The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewEric Margolis Archive
Fascism Is Coming Alive Again
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The wildly exaggerated threat of so-called Islamic terrorism is being shamelessly used by some western governments to boost their flagging fortunes at a time of economic malaise.

Marketing fear is a sure-fire political ploy, as the Bush administration showed. But if you think promotion of “terrorism” hysteria in order to curtail democratic freedoms is something new, have a look at Germany, 1933.

In that year, Germany’s democratic Weimar republic was foundering under economic depression, mass unemployment and raging hyper-inflation. The Reichstag, or parliament, was deadlocked between bitterly feuding parties, including the minority National Socialists, led by Adolf Hitler, the Catholics, Socialists, and Communists.

In Berlin, on the night of February 23, 1933, the Reichstag was burned down by a massive fire set by an arsonist. A young Dutch Communist found on the premises was charged with the arson attack. Germany was outraged and horrified by the crime – as much as was America after 9/11.

The Communists, of course, quickly blamed the National Socialists (or Nazis, for short). But the most likely culprit was indeed the Dutch Communist.

Five days later, Weimar President Paul Hindenberg, a conservative and war hero, signed a new act known as the Reichstag Fire Decree that suspended free speech and assembly and many legal protections. It gave government the right to arrest “terrorists” under a state of emergency.

In early March, Hitler promulgated the Enabling Act that used the threat of so-called “terrorism” to give him virtual dictatorial powers. This coup was made possible by the support of the conservative Catholic Party which, having seen the slaughter of Catholics in Russia and Ukraine by Communists, decided the Nazis were a lesser evil than the Communists.

A few weeks later, arrests of Socialists, Communists and Jews began. Hitler had come to near absolute power by democratic means thanks to national hysteria and fear over so-called terrorism, an utterly meaningless but evocative propaganda term.

The Weimar republic was swept away – perfectly legally – within months. Germans, stampeded by claims of “terrorism,” disgusted by their politicians, did not mourn Weimar.

Today, we see a number of western democratic governments using some of these same shameless scare tactics to drive their nations to the right and, in some cases, keep their leaders in power.

The Charlie Hebdo spectacle in Paris was an egregious example. Before the Paris shootings, bedraggled President Francois Holland’s popularity rates had fallen to a microscopic 8%. After the giant “free speech” jamboree in Paris, his ratings have skyrocketed to close to 50%. In the case of France, “free speech” meant the right to attack and mock Muslims.

Isolated criminal acts by mentally unhinged men in Canada, Denmark, and Australia were similarly inflated into massive national scares that boosted previously unpopular governments assailed by economic problems. So too were “plots” concocted by security police using dimwits or youngsters. Just as al-Qaida fear was fizzling out, along came ISIS to scare the daylights out of westerners.

We must be very careful. Islamophobia and terror hysteria fit worryingly into the template created by former Columbia University Professor Robert Paxton in his brilliant analysis, “The Anatomy of Fascism.”

Paxton sharply defines fascism, a dreadfully over and misused term, as distinct from conservative regimes. For example, he terms 1930’s Italy and Germany as Fascist states, but Franco’s Spain as conservative.

Hallmarks of fascism:

  • “a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of any traditional solutions;
  • belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action without legal or moral limits, against its internal and external foes;
  • need for authority by natural leaders (always male) culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny; and superiority of his instincts over abstract and universal reason.”

Other traits of Fascism: militarism and historical triumphalism; glorification of war as a purification and nation-building process.

Intense propaganda about inflated military “heroes.” Sending small numbers of troops or warplanes to fight or bomb miscreant Arabs in the Mideast is a reliable Viagra for small nations with feeble military budgets.

If patriotism and nationalism are the last refuge of scoundrels, they are also the first platform of fools.

We see the right demonizing enemies who supposedly threaten the entire nation, be they anarchists, socialists, Masons, communists, Jews, or Muslims. Purging the media of free-thinking journalists is a basic step. This has happened in the US and Canada.

