Note on Postmodern Fascism

FASCISM NEW

NOTE ON POSTMODERN FASCISM
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

We must not march quietly into the trenches

Let us note well that the notions associated with fascism and its most virulent form, a neo-barbaric socialism called Nazism, were not originally conceived by Mssrs. Mussolini and Hitler. Nor is there anything conceptually unique to the non-profit totalitarianism of Stalin. The Italian Fascists and German Nazis are given far too much credit for conducting big corporate business for its usual end – the end of the very competition it professes to love and the total control of “free” markets – an aggrandizement augmented by modern technological means. More than one economist described the goal of the alleged opposition to fascism – capitalism – as the perfection of fascism. Mssrs. Mussolini and Hitler did not invent totalitarianism led by an arbitrary, so-called charismatic leader. They marched in the footsteps of the Roman emperors whose corporate emblem was the fasces ax.

In Germany Carl Schmitt – doctor of jurisprudence and father to the form of the German New Conservatism embraced by so-called neoconservatives in the United States – sanctioned Hitler’s indefinite suspension of the Weimar Constitution. But Carl Schmitt did not coin the concept of Total upon which he elaborated at length, for men have long dreamed of the instantiation of Totalitaria on Earth in one form or other, ruled by a despot or dictator for the sake of convenience, until the divisive resistance to absolute truth is destroyed and the people are ready to embrace true monarchy or democracy.

A regime is at its best when its leadership is threatened by challengers, and then it is best led by a single supreme leader, an arbiter of good and evil, a sovereign father or fuehrer whose hands are not tied by the law, an imperial presiding officer and commander-in-chief who is willing to tell the necessary lies to unify the factions who would otherwise squander the national energy on productive domestic activities instead of wasting resources on wars.

Such a decisive leader, as a matter of national honor, must admit to ignoring the polls in the interest of obedience to a higher power than his worldly father, and profess to doing whatever it takes to obtain victorious salvation for the people of the world whether they like it or not.

The irrational, “leadership principle” was not invented by the leading thinkers of the three German Reichs. In any case, Carl Schmitt, who begat Leo Strauss, who begat Paul Wolfowitz, and whose doctrine is embraced by Richard Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Condaleeza Rice, and other Germanophiles who longed for a Holy American Empire or Pax Americana, attached a modern label to the usual arbitrary power, “Decisionism,” – as if it fell within “ideology” in the broad sense of “science of ideas.”

In any case, or so the neo-fascist argument goes, conflict produces higher goods. War is the father of all things including better moral fiber. The purpose of politics is to identify your enemies and destroy them. Wherefore, America’s neoconservatives would in concert restore the supreme power of the elected emperor of the United States of America, and in doing so overthrow the revolution within the revolution that spawned the nation.

So let us not think that fascism is passé, limited to a few hateful skinheads simply because we do not hear the German version of the Roman victory salute (Seig Heil!) emanating from the White House and aircraft carrier decks; or because our concentration camps, wherein we confine Muslim Semites instead of Jewish Semites, are smaller and much more humane; or because our suspects do not have flags and uniforms. No, we must keep history in mind because we are that history, and until we understand that history and thus know ourselves better and fulfill our better selves, we risk the repeated degradation of our kind, albeit by a more subtle process, until the grinder becomes so overbearing that the race would rather destroy itself in a paroxysm of massive suicide-murder than march quietly into the trenches.

Miami Beach 2006

The Secret U.S. Army Definition of Fascism

Mussolini
The Personification of Fascism

 

THE SECRET ARMY DEFINITION OF FASCISM

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

An Italian, when asked to define Fascism, answered, “Fascism is Mussolini – he is the only Fascist.”

The Fascists did not repudiate the amoral profit motive or the class distinctions: they incorporated the classes into fasces; they were friendly to big industrialists and unfriendly to communists. Observers declared fascism to be either the perfection or the perversion of capitalism. An open friendship between Italian Fascists, German Nazis, and capitalists eventually became politically incorrect hence capitalists formally disassociated themselves with the label if not with the operating principles, and proceeded to muddy the water by equating fascism with their arch-enemy: communism. That was easy to do when both fascism and communism had taken the totalitarian form convenient to all-out war.

