Now it's necessary to defend Tolkien from Fascism/Racism. This is because the "net of the term" is so broad as to virtually encompass anyone from Charlemagne, through the Falange & Franco, to Pinochet, and beyond, into the hinterlands of Hitler. This spectrum is supposedly notable primarily as being "Right Wing", with the far left being "soft" Fascist, or pre-proto-Fascist, and the far right of the Right being pure Darkness.
Here is a progressive definition of the F-word:
"But the primary concern for a free society is not which kinds of people should have their freedom smashed. The real concern is liberty for all. The capacity of the state to divide peaceful people into groups and set them
against one another is its capacity to oppress. When anyone is victimized by the
state, all who believe in and love the universal values of freedom, as well as
the finer principles on which America was founded, have a moral obligation to
oppose it..." (Elizabeth Wright)
Here is a progressive definition of the F-word:
"Fascism is a libidinal orientation to politics characterized by modulations of pride and rage. Pride in the national character, and in the greatness of the Leader. Rage at the ethnic or racial outsiders (Jews) who make our society impure and disrupt its natural balance. Pride in "traditional" mores, stern upholding of traditional gender role and traditionalist sexual behavior, combined with disgust and violent repression of deviations (homos). A high valuation on outward strength, military power, aggressive foreign policy postures. Our society could accurately be described as totalitarian insofar as the market economy is socially "totalized", influencing, and indeed literally determining, every social possibility and every behavior. But, much as I know how you'll hate to hear this, the only contemporary faction that could accurately be described as fascist are angry ideological conservatives."
While this may have a point, I suppose that my rejoinder would be that most "conservatives" are entirely neo-liberal, progressive, or "Leftist" in their character or association. Again, as GP Grant notes, the Machine that powers the Empire also allows us to have societal chaos at home: "Orgasms at home, Napalm abroad". Hitler's associations and roots had Leftist overtones and influences. The question of whether he was truly a "man of the Right" is a complicated one. Mencius Moldbug thinks that he obviously was, but that he had to dress himself up as a Leftist in order to gain power. This, in its favor, would explain the Nazi "programme" or party points, which look very similar to that proposed by the Democrats of the 21st century for America, including welfare, education, and the no-gun policy.
"The Nazis were not leftists; they appropriated leftist iconography as a mass aesthetic, won over those of conservative racialist attitudes by villifying the Jews, and preserved the haute bourgeoisie wholly intact by inviting them into the corporatist-state. Naziism's two most salient features: culturally conservative race-hatred, and industrialist oligarchism, had absolutely no relation to any leftism historical or contemporary..."
Hmmm, possibly...it is disturbing (however) to contemplate the possibility that even the Nazis were obliged to dress up "Red" in order to get what they wanted...this places Leftism (and its specific offspring, liberal-democracy) in an entirely new light. This would seem to imply that at least a) It was eminently possible to pull off in this specific manner & certainly not a touch & go matter. Which is suggestive on a number of fronts...This would seem to hold true unless one believes Hitler "barely" pulled it off, which would then call into question most of the anti-national, anti-Church arguments most favored by those who take this position. In short, such contemplation infinitely complicates the question. Is it possible that such a dragon barely managed to trick the masses by making them think of him as a Red Dragon? If Hitler was well on his way to industrial/societal victory thanks to the Right, why would he need to masquerade in Red drag? In the above quote, the writer minimizes (to my mind) the importance of the "mass aesthetic" that operates in the Leftist mode? Isn't this exactly the "religion-by-the-back-door" theme which Khuenhelt-Ledhin so thoroughly explores? "Decayed altars are inhabited by demons," noted Ernst Juenger. The Leftists truly believe it is possible to excise religion from the soul of man, without harming the soul, and some think it can be done non-traumatically (we might characterize these last as the typical Western liberals). The New Pantagruel had this to say about the lack of Telos which characterizes Rawlsian Liberal-Democracies:
For Santayana, a healthy spiritual life was possible in this world only by
looking to the “beauty and perfection that this world suggests, approaches, and
misses.” The singular disease of Modernity is to forget this; which is to say
that modern man idealizes a priori. He carries with him not so much a distorted
view of reality; but a disdain for it. Thus, the pursuit of an ideal devolves
into idealism. For Santayana, though modern man may believe himself to be an
idealist, he is actually “a materialist in morals; he esteems things, and
esteems himself, for mechanical uses and energies.” Idealizing a priori
inculcates an over-calculation of one’s ability to effect change in the world;
to confront Power and wrestle it into submission, rather than the other way
around. In contrast, the Pantagruelist is able to joyfully engage in earthly
reality, insisting on seeing both the divine reflection and the demonic shadow.
