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Subject: What sort of revolutionary change do fascists have to want? rss

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lotus dweller
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It's been suggested on some 14,000 websites found by Google that General Franco, dictator of Spain was not a fascist. Another 340,000 suggest he was a fascist.

I don't know if he wore leather trousers.
But F.R. De Meneses writes, "Franco was not a fascist. There is an element of revolutionary politics in fascism, of wanting to provoke a dramatic change in society. That was not Franco's intention: on the contrary, he wanted to preserve Spain from change, or even return it to a mythical time when there was no regionalist feeling, when the Catholic Church dictated both social norms and the pace of intellectual progress, when the army was respected, and when the workers - in regional and urban areas - had no power.

..

Reconciliation was a forbidden subject in Nationalist Spain, a logical impossibility. What was taking place, the Nationalist leadership argued, was the sole course left open if Spain was to survive: purification through violence. This implacable attitude would be maintained until and beyond the end of conflict.

In February 1939, as the fall of Madrid approached, Franco armed himself with the power to deal with his real and suspected enemies in any way he saw fit. This power was conferred by the Law of Political Responsibilities, ... . Even failure to resist the Republic from early as October 1934, described as "grave passivity", was deemed to be a crime of rebellion. Most Spaniards were thus covered by the law's provisions. Evidence against individuals was admissible from all loyal sources in conditions that offered the suspects little ability to defend themselves.
"
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=-MJmnN0aLvoC&pg=PA87&lpg...

Well I find the idea of taking a society to a mythical state to be revolutionary no matter where or when that mythical state is envisioned as originating.

That this was to be achieved by the purification of society parallels other fascisms of that time. That violence was known to be the means of purification another.

Having very little knowledge of Franco's time, even my little knowledge has ticks in many of the boxes on my Umberto transmogrified Fascist Bastards poll. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/5446182

What about you? Franco a fascist bastard? Or a non-fascist bastard?
And why.

Want to read more before commenting?
Here are a couple of reviews of a respected historian's book on Franco. He too doesn't class Franco as a fascist. But his portrayal ticks more and more boxes on Ecco's list of fascist qualities.
Process of Extermination
‘The Spanish Holocaust,’
by Paul Preston
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/books/review/the-spanish-h...

The History War
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142405270230330250...

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Boaty McBoatface
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Franco was an authoritarian social conservative who sidelined the revolutionary Falange party (the fascist) in favour of the conservative Church and army. In many ways (like the civil war itslef) his was a medieval mindset (and values) uneasily grafted onto 2othC politics.

Was he a dictator (yes (though I would say he was more like an absolute monarch), was he a bastard (yes utterly), was he a fascist (no, and managed to also become a champion of freedom, at least according the NATO).
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Except in the narrow sense that a Fascist is anyone who calls himself a Fascist, which includes Mussolini and Moseley and I'm not sure who else, any definition of Fascism that doesn't include Franco isn't a useful definition.

As for the claimed NATO definition of him as a supporter of freedom, that's a joke. If anyone said that this was in the corrupt sense that enemy of the USSR means supporter of freedom, which encompassed a whole lot of people with no regard for freedom whatsoever.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Dearlove wrote:
Except in the narrow sense that a Fascist is anyone who calls himself a Fascist, which includes Mussolini and Moseley and I'm not sure who else, any definition of Fascism that doesn't include Franco isn't a useful definition.

As for the claimed NATO definition of him as a supporter of freedom, that's a joke. If anyone said that this was in the corrupt sense that enemy of the USSR means supporter of freedom, which encompassed a whole lot of people with no regard for freedom whatsoever.
I agree, Franco was not a friend of freedom.
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William Boykin
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Alaren wrote:
I don't know much about Franco, but it sounds like he was an authoritarian nationalist, which seems to fit the basic profile of fascism.

I have heard it suggested on occasion that fascism is

Quote:
government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.


Does that describe Franco's Spain, would you say?


