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Thread: Are you a fascist?

  1. #1
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    Are you a fascist?

    http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/resul...st=5&fromCGI=1


    Bastion of Democracy
    You are 5% fascist


    Congratulations! You're a free-thinking, discerning member of your democracy. These 11 questions are based on Naomi Wolf's "10 Steps To Tyranny" in which she described how dictators like Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, etc. were able to seize power and dismantle the republics before them.
    I'd like for the wording to be more ambiguous, though, and not denote specific historical contexts. I suppose that's to be expected.

  2. #2
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/resul...st=5&fromCGI=1




    I'd like for the wording to be more ambiguous, though, and not denote specific historical contexts. I suppose that's to be expected.
    I find it difficult to define "fascism" outside of a specific historical context. (Although "dictatorship that replaces an existing democracy" is actually a sight better than most people manage.) I guess "how dictatorship-y are you?" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    I find it difficult to define "fascism" outside of a specific historical context. (Although "dictatorship that replaces an existing democracy" is actually a sight better than most people manage.) I guess "how dictatorship-y are you?" doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, though.
    Well, they included Stalin in there. How "totalitarian are you?" might be a better title...

  4. #4
    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Well, they included Stalin in there. How "totalitarian are you?" might be a better title...

    Well, therein lies the problem with the term "fascist"--I mean, if you're asking which Italian political party I would have been a supporter of in the 1920's (fuck if I know, but I don't see myself as a Mussolini sort of person) then of course the term is relevant and meaningful. However, the further you go in any terms from that specific situation, the more the semantics of using the term become riddled with complications.

    I mean, can you call Stalin a fascist? Maybe. He was an autocratic, militaristic dictator. I guess there was sort of a short-lived Russian liberal democracy for a few months in 1917 (cue Madrigal to explain why this statement is inaccurate), which the Bolsheviks overthrew to then create a totalitarian state. That's an important part of what is commonly used as a somewhat more rigorous academic definition of (lower-case F) "fascism". Historically, the existence of autocratic governments is fairly commonplace if you're not restricting yourself to looking at a fairly specific era--however, in the mid-20th century you do see a somewhat novel development in which a number of liberal republics collapsed and were replaced by autocratic governments. That tends to be how the term gets used by historians, in my experience--"fascism" describes the occurrence of those events during that period. You can obviously draw quite a few comparisons between, say, Hitler and Mussolini, both in ideological terms and in the more practical sense of how they governed, so calling Hitler a fascist isn't a very controversial description.

    Then again, by some accounts Mussolini was not as antisemitic as Hitler, nor terribly interested in Nazi ideas about genetics and eugenics. "Racial science" was, however, very central to Nazi ideology, so perhaps "national socialism" really does deserve its own special category--I mean, perhaps "fascism" is just a way of describing a form of authoritarian nationalism whereas "Nazism" would be a way of describing a form of authoritarian racism.

    Stalin was in power during the same era, and in a country deeply wrapped up in the events associated with both Hitler and Mussolini taking power in their own countries, and of course exercised authority in a very similar fashion--censorship, ideological policing, concentration camps, etc. From a certain point of view, that makes him very much a part of the same overall historical phenomenon, so why not consider him in a similar way when considering possible explanations for that overall event?

    On the other hand, one of the more important points of similarity between Hitler and Mussolini was their vehement hostility to Marxism, which of course does not apply to Stalin. It's a more than trivial distinction in that both Hitler's and Mussolini's ideological rationales for their authoritarian policies were frequently if not usually rooted in the ostensible necessity of suppressing Communist subversive activity. This makes these regimes part of the western European reaction to the Russian Revolution, which is a significant dimension of their emergence and rule. Obviously Stalin was on the other side of that, so perhaps politically Stalin, having inherited the reins of a left-wing "revolutionary" state built around the need for military command and control, represents a different sort of dictator than Hitler, who ran a militaristically nationalist dictatorship predicated on the need to suppress a left-wing revolution.

    OR, perhaps anyone you might see anywhere with a disposition toward highly authoritarian thought about anything is a fucking fascist, man.


    Anyway, I don't really understand what this has to do with fascism, but I got Charlie Manson:

    You are a hardcore hippy, an eternal child dependent on others for money, food, drugs, since you refuse to work and in any case have no skills and are constantly stoned. You drift through life leeching off other people and saying "hey man" a lot. You use words like "love" and "beautiful" a lot. Eventually you will kill.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

  5. #5
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    I guess there was sort of a short-lived Russian liberal democracy for a few months in 1917 (cue Madrigal to explain why this statement is inaccurate)
    I never argued against that, technically (despite it having first been presided by a prince, and then later by a ghost of a man who represented nobody with actual class power), I only ever argued the pointlessness of the Constituent Assembly which attempted to keep capitalist parties in power once the soviets already had it (in other words, they wanted to futuristically pull a Catalonia, if that makes it any clearer). But this isn't relevant.

    Fascism is not something you're going to recognize unless you have a class-based criteria when it comes to diagnosing it. Apparently there is a common perception that peronism was a form of fascism, which is quite mind-boggling to me, for example. Fascism is a movement with a nationalist rhetoric that appeals to the bourgeoisie and middle classes in order to repress an advancing working class, as Mussolini's gangs imposed themselves through violence and fear against what was a real socialist movement in Italy at the time. Some people like to say that both fascism and Nazism had "popular support" but I think that in doing so they slip into confusionism (if that word exists; otherwise it does now). While it is true that a sector of the impoverished classes adheres to fascism, it's important to note that fascism exists as such on the very basis of repressing the working class in order to crush the political program that reflects its vital interests. Without that condition, fascism has no reason to exist. So there is a distinction of quality and quantity to be made when describing its class base.

    I'm 0% fascist according to this test, which is a terrible test.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

  6. #6
    tableau vivant MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    I'm sure if I was the parent of a teenager they'd think so.

    Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post


    OR, perhaps anyone you might see anywhere with a disposition toward highly authoritarian thought about anything is a fucking fascist, man.
    That's the definition I'm gunning for at the moment. This wouldn't be a central target of Manarchism, would it? Maybe we could write a Manarchist manifesto.

    The interesting thing that always sticks out to me about movements I'd call fascist would be that they seem to have an ever-growing list of enemies. The opponents are always rendered in such inhuman terms. For an adherent, one cannot show empathy towards someone branded an enemy, or that might be a sign of disloyalty. Once someone is labeled an enemy, there is no action they can take that might absolve them. I would say that fascistic movements thrive off of enemies.

    In as much as I give a damn about the political calculus these days, I think the best thing to do is oppose such movements that have a particular danger of gaining strength before they get too powerful. If I see a hive mind forming, it's important to try and stop it before it gets too big.

    Probably a good place to spot it is whenever you hear repeated, insistent cries of "Four legs good, two legs bad."

    I'm kind of digging the concept of horseshoe theory now.


    Anyway, I don't really understand what this has to do with fascism, but I got Charlie Manson:
    I didn't know that was an option. It's a stupid OkC quiz.... what do you expect?
    Last edited by msg_v2; 02-27-2015 at 06:44 PM.

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