think.

It is probably also worth noting the sycophantic leader worship and cult of personality that attended Obama's rise to the presidency: that is a sure sign of the collectivism that makes fascism and communism different words for the same thing.

Which is points at why Right and Left are such completely meaningless terms. The Iranian regime is Right, but Chavismo is Left. If there is a meaningful distinction between the two, I'd love to hear it.

Peter said...

It is quite true that both communism and fascism opposed free market capitalism and stood for the corporate state, but I'm not sure how far that takes us. So did the Catholic Church and most of the European traditional monarchist aristocracy. Classic 19th century liberalism was always a minority taste in Europe and remains so to this day. It thrives in the Anglosphere. Plus this was an era when both democracy and capitalism were widely seen to be failures, even in North America. Not even left wing Dems today would dare indulge in the rhetoric of FDR's inaugural address. There were quite a few captains of industry in the States who were calling publically for "planning" and musing about the fecklessness and corruptions of democratic mandates.

Once you move beyond the bounds of economic theory (something Great Guys seem to get very nervous doing), this thesis gets harder to understand. While admittedly there was a lot of interchange between the two among the working classes before the Nazis came to power, they were largely supported by different constituencies. By and large the "right" (middle classes, small businesses, lawyers, academics, especially Darwinists) formed the basis of fascist support while the churches (more Protestant than Catholic, Harry) military, big business and the old titled and landed aristocracies bit their tongues and went with them as a bulwark against communism, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. That's the reason the right was so discredited after the war and social democratic thinking had the playing field to itself for several decades. To put it bluntly, the right soiled its copybook. Churchill's glory wasn't just his military defiance, it was standing firm for democracy and choosing nation over class when so few others did.

To say they were both anti-capitalist and anti-democratic is perfectly correct. To conclude that therefore they were just two sides of the same coin is more problematic. It's a bit like when modern angry atheists try to lump Islamicist extremists and liberal Episcopalians from Poughkeepsie together as "the religious" and argue they share responsibility for the myriad horrors faith has wrought through the ages.

Harry Eagar said...

Peter, you said it better than I can.

I asked Skipper who were the members of the fascist collective. He never replied.

People tend to fixate on nazism as the definition of fascism. Each fascist movement had its national peculiarities; for example, the NSDP (later NSDAP) really did start out as Catholic, nationalist and socialist, quite close to the original (Action Francaise) except for not being monarchist.

In 1926, Hitler embraced the Lutherans (to get Prussia) and later became as antagonistic to Christianity as he dared. By 1928, he was expelling the socialists (Strassers) or convincing them to embrace the party without socialism (Goebbels) or, by 1933, shooting them (Rohm). Once Hitler took power, nothing he did was specifically socialist. Even the Four-year Plans were not socialist in themselves, and, besides, they were not implemented.

It really is true that the Hungarian fascists were so desperate for a king that they tried to recruit Rothermere; and that after the war Rothermere's son remained hugely popular among the Hungarian fascists.

Hannan reminds me of mellifluous quacks like Larouche. It sounds so well-put-together, it seems to command facts that most people are not aware of; but when you stop and analyze it phrase by phrase it turns out to be mostly nonsense.

erp said...

It sounds so well-put-together, it seems to command facts that most people are not aware of; but when you stop and analyze it phrase by phrase it turns out to be mostly nonsense.

Good description of every mellifluous left wing quack including the one currently in the White House.

Harry, I offer myself as a candidate for an historical prodigy.

Peter said...

Hardly nonsense, Harry. The argument that revolutionary corporate states come in different destructive versions is sound. It's the implication they appeal to the same constituencies that is questionable.

Harry Eagar said...

Well, if they are different then they are not the same. The ideology of tsarism was corporate, and it was destructive, but if you want to argue tsarism = fascism = bolshevism then words have no meaning.

And Hannan was certainly spouting nonsense when he quoted Hitler calling himself a socialist. He also called himself a peacenik. If you want an example of how capitalist the nazi regime was you need look no further than the sales of Volkswagens.

Peter said...