I don't think that that definition is sufficient, for it reduces the issue down to merely the political and economic relations of a regime, and ignores the cultural aspirations and dreams of a fascist state.

Namely- the idea that a nation should be linguistically, religiously, racially, intellectually homogenous. Different regimes focus upon different things, of course- but I think that one of the key elements of Franco's Spain is it's reactionary clericalism in a modern state.

Darilian
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Fascist isn't exactly the word with most meaning right now so I find the discussion very silly. There's no gain to it.

I don't think Franco was any more similar to Mussolini or the philosophy of the Falange than any other dictator, those weren't particularly important influences on him and he sidelined both once he got into power.

He was simply a nationalistic, religious and conservative dictator which is practically a blueprint as far as dictators go. Hell, you can argue that each of those three pillars lead to the other in his case.

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William Boykin
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Schuschnigg (of pre-Anschluss Austria) and Franco have always been tough outliers for historians to peg. Aligned with Fascism? Most certainly.

Fascist states, in and of themselves? Much more debatable. I generally side with those who think that these two should be placed along with their more infamous brethren, Hitler and Mussolini, but I don't think that the arguments in favor are a 'slam dunk'.

Darilian
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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Fascist is a loaded term - among many reason - because it originated in Italy but is most famously applied to a similar but substantially different regime in Germany which is more correctly called by its own self-identifier of National Socialism.

National Socialism was in almost all ways a revolutionary movement.
It originated among the lower classes and held great deal of antipathy towards "established" social order including such traditional elements of German society as Junker aristocracy, monied interests, traditional academia, bulk of Church etc... (some members of these classes collaborated with Nazis for self-gain or out of fear from other lower-class revolutionary movement that was current at the time but Nazism as a whole was ideologically opposed to all of the above - which is obvious if one reads its manifestos or even considers the personal histories of the leaders of the movement).

With its focus on the construction of a "New Man" National Socialism was in fact exactly what its name advertised: a variant of Bolshevik collectivism where the focus on class as the principal fulcrum of solidarity has been replaced with race and where internationalism has been replaced with exaggerated nationalism.

Italian Fascism was much less concerned with "New Man", racial purity and with shattering the old order. It was essentially just the ultra-nationalist ideology of grabbing as much power as possible for Italy internationally while controlling government of Italy through all means necessary - in particular against the communists. Ideologically it is a least interesting or innovative of the extreme "movements" of 20th century.

Frankoist variant of Fascism was similar to Italian one (which is why I think name is modestly apt) but without expansionist international bent and with strong traditionalist conservative one.

In summary, Franco was a Fascist but he was certianly not a Nazi
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David K
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Franco was what is called a Bonapartist. He presented himself as "the man on the horse", the authoritarian leader who could reconcile the conflicting factions in Spanish society for the good of the whole nation (which is nonsense, of course, but that's the way he presented himself).

I was going to say that he was definitely fascistic but all repressive right-wing regimes since WWI are fascistic.
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David K
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bramadan wrote:
With its focus on the construction of a "New Man" National Socialism was in fact exactly what its name advertised: a variant of Bolshevik collectivism where the focus on class as the principal fulcrum of solidarity has been replaced with race and where internationalism has been replaced with exaggerated nationalism.


So fascism is just like Bolshevism except that it's completely different. Fascism and Bolshevism are identical except to the extent that they're diametrically opposed.

Funny stuff.
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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kade wrote:
bramadan wrote:
With its focus on the construction of a "New Man" National Socialism was in fact exactly what its name advertised: a variant of Bolshevik collectivism where the focus on class as the principal fulcrum of solidarity has been replaced with race and where internationalism has been replaced with exaggerated nationalism.


So fascism is just like Bolshevism except that it's completely different. Fascism and Bolshevism are identical except to the extent that they're diametrically opposed.

Funny stuff.


Not Fascism - Nazism.

