There was a discussion of fascism on NPR today that seemed to me insufficient. The topic had arisen in relation to Donald Trump, and one of the three experts said there was a series of papers that came out about a year ago on this theme. Prior, I had thought I was the first and for some time one of the few writers linking Trump to fascism. We had considered him to be a “garden variety” tyrant, a tyrant of the old sort, in the Aristotelian understanding of the tyrant as one man ruling over a single city looking to his own interests rather than to the common good. Again, in the Aristotelian discussion in Book II of his Politics, government is necessarily either by the one, the few or the many- Kingship, Aristocracy or Democracy are the Greek words, if the Aristotelian discussion is a bit more complicated. The three legitimate regimes aim at the common good rather than the partial interest of the ruling element. But most regimes are unjust, and the three bad or illegitimate forms, when the ruling element aims at the partial interests of the rulers rather than the good of the whole city, are democracy or anarchy, Oligarchy, and tyranny. Prior to Socratic political philosophy, no distinction was made between the good and bad forms, but only three forms were discussed, as in Herodotus. The royal rule of a king was not distinguished from the wicked rule of a tyrant, but both were Mon-archy, the rule (archae) of one (mono). Aristo-cracy means the rule of the best, the Aristoi, while Oligachy means literally the rule of the few, but since there are few rich and many poor in every regime, and these two, the rich and the poor have perpetually conflicting interests, oligarchy means the rule of the rich, who then make the laws, as in contemporary America, not for the good of the whole or the protection of the free market, but in their own interests. The things allowed on the internet are a fine example: The billionairs simply take everyone’s information and sell access for extortion because the laws are made with their interests in mind, and they have paid for the campaigns of your congress persons. Aristocracy is so rare we do not know how to use the word, but, we say, it is like the knights of the Round Table, protecting the people from the robbers and rapists and such, just as was done under King Arthur. The Few who are noble are the heroes or crimefighters, while the criminals seek their own advantage or apparent advantage at everyone else’s expense. When the Demos or the many gain power or Kratos (strength), these conversely fleece the rich, contrary to justice and the good of the polity as a whole. These two interests are balanced in the mixed regime, a descent practicable regime, and our constitution sets it up so that the many and the few must deliberate together in Congress in order to get anything done. But tyranny is the rule of one in his own interest.
The tyrant might conceive of his own good in various ways, and monarchy depends upon the soul of the monarch. Glory, wealth and power are the usual three. But- and here it becomes complicated- the kinds of regime are based upon the heirarchic nature of the ends of the soul. The royal seek wisdom, the few aristoi seek honor or the noble (The Greek word Kalon is translated both “noble” and “beautiful”), and the many seek pleasure. But in the three bad forms, the many seek unnecessary or unnatural pleasures, the few seek money instead of honor, and the one seeks power instead of wisdom, usually with money and unnatural pleasures accompanying these bad souls. When we say Trump is a “tyrant,” we mean he seeks money, glory and power for himself, even at the expense of America, if it served his what he calls “winning.” Hence he will even use fascism, whether he is a racist or not, and would certainly use the jews to beat up the Muslims and present himself as distinct from the Nazis.
Kingship or the soul by nature royal is the soul that pursues wisdom, or the pleasures of the intellect, and these are the highest ends of man, and the most noble and the most pleasant as well. The noble and the truely pleasant, as in beautiful music, attend the true pursuit of wisdom, which does not even appear to the many. To the many, philo-sophy of (literally) the love of wisdom appears dry, like mathematics, because the part of the soul thaty experiences these pleasures is “unconscious” or not even awake. Still, they can see, follow and even elect one who is wise.
Twentieth Century totalitarianism is based upon an intellectual perversion: The envisioned future goal, conceived by certain imaginative thinkers such as Marx and Nietzsche, is transmitted as ideology. But that is why these tyrannies of ideas never existed before the Twentieth century. The left and right forms, at either extreme, are intellectual perversions, different from the thoughtless mobster types with no big plans for society beyond their own wealth and power and perhaps legacy. Trump is this old fashioned sort, as was Saddam and most others, though they are willing to use either fascist or communist ideas if it suits their purpose. By contrast the “Alt-right,” envisioning the “Ethno-state” is a diabolical intellectual perversion, and it is using Donald Trump to try to seize power in America. It is fundamentally treason against the U.S. Constitution.
There is yet a worse form, as the left and right in the Twentieth Century sought their perverse visions of the Kingdom by killing either a class or a race. ISIS and such does this killing on the basis of religion, and if these are the end times, that is indeed what we are in for. Where Hitler attacked the Biblical people of God, the Jews, look for the new form to Attack the Christians. We understand these things in twenty-first century Western politics to be the result of the sins of the Medeaval world, and note that the two forms of twentieth century totalitarianism arise out of German philosophy, intellectual perversions that arose in the history of the West as a reaction against Christianity or Medieval Christian Doctrine.
Having no ideas of his own, Trump is not centrally yet even a fascist, but is quite open to fascism. This is especially so when he thinks it tends toward his apparent advantage. As one participant notes, Trump is becoming known for taking both sides of every issue, but that to know what he thinks, we might look to who it is among the foreign leaders that he admires.