This issue comes right behind whether God exists as guaranteed to generate fierce inconclusive debate. Hannan is most certainly not spouting nonsense (are you suggesting the Nazi party name was a feint orchestrated by capitalists?), but it is possible to make the contrary case as well. Nazism was in many ways sui generis. What is troubling about these debates is they are used by all sides for exculpatory purposes, as if pegging fascism as left or right freed the interlocutors from considering whether there were any historical lessons for them.

Harry Eagar said...

I am suggesting what every honest student of history knows -- that a socialist party evolved into a non-socialist -- in fact, violently antisocialst -- party without changing its name.

And I am nt exculpating anyone.

Let's ask a different question: why did the meme 'fascism = socialism' arise recently? It was not a meme back in the days when fascists and socialists were at each others' throats.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I asked Skipper who were the members of the fascist collective. He never replied.

When? Where?

Pro-tip: make links your friend.

erp said...

...why did the meme 'fascism = socialism' arise recently?
Perhaps because we currently have a fascist government right here in River City.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
I think you miss a couple of very significant [...] differences.
First, in the US, that iconography was confined almost exclusively to WWII.
---
Well, considering the short life Nazism had, you could easily say their imagery "was confined almost exclusively to WWII" too.

---
Second, in fascist/communist countries, much of that iconography was dedicated to leader worship and cults of personality
---
True. Yet how relevant that is for a collectivism X individualism comparison? If Americans were being fed collectivist iconography, they were still being nudged to things opposite of individualism, weren't they?

---
So perhaps your example doesn't undermine proof by iconography as much as you think.
---
Perhaps not. After all, as you say, it is not like you are officially using it after WWII in any way whatsoever...


---
The Iranian regime is Right, but Chavismo is Left. If there is a meaningful distinction between the two, I'd love to hear it.
---
You do know that, but I'll remind you anyway: one is socially progressive, the other socially conservative. Those things are in the mix too when people use the words they do.

erp said...

Clovis I think it would be easier to count the number of angels that can fit on the head of pin than understand your statement above.

Changing the words from left/right to progressive/conservative isn't correct either which is why I like Classic Liberal as a label for my political persuasion and why lefties like to label despicable despots as rightwing.

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erp said...

Is anyone else being plagued by the Duplicate Comment Devil?

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Clovis I think it would be easier to count the number of angels that can fit on the head of pin than understand your statement above.
---
The key word is "socially", Erp.

In Venezuela you'll hardly get stoned to death for doing anything not well regarded under Catholic teaching, see?

erp said...

Venezuela isn't run by the Catholic church, so how does that statement apply?

Harry Eagar said...

Why go as far afield as Venezuela? Erp says the United States is fascist.

Howard said...

It is quite true that both communism and fascism opposed free market capitalism and stood for the corporate state, but I'm not sure how far that takes us. So did the Catholic Church and most of the European traditional monarchist aristocracy. Classic 19th century liberalism was always a minority taste in Europe and remains so to this day. It thrives in the Anglosphere.

Some of us would like to maintain that taste.

To put it bluntly, the right soiled its copybook. Churchill's glory wasn't just his military defiance, it was standing firm for democracy and choosing nation over class when so few others did.

Well, the left didn't exactly cover itself in glory. Furthermore, this history is barely acknowledged in many circles to this day.


What is troubling about these debates is they are used by all sides for exculpatory purposes, as if pegging fascism as left or right freed the interlocutors from considering whether there were any historical lessons for them.

Indeed, there are great lessons about the advisability of limiting concentrations of power, especially political power. A lesson which our New Dealer friend displays obliviousness or willful ignorance towards. (I've asked him explicitly before and he was honest enough to admit that he saw no reason to place limits on government.) The existence and influence of said ideas is still not recognized. Hence my aversion to radicalisms.

erp said...

The left are master semanticists and have turned many words and concepts on their heads, e.g., discriminating went from a compliment to an epithet.

Harry Eagar said...

Howard, possibly you should study up on the unlimited English constitution. Pray, if you are subject to that, you do not get called before the bar of the House.

It ain't easy to limit the power of government, and libertarian nostrums do nothing along that line, they just allow fewer people to rampage more freely, as we have always seen.

Democracy is the check, imperfect but better than nothing.

I see erp continues her naked racism. I associate discrimination with real estate covenants excluding Jews. Thing is, I disapprove of that, she does not.