They share the idealistic vision of the "New Man" created according to the ideological recipe,
They both believe in rule by revolutionary vanguard,
They both put collective way ahead of the individual,
They both mistrust and wish to destroy the traditional elements of the society,
They both see brutal violence as justified in pursuit of their utopistic goals,
They are both populist movements that appeal to the disenfranchised,
They both rely on de-humanizing "the enemy" groups (Kulaks and other property owners in Lenin's Russia, Educated individuals in Mao's China and Cambodia in parallel to Jews, Homosexuals etc... in Nazi Germany).

If you are narrowly focused on the goals which I assume David/kade is - two groups are vastly different,
but from the perspective of someone who does not share goals of either group - they are methodologically almost indistinguishable.

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William Boykin
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bramadan wrote:
kade wrote:
bramadan wrote:
With its focus on the construction of a "New Man" National Socialism was in fact exactly what its name advertised: a variant of Bolshevik collectivism where the focus on class as the principal fulcrum of solidarity has been replaced with race and where internationalism has been replaced with exaggerated nationalism.


So fascism is just like Bolshevism except that it's completely different. Fascism and Bolshevism are identical except to the extent that they're diametrically opposed.

Funny stuff.


Not Fascism - Nazism.

They share the idealistic vision of the "New Man" created according to the ideological recipe,
They both believe in rule by revolutionary vanguard,
They both put collective way ahead of the individual,
They both mistrust and wish to destroy the traditional elements of the society,
They both see brutal violence as justified in pursuit of their utopistic goals,
They are both populist movements that appeal to the disenfranchised,
They both rely on de-humanizing "the enemy" groups (Kulaks and other property owners in Lenin's Russia, Educated individuals in Mao's China and Cambodia in parallel to Jews, Homosexuals etc... in Nazi Germany).

If you are narrowly focused on the goals which I assume David/kade is - two groups are vastly different,
but from the perspective of someone who does not share goals of either group - they are methodologically almost indistinguishable.


You're ignoring their vastly different takes on the Enlightenment, as well as the role of how the police state operated.

The KGB/NKVD was very different from the Gestapo/Kripo organizations, despite people's focus upon the Concentration camps/Gulags. And even those had radically different agendas and purposes from each other.

The similarities between the Nazi State and the Stalinist/Communist state are superficial at best.

Darilian
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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Darilian wrote:
bramadan wrote:
kade wrote:
bramadan wrote:
With its focus on the construction of a "New Man" National Socialism was in fact exactly what its name advertised: a variant of Bolshevik collectivism where the focus on class as the principal fulcrum of solidarity has been replaced with race and where internationalism has been replaced with exaggerated nationalism.


So fascism is just like Bolshevism except that it's completely different. Fascism and Bolshevism are identical except to the extent that they're diametrically opposed.

Funny stuff.


Not Fascism - Nazism.

They share the idealistic vision of the "New Man" created according to the ideological recipe,
They both believe in rule by revolutionary vanguard,
They both put collective way ahead of the individual,
They both mistrust and wish to destroy the traditional elements of the society,
They both see brutal violence as justified in pursuit of their utopistic goals,
They are both populist movements that appeal to the disenfranchised,
They both rely on de-humanizing "the enemy" groups (Kulaks and other property owners in Lenin's Russia, Educated individuals in Mao's China and Cambodia in parallel to Jews, Homosexuals etc... in Nazi Germany).

If you are narrowly focused on the goals which I assume David/kade is - two groups are vastly different,
but from the perspective of someone who does not share goals of either group - they are methodologically almost indistinguishable.


You're ignoring their vastly different takes on the Enlightenment, as well as the role of how the police state operated.

The KGB/NKVD was very different from the Gestapo/Kripo organizations, despite people's focus upon the Concentration camps/Gulags. And even those had radically different agendas and purposes from each other.

The similarities between the Nazi State and the Stalinist/Communist state are superficial at best.

Darilian


Enlightenment distinction was superficial even to begin with and particularly by the time we are talking about Mao - entirely academic.

