Friday, 17 May 2013

Fascism, Communism, and the Great Dictator

Fascism is dead.

We no longer consider Fascism to be a legitimate ideology. Fascist is a term only ever used to insult and to condemn. The very idea that we once held Fascism up as a force of good, opposing the evils of Communism, is absurd. We don't believe it.

After the release of the Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin was investigated by the FBI for the crime of anti-Facism. He called Hitler a machine man, with a machine heart, and because of this was seen as an enemy of America. It's a funny story, an anecdote we can tell about the Red Scare and the looming threat of the USSR. It's not relevant today.

But it is. Fascism may not be a word we use anymore, but all its values are still here. Fascism is the belief that me, my group, my people, my nation, is superior to all others. Fascists see the world as hostile and they feel that they must fight to protect themselves.

Fascists are unloved, Fascists are alone. Communists want to share the world between all men, regardless of national borders, but Fascists cannot share. Fascists create the Other. They distinguish between their group and that group, and seek to overcome their new enemy. But when that enemy falls, who is next? A smaller group of must overcome the larger, the Party ruling the Nation, and then the Dictator ruling the Party, until the Fascist is victorious over all his perceived enemies and completely alone.

Fascism is not dead. Fascism is every urge we have to create the Other, to compete and conquer, to seek out advantage for ourselves, for our families, for our communities or for our nations at the expense of everyone else. When we think in terms of us and them, we are giving into Fascism. When we act on this thought, Fascism has a hold on us. And if we continue to consider the world in terms of us and ours against not us and not ours, we will end up alone.

1 comment:

  1. All of the European collectivist ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries possess the same fatal flaws you attribute only to Fascism. Fascism and National Socialism demonize targets to gin up popular support from among foreigners, the Jews and others (e.g., homosexuals, the disabled) who are of low utility to the collective (or the political elite that rules the collective).

    But the collectivist cousins of those ideologies, socialism, communism, "progressivism" in the United States, only differ in the targets they offer to the collectives they rule over. In the case of the ideologies of the "left wing" of collectivism the targets are chosen on the basis of class, financial success, religious faith or failure to accept and follow the politically correct line. The great lie of the "left wing" of collectivism is that all political ideologies can be described on a one dimensional axis when it takes at least two dimensions. For example, the ideology of the American Revolution, with its acknowledgment of unalienable God-given individual rights requiring constitutional limitations on the size and scope of government, a Constitution "progressive" collectivists have derided as a "charter of negative liberties" in need of "fundamental transformation" by the addition of "positive rights" like those proposed in FDR's "Second Bill of Rights" and alluded to in Chaplin's speech, that ideology is nowhere to be found on the left/right axis of European collectivism.

    Ironically, Charlie Chaplin subscribed to an ideology that is hinted at in certain points of the speech, an ideology that has never succeeded to bring about its promised utopia, but has produced a dystopic reality of death and human misery.