Fascism’ is a bullshit term: Why Evola and Alain de Benoist are not ‘fascists’
Roger Griffin start the book with a general introduction which discusses the ‘fascist minimum’. He acknowledges that there is difficulty in defining exactly what fascism is – modern academia is a joke. Despite the fact that fascism originated in the early 1900s, that Fascist Italy had a coherent set of principles, a government, a figurehead, the fact that Fascist Italy lasted twenty-one years, they still cannot determine what fascism was/is. How convenient.
I wonder why academia has no consensus on fascism, could it be the fact that it is best to keep the definition loose, so they have a useful term for silencing dissident opinions? We have a vast array of terms being thrown around pejoratively that have no genuine definition. Some of them have a vague dictionary definition that the user may cite, but dictionary definitions are not authoritative – the word they appear to be defining could require a thousand pages or more for a proper extrapolation of that particular term.
Fascism as a dictionary definition is:
a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
If we remove the sentence “(such as that of the Fascisti)” we could be talking about the Soviet Union.
Roger Griffin attempts to create a ‘fascist minimum’ by beginning with a ‘mythic core’ (pg. 2-3).
“The mythic core that forms the basis of my ideal type of generic fascism is the vision of the (perceived) crisis of the nation as betokening the birth-pangs of a new order. It crystallizes in the image of the national community … purged and rejuvenated, rising phoenix-like from the ashes of a morally bankrupt state system and the decadent culture associated with it.” (pg. 3)
Straight away we have fascism associated with re-stabilisation, the idea of “decadence, sickness, decline, disintegration, collapse” (ibid.) are linked to the word ‘myth’.
“The generic mythic image, laden with potential mobilizing, and even mass-mobilising force, may, like any psychological matrix or archetype, … take on a wide variety of surface formulations according to the particular cultural and historical context in which it is expressed.” (ibid.)
Here we can see the idea of populism connected to fascism: the ‘myth’ of social instability discussed by a potential leader; the awareness amongst the general public of social instability and the causal-antagonisms being addressed by this politician thus making them popular amongst the wider public for being willing to discuss the causal-antagonisms the public is already aware of.
Academics and the media will paint causal-antagonisms as ‘myths’ despite the public being aware of what is going on in their community, if a politician or public figure then uses their platform to speak about these issues – even if they do not use controversial rhetoric, even if they address the issue in a calm and rational manner, even if they use statistics gathered by objective research organisations, they will be painted as a populist or fascist, or both. We have all seen this happen. I don’t want to constantly refer to Slavoj Zizek, but I feel that as he is a Left-wing Marxist he is an example par excellence of what happens when you go against the grain, even if you are doing so with good intentions and no malicious driving force behind your words: (see here).
In Slavoj Zizek’s books, The Courage of Hopelessness, Against the Double Blackmail and countless interviews and lectures (all available on YouTube), Zizek pointed out multiple things about immigration that the Left are either remaining silent on or outright denying:
‘The left’s refusal to confront cultural differences between refugees and Europeans, the philosopher feels, actually promotes intolerance: “The only one[s] talking about it openly are these anti-immigrant right-wingers, and we are leaving this field to them,” he explains.
Instead of “prohibiting any critique of Islam as a case of ‘Islamophobia’,” the European left should have the courage to openly discuss the differences between different sets of values, he says. “It is a simple fact that most of the refugees come from a culture that is incompatible with Western European notions of human rights,” writes Žižek. “The problem here is that the obviously tolerant solution (mutual respect of each other’s sensitivities) no less obviously doesn’t work.”’
Mixed in with his (not even) controversial comments about refugees, Zizek also voiced his opinion on transvestitism and political correctness. I repeat, none of what he said was fallacious, unreasonable, aggressive, nor has he voiced opposition to refugees, immigration or any of these things (except political correctness). However, we are no longer allowed to voice concerns no matter how valid what we are saying is. To top all this off, I have actually had people say to me that ‘Slavoj Zizek is a fascist’ for voicing these opinions. Yes, that is right. I have had ‘socialist’ student say to me that he is a fascist for raising these points.
Moving on from the ‘mythic core’, Roger Griffin continues to link his idea of ‘fascism’ to any idea of nationalism at all. Oh, how tiring this is.
He refers to the idea of a nation being an organism:
“The idea that a ‘nation’ is an entity which can ‘decay’ and be ‘regenerated’ … It connotes an organism with its own life-cycle, collective psyche, and communal destiny, embracing in principle the whole people … and in practice all those who ethnically or culturally are ‘naturally’ members of it, and are not contaminated by forces hostile to nationhood.”
“Extensive study of the primary sources of Fascism and of other fascisms convinced me that the core of its mentality was the ideé fixe of devoting, and, if necessary, sacrificing, individual existence to the struggle of the forces of degeneration which has seemingly bought the nation low …”
“[The] task was to prepare the ground for the new breed of man, the homo fascistus, who would [bring forth] a revitalized national community [ to purge it of] the selfish reflexes inculcated by a civilization sapped by egotism and materialism.” (pg. 3-4)
Thus, the idea of national rebirth and the desire to move man away from materialism and selfish goals are now connected to fascism. Following this he states that the “need for a ‘new man’ seemed to have been frequently notes without being recognised as a candidate for the ‘fascist minimum’.” This statement right here is actually false, Roger Griffin should be more than aware of this. Talk of Nietzsche being a precursor for fascism and an inspiration for fascist ideology has been ongoing since the interwar period, recall the term Übermensch? The Overman? The blonde hair, blue eye Aryan man discussion was not so much the consideration of the Aryan being the penultimate stage of man, but the furthest stage reached. Nietzsche’s Übermensch that the Nazis fallaciously interpreted (as Heidegger actually pointed out and was subsequently chastised for doing) is not the final stage of man but a cog, man is a constant and never-ending Becoming. The researchers Roger Griffin has drawn from may not have considered this to be a ‘fascist minimum’ but the idea of a ‘new man’ being a ‘fascist minimum’ has been considered ad-nauseum.
As we approach Roger Griffin’s list of ‘generic features of fascism’ he states his formula for ‘fascism’:
“Fascism is a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism” (pg. 4)
This formula is broad and irresponsible, it is not a definition, it is a weapon. It is created with the intention of being able to ensnare and terrify the general public. It in no way at all captures any element of actual fascism, it negates the entirety Italian – the actual fascist ideology that existed in the early 1900s. Let’s break down this formula so we can explain why Julius Evola was not a fascist, why Alain de Benoist is not a fascist, why you are not a fascist.
(Continued in part 4)