This is a reprint of an excellent article on the Eurofascism blog, and one I felt should be reproduced. Øyvind Strømmen has written a book about a subject that really does concern me, in all seriousness - the resurgence of European, classical Fascism. Not the "Fascism-lite" of general authoritarianism, but the whole pure race, threatened by outsiders, hail Great Leader deal.
As someone who has studied Fascism in more than just a historical context (I've spent pretty much 4 years of my life studying the consequences, causes and philosophy of Fascist ideology - most as part of my A-Levels but the philosophy especially at a University level) I can feel his anger at the misuse of the term - in fact this very much echoes the excellent point about Fascism Orwell made in Politics and the English Language, but for a more modern audience.
I intend to buy the book sometime after Christmas and will give it a reading, but for now, his website is in my boomarks and I look forward to some provocative essays on a subject that both interests and terrifies me, and best of all from a European perspective.
Anyway, without another word, here is Strømmen's article:
To many people, I am afraid, fascism is just a word to describe things they do not like.
Lately, the American blogosphere has been full of talk about the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. For a while, I though the intention of this event was to tell people that Ahmadinejad is the leader of a totalitarian country, and that his ideology sucks big time. Personally, I had an impression that many people were already aware of these simple facts, but what the heck - at least it could have been a good excuse for drinking beer and walking around with a cowboy hat.
However, the point of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, according guide to hosting the event, is neither to drink beer nor to walk around with cowboy hats. It is not even about telling nasty stories about Iran (there would have been plenty). Nope. The point of the event is to “confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat”.
Yep. That’s right. Global warming, which could potentially screw up the economy, the climate, the whole friggin’ world and Ann Coulters hairdo, is nothing compared to a bunch of reactionary extremists keeping themselves busy with blowing up bombs in Iraq. I have to admit, guys: I wasn’t aware of that.
Now, Islamofascism does exist. But that does not mean every single reactionary extremist of the Muslim world is a fascist.
Others talk about income tax as a variant of fascism. This guy, for instance. Has he spent much time studying fascism to reach that conclusion? What about the people who spend their time talking about Environazism - do they actually know much about real-life fascism, about the kind of fascism that killed millions during WWII or even about the kind of fascism which merely involves firebombing the local mosque in the middle of the night?
Did I forget about the tons of blogs claiming that Bush is Hitler, and reposting the same essays over and over and over and over again? Or the guys who keep on comparing 911 with the Reichstag fire? These guys are no better than the “buhu-the-bad-environazi-feminazi-Muslim-gay-activists-are-going-to-kill-us-all-lot”.
Having spent some time surfing around on the blogwaves, you can soon come to conclude that in the blogosphere everyone is a fascist.
That is not true. It’s quite ridiculous. And it really makes it difficult to use Technorati to do any sensible research into actual fascism around the world. Because, guess what, it does exist. Fascism as a political ideology is alive and in some cases alarmingly well. Although it is mostly hiding away at the fringes of politics it has a lethal potential: hatred, violence, terrorism… it all follows in the footsteps of fascism. Today.
So, here’s my prayer: Stop writing nonsense about fascism. Either drop the subject in its’ entirety. Or do some proper research.