In Paxton’s words, “mobilizing passions…form the emotional lava that set Fascism’s foundations.” To see this, just look at fans of Clint Eastwood’s loathsome “American Sniper” film. A fascist fiesta for low-IQ Americans.

ORDER IT NOW

ISIS is another example of a small but murderous group whose reach and danger has been wildly hyper-inflated for western domestic political reasons. Fanatical, adept at public relations and social media, ISIS has stolen the limelight from al-Qaida and gladdened the hearts of western militarists, hard rightists, and arms makers.

In fact, ISIS appears to go out of its way to make itself hateful and repulsive to westerners. But the danger it poses outside the Mideast is so far negligible. Before we launch any more crusades against ISIS, let’s be aware that this bunch of killers originated in the US-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and was primarily financed by Saudis. ISIS thrives in the chaos and ruins caused by George W. Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq and later campaign to subvert Syria.

George W. Bush was re-elected thanks to Midwestern soccer moms who feared Osama bin Laden was about to swoop down from the Hindu Kush and make off with their little Johnnies.

Something similar is happening again in North America, Australia and New Zealand. Many fear ISIS is outside Peoria or Winnipeg. Scared people readily accept dictators.

(Republished from EricMargolis.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Fascism, Terrorism 
Hide 28 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Realist says:

    At least fascists are not so stupid to believe in egalitarianism.

  2. lowly says:

    “Hallmarks of fascism:
    “a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of any traditional solutions;
    belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action without legal or moral limits, against its internal and external foes;
    need for authority by natural leaders (always male) culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny; and superiority of his instincts over abstract and universal reason.”

    Why does that remind me of Obama?

    • Replies: @rwe2late
  3. Seer says:

    Marxism is coming alive again also, rebranded this time as “social justice.” Actually it never died. And it killed far more people than “fascism.”

    Just look at the hysterical, screeching, over-the-top reaction among left-liberals to any type of criticism of Marxism’s historical atrocities, no matter how bland or carefully couched. Steve Sailer’s post on the NYT reaction to the “Victims of Communism” museum in Canada is a good example of this.

    The day is coming when the left-liberal collaborators among the intelligentsia and media who betrayed the West during the Cold War will be fully exposed to the cruel light of history.

  4. D. K. says:

    The only national government that can be reasonably said to be moving inexorably toward fascism (“Fascism” refers specifically to the Fascist regime that ruled in Italy, under Benito Mussolini) is Israel. The professor’s proferred criteria for defining “fascism” as a generalized political ideology are ridiculous. The implication that left-wing radicals posed no civic threat to Germany, and other European nations, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, is even more ridiculous. The implication that France– ruled by Socialists dependent upon Muslim votes– and the United States– run by an America-hating and Muslim-loving Democrat, at the head of an America-hating party, with only an un-American party in opposition– are moving in the direction of fascism is beyond ridiculous; it is patently psychotic! Globalism is not the new Fascism; it is the new Bolshevism.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
  5. To lowly: You’re in the best position to answer that question. For the Right Obama is a power-mad weakling; he’s at once a Communist and a Muslim, an outsider and a certified product of the Chicago machine, a man both ruthless and feckless, cunning and indecisive. However nonsensical this portrayal is, it has a great advantage over anything that actually makes sense: it enables Obama to be criticized as destroying the American republic by whatever he does or refrains from doing. The opportunities for attacking him are therefore bountiful indeed, because they needn’t be based in reality.

  6. PeterB says:

    In the year following the ’33 Reichstag fire, in ’34, Sergei Kirov was assassinated and that also was used to launch a clampdown and a tightening of the screws, not by fascists but by reds. There’s nothing unique about this sort of methodology, it’s been used across the board by just about anyone; a billy-club across the head feels the same whether it’s wielded by a fascist, communist, monarchist or any other -ist or -ism. The concept of fascism is a slippery one and there are varying interpretations as to what defines it- see Roger Griffin’s book ‘Fascism’, which is a reader containing viewpoints of it from different perspectives. At this point in time the term is thrown around rather recklessly and has lost meaning; it’s outdated. All the old labels have become outdated and have just become sources of confusion. A new terminology for the modern world is badly needed.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  7. @D. K.