Today fascism is loosely defined as any form of right-wing authoritarianism. It is not Bolshevism or left-wing authoritarianism. Yet fascism is still difficult to define except in contrast to democracy. The United States is a democratic republic, yet its citizens like to think of their country as a political democracy, and it would be one if people cooperated in effecting radical reforms instead of tweaking the status quo. Of course democracy differs very much from the authoritarian public and private corporations many Americans work for. Corporate executives are frequently referred to as “fascists.” Figuratively speaking, of course, for fascism is usually associated with aggressive nationalism during hard times, with pre-emptive wars on other nations, waged to divert attention from economic problems, and, hopefully, to achieve full domestic employment. The fascist war is sometimes justified as a war to liberate inferior people so they can have the benefit of a superior culture. We do not see the economic and political power elite collaborating to that end in the United States today – after all, the United States fought two wars to end all such wars. Its citizens should have a general idea of what fascism means and how to avoid it.

The U.S. Army made an effort to define fascism towards the end of WW II, but the definition was repudiated by political authoritarians. According to Henry Hoke, author of It’s a Secret (1946), the fight to make the world safe for democracy took a terrible beating in 1945 when a Congressional investigating committee wrecked the Army Orientation Course, a study program designed to counteract disruptive propaganda and to teach men and women in the Army and Navy what the war was all about. In the chapter entitled, ‘Who Investigates the Investigators?’ Hoke discusses the suppression of a certain pamphlet, Piece No. 64.

“I’ve been around to Army camps and I’ve lectured before Orientation classes. I think I know some of the problems of the officers who conducted these classes. I’ve loafed around with them during the evening after work discussing their problems… hearing the tales of how intolerance and planned propaganda had upset some of their best laid program…. The individual officers in the camps became more demanding in their requests for definite information on tolerance and on Fascism. The men and women in the service were mixed up in their thinking too. They wanted to have definite answers to definite questions on the subject of Fascism and on what we were really fighting for…. So finally, during the early part of 1945, the Army Orientation officials… prepared ‘Piece # 64″ on the subject of Fascism. It was prepared by top ranking Army officials.”

Piece # 64 was distributed to military personnel at home and abroad. Hoke provides us with these excerpts from the top of the release:

“Note For This Week’s Discussion:

“Fascism is not the easiest thing to identify and analyze: nor, once in power is it easy to destroy. It is important for our future and that of the world that as many of us as possible understand the causes and practices of Fascism, in order to combat it. Points to stress are: (1) Fascism is more apt to come to power at a time of economic crisis; (2) Fascism inevitably leads to war; (3) it can come to any country; (4) we can best combat it by making our democracy work.

“If we don’t understand Fascism and recognize Fascism when we see it, it might crop up again – under another label – and cause another war.

“Fascism is a way to run a country – it’s the way Italy was run, and the way Germany and Japan are run. Fascism is the precise opposite of democracy. The people run democratic governments, but Fascist governments run the people.

“Fascism is government by the few for the few. The objective is seizure and control of the economic, political, social, and cultural life of the state. Why? The democratic life interferes with their methods and desires for (1) conducting business; (2) living with their fellow-men; (3) having the final say in matter concerning others, as well as themselves.

“The basic principles of democracy stand in the way of their desires; hence – democracy must go! Anyone who is not a member of their inner gang has to do what he’s told. They permit no civil liberties, no equality before the law. They make their own rules and change them when they choose. If you don’t like it, it’s T.S.

“The maintain themselves in power by use of force combined with propaganda based on primitive ideas of ‘blood’ and ‘race’, by skillful manipulation of fear and hate, and for false promises of security. The propaganda glorifies war and insists it is smart and ‘realistic’ to be pitiless and violent.”

