YDS: The Clare Spark Blog

September 17, 2017

Fascism and The Big Lie

 Conservative Dinesh D’Souza sums up his new book The Big Lie thus: The Left is Fascist, not the Right as the Left alleges.

What is wrong with D’Souza’s picture?

1. It is true that there is no agreement among scholars about whether or not there is such a thing as “generic fascism,” but historians have created a mountain of scholarship attacking the general notion of “fascism” as a generalized type. I have myself made the distinction between specific forms of “fascism” here, trying perhaps to get out of the muddle by making autodidacts empowered by the printing press the underlying target of authoritarian wrath. (See https://clarespark.com/2013/04/21/fascism-what-it-is-what-it-is-not/.) My opinion: D’Souza is throwing around dated concepts he doesn’t understand; 1930s Pop Front/New Deal liberals accused their conservative opponents of “fascism,” while some liberals returned the favor by smearing the New Left with the same moniker (and with respect to the New Left mystification of class relations, the liberals were accurate).

2. D’Souza has misappropriated the notion of the ‘Big Lie” as propagated by Hitler in Mein Kampf. Hitler was blaming the Allies (specifically Britain) for war propaganda and above all “the Jews” for being bad fathers to the German Volk. (See https://clarespark.com/2014/01/16/hitler-and-the-big-lie-corrected/.) In other words, a sharply divided Germany could be united without the analysis provided by (evil, materialist) Jewish Bolshevists (the Communists). In this, I agree with the Left that fascism was a counter-revolution. I would add that “fascism” is continuous with the Counter-Reformation and even (Protestant) organic conservatism (https://clarespark.com/2015/01/23/what-is-an-organic-conservative/.)

3. Scholars are at odds over the relationship of social democracy and Nazism. Some of my (conservative) FB friends have pointed out some structural similarities between “the planning state” and Hitler’s regime. I countered with the notion of Hitler’s “Fuehrer principle” that overrode inevitable divisions among Nazi bureaucrats. (With this point, I agree with some anticommunist social psychologists. See https://clarespark.com/2011/03/27/progressive-mind-managers-ca-1941-42/. The social psychologists were tools of the New Deal, however, and partook of their authoritarian irrationalism and snobbery regarding the masses who were not “trained to rule.”)

4. I still do not know how to answer the question I posed at Pacifica radio (KPFK-FM) in Los Angeles in the late 1980s-90s: “How Do We Know When We  Are Not Fascists?” The much vaunted notion of “free speech” is, in my view, a ploy by “antifascists” to legitimate the Democratic Party and the forces against “political correctness.” No one has solved the problem of authoritarianism, that can be either subtle or direct. I continue to puzzle over this baffling ambiguity.

That is the tortuous path that I, as a freethinker, tread. D’Souza would have done well to read https://clarespark.com/2014/12/10/were-nazis-socialists/.

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2 Comments »

  1. “That is the tortuous path that I, as a freethinker, tread.” IMHO a more accurate sentence is, “That is the tortuous path that I, a Jewish atheist with a high awareness of victimization, tread.”
    People who follow the Bible (Jew and Gentile) have no problem with authoritarianism. Authority brings structure which is the cornerstone of a civilized society, without authority you have chaos. When you fear victimization you sometimes confuse authority with evil, yet you know we need authority. That can be agonizing and dangerous.

    Comment by Moose Otto — September 18, 2017 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

    • I take your point about the need for authority. As a freethinker I rely on science (empiricism). As for authority, science/experience creates legitimacy for me. The Bible, like religion/ethics, is a historical artifact requiring situating in the stream of human development. I don’t expect agreement on these matters from you or others who think the same. I do resent the notion that my Jewishness (or the lack of it) has anything to do with the positions I have tested throughout life.

      Comment by clarelspark — September 18, 2017 @ 8:56 pm | Reply


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