    No kidding. Fascism is the State uber alles, and it is hard to see anywhere that is the case outside the nation-state of Israel, or the headquarters of the Gulf Arab pseudo-countries, which are really just territorial arrangements among ruling families for how to divvy up the oil.

    Actual, functioning States are being deconstructed in favor of globalism, and Eric misses this completely. He also apparently does not believe that Arabs have moral agency.

  8. Hipster says:

    I do not advocate over-reacting to ISIS, or even really doing anything against them at all since all our Mid-East interventions have been such disasters.

    But they are in the process of wiping out many ancient religious/ethnic communities in the Middle East that have existed for thousands of years. They may not be a “threat” to U.S. national security in the near term, but they certainly are a “threat” to an awful lot of people in their neighborhood.

    • Replies: @D. K.
    , @Caesar Saladin
    , @eric
  9. D. K. says:
    @Hipster

    Then perhaps the neighborhood should take it upon itself to deal with the threat. Is NATO’s Turkey too busy in the Ukraine to mind its own borderlands? Is Israel too busy massacring Palestinian children in Gaza? Is Saudi Arabia hoping to sell its American-supplied arms on e-Bay while they are all still in “pristine” condition? If the neighborhood’s combined military might is insufficient to deal with the current size of the ISIS threat, then those neighboring rulers who feel threatened by it are not serious rulers, and their respective countries are not serious countries. My country– or what little remains of what was my country, when I was young– has problems enough of its own, within its own porous borders, and does not need any more foreign crusades– in the Middle East or anywhere else.

  10. Authoritarian states of whatever label are a natural reaction to times of troubles.

    Expect to see more of this, much more. Nature bats last.

  11. Realist says:

    Only Eric’s vast and deep experience in international affairs coupled with his quest for truth can produce such a precise analysis of the ground realities away from compound haze of false flag activities. As always top notch!

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    > Weimar President Paul Hindenberg, a conservative and war hero

    That would be “Hindenburg”. Retired general reactivated for the WWI eastern front, builder of the first “total war economy” and someone who had not enough balls to show up at Versailles and sign the surrender, instead preferring to blame Jews and saboteurs for the defeat (a shrewd political move, actually!). At the point of power passing, he was apparently so senile that he signed anything put on his desk, “even his sandwich” as joke from that epoch goes.

    > This coup was made possible by the support of the conservative Catholic Party which, having seen the slaughter of Catholics in Russia and Ukraine by Communists, decided the Nazis were a lesser evil than the Communists.

    Also, remember the war of 1920!

    > To see this, just look at fans of Clint Eastwood’s loathsome “American Sniper” film. A fascist fiesta for low-IQ Americans.

    Actually quite possibly not: http://reason.com/blog/2015/02/20/elusive-politics-of-american-sniper

  13. The State Department spent 5 Billion Dollars on a neo nazi coup in Kiev which only succeeded because of the snipers. Who were they and who paid them ?
    The US aims to achieve a Disarming First Strike Capability according to missile engineer Bob Aldridge-www.plrc.org
    Now the US is deploying 239 missiles in Romania, 409 in Poland and on 32 ships in the Mediterranean. Missile engineer Bob Aldridge:”Whether they are on ships or land, they are still a necessary component for an unanswerable first strike.” This leads to Launch On Warning=Suicide Guaranteed, probably by 2017. Stupid, crazy, bloody fools in the Pentagon!!!

  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @PeterB

    Economic fascism still works as a term for modern times. Look it up in your highschool economics text book (if it hasn’t been … revised).

    Economic fascism is the lining up of politics with national champions of industry, and today it means that pretty much every country on earth — apart from Canada — is fascist. Each country is willing to go to war in the name of their national wealth getter, their Apples, Exxons, Raytheons and Toyotas.