Fascism is nationalist totalitarianism, as distinct from Communism, which is “globalist” instead of nationalist. By nation, fascism means or comes to mean race, and leads to an attempt to achieve a diabolical utopia by the subjection, enslavement and finally the extermination of all other races. Hitler, by using the word “socialist” in his naZi national socialism, confused the way even academics use the word to this day. By “socialism,” Hitler simply means what Hannah Arendt calls totalitarianism, or total state power annihilating self-government. He tried to confuse the German socialists into joining the nationalists by referring to total control by the government as socialism. While socialism is left leaning, thinking that the spiritual truth that human should help one another and the polity care for certain things in common, the term can also can be applied politically to the economy, tending toward a sharing of wealth. Socialism then tends toward communism, the left wing version of what on the right is fascism.
Left and right in politics go back to the two sides of the French assembly surrounding the French evolution, the conservatives and the liberals or “progressives.” We often wonder, but do not have a clear idea of what these words mean. Here we are again confused because those on the right sometimes want to call all tyranny including fascism “left.” On this it helps to be a centrist, from which vantage one can see that there is totalitarianism, the peculiarly modern form of tyranny, on both the right and the left.
Fascism takes its name from the Roman fasces, the axes and rods that were the symbol of Roman and then imperial power. Fascism was to be a return of the Roman empire, and as such it is considered to have been prophesied in the book of Daniel). The Italian version of Mussolini preceded the German version of Hitler, but we now have a Russian, and are trying to prevent an American version, the seeds of which go back to Hitler and the South in the Civil War, as continued by the KKK. As our professor noted, the American South was the first regime ever to be based upon the principle of race.
Fascism and Communism are the same in a list of way while being extreme opposites in a list of ways, evident in the ways that they hate one another, fighting on the streets of Germany in the twenties and thirties and then upon the world stage, in the war between Germany and Russia. They hate one another worse than they hate what is called “liberal democracy,” which is us, and finds itself again inn the center. Paul Johnson, in his work Modern Times, seems to be the writer who showed me these things, in his discussion of the similarities between Communism and Nazism (pp.129-130, 117).
Both Communism and fascism are tyrannic ideas that arose out of atheistic German philosophy. Because they are based upon ideas, they outlive any particular tyrant. The emergance of totalitarianism out of atheism was first seen in the French Revolution. Upon the ejection of the medieval imagination, a void was left in the imagination, quickly to be filled by the Utopian ideas. ‘Tocqueville writes:
Passionate and persistant efforts were made to wean men away from the faith of their fathers, but once they had lost it, nothing was supplied to fill the void within. A host of zealots devoted all their energies to this thankless task (The Old Regime and the French Revolution, II,ii, p.149)
…since the place it (the French nobility) had occupied in the direction of public opinion was vacant, writers could usurp it with the greatest ease and keep it without fear of being dislodged…(II.i, p.142)
Three waves of modernity, centering around Hobbes, Rousseau and Nietzsche, become manifest politically in the reign of terror and the tyrannies of Marx and Hitler. Both, or all three forms, begin in atheism until the void in the imagination is filled by what turns out to be an inversion of the imagination o a perversion of the intellect. Both Communism and Nazism emphasize the will rather than the reason of man in theory. Both are historicist- rejecting the idea of a permanent nature of man, understanding what man is to be essentially (?) the product of historical processes. Hence both eject the idea of natural rights that are unalienable. Both are reduction-isms, reducing all political science and political , focusing, on the right, on nation or race, and on the left on economic class, things to biological or economic things. These become the fundamental principles of a historical process, all simply assumed as first principles, indeed like a faith to be believed without question, but especially imposed by the will of the tyrannical thinker, whether Marx or Nietzsche. Both replace all ethics and law with new principles of race or class, race purity or dedication to and inclusion in the revolutionary class, the proletarian. Both despise and tyrannize everything outside their in group, whether the “bourgeoise” or the or the nationalities or races. The Nazis attacked deformities based on an idea of natural selection, a political Darwinian theory o “social Darwinism.” The reason for the focus on the Jews is that both are anti-Biblical, if willing to use Biblical things in their rise to power. Both depend upon a group of elites or party members indoctrinated in the truth about the march and goal of history or the evolutionary aims of nationalism and race purity. Both are Utopian, looking to a future condition considered to be a perfection, occurring at the “end of history” in the Marxist utopia or in the “thousand year” Reich. That is of course a Biblical number, occurring in the Book of Revelation. either to their own nation or own race “over all.” Race, like class, is trans-national. Both, of course, aim at world rule or world empire, and to this goal, all ethics and law, such as the law forbidding murder, are set aside. Both tyrannies killed millions of their own subjects when no civil war was occurring, in a genocide, aimed at race purity, or a classi-cide, aimed at eliminating the members of economic class of the “bourgeois.” In addition to the twelve or so million killed in Germany and Poland, over one hundred million were killed and often tortured in Russia, China and Cambodia alone, not including the numbers killed in the wars to establish and remove these tyrannies, so that we are numbed to the likelihood of nuclear war.
Both these forms of Twentieth Century totalitarianism are different from the religio-cide that has just emerged in the twenty-first century. As such a thing is simply forbidden in the Koran, one suspects a Western source has invented Islamo-fascism. Yet there was Liberation Theology, and Christian fascisms such as David Koresh. All three Biblical religions could be said to aim at world rule and at a Utopian future condition, though that is likely to be a misunderstanding. Plato too wrote of the “best regime,” which some have been unable to distinguish from the modern utopias. But Winston Churchill wrote of wise statesmanship that it aims to preserve the normal- that everyday world with the usual problems everyone complains about, rather than tyrants with big plans for which by the way they will subvert our free market and constitutional government. The normal world where families pursue self-preservation and education is what we, the natural aristoi, aim to preserve from all these criminals, gangsters and tyrants of both the new and the old fashioned sort, and send them our defiance.