How Postmodernism Leads To Fascism (part 3)

[See Part 1 of this article here.]

[See Part 2 of this article here.]

Today, in universities across the country, we are seeing honored faculty fired for no better reason than that they disagree with one or another tenet of “political correctness.” Lawrence Summers was essentially fired from his position as president of Harvard University for raising the possibility that many factors apart from discrimination or bias could explain why there were more men than women in high-end science and engineering positions. Guillermo Gonzalez, as assistant professor at Iowa State, was denied tenure and fired for having written articles arguing that a purposive cause is the best explanation for certain features of our cosmic habitat. David Eaton said, “As alumni at ISU, we are appalled that the current Iowa State administration would stoop to expelling a brilliant young scientist and gifted instructor from the classroom, not for teaching about intelligent design or even mentioning it in his classroom, but for simply committing the thought crime of advocating it [in a research paper] as science.” The documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed presents scientist after scientist who were fired merely for advocating the possibility of an intelligent cause to the universe. Ben Stein calls attention to the terrifying process of such a stifling of academic and scientific freedom. Fascists and Marxists had no qualms persecuting and stifling unwanted thought among their intellectuals; Western universities should have great qualms over such persecution, but increasingly do not.

Might similar restrictions to individual freedom spill over from the university campuses to the society as a whole? Bureaucracies, legislatures, and the courts are exhibiting similar “sensitivity” in their zeal to fight “harassment” and in their ever-widening application of civil rights laws. If we ever come to the point of “affirmative action laws” forcing churches to ordain women against church teachings; or “anti-discrimination laws” requiring Christian organizations to hire homosexuals; or “political-lobbying laws”; or the laws we’re even now seeing in Europe forcing churches to remain silent on social issues such as abortion or homosexuality; then religious freedom will have been extinguished. Already some postmodernist sects explicitly advocate and demand such measures; all they lack is the power to impose their will. Still, they are gaining more and more power every single day. Brigitte Bardot went on trial in France for the fifth time for “inciting racial hatred” for insulting Muslims. She’s hardly alone: a number of writers and journalists such as Oriana Fallaci and Michel Houellebecq have likewise been pursued by the French government over the law against “insulting Islam.” Christians there still seem to be quite fair game, however.

Postmodernist theorist Stephen Conner acknowledges that there is “a strange dialectic which pushes renunciation of authority and of unified form to a point of absolute impotence, which may then loop back into a renewed assertion of nihilistic power” (Conner, Postmodernist Culture, p. 213). In other words, for a growing number of postmodernist advocates, “There is no valid authority whatsoever, but you had still better do as we say if you know what’s good for you.” Leftist revolutions tend to follow a very predictable order: At first, the revolutionaries renounce all authority and all established structures. Once the authorities are overthrown and the structures demolished, the revolution enters a new phase. New authorities and new structures are imposed. Most revolutions, however, at least had some criteria for their new societies – the French Revolution’s Enlightenment rationalism, the Russian Revolution’s Marxist economics, the Iranian Revolution’s commitment to Islam. A postmodernist revolution, however, rejecting all such absolutes, would be completely arbitrary; self-consciously constructing a society governed only by the nihilism of power.

“Theoretical extremity,” “rage,” “nihilistic power” – such recurrent themes of postmodernism – do not bode well for maintaining a free, democratic society. Most people do not realize that the tenets of postmodernism have been tried before in a political system. Social constructivism, cultural determinism, the rejection of individual identity, the rejection of humanism, the denial of the transcendent, power reductionism, the rejection of reason, and the revolutionary critique of the existing order are tenets not only of postmodernism but of fascism. We embrace these ideas at our most deadly peril.

Many of the ideas that came together in the fascism of the 1930s survived Word War II and continued to develop in postmodernist thought, hidden away from overt identification with fascism due to a desire to put behind an ugly past. Fascists taught that reality is a social construction, that culture determines all values. Particular cultures and ethnic groups therefore constitute their own self-contained worlds, which should be kept uncontaminated, although these groups will often compete w/ each other. Individuality is a myth; particular human beings can only find fulfillment when they lose themselves in a larger group. “Humanistic values” are a myth; there are no absolute transcendent moral laws by which the culture can be judged. These are “Jewish” – i.e., Biblical – ideas that are responsible for the alienation, guilt, and instability of Western culture. Strength, not love and mercy, must be the true expression of a culture’s will to power. Collective emotion, not abstract reason (another “Jewish” contribution), must be cultivated as the culture’s source of energy.