    Canadians have been so brainwashed into fearing being “commies”, that they’ve inadvertently sold off national industries by the truckload (600 companies a year, according to some estimates, making those weilders of foreign sovereign wealth funds and hidden subsidies look like geniuses!) Today, the Canadian government can only tax because it no longer owns a profitable enterprise.

    Sadly, older terms like chauvenism apply to today’s “fascism” better and ought to be revived.
    “Good old-fashioned” race hate and self loathing are what’s being mobilized against Arabs and Russians toward political, geopolitical and commercial goals.

    “Sanctions might be considered an instrument of competition,” Russian industrialist Igor Sechin said in the summer of 2014, as the deputy minister for energy revealed plans to build 20 oil refineries.

    “There are forces in Europe who want to destroy you,” the German foreign minister told his Russian counterpart a few weeks ago.

    That’s economic fascism and race hate.

  15. The fact that millions of Germans literally starved to death under the Zionist-dominated Weimar Republic had more to do with Hitler’s rise to power than anything else.

    • Replies: @George Archers
  16. rwe2late says:
    @lowly

    Fascist leaders historically may have been “always male”.

    But Margolis should reconsider whether in the “equal-opportunity” modern world,
    “leaders” like Hillary, Susan Rice, Condi Rice, V. Nuland, M. Albright, et al
    might be “equally” suitable.

    Or are we next to believe that individuals are inherently incompatible with a fascist program nowadays if female?

  17. Economic fascism is the lining up of politics with national champions of industry, and today it means that pretty much every country on earth — apart from Canada — is fascist.

    Aww, that’s precious. So Canada is all these quaint little mom-and-pop enterprises employing younger family members? Workplace regulations aren’t raising barriers to entry only surmountable by national chains?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  18. @Carroll Price

    right on! Who funded Hitler’s rise from WWI? USA and Russia! But why and both turned against Germany after invading Poland? Why did France and England declare war on Germany 1938 and set Germany ablaze and on who’s orders? Answer: Both Russia USA had a sinister plan-jocking who would one day control all of Europe. Eric is Jewish and born in Israel. Careful what you read. Term Nazi was not adopted from German National Party but from the most feared Eastern European tribes Ashkenazi

  19. The article’s main points are valid and compelling. The chief reason that ISIS depredations are so intensively reported in the Anglo-American MSM is their political utility. This actually holds true for all things, though, doesn’t it?

    Three observations though:

    First of all, is it true that Germany was afflicted by ‘raging hyper-inflation’ during 1933? My impression is that it was a decade previous; largely caused by wartime borrowing.

    Then:

    “Authoritarian states of whatever label are a natural reaction to times of troubles.”

    True of all right-wing regimes, including Israel (Ariel Sharon provoking the Second Intifada in order to get re-elected) and the United States (Bush-Cheney machinations to keep the populace in a continuous state of terror, the better to play Daddy).

    “The fact that millions of Germans literally starved to death under the Zionist-dominated Weimar Republic had more to do with Hitler’s rise to power than anything else.”

    That along with the deflationary crisis of 1931. But as an aside, is it at all accurate to say that Weimar was dominated by “Zionist(s)”?? My impression is that “Jews” were blamed for being prominent there, but were they Zionists per se?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  20. Nathan C says:

    I hope Barrack Hussein Obama, our strong male Fascistic leader and representative our “group” which we all know is a victim group, will rid the earth of the Muslim plague and restore the rule of the Nordic Race over the inferior races. Hail Victory!

    Now, I don’t disagree with all of what you say, some of it is spot on. Certainly our governments and states have used the excuse of “terrorism” to rid us of our traditional liberties. But when you leave certain major factors out, you get an inaccurate picture.

  21. @Hipster

    Of course ISIS isn’t a threat to the US; I doubt they ever will be. Your comment on them being a threat to their immediate neighbors is spot-on though, and simply highlights the need for regional actors- not the West- to handle the problem. ISIS is a dog gone rabid and needs to be put down, the sooner the better.

