- Name: Pete M.
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Prepare to be horrified...
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Vox Day Ponders Fascism
Well, as the lovely S.Z. mentioned in yesterday's comment section, our old friend Vox Day has a new column out that references us. While we were having fun with women's suffrage a couple of weeks back, somebody evidently called Vox a fascist. To be honest with you, I don't remember anybody calling him that (I know that nobody called him that here in the Dark Window comments section - I just checked) but maybe somebody at another blog felt it appropriate.
Anyway, I apologize for devoting such a lengthy entry to something other than mockery and sarcasm but since Vox appears to be singling us out in his article, some sort of response is probably in order.
His new column implies that it's actually modern-day liberals who are the fascists and to prove his point, he gives us his own translation of Mussolini's Fascist Manifesto. I encourage you to go read the article itself as it's a little long to quote here at length.
I found the first plank in the above platform to be particularly amusing, as last week on my blog, Vox Popoli, a five-day debate sparked by a post on the historical consequences of women's suffrage caused some hysterical leftists to label me a fascist.
Frankly, I don't like it when any side throws around highly-charged names like Nazi or Fascist or Communist to describe a political foe. And unfortunately, this seems to be happening with alarming regularity these days. These terms come flying from both Left and Right and although the people throwing them will generally say they're simply pointing out similarities between a particular person and a particular historical policy of one of the above-mentioned groups, their actual intention is obviously not to engage in a close historical reading of political theory. Rather, it's to generate the extremely visceral reactions associated with things like the Final Solution or Gulags or Death Camps or Totalitarianism. I think it's wrong when either side engages in this activity and, frankly, I think it generally masks an inability to debate the merits of particular issues or policies. It's far easier to call somebody a Nazi or a Commie than it is to participate in a reasoned debate.
But back to Vox. His main argument seems to be that since Mussolini used what amounts to a propoganda piece to advocate things like women's suffrage, a minimum wage, and systemization of national transportation, that liberals are far more fascist than conservatives or libertarians.
The mistake Vox makes is to draw the simplistic conclusion that if Mussolini wrote something in his manifesto, it's what fascism came to be and what we mean when we use the term today. Quite the contrary, the manifesto was written to wrest control of the government by gaining wide popular acceptance through political compromise. The words of the manifesto bear very little resemblance to what is meant by modern political theorists when they describe the doctrines of fascism. Once Mussolini gained power, he governed in a very different manner than that espoused in his manifesto. Industries were not nationalized but run under a structure of corporatism strongly influenced by the Church. Even more importantly, the driving factor of actual fascism was not to create an egalitarian society but to centralize power in the hands of a small and strongly nationalistic ruling body.
And yet, the only serious question is if it is more ironic to tar a libertarian or a member of the Religious Right with the fascist brush, as one seldom hears James Dobson calling for the government seizure of all church-owned property.
That's your only serious question, Vox? Considering the very strong ties between the Catholic Church and Mussolini's fascist party during the early years of power and the Church's strong influence over him and his policies during his entire reign, your example seems to break down. Because if there's one thing Dobson is calling for, it's more religious influence on our national leaders.
In 1925, Mussolini encapsulated the heart of fascist philosophy in a memorable phrase:
Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato. This means "Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." Now, I ask you, in the Year of Our Lord 2004, does that sound more like a Libertarian, a Republican or a Democrat?
If you read that in light of Mussolini's actions, you know that his definition of "the State" is far different than what Vox is implying. Replace "State" with "Strong Nationalistic Leader" and ask that last question again.
Come on, Vox. This was a pretty goofball column even by World Net Daily standards.
Update: Vox has posted an enjoyable and spirited response to this piece over at his own blog. Sadly, I will not be at home much the next couple of days so in lieu of a proper riposte on my part, I simply direct you over to him and invite you to formulate your own conclusions. In this instance, I happily cede the last word to him.