Copies of Piece # 64 were sent over to Congress – the members were indignant! Congressional investigators were dispatched to discover who was responsible for the outrageous publication. Hoke reports that Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi – the notorious racist who sat on the Veteran Affairs Committee and accused black soldiers of causing high fatalities in the war – was particularly rankled by the orientation piece. Hoke sat through the hearings of the Veteran Affairs Committee, and reports that, under Rankin’s guidance, it “sounded like a Nazi tribunal.” He also mentions in passing Martin Dies’ special Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities – precursor of the standing House Committee on Un-American Activities -and its witch-hunters who were doggedly determined to pin a communist label on every liberal in private and public life. Hoke declines to go into the sordid details of the Dies Committee, but he provides us with considerable information on one H. Ralph Burton, chief counsel for “the worst committee of the House” – the Military Affairs Committee.

“At some point in his training something must have happened to turn his emotions toward a rather pointed Red-baiting, to venomous anti-Semitism and anti-Negroism… and to thoroughly reactionary and garbled economic, political and social thinking,” reports Hoke. Burton had served as special counsel for William Ludicke, the number-two Nazi in the United States, and had been counsel for the DAR during its blatant Red-baiting days, and he had also been counsel for the Coalition of Patriotic Societies, an umbrella organization for numerous Tory organizations. Burton was intimate with Walter Steele, editor and publisher of the fascist publication – ‘National Republic.’ Furthermore, he was general counsel in Maryland for Father Coughlin’s National Union for Social Justice – the enormously influential Father Coughlin was a pro-Nazi priest who entertained Nazis in his home. H. Ralph Burton’s partner and son, Robert Burton, carried credentials authorizing him to represent the Military Affairs Committee, frequently visited the Japanese Embassy, consorted with and was attorney for certain Nazi sympathizers under investigation by the F.B.I.

Hoke recounts that, in 1939, H. Ralph Burton was an investigator for the WPA Sub-Committee of the House Appropriations Committee. His objective was to discredit and harm the Federal Theatre and the Federal Writers Project. Without any proof whatsoever, he accused people of being communists, ruining their reputations. He was determined to show that the WPA was dominated by Jews, Communists, and persons of foreign origin. A number of politicians in those days believed the New Deal was a communist conspiracy, and that the Army had been infiltrated by Jews, communists and other “undesirables” – Burton’s investigators asked Army executives to supply lists of employees with Jewish names.

Burton was definitely a powerful man – Army big-shots flew soldiers in from the front lines at his behest to be questioned by him. Hoke supposes Burton and his colleagues thought the pamphlet against Fascism was Communist propaganda and did not want controversial issues such as, “What are we fighting for?”, discussed by soldiers. Piece # 64 was pulled and military personnel were transferred or were separated from the service. Thereafter vigorous protests were made by Army personnel concerning a radical change for the worse in the entire Army Reorientation Course. Hoke does not tell us everything about the incident because he was still bound by secrecy at the time – fortunately the restriction on Piece # 64 had been lifted, permitting Hoke to quote it. “I will not mince words,” Hokes writes. “This should be clearly understood. H. Ralph Burton, Chief Counsel of the House Military Affairs Committee, forced the removal of Army Reorientation personnel and forced a change in Orientation courses because he, Burton, didn’t like what the Army had to say about Fascism.”

Hoke mentions another item suppressed by the Military Affairs Committee: Races of Mankind, an impartial analysis of the race question written by anthropologists. Hoke speculates that H. Ralph Burton was behind that too, probably making sure his investigators would find some Communistic slant to it.

Apparently the ruling elite of the United States were reluctant to define American fascism and to identify prominent fascists within the American government according to that definition. George Seldes in Facts and Fascism(1943), writes:

“The Office of War Information published millions of words… intended to inspire the people and raise the morale… but it is also a fact that to the date of this writing the OWI did not publish a single pamphlet, poster, broadside, or paper telling either the civilian population or the men and women in uniform what Fascism really is…. Certainly when it comes to relating foreign Fascism with native American Fascism there is a conspiracy of silence in which the OWI, the American press, and all the forces of reaction in America are united…. The real Fascists of America are never named in the commercial press. It will not even hint at the fact that there are many powerful elements working against a great democracy…. I call these elements Fascists…. You may substitute Tories, or Economic Royalists, or Vested Interests…. Their main object was to end the civil liberties of the nation, destroy the labor unions, end the free press, and make more money at the expense of a slave nation.”