I would love to hear your distinction between Cheka/NKVD and Gestapo (KGB is indeed entirely different beast). Methods, approaches and goals are virtually indistinguishable. Himmler even quite deliberately copied the "look" of the Chekists (all with the long black coats etc...)

Keep in mind, to actually get a honest comparison you have to look at the Soviet Union in period 1918-1924 compared with Nazi Germany in 1933-1939. More "mature" post WW2 Soviet Union had somewhat different methods then the early revolutionary one. It is arguable that something similar would have happened to "mature" Nazi Germany had it had time to develop.

As for the camps - I will grant you that Bolsheviks never came up with the extermination as the *primary* use for the camps (they were more pragmatic in that they saw death through slave labor as more useful to the state then direct eradication, and relied on terror famines as the more economic means for mass elimination of enemies) but originally the whole system of camps was copied more or less directly by Germans from the Soviets only later evolving to serve slightly different needs of the Nazis.
With 400k known deaths in Gulag system (alone) in six non-war years for which records are available (1934-1940) and 7 million incarcerated in the same period, the distinctions are pretty academic.

Even the verbiage associated with the two was the same:
"Honour and Freedom through Labor" sign on (for example) Vorkuta slave labor camp predates more famous "Arbait Macht Frei" by at least 10 years.

 
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While not aspiring to the rigours of my colleagues Dr Lawrence Britt or Steven (sorry that was a very in joke), I wonder if we could create a multidimensional image of governments, somewhat similar to the RSP favourite "where are you on the political spectrums?", but instead use "what is the likely experience of caught enemies/supporters/members/women/known homosexuals/public critics/big busines sowners/small bussiness owners/manual workers/sex workers ....
Some of these may prove to be collapsable.
Then hopefully we could see clusterings of sample governments/rulers and the distances between them. In moving multicoloured 3D.

Then people here could support their arguments as to which differences make a difference by showing us how much more explanatory power their elected differences provide.

Why doesn't Spaceghost do something useful and set up an online factorial analysis site that gives us the pictures we need?

But if that doesn't happen it's instructive reading your different and better informed views.
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That flew over my head, Pinook, but I'm sure the idea is very interesting
 
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David K
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bramadan wrote:
kade wrote:
bramadan wrote:
With its focus on the construction of a "New Man" National Socialism was in fact exactly what its name advertised: a variant of Bolshevik collectivism where the focus on class as the principal fulcrum of solidarity has been replaced with race and where internationalism has been replaced with exaggerated nationalism.


So fascism is just like Bolshevism except that it's completely different. Fascism and Bolshevism are identical except to the extent that they're diametrically opposed.

Funny stuff.


Not Fascism - Nazism.

They share the idealistic vision of the "New Man" created according to the ideological recipe,
They both believe in rule by revolutionary vanguard,
They both put collective way ahead of the individual,
They both mistrust and wish to destroy the traditional elements of the society,
They both see brutal violence as justified in pursuit of their utopistic goals,
They are both populist movements that appeal to the disenfranchised,
They both rely on de-humanizing "the enemy" groups (Kulaks and other property owners in Lenin's Russia, Educated individuals in Mao's China and Cambodia in parallel to Jews, Homosexuals etc... in Nazi Germany).

If you are narrowly focused on the goals which I assume David/kade is - two groups are vastly different,
but from the perspective of someone who does not share goals of either group - they are methodologically almost indistinguishable.



It's a specious comparison at best.

The nazis made use of socialistic rhetoric because they were in heavy competition with the left for supporters. The points you make about "rule by a revolutionary vanguard" and "putting the collective ahead of the individual" were exactly that, rhetoric, ideology, a false representation of their goals and objectives. The utter falsity of the nazis "collectivist" claims was demonstrated by the assurances Hitler provided to industrialists and other capitalists that despite the nazis socialistic propaganda, private property would be maintained.