It is interesting to ask precisely why the Nazis hated the Jews. The reflexive answer is racism, but that is not nearly adequate enough. There were many other racial groups that did not face such Nazi hatred. What did the Nazis see in the Jews that they thought was so inferior and so dangerous? What was the Jewish legacy that, in the Nazis’ minds, had so poisoned Western culture? Precisely what were the “Aryan ideals” that the Nazis sought to restore, once the Jews and their influence were purged from Western culture?

One must realize that the fascists aligned themselves not only against the Jews but against what the Jews contributed to Western culture. The idea of a transcendent God, who revealed a transcendent moral law, was anathema to the fascists. (Interestingly, it is increasingly anathema to many individuals and intellectuals again today. Political figures, actors, television personalities, and journalists routinely demonize religion as oppressive). Such transcendence, the Nazis argued, alienates human beings from nature and from themselves. Fascist intellectuals sought to forge a new spirituality, focused upon nature, human emotions, and the community as directed by the state. The fascists sought to restore the ancient pre-Christian consciousness, ancient myth sensibility, in which individuals experience unity with nature, with each other, and with their own deepest impulses and desires.

Thus fascism was essentially a spiritual revolt against the Judeo-Christian tradition and against the Bible. Those who simplistically blame Nazism on Christianity because Adolf Hitler had been baptized a Catholic as a baby could not be more wrong or – for that matter – more of an example of the very sort of propaganda that Nazis had thrived upon. Some Nazis proposed keeping Christianity as long as it was completely stripped of its “Jewishness,” but ALL Nazi intellectuals demanded a rebellion against the transcendence that is at the very heart of both Judaism and Christianity (hence the term “Judeo-Christian” to denote the worldview). George Steiner wrote, “By killing the Jews, Western culture would eradicate those who had “invented” God… The Holocaust is a reflex, the more complete for being long inhibited, of natural sensory consciousness, of instinctual polytheistic and animist needs” (In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Redefinition of Culture (New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1971), p. 41). And we are seeing the same profound hostility being directed against transcendent values and the Judeo-Christian tradition which upholds those values today.

As Hannah Arendt describes, when convicted Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows, “He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more; he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottglaubiger, to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death.” In her next sentence, she goes on to complete her thought, “He then proceeded: “After a short while, gentlemen, we shall meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.” In the face of death, he had found the cliché, used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was ‘elated’ and he forgot this was his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us – the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil” (Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (New York: Viking Penguin, 1977), 252).

The fascist rebellion against transcendence restored the ancient pagan consciousness. With it came barbarism, a barbarism armed with modern technology and intellectual sophistication. The liquidation of the transcendent moral law and “Jewish” conscience allowed the resurgence of the most primitive and destructive emotions. And as we increasingly abandon the same worldview the Nazis so utterly despised and embrace in its place the same basic worldview the Nazis sought to replace it with, we will have a similar return of just such an emotive state of rage, and just such a “word-and-thought-defying banality of evil” as intellectuals unleash the monster yet again. History repeats itself, precisely because fools refuse to comprehend the lessons of history.

Many people at the time saw fascist ideology as liberating. Just as with the postmodernism of today, fascism was the favored view of both the intellectual elite and the avant garde artistic movement of yesteryear. Martin Heidegger, Paul De Man, Ezra Pound, D.H. Lawrence, W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Wyndham Lewis, T.E. Hume, Roy Campbell, T.S. Elliot, Carl Jung, Margaret Sanger are among the many who supported fascism in the 1930s. Stephen Spender acknowledged, “Some of the greatest modern writers sympathized with fascism” in his introduction to Alastair Hamilton’s book, The Appeal of Fascism: A Study of Intellectuals and Fascism, 1919-1945. These intellectuals of yesterday – just as the vast majority of our present intellectuals today – simply had no idea of the consequences of the ideas they so naively embraced. But their social constructivism and social determinism, put into practice, meant totalitarian oppression. Its rejection of the individual meant the extinction of liberty. Its rejection of objective moral values meant that there could be no restraints on the actions of the state, resulting in eugenics programs, secret-police terrorism, and the euthanasia of the handicapped and “unwanted.” Its ideological hostility to the Judeo-Christian tradition led to the co-opting of the church by syncretistic theologies, the suppression of confessional Christianity, and mass extermination of the Jews.