Have they succeeded? Have fascists in disguise taken over our government? Are fascists presently engaged in a vast right-wing authoritarian conspiracy to subvert the democratic principles the United States is founded on? Of course not. The very supposition is ridiculous if not seditious. At least patriotic Americans think so. Still, perhaps everyone should go over the Army definition now that it is no longer classified.

Democracy Must Go!

Pearl Harbor Attack

CLOSETED FASCISTS STILL SECRETLY BELIEVE DEMOCRACY MUST GO!
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

The following section of United States Army Orientation Fact Sheet #64 dated March 24, 1945, offended certain congressmen the most because its description of fascist traits reminded them of themselves:

“The basic principles of democracy stand in the way of their desires hence democracy must go! Anyone who is not a member of their inner gang has to do what he’s told. They permit no civil liberties, no equality before the law. They make their own rules and change them when they choose. If you don’t like it, it’s T.S.”

Henry Hoke, author of It’s A Secret, the well known expose of fascism published in 1945, stated that Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi, the notorious racist who sat on the Veteran Affairs Committee and who had accused black soldiers of causing high fatalities in the war, was rankled by the orientation piece. Hoke had sat through the hearings of the Veteran Affairs Committee, and reports that, under Rankin’s guidance, it “sounded like a Nazi tribunal.”

Hoke also mentions in passing Martin Dies’ Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities, precursor of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and its witch-hunters who were doggedly determined to pin a communist label on every liberal in private and public life. He declined to report on the sordid operations of the Dies Committee, but he did write at some length about H. Ralph Burton, the chief counsel for “the worst committee of the House” i.e. the Military Affairs Committee.

“At some point in his training something must have happened to turn his emotions toward a rather point Red-baiting, to venomous anti-Semitism and anti-Negroism… and to thoroughly reactionary and garbled economic, political and social thinking,” reported Hoke.

Burton had served as special counsel for William Ludicke, the number two Nazi in the United States. He had been counsel for the DAR during its blatant Red-baiting days. He had also been counsel for the Coalition of Patriotic Societies, an umbrella organization for numerous Tory organizations. He was also intimate with Walter Steele, editor and publisher of the fascist publication, ‘National Republic.’ Furthermore, he was general counsel in Maryland for Father Coughlin’s National Union for Social Justice, and the influential pro-Nazi priest who entertained Nazis in his home. H. Ralph Burton’s partner and son, Robert Burton, who carried credentials authorizing him to represent the Military Affairs Committee, frequently visited the Japanese Embassy, and had consorted with and was attorney for certain Nazi sympathizers who were under investigation by the F.B.I.

Hoke recounts that in 1939 H. Ralph Burton was an investigator for the WPA Sub-Committee of the House Appropriations Committee. His objective was to discredit and harm the Federal Theatre and the Federal Writers Project; he succeeded in harming individuals by accusing them of being communists without proof. He also was determined to show that the WPA was dominated by Jews, Communists, and persons of foreign origin. A number of politicians in those days believed the New Deal was a communist conspiracy and that the Army had been infiltrated by Jews, communists and other “undesirables.” Burton’s investigators asked Army executives to supply lists of employees with Jewish names.

Hoke does not say what specific role Burton played in suppressing the Army Reorientation Fact Sheet, but he believes Burton and his colleagues thought the piece against Fascism was Communist propaganda, and they certainly did not want controversial issues such as “What are we fighting for?” discussed by soldiers.