As for creating a "new man" every political movement, not to mention most religions, have a vision of the perfected world and the people who would inhabit it. Even you have such ideas (ie, ideas about optimizing social structure and the kind of person needed to make that society work for the best). I guess that means that christianity is bolshevism wherein internationalism has been replaced with prayer, or something.

This society also disseminates huge amounts of (lying) utopistic propaganda. They're called tv commercials.

You also mention brutal violence and dehumanizing the "enemy". I think you are either unwilling to admit or incapable of recognizing that the society you advocate is also founded on these things. The society you live in, the form of social oranization you espouse, engages in these practices every single day, but that doesn't prevent you from being a fan. The recent kerfuffle around the duck morons comments about gays are an example of the dehumanization your society practices (let me guess, your response is to shake your head and agree with me that his comments were "deplorable"; or maybe you're a red-hot advocate of human and civil rights, in which case I have no doubt that you denounce his comments "in the strongest possible terms"). I think it's either spectacularly uninformed or deliberately misleading for you to point a finger at any other society and say "they're violent" or "they dehumanize people". It's sleight of hand, it's changing the subject. Your social position no less than Stalin's is founded on brutal violence and dehumanization.

In closing, I propose that kentucky fried chicken is simply bolshevism which has replaced internationalism with 11 herbs and spices.





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David K
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Pinook

What do you mean by "revolutionary"? One definition would be that a revolution is social conflict that results in one class being displaced by another as the hegemonic social organizer. By that standard, the nazis weren't revolutionaries. How do you define the word in this context?
 
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kade wrote:
Pinook

What do you mean by "revolutionary"? One definition would be that a revolution is social conflict that results in one class being displaced by another as the hegemonic social organizer. By that standard, the nazis weren't revolutionaries. How do you define the word in this context?
I was explicitly referencing Meneses (got to spell that right?) quoted in the OP who rejected "Franco is a fascist" for his claimed lack of revolutionary purpose. Implicitly I'm questioning how the criteria for the classification "fascist" or "non-fascist" are arrived at by experts in this area.
 
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Mondainai wrote:
That flew over my head, Pinook, but I'm sure the idea is very interesting :D

Pinook wrote:
{pictures of statistical porn about fascists to go with popcorn}
 
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Bojan Ramadanovic
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kade wrote:

It's a specious comparison at best.

The nazis made use of socialistic rhetoric because they were in heavy competition with the left for supporters. The points you make about "rule by a revolutionary vanguard" and "putting the collective ahead of the individual" were exactly that, rhetoric, ideology, a false representation of their goals and objectives. The utter falsity of the nazis "collectivist" claims was demonstrated by the assurances Hitler provided to industrialists and other capitalists that despite the nazis socialistic propaganda, private property would be maintained.


A sub-section of citizens were conditionally allowed to keep their property while great many were confiscated/nationalized while the economy got moved from market-based to state run and planned. Nazi economic planning was essentially indistinguishable from Soviet one.
Now, Nazis were not ideologically opposed to specific economic classes so they were able to be more pragmatic vis-a-vis capital owners but individualists and free-marketeers they were not.

Quote:

As for creating a "new man" every political movement, not to mention most religions, have a vision of the perfected world and the people who would inhabit it. Even you have such ideas (ie, ideas about optimizing social structure and the kind of person needed to make that society work for the best). I guess that means that christianity is bolshevism wherein internationalism has been replaced with prayer, or something.


Christianity (particularly in its traditional roots) is a collectivist, "total" and "closed" ideology so it has *some* similarities with totalitarian ideologies of 20th century.
It differs much more from either of them though then they do from each other.
As for "every political movement" - far from it. Classical liberalism (and its Poperian and Rawlsian varieties) is explicitly about dealing with humans as they are and enabling these existing humans to cooperate with some degree of success.
Difference between having to mold men to the ideology or molding ideology to the men is almost exact definitional difference between open and closed societies.
Quote:



This society also disseminates huge amounts of (lying) utopistic propaganda. They're called tv commercials.


This statement is just difficult to take seriously.

