The Clare Spark Blog

October 12, 2019

The F word

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 5:42 pm
Satyr and Goat

The F word I don’t mean the common word for sexual intercourse that I used to spell “phuque” out of a surfeit of gentility unlike the constant use of that word in a bewildering variety of contexts, perhaps giving witness to the coarsening of our culture.

Rather, the f word refers to “fascism,” which is bandied about without thought to precision. I have asked if we are there yet, given the current direction of the Democrat Party. Although numerous pundits on the Left (including social democrats) used to label free market advocates with that insulting moniker in the 1930s; the accusation continues today in Democrat punditry and common usage alike.

I do not pretend to be a specialist in European history but am somewhat obsessed on the “fascism” word, partly because I lived through the beginning of World War II as a child. I have read a lot about the F word, and know that there is no generic term for “fascism.” Scholars take care to distinguish between Hitler-style fascism; Corporate State fascism (see the 1960s New Left term for capitalism (ever repressive to the working class); Mussolini-style fascism (some see the syndicalist type of fascism in Italy); or precursors such as the Action Francaise. Then Franco-style repression in Spain, aided by Germany and Italy.

I have objected in the past to the twinning of communism and fascism. That was a no-no to the Left (of which I was once a part) but Ludwig von Mises noted in his book Socialism that fascism in Germany entailed price controls, defying the free market laws of supply and demand. Taking a similar tack, Ernst Nolte in Three Faces of Fascism describes Marxism as the indispensable precursor of fascism (for which, I believe, Nolte has taken a lot of abuse from the Left in the “Historian’s Debate” in Germany,1986).

And although I generally line up with Trump-supporters, I hold fast to doing history: which means that racism, sexism, antisemitism, and imperialism are part of our US history. Despite their sharp differences, German and Italian fascisms were both racist, sexist, antisemitic, and imperialistic. Of course, few would deny that. But George Orwell objected to its promiscuous usage in Tribune, (1944) writing to accord “fascism” only to Germany and Italy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism, quoting George Orwell: “the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else … Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathisers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist” That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.”

8 Comments »

  1. Hi, Clare, I’ve been reading your blog for like two years, or so, and you have giving me more insights about politics and ideologies. Personally, I support (classical) liberalism and share many stances with the left wing today (separation between religion and government, civil rights for everyone regardless or sex, race, class, disdain for fascism, Nazism, and other forms of totalitarianism, and so on) along the lines of Alan Dershowitz, and I regard, but I find many people with leftward values today who treat men, whites, and high earners as well as skeptics of the idea of an anthropogenic global warming with condescension insufferable (I’m not even white as I’m Filipino or even rich), so I came to regard the likes of Donald Trump as a form of chastisement to the apparently excessive belittling of people who happen to be members of socio-demographic groups with an embarrassingly oppressive history towards minorities.

    I began my exile from the left wing ever since I’ve seen so many unfair comments by leftward rogues about how terrible and base men are.

    I have little to no sympathy with people with socially conservative values (except in issues such as whether governments can and should redefine marriage, which I regard as a matter of intellectual property than of civil rights), but I respect many of their aspirations nevertheless.

    From what I’ve been reading lately, I’ve come to realize that the idea of constitutional limits on the government is a leftward/liberal/progressive principle, which people with leftward values abandoned in favor of the rightward/conservative/traditional principle of governmental regulation of the private sector.

    I’d like to hear insights from you about my last paragraph.

    Comment by Mark C — November 8, 2019 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  2. Excellent review, Clare. I have been fascinated with the obsession of this all purpose epithet as well.

    I find the core theme in the symbol of the Roman Fasces, rods bundled around an axe. Fascism is collectivist power. Leftist object, not because they are against to the violent abuse of power, but because they do not wield that power.
    Yet.
    This is why we are dealing with political
    correctness on an ever increasing scale while they see no irony in being against free speech. There is a right view and a wrong view, and being told otherwise is too painful to tolerate.

    Comment by Stereo Realist — October 13, 2019 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

    • Wish I had had more to say on my favorite subject, but I haven’t blogged in a long time, and it was time to say something.

      Comment by clarelspark — October 13, 2019 @ 8:06 pm | Reply


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