The Anatomy of Fascism

I’ve started reading the new book, The Anatomy of Facism, by Robert O. Paxton, so I’ll probably have plenty to add to my entry on Fascism below. So far, it’s a good overview of fascism as a phenomenon and takes a better approach; namely, that merely defining fascism (if that’s even possible) isn’t enough to fully understand it. [I’ll post a review over in the Print section at some point.]

Reading ahead, I see that Paxton lists several ‘mobilizing passions’ behind fascism:

’• A sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of traditional solutions;

• The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;

• The belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;

• Dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;

• The need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;

• The need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny;

• The superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason;

• The beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success;

• The right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.’

Interesting. More on this after I finish reading the book. In the meantime, I shall continue to call the ruling right-wing Republican hegemony in this country the Fascist FunDumbMentalists, until Paxton shows me where I’m wrong. And I’ll do so unapologetically.