  22. eric says:
    @Hipster

    The United States has aided the most violent Muslim extremists every time by trying to bring democracy to the Muslim world . We supported Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and set up the Talban , We supported the terrorist KLA in Kosovo and bombed the Serbian Christians . We again supported the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt to overthrow their secular Muslim dictator . In each and every instance from Tunisia , Libya , Iraq , Iran and Syria . The United States has been on the wrong side The side we thought wanted to create a Muslim democracy . The Muslims we supported want nothing to do with democracy they want Sharia law to rule the entire world under Allah . If we had not assisted these radical Muslims it is doubtful they would have been able to accomplish much of this . So I definitely see your point of just washing our hands from the mess we have created . We should have listened to Putin when he told us not to support the head choppers and liver eaters . He told us once you start them they are not going to be easy to stop .

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Kyle McKenna

    There were always Zion cults/sects.

    But the ideology was used as the ‘grease’ to compel large numbers of post-WW11 Jews to emigrate to Israel – itself the product of an invasion of then-Palestine by the Allied Powers.

    The construction of the Suez Canal – a British project -is often left out of the region’s history. A closer look might reveal a Grand Design in which political Zionism is but a pawn .

  24. The United States is not moving toward fascism, it’s blindingly obvious that it’s racing toward Open Borders Free Trade Globalism, enforced by globalist oligarchs’ manipulation of the mechanisms and personnel of what’s left of what used to be the constitutional republican government.

    Globalism is promoted monotonously by the oligarchs’ iron grip on major media, which is why “free-thinking journalists” are not hired, especially journalists or pundits who espouse robust independent, isolationism-before-imperialism, self-reliant nationalism aimed at fostering the largest possible, most prosperous native citizen middle class.

    Americans (and Britons and Europeans) who dissent against Globalism are, under the useful rubric of “racism,” punished severely, most often by internal socio-economic exile as pariahs and scapegoats, in the form of unemployment and unemployability which guarantees impoverishment, penury, which in turn amounts to political powerlessness.

  25. wiseguy says:

    More like “The Growth of Social Democracy is Continuing to Slowly March On.”

  26. @The Anti-Gnostic

    So Canada is all these quaint little mom-and-pop enterprises employing younger family members?

    No, Canada is a “branch office” economy. Much of the “national industry” answers to other nations. Though sometimes the reverse happens– e.g., Bombardier light-rail cars now trundle through my city.

    BTW, Target just bombed in Canada, though Canadians’ love for Target stores in western New York, Michigan, Montana, Washington state, etc, has long been legendary. Figure that one out.

  27. Islamophobia and terror hysteria…

    “Islamophobia” goes back almost exactly a thousand years before the Mayflower. Wonder why.

    …fit worryingly into the template created by former Columbia University Professor Robert Paxton in his brilliant analysis, “The Anatomy of Fascism.”

    Who omits the economics of Fascism– Paxton or Margolis? In the hypermaterialist 20th century, money was the only issue of importance anywhere. Its absence here is suspicious.

    Fascist economics is essentially center-left, which is an embarrassment to the goo-goos. So they try to hide the fact that Fascism is well to the left of any Republican position.

    Voting right– hard right– is anti-Fascist. As Woody Guthrie (or was it Will Rogers?) said, when Fascism comes to America, they’ll call it anti-Fascism. And vice versa.

  28. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I always thought that Fascism was marked by nominal private ownership of the means of production, but actual government control through regulation, under a charismatic leader, who was the living embodiment of The State and the inspiration for the love of and subservience to it (and him). Mercantilism (these days known as crony capitalism?) augmented by a powerful military for aggressively promoting national interests (and crony interests) resulted in a Fascist regime. The author’s description here only overlaps my understanding in a few places. Is it just me, or were others taught the same thing?

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Eric Margolis Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Bin Laden is dead, but his strategy still bleeds the United States.
Egyptians revolted against American rule as well as Mubarak’s.
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in...
A menace grows from Bush’s Korean blind spot.
Far from being a model for a “liberated” Iraq, Afghanistan shows how the U.S. can get bogged down Soviet-style.