You seem to be drawing some sort of parallel between utopistic thinking that justifies mass murder at grand scale and "utopistic ideal" that can be had for 19.95 if you call now.
I dislike (most of) TV adds as much as the next guy - but calling them "propaganda" demonstrates total lack of understanding of what it means to live in a society where communication is actually not free.

Quote:

You also mention brutal violence and dehumanizing the "enemy". I think you are either unwilling to admit or incapable of recognizing that the society you advocate is also founded on these things. The society you live in, the form of social oranization you espouse, engages in these practices every single day, but that doesn't prevent you from being a fan.


This manifestly wrong statement is frequent last refuge for the apologists of the morally bankrupt regimes.

When I say "dehumanize" I actually mean it. I mean that there was a concentrated societal effort to render it morally acceptable to murder the "other" in gas-chambers or to starve them to death on their own farms or to work them to death by forcing them to dig canals in -40 temperatures at the pain of torture.
I am really curious as to what pseudo-equivalence you find in the society we live in - not to mention one I espouse.

Quote:

The recent kerfuffle around the duck morons comments about gays are an example of the dehumanization your society practices (let me guess, your response is to shake your head and agree with me that his comments were "deplorable"; or maybe you're a red-hot advocate of human and civil rights, in which case I have no doubt that you denounce his comments "in the strongest possible terms"). I think it's either spectacularly uninformed or deliberately misleading for you to point a finger at any other society and say "they're violent" or "they dehumanize people". It's sleight of hand, it's changing the subject. Your social position no less than Stalin's is founded on brutal violence and dehumanization.

In closing, I propose that kentucky fried chicken is simply bolshevism which has replaced internationalism with 11 herbs and spices.


Do you really fail to recognize the difference?

On one hand you have a private individual, with some degree of notoriety, making a semi-coherent hateful ramble which then gets roundly and freely criticized.
On the other hand you have entire apparatus of a totalitarian state pushing the message of hate and backing it up with full force of the law and silencing any voice of dissent against that message.

Because in my society some idiot can get on his hind-legs and bleat anti-gay message before being resolutely answered by numerous dissenting voices, we are somehow equivalent to regimes where government sponsored hatred is the only discourse allowed concerning the specific groups?

I understand you have issues with the present day Canadian/western societies. I sympathize and likewise wish very much they were even more free, open and equitable then they already are.

That said, drawing equivalences between duck guy's pronouncement on gays and Stalin's on kulaks or between fellows selling us Molson Lager and totalitarian propagandists is either tendentious in the extreme or so self-centered and uninformed as to literally boggle the mind.
 
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I agree with much of what Bojan writes above. However the ease with which people found guilty of crimes are subjected to a regime which carries very high risk of; infection with AIDS, hepatitis, being bashed, raped, killed, forced sexual slavery, and increased suicide risk demonstrates a still significant degree of dehumanisation in our societies. This is broadly acceptable to both the populace and the government.
 
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The German economy was based on private property before the nazis came to power and it remained so afterwards. There were no large scale expropriations under the nazis. The idea that the german and soviet economies were indistinguishable is nonsense. At the height of the battle of Stalingrad, Krupp raised the price of ammunition. How would that have been possible in the soviet economy? (I think I need to add "This is not a defence of the soviet economy".)

"Classical liberalism" wasn't a party or a movement. Political parties that tried to put the ideas of classical liberalism into practice were motivated by a vision of the world and a conception of how people should behave in it. (Also, it's nonsense to say that you can simply deal with people "as they are". People are never just "what they are", they ended up that way for specific reasons and liberals no less than any other political types were interested in fostering or preserving specific social relationships.)

Liberals, classical or otherwise, support the existence of private property and advocate the use of violence to preserve it. People can be "as they are" until they're perceived as a threat, and are then dealt with as such.