Drawing from Augustine’s view of this age as a saeculum senescens (an age that
will pass away), the Pantagruelist is content with the uncertainties of faith
for knowledge of the Beyond. This, in turn, frees him to love the people and
places he finds himself surrounded by; to see things for what they are: a
suggested yet missed perfection. We moderns though, inflicted as we are with the
disease of Liberalism, cannot suffer the Augustinian humility regarding the
prospects of this age with grace. We chafe mightily against such restraint. We
desire above all to endow this age with the fulfillment that Christianity has
traditionally insisted lies over the horizon. Ironically, the harder we have
worked at remaking this world into a suitable future home for humanity, the
stronger is our sense of disenchantment, isolation, and homelessness in the
present. This is because, as Eric Voegelin put it, Liberalism “destroys the
oldest wisdom of mankind concerning the rhythm of growth and decay which is the
fate of all things under the sun.”
And here is John Crowe Ransom:
'Our vast industrial machine, with its laboratory centers of experimentation, and its far-flung organs of mass production is like a Prussianized state which is organized strictly for war and can never consent to peace. Or, returning to the original figure, our progressivists are the latest
version of those pioneers who conquered the wilderness, except that they are pioneering on principle, and from force of habit, and without any recollection of what pioneering was for.'
Clearly, the modern industrial state has overtones of "eternal war in Africa" & massive discipline through regimented organization, this time against the enemy Nature. So what does "Fascism" mean? Is it applicable to either Right or Left, or both? Or neither? Does Fascism pertain to anything? Do we need a new word? And who is this "we" we talk about?
Christopher Hitchens, in dialogue that reminds me of the old story about the death of Julian the Apostate, insists that secular regimes only go wrong if they fall prey to the dark side of thinking they have authority from on high:
"Lilla's most brilliant point concerns the awful pitfalls of what he does not call "liberation theology." Leaving this stupid and oxymoronic term to one side, and calling it by its true name of "liberal theology" instead, he reminds us that the eager reformist Jews and Protestants
of 19th-century Germany mutated into the cheerleaders of Kaiser Wilhelm's Reich, which they identified—as had Max Weber—with history incarnate. Lilla might have added, for an ecumenical touch, that Kaiser Wilhelm, in launching the calamitous World War I, was also the ally and patron of the great jihad proclaimed by his Ottoman Turkish subordinates. So, could we hear a little less from the apologists of religion about how "secular" regimes can be just as bad as theocratic ones? Of course they can—if they indulge in acts of faith and see themselves as possessing supernatural authority."
But don't all states have power and authority at (after) a certain level? And don't all states indulge in magical thinking? America most of all? Wouldn't the cure be proper authority and the discernment of what real acts of real faith are needed? In otherwords, isn't the danger that mankind incessantly finds himself in only curable by finding a way farther in? Hitler, in this view of things, is so evil, not because he is diametrically opposite from what he should have been (merely), but because he represents a primal perversion of a primal good. He would not be a lightning rod if his "ideal state" did not in fact represent the possibility of something that is good. I think this is the most frightening thought to the liberal mind, and the explanation for why they attempt to bury Hitler in darkness as if to even invoke his name is to invite his presence. This explains the obsession with the term "fascist" & also the desire to avoid rigorously defining/determing/agreeing upon the term. It is an epithet to be hurled at your enemy, even as one averts one's eyes.