H. Ralph Burton was a powerful man. Hoke said he knew for a fact that Army big-shots would fly soldiers in at the behest of Burton, even from the front lines, just to be questioned by him. However that may be, Piece #64 was eventually pulled and military personnel were transferred or were separated from the service. Thereafter vigorous protests were made by Army personnel concerning a radical change for the worse in the entire Army Reorientation Course.

Of course Hoke’s main concern in It’s A Secret is secrecy. He raised the suppression of Piece #64 in the chapter entitled ‘Who Investigates the Investigators?’ as a particular instance of same; in fact, secrecy prevented him from telling the full story about the incident. The further we delve into the investigations and the persons involved, the more we get the impression that investigators, attorneys, and politicians were involved in a vast right-wing authoritarian conspiracy, one that we might loosely call a ‘fascist’ conspiracy to subvert the democratic principles the United States is allegedly founded on.

Hoke goes on to discuss Burton’s role, in ‘One of the big mysteries behind the House Military Affairs Committee—what happened to the so-called Rohl-Wymann investigations.’ He refers his readers to Fulton Lewis’ sensational story, broadcast on November, 1943. Fulton Lewis shows were broadcast on weekday evenings to over 16 million people.

Lewis was Richard Nixon’s close friend; after one election, Nixon said, “Except for you, Fulton, it never would have happened.” Liberals remember Lewis well for saying, “The honest American of liberal political bent, even a former Communist who has seen the light and is willing to admit it, has nothing to fear in the way of persecution from any Congressional investigating committee, including that of my friend, Joe McCarthy.”

The sensational story appertained to German espionage at Pearl Harbor, and a “missing Chapter Five.’ We have this fragment from a cover letter forwarding the Army Pearl Harbor Board’s report intimating that a fraud in construction at Pearl Harbor contributed to the scope of the disaster there at Japanese hands:

“Preamble: Authority for the Army Pearl Harbor Board and its action taken. This Board was appointed pursuant to the provisions of Public Law 339, 78th Congress, approved 13 June 1944… Subject: Report of House Military Affairs Committee dated 14 June 1944 alleging neglect and misconduct of Colonel Theodore Wyman, Jr., and others concerning Hawaiian and Canadian Defense Projects, and which was signed by Robert P. Patterson, Acting Secretary of War. This supplemental order directed the Board to consider the phase of the report which related to the Pearl Harbor disaster…. We append to this report a section indicating the additional information and documents which have been made available as a result of our extended investigation, and which probably did not come to the attention of the Roberts Commission; or, at least, were not mentioned in either of the testimony, documents or report of the Roberts Commission. We have been greatly aided by the Interim Report, Committee of Military Affairs, House of Representatives, Seventy-eighth Congress, 2nd Session, pursuant to H. Res. 30, A Resolution Authorizing the Committee on Military Affairs and the Committee on Naval Affairs to Study the Progress of the National War Effort, and the committee’s records, counsel, and investigation, with particular reference to the activities of Colonel Theodore Wyman, Jr., Hans Wilhelm Rohl, the Hawaiian Constructors, and others, as such activities had a bearing upon the Pearl Harbor disaster and what led up to it. We have been aided by the testimony of counsel from that committee and the complete record of the investigation of that committee on this subject and its exhibits. We have also heard testimony and investigated reports and reviewed affidavits of additional affiants, whose testimony came to light, or documents were discovered, after the conclusion of the investigation of the Committee on Military Affairs, as indicated in its Interim Report. We have also been aided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the Report of the Tenney Committee in California. We transmit with this report the record of testimony of the witnesses consisting of 41 volumes and 70 exhibits. In the appendix to this report is a tabulation in detail of the …”

Henry Hoke provided his account of the Rohl-Lyman investigation of possible fraud, collusion and espionage at Pearl Harbor to illustrate his contention that independent investigators are needed to investigate Congressional investigators. He refuses to draw any conclusions as to the guilt or innocence of the persons involved, preferring to pose loaded questions about them. The implications are, therefore, clear to those of us who are prone to jumping to conclusions according to our favorite conspiracy theories, some of which are no doubt valid. There are shady characters in the halls of government, aides, lawyers and investigators who do the bidding of their superiors while looking after their own personal fortunes on the side. The majority of red-blooded Americans are well aware of the hypocrisy, and many of them who disbelieve in democracy actually condone or approve of the contradiction of promising words and actually deeds done. The government sworn to uphold the law employs people to violate it at home and abroad, where the law of the jungle ultimately applies.

