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Fascism Revisited

After hearing recent remarks by President George W. Bush about "Islamic fascists," I was reminded of a few posts that I've already written on the subject. Just by way of update, check out:

"Freedom and 'Islamo-Fascism'"

"Fascism: Clarifying a Political Concept"

"Higgs and 'Participatory Fascism'"

"'Capitalism': The Known Reality"

Comments welcome.


Some good articles Chris!

Good bunch of posts Chris, you are of course entirely correct that the ideology of the so-called "Islamo-fascists" doesn't particularly closely resemble the ideology of histociral fascism. Indeed the term fascism is itself often used rather broadly as a shorthand for any kind of vaguely "rightist" authoritarian government.

On a seperate point though, I don't think i agree woth you and Gus' argument (in Fascism: Clarifying a Political Concept) that it would be a good idea to let Arab nations elect theocracies - the danger is that such nations may not remain democratic.

Very good point, Matthew. I think I understand what Gus was trying to say a bit differently. Here's his comment:

the best way to eliminate theocratic fantasies from the Arab world is to allow them to have theocracies in power if that is what a majority wants or is willing to accept—and best, by election. That legitimates the idea that the people should decide, and while they will initially decide poorly, the misrule thugs like that will institute will in time wither the ferocity of their theology and their commitment to mindless interpretations of scripture.

I think he's basically saying that theology, like socialism, will eventually go "crack-up" and people who want this, ought to experience the full consequences of their choices. It might be the kind of stiff "medicine" that sobers up the populace in a relatively short period of time.

Of course, you're right that such a political victory for theocracy would become the death knell of freedom in those countries that adopt it, democratically or not. But in the context of Iran, with a population that is skewed demographically ever-younger, the choke-hold of the mullahs is not something that will last forever, other things being equal. (Of course, other things are not equal, and there are many factors that might, indeed, embolden the mullahs. Such is the nature of the unintended consequences of, say, US foreign policy, in a global setting, but that's another story.)

Hey Chris, I don't know if you've seen this article but it's an interesting read and has some parallels with your take on things:

The Trouble with Bush's "Islamofascism"

Elaine, thanks for the link to that piece.

In truth, the Bush administration has lots of troubles right now, and the linguistic ones are the least of them.

I spent a long time debating the war in Iraq with a lot of people and everything I talked about has been in the news: the problem of building a liberal democracy without the cultural prerequisites, the emergence of sectarian warfare, the lack of any 'operational' relationship between the Hussein regime and Al Qaeda, and so on and so on.

I despise the Democrats; I despise the Republicans. I don't think there is any real hope for any fundamental change in the direction of US foreign policy, certainly not in my lifetime.

The only thing Bush has helped to revive in me is the cathartic capacity to pray. I pray that the missteps of this administration don't lead to more bloodshed on American streets.