Friday, January 22, 2021


Stanley G. Payne, a retired University of Wisconsin professor who has written extensively about the history of "fascism" offers a brief but very informative essay, "Antifascism Without Fascism," from which:
.... The aggressive military expansion of the fascist powers doomed them to complete destruction by 1945, and Hitler’s Holocaust so discredited extreme nationalism in Western countries that fascist ideology could never be successfully revived. It was dissolved in an era of materialism, hedonism, partial democratization, and radical egalitarianism.

Yet the term never dies, for the sibilant and sinister sound of the word, together with its very indeterminacy of meaning, makes it ideal as an indiscriminate pejorative, particularly with regard to the more right-wing or conservative side of politics....

The F-word has become such a popular epithet in part because its association with Hitler and the Holocaust gives it a special imprecatory power. It denotes something not merely bad or violent, but positively demonic. This confers a sort of metaphysical or spiritual force lacking in any equivalent term, and is all the more useful in the twenty-first century as progressivist politics more and more adopts a redemptive and salvific tone as a sort of substitute religion.

Though fascism has all but disappeared, antifascism has not. An antifascism without fascism makes it possible to create or imagine exactly the right kind of enemy, one that in fact does not exist. This has the further utility of seeming to justify an appeal to violence and the adoption of increasingly aggressive tactics, which impose ever greater centralized power and terms of censorship, and gain objectives less easily achieved through rational discourse and analysis. There is no simpler, easier way to stigmatize and to verbally assert power over an opponent. .... (more)
Antifascism Without Fascism by Stanley G. Payne

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