Ideas have consequences. The worldview that resulted in the Holocaust death camps and a war that ignited the world was born in the minds of German intellectuals and supported by intellectuals across the oceans. Postmodernism – which frighteningly shares fascist presuppositions, is far more dominant today than fascism ever was. In the United States alone, we have exterminated nearly 50,000,000 human beings out of an attitude that is eerily similar to the mindset of Lebensunwertes Leben (literally, “life unworthy of life”) that led to so much horror when the worldview captured a nation last time.

“National Socialism” would institute a controlled, state-directed economy that would work for the good of the nation. The state would solve all of the people’s problems. The organic state, conceived as the source of all values and of all good, would acquire a mystical status, taking the role of God and receiving the devotion of all of its members. As in the ancient pagan societies, before the alienation brought into the West by the Bible, the culture would be fully integrated with nature and with the gods. [Compare this with the sharia-based state dreamed of by Islamic fascist jihadists to understand the linkage between fascism and this frightening understanding of Islam]To react against modernism is in many ways to revert to the primitive, the barbaric. The fascism of the 1930s was never a conservative movement (despite Marxist propaganda that polemically defined fascism as its polar opposite), but it was a reaction against the objectivity, rationalism, and alienation of the “modern world,” a reaction structurally parallel to that of the postmodernists. Fascism, like postmodernism, had its origins in romanticism, with its primitivism and subjectivity, and existentialism, with its rejection of absolutes and with its “triumph of the will.” Hitler may have failed because he was ahead of his time. He would have a much larger and much more global following were he to return today.

Which is precisely why I believe another Hitler will return, again with the cheers of the masses.

“I am writing this from cell 24. Outside a new Germany is being created. Many millions are rejoicing. Hitler is promising everyone precisely what they want. I think when they wake to their sobering senses, they will find they have been led by the nose and duped by lies.” – Journalist Stephan Laurent, who had been imprisoned for questioning the Fuhrer.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Responses to “How Postmodernism Leads To Fascism (part 3)”

  1. Thomas Jackson Says:

    We’ve already seen it. And yes, he had cheering masses.

    If Congress had been destroyed on 9/11 by that plane that crashed in Pennsylvania instead, the American Republic would have died with Congress.

    In December 2000, the FBI identified al-queda as the perpetrator of the bombing of the USS Cole.

    In April 2001, Bush sent Colin Powell to Afghanistan to deliver $40 million dollars to the Taliban, and their allies, al-queda.

    Five months after that payment, 9/11 happened.

    Now think about the Reichstag Fire. Think about Hitler’s speech in front of the burned building. Think about his vow to hunt down the terrorists. Think about his insistence on suspending civil liberties, and his re-organizing of adminstrative functions in the legislature. Think about his declarations of national exceptionalism and rejection of international law.

    Hitler jailed labor leaders. Hitler used his razor-thin majority to assert one-party rule, shutting the opposition out of legislative deliberations. Hitler called upon the nation to keep an eye on their neighbors and inform the authorities of suspicious behavior. Hitler instituted rigid policies controlling travel. I f bribery didn’t work, Hitler used intimidation to gain a compliant press. Hitler claimed to be defending freedom while he built an increasingly oppressive state.

    Hitler had the support of conservative churchs and industrialists. Hitler insisted that patriotism should be displayed prominently and that those who didn’t wave the flag were suspect. Hiltler glorified the military.

    I could go on and on and on naming events, policies, and crimes that we see today being practiced by anti-republican neocons which mirror the historical fascist regimes.

    We have an economy dominated by government chartered corporations. These corporations have interconnected boards and they function as major political actors. That is a socialist economy. It’s the kind of socialist economy favored by Hitler, Mussolini and most other fascist regimes you can name.

    We can change that. We can bring the corporations to heel by abolishing their anti-republican practices and mandating republican principles of incorporation. We can end their role as the controllers of the mass media, our health care system, and our public utilities.

    We do not need a Marxist alternative to what we currently have. Corporations are not evil. Corporate charters have been abused and are now the source of power for an active fascist movement. But if states grant corporate power, they do not exercise that function as a power they have independent of the sovereign power. States can grant corporate charters because we allow them to do that. We can redefine the organizational structure and purpose of corporations. It’s our prerogative.

    You can’t divorce a discussion of fascism from a discussion about corporate power. Fascism is by definition a system that comes from the application of corporate power. It’s ludicrous to assert that a disparate collection of groups whose nexus of association is a method of critically analyzing texts, is a fascist threat. Especially when you beat that drum while simultaneously ignoring an actual fascist threat to republican government.

    The Nazis invented modern superhighways. Are we all participating in a movement towards fascism by using the highway system? Is Dwight Eisenhower, who implemented the interstate highway system, a godfather of fascism in America?

