May 20, 2006

Majikthise : Fascism isn't just a buzzword

Lindsay makes the case that the Bush administration shares several non-trivial characteristics with Fascism, including
1. Perpetual war
2. The unity executive
3. The corporate state
4. Unification of church and state
5. The security apparatus
6. Xenophobia
7. The cult of anxious masculinity
8. Control over women's bodies and the family unit
9. Propaganda
10. Distrust of science, expertise, and open debate

Now, guess which seventeenth century philosopher also has almost all of these.

Lindsay begs off trying to explain why movement conservatism and Fascism look so similar, but if we turn to Hobbes, I think it's quite clear that this is deeply connected to fear of the Other and a straightforward herd mentality. Hobbes' state of nature is a 'war of all against all', where you can't let your guard down for a moment in case your neighbour's about to brain you so he can take your prized possessions: your woman, your hut, your apple tree. But, Hobbes says, if you get together a bunch of friends, then YOU can go kill HIM first. The Leviathan -- Hobbes' proto-fascistic state in which individuals sacrifice their autonomy to the nation as a whole -- is simply this on a larger scale, and its rigid hierarchy and totalitarian power structure is nominally designed to maintain order and uniformity, and thereby peace. Dissention is just as dangerous as a foreign invasion because there is no difference between the two: the harmony and purity of the nation has been violated, and must be eliminated by any means possible.

Of course, in practice, relentless warmongering and repression just lead to more dissention and more international tension, but that's part of the point: the authoritarian social order only grows more powerful as more threats appear to challenge it.

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