Friday, April 17, 2009

Glenn Beck: Employing Fascism's Linguistic Inversions to Call Liberals 'Fascist'

I'm not a huge fan of the "just go here and read this instead" format of blogging, but in this case there's nothing better than to send you somewhere else for the scoop. If you haven't been reading David Neiwert, the time to start is now.

Neiwert is the principle contributor to Orcinus, the best blog available for commentary on far-right activity in America. He's written books on the militia movement in the U.S. and is a frequent contributor to Crooks and Liars.

Today he again turns his attentions to Glenn Beck's television show and touches on the nightmare of irony that it presents in embracing a definitively fascist tone in order to ahistorically demonize liberals as fascists. I wish he'd gone more into Beck's tendency to step right up to the line of advocacy of violence to reestablish "America" and thus embody the same phenomenon he's busy condemning, but Neiwert covers plenty of worthwhile ground nonetheless. So much ground that no one quote will suffice, but consider this a teaser and please go read:
In its early years, fascism was best understood as an extreme reaction against socialism and communism, as “extremist anti-communism.” This view, predictably, was offered up by communists, who saw everything through their own ideological prisms. In reality, fascism was more complex than that, though the fear of communism was no doubt an essential element that fueled its recruitment and ideological appeal. At the time, there were very few attempts to systematize the ideology of fascism, though some existed (see, for example, Giovanni Gentile’s 1932 text, The Doctrine of Fascism ). Its true spirit was best expressed in an inchoate rant like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Fascism was explicitly anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist, and it endorsed violence as a chief means to its ends. It was “revolutionary” in its fervor, yet sought to defend status-quo institutions, particularly business interests. It was also, obviously, authoritarian; the claim that it was oriented toward "socialism" is crudely ahistorical, if not outrageously revisionist. Lest we forget, socialists were among the first people targeted by Mussolini’s black-shirted thugs, and they were among the first people imprisoned and "liquidated" by the Nazi regime.
Glenn Beck's Liberal Fascism Hour.