The Rohl-Lyman investigation took place in 1943-44. It’s shady characters remind us of the ones Richard Nixon was enamored of when he formed his life-long friendship with Ronald Reagan while Reagan, whose acting career was in the dumps, was tattling on his fellow actors. When we examine those crucial years, we get the definite impression that business and politics were conspiring to subvert democracy, that influential individuals who were charged with protecting Americans from both Communism and Fascism were in fact advancing the interests of the American brand of fascism, using their investigations of the ‘Reds’ as cover: the enemies happened to be anyone who was interested in a more liberal distribution of social justice. Of course the American fascists would from time to time wrongly accuse others of being fascists in order to divert attention from themselves and perpetuate their ends.

Hoke got the impression that the Rohl-Lyman investigation was conducted by men who were deliberately hunting for material that would embarrass the Government. Radio-show host Fulton Lewis, Jr. found witness, Robert Hoffman, in Mexico City, and brought him to H. Ralph Burton, the power chief counsel and investigator for the House Military Affairs Committee. Hoffman supposedly had information about espionage at military installations in the Pacific. The Truman Committee and the F.B.I. wanted to talk to Hoffman in Washington, but Burton had him along with a team of investigators flown out to California on an Army plane, where they went to work for the Tenney Committee, the Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California, chaired by Jack B. Tenney, predecessor to McCarthy.

Hoffman, Burton’s ‘witness’ from Mexico, and his team proceeded to investigate a contractor by the name “Hans Wilhelm Rohl”, known prior to the investigation as Bill Rohl, for allegedly using illegal contracting methods at Pearl Harbor. Exaggerated testimony and affidavits were submitted to the Committee to the effect that Rohl was a German agent. Later on, a confused witness, a maid, contradicted her sworn statement, saying she was “pushed” into making it, and did not even remember the name given to her, namely, Rohl.

On 8 march 1944 Rohl, the target of the investigation, provided an affidavit swearing that Burton’s witness-investigator Hoffman met with him at the Mayfair Hotel and demanded a bribe: $25,000 was to immediately be paid into Hoffman’s account; then Rohl would received a confirmation from Burton saying the investigation had been dropped, whereupon another $75,000 would have to be paid into Hoffman’s account. Hoffman then threatened Rohl’s son, telling him that if his father did not cooperate, he would be a bad trouble.

Rohl, according to his affidavit, had his secretary call Hoffman and give “No” for his answer. Rohl’s testimony together with other information was submitted. A second team found evidence exonerating Rohl. Burton dropped the investigation against Rohl and issued a report without mention of the material incriminating Burton and his investigators. He fired the lead investigator of the second investigation without explanation, which prompted another man to resign, a reputable business man who was serving the House committee without pay: his letter of resignation included a scathing attack on the shady tactics used by the Military Affairs Committee.

The Rohl-Wyman investigation was the subject of the then famously missing Chapter Five of the Army’s Report on Pearl Harbor to President Truman. When the original draft of the chapter was released on 6 October 1945, it thanked H. Ralph Burton for his “reliable information.” Secretary of War Patterson said an investigation subsequent to the report disproved the charges made and that there was no connection with the content of Chapter Five in respect to Colonel Wyman and others and the Pearl Harbor disaster.”

“In other words,” writes Hoke, “the original Army Board of Inquiry was fooled by the Tenney and Burton ‘evidence’… the wording of the Patterson statement reveals that someone in the Army found the new evidence which Burton so carefully concealed from the members of the House Military Affairs Committee,”

In retrospect we wonder if certain members of the Committee did in fact know what was going on. This is the very committee that had suppressed the Army Orientation pamphlet defining Fascism so that soldiers would know what they were fighting for and against. An impartial analysis of the “race question,” ‘Races of Mankind’, written by anthropologists, was also suppressed, and Hoke wonders if H. Ralph Burton was behind that too, suggesting that Burton made sure his investigators would find some Communistic slant to it.