TV commercials qualify as utopistic propaganda because they don't just sell products, they sell lifestyles, or more correctly, images of lifestyles. They don't just peddle commodities, they peddle an entire complex of behaviors and practices. They sell the image of the glorious world that could be yours, right now! Advertisers don't just say to a woman "Here's a razor", they invite that woman to be the kind of person who cares whether or not she has hair on her legs, or in her armpits, or on her lip, for that matter. They don't just tell a man "Here is soap", they invite that man to be the kind of person who cares whether he smells like a mountain pass, or old leather or whatever. As it's presented, part of the pleasure of buying an expensive car is being seen driving it, which is an invitation to be the kind of person who cares what passersby think while you motor down the yellow brick road on your way to a life of great taste and refinement. It's actually not an especially radical proposition that commercials are a form of propaganda (not to mention this societies dominant art form).

And I wasn't comparing tv commercials to incitements to genocide, I was responding to your use of the word propaganda. The entire content of nazi propaganda was not genocide, and I think it's facile to reduce it to that.

Remind me what regime I'm defending. I thought I was responding to your superficial linkage of two parties. I didn't mention any regime and certainly haven't offered to defend any. (Quick, name a regime that I would go so far as to say I support? Can't think of any? Neither can I.)

When I said dehumanize I actually meant it. Comparing sex between two men to sex between a man and an animal is dehumanizing and gay people pay with their lives for this kind of ignorance and backwardness. The fact that the nazis murdered people in much larger numbers than western is currently doing is an important difference but not a decisive one. The nazis were able to murder so many people so quickly was because of the already existing anti-gay bigotry. I see Captain Quack's comments and the holocaust as points on a continuum, not as entirely different species of behavior (so it's entirely possible that standing up to this deeply ignorant and dishonest man could contribute to preventing future violence).

I don't think incitement to genocide qualifies as utopistic, so I didn't think that's what we were talking about. One difference between nazi propaganda and capitalist propaganda is that the nazi variety was much more concentrated. In this society it doesn't have to be, it's much more diffuse, it surrounds us and saturates us to a much greater degree, which might be why you don't perceive it for what it is.















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"The significance of a person's life is determined by the story they believe themselves to be in." - Wendell Berry "If nothing lies beyond the pale of death, then nothing of value lies before it." - SMBC
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Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song, the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue. Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last, has won my affection and bound my soul fast.
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Walker
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"The significance of a person's life is determined by the story they believe themselves to be in." - Wendell Berry "If nothing lies beyond the pale of death, then nothing of value lies before it." - SMBC
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Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song, the joy of my heart and the boast of my tongue. Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last, has won my affection and bound my soul fast.
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More seriously, to my mind, fascism's distinctives are moral and intellectual.

Most political philosophies have two things: first, a recognized authority which all of its adherents more or less agree with. Second, a moral imperative which they believe justifies government intervention. For example, socialists might look to Karl Marx, and generally believe in a moral imperative for government to reduce or remove wealth inequality.

Fascism is not like this. Fascism has no intellectual leadership, because fascism is anti-intellectual. Fascists tend to believe that morals and ethics are all well and good for your ivory tower types, but here in the real world, it's power that matters. Thus, Fascists replace the moral imperatives of other political philosophies with the philosophy to simply do whatever is necessary. No rules, no limits. The power itself is the thing for them. Mao exemplified this when he said that "power flows from the barrel of a gun". In other words, government doesn't get its legitimacy from the consent of the governed, the social contract or the divine right of kings. It's simply a question of who has the ability and backbone to beat everyone else down.

I realize this definition is a bit unorthodox, but I think it has an advantage that other definitions lack: mainly, it recognizes that authoritarianism, nationalism and the rest are symptoms, not a political philosophy itself. And it makes sense, to me, of the confusing array of programs and ideas fascists seem to have enacted.

Of course, under this definition many people who wouldn't otherwise be considered fascists are such, including, I think, many politicians in our own country. I don't have a problem with this, personally- I think fascism in general is something of a chameleon. And I think, further, that the strict adherence of government to moral principles is something that cannot be emphasized enough. But that's just my $0.02.
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