Hoke said of Burton, in respect to the suppression of Fact Sheet #64, that “I will not mince words. This should be clearly understood. H. Ralph Burton, Chief Counsel of the House Military Affairs Committee, FORCED the removal of Army Reorientation personnel and forced a change in Orientation courses because he, Burton, didn’t like what the Army had to say about Fascism.”

The government and the media were reluctant to define American fascism and reveal the identity of American Fascists. George Seldes, in ‘Fascism on the Home Front,’ first chapter of Facts and Fascism (1943), put it this way:

“The Office of War Information published millions of words… intended to inspire the people and raise the morale… but it is also a fact that to the date of this writing the OWI did not publish a single pamphlet, poster, broadside, or paper telling either the civilian population or the men and women in uniform what Fascism really is…. Certainly when it comes to relating foreign Fascism with Native American Fascism there is a conspiracy of silence in which the OWI, the American press, and all the forces of reaction in America are united…. The real Fascists of America are never named in the commercial press. It will not even hint at the fact that there are many powerful elements working against a great democracy…. I call these elements Fascists…. You may substitute Tories, or Economic Royalists, or Vested Interests…. Their main object was to end the civil liberties of the nation, destroy the labor unions, end the free press, and make more money at the expense of a slave nation.”

Have they succeeded? Have fascists in disguise taken over our government? Have Americans been duped by “friendly” i.e. smiling fascists? Are fascists presently engaged in a vast right-wing authoritarian conspiracy to subvert the democratic principles the United States is founded on? Patriotic Americans think the very supposition is ridiculous if not seditious. They should read Henry Hoke’s book and go over the Army definition of fascism now that it is no longer classified. Alas that Hoke simply exposed a few fascists of his day without rendering a cogent theory of fascism so that it could be understood and the fascist activities of its proponents suppressed as un-American!

Pragmatic Fascism and the Death of Liberalism

Mussolini Hanging
Practical Impracticality

 

PRAGMATIC FASCISM AND THE DEATH OF LIBERALISM
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Benito Mussolini inspired the Prophets of the Death of Liberalism with pragmatism, the irrational belief that to get anything done the most “practical” means should be applied no matter what those means happen to be.

Mussolini’s fascism had no rational philosophy. It was in fact anti-intellectual, opposed to abstract rationale, the reasoning liberalism inherited from the Enlightenment.

In other words, Mussolini’s policy was “pragmatic,” concerned only with “Doing what works,” with “action” and the “facts.” That is, with efficient means to consequences.

If “what works” is “right,” then anything that happens to work at the moment is “right.” For instance, any state of being, or any politico-economical state imposed by force is “right” because it happens to “work” at the moment.

Naturally the “facts” are often contrived or manipulated. For instance, the facts used to support the outcome of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorial economic program in Chile were carefully selected and then misinterpreted. Subsequent economic analysis by “impartial” observers, however, led them to conclude that his brutal political-economic regime, supported by fascistic leaders of the United States, was a failure.

“Know then, once and for all,” declared Mussolini, “that Fascism recognizes no idols, adores no fetishes; it has already passed over the more or less decayed body of the goddess of Liberty, and is quite prepared, if necessary, to do so once more.”

Italian Fascism was intent upon creating a state of economic necessity by fear and force, overlooking the “abstruse rationale of political liberalism.” Mussolini said liberalism was just another passing phase, and stated “Communism and Fascism have nothing to do with Liberalism.”

In fact Fascism accepted not the political but the economic motivation of Liberalism, operating through privately owned (big) industry. In practice, however, the revaluation of the lire forced a collective control over wages, rents and prices. The profit motive of industry was nonetheless carefully safeguarded, one major incentive being to attract foreign trade for investment.

The economic motive is not the only aspect that differentiates Fascism from Communism. Another difference is that Communism had a coherent ideology. Recall that Lenin persisted and overcame obstacles, starting with a small cadre of about 100 hard core Bolsheviks, by insisting that theory must be practiced in a certain way and that everyone must know where they are on the path to the goal.

The repudiation of abstruse generalizations in favor of “What works”, the pragmatic approach, was nurtured in the United States, particularly by William James, whose pragmatism was purportedly “romantic” or “spiritual”, and by John Dewey, whose pragmatism was avowedly “instrumental” or “scientific.”

William James’ pragmatism was admired in Spain, for instance by Ortega y Gasset, but not openly because Spanish intellectuals were indignant because of the humiliating U.S. war on their nation. Mussolini attributed his intellectual shaping to William James, and placed him on a pedestal equal with Machiavelli, Nietzsche, and Sorel the syndicalist.

Political pragmatism is “pluralistic.” Pluralism is not as diverse therefore stable as it was once assumed to be, for political hysteria (e.g. the Red Scare) can be easily induced and the factions will gather into a paranoid power bundle (fasces) to persecute domestic dissidents and wage war externally in “self-defense.”

Pragmatism in politics, currently said to be the operating force in the U.S., where party affiliation or ideology makes little actual difference in voting behavior, became popular in the U.S. after the failure of Woodrow Wilson’s plan for world peace. Wilson, we may recall, was the personification of the world’s faith in good will and human reason. He wanted to make the world safe for democracy and establish a new world order after the war to end all wars. He became increasingly unpopular after the economic war boom ended, to be succeeded by Ohio Senator G. Harding.

Warren Harding’s pragmatic policy was to do nothing on principle, to avoid entangling alliances, to ignore academic proposals, to manfully face actual realities, and not to intervene unless specific interests were threatened.

Most recently, the ostensibly pragmatic policy of President Bush, Sr. and its resumption by President Bush, Jr. is sure to occupy historians for years to come. Junior appears to be one of the greatest political hypocrites ever to hold office. Almost every ideological statement he made was reversed by actual deeds save in two areas; domestic economics and militant foreign policy. He appeared to be a pragmatist of the “fascist” or “right wing authoritarian” type, a chief executive who gives lip-service to “democracy” with evident distaste as he does what is “good for the world” whether the world likes it or not. Despite his boring and “moronic” behavior, he built up a cult of authoritarian personality around his hawkish “cowboy” stance, one that is attractive to many Americans.

Americans had good reason to doubt the sincerity of President Bush’s apparent Wilsonian internationalism, to doubt that he really intended to liberate the world and bring it under the principles of Liberalism.

If he was sincere, his approach was not very pragmatic. He reverted to abstract neo-liberal ideology, which can only be realized through a world federation holding a monopoly of force over all regions of the world, i.e. the establishment of a United States of the World.

As H.G. Wells pointed out, the problem with the viability of a League of Nations is in the title: “nations.” An assembly of nations with independent military forces is an assembly carrying the seeds of its eventual discord and ineffectiveness. A United States of the World would have been a contradiction to the “Go It Alone” policy of President Bush.

The problem with political pragmatism with its “businesslike” claim to efficiency is that it tends to right-wing fascism and is inherently irrational. In practice it may lead to the submergence of the worst elements of society into an irresponsible corporate identity that perpetuates an ultimately self-destructive elevation of ends over means.

That is, political pragmatism is impractical. The electorate should be wary of political candidates who claim that the business of government is business, that business should partner with business instead of regulate it, that they would conserve money without mention of liberty and happiness.

Fascistically inclined candidates want to “do the right thing” would be wise to recall that pragmatic Mussolini forsook socialism and embraced the right for the sake of a convenience that eventually hanged his corpse and that of his mistress upside down in the public square. Hitler and his wife in turn committed suicide in their bunker surrounded by proof that the employment of practical might to make things right is impractical.

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