    This is just as ludicrous as claiming that deconstruction of texts, since (as claimed) it was invented by a Nazi, is evidence of a movement towards fascism.

    You claim that the realm of ideas is where we need to confront fascism. I can agree with that premise, if I don’t agree with your examples. However, the fascist boogeyman is out of the box labeled “ideas” and it is running rampant in every area of our lives. I find it breathtaking that you could ignore that and pick a fight with college professors over post modernist philosophy.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    Just to comment on your last sentence:

    It was German college professors who provide the intellectual and moral foundation of Nazism starting in the 1920s. I sure wish someone had picked a fight with them.

    Too bad you don’t.

  3. Thomas Jackson Says:

    I’ll do my part to deal with anti-republican traitors, war criminals and racketeers first.

    Next, we probably need to deal with the corporate system that got them so close to overthrowing the republic.

    College professors with postmodernist ideas are probably way down the list in terms of threats.

    There’s this guy named Bin Laden, who is the punk that the mafia protection racket uses to shake us down for trillions in defense spending. He’ll be dealt with much sooner than college professors, I’ll wager. Probably will meet his judgement before the neocons meet theirs.

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    Thomas,
    I have a feeling I’ll be saying this again in response to one of your other comments, but you make a fundamental mistake.

    You raise every phantom of “neo-con” and Republican boogeyman. Do you not have any idea how easy it is for a Republican to turn that rationale on its head?

    World War I was waged by warmonger Democrat (Woodrow Wilson) who sent millions of Americans to die in the trenches of Europe!

    World War II was waged by a pair of warmongering Democrats (FDR and Truman) who deliberately allowed the Pearl Harbor attack (just ask Rev. Jeremiah Wright) so he could put Japanese in concentration camps!!! That fascist!!! And President Bush doesn’t even BEGIN to have the blood on his hands that FDR has: MILLIONS died. And Truman? He dropped the bomb on women and children!!! But he wasn’t satisfied with that fascist bloodletting; oh, no. That evil Democrat pig hadn’t had enough war yet, so he attacked North Korea.

    And we have JFK, that fascist son of a gangster, who showed his true colors at the Bay of Pigs (HE’S the pig!!!). And who brought the world closer to a total nuclear war (Cuban Missile Crisis)?

    And HOLY MOLY, there’s LBJ, who started the Vietnam War by faking the Gulf of Tonkin incident. What a scumbag fascist he is!!!

    And then – through all of those Democrats, like some bloody, scarlet hand of fascism – we have J. Edger Hoover and his FBI, with tactics right out of the worst Stalinist-Nazi wet dream. He did all kinds of stunts out of the fascist playbook when his fascist Democrats were in power. He illegally surveilled Martin Luther King; heck, he’s probably the one who had him murdered!!! Who was in charge when the we had all the race rioting?

    Do I need to go on, or do you get the idea? Do you see what makes your anti-republican tirade so trivial and boring? You are frankly so bitter toward Republicans and conservatives that you cannot see straight.

    If Republicans WERE fascist, then there wouldn’t BE ANY Democrats. They would have secured power, and wiped out the opposition. That’s what fascists do when they have power (and the Republicans had control of the White House, the Senate, and the House for six years).

    Fascism is a set of ideas from which a political body proceeds to act. Fortunately, we have not yet seen the devolution of EITHER of our political parties into the madness of fascism. But Americans need to be aware of what fascist ideas are in order to avoid them and their consequences.

  5. Thomas Jackson Says:

    OK, Let’s start with Wilson. Not one of my favorites, since he was a member of the KKK, but let’s talk WWI.

    What was the foreign policy that brought the world to war in 1914?

    PRE-EMPTIVE WARFARE. Specifically, the military doctrine of the German Empire called for invasions and occupations of other countries just to gain military advantages over other Great Powers in the event of war.

    There was an attempt to prohibit that policy after WWI. It was part of the peace settlement at the end of the war.

    Along comes Hitler, and he decides that international law is a myth, that national exceptionalism prevails, and that pre-emptive warfare is fine and dandy for superior nations.

    I’m not about to defend the racist paranoia that led to internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, but you would have to be straight out of your head to compare FDR’s war against fascism with fascism itself.

    The Bay of Pigs? That was Nixon’s project, and he left moles behind to carry it out after he left. JFK was blindsided by that little caper.

    Gulf of Tonkin? Well, Remember Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex? There’s your Gulf of Tonkin fraud AND your Bay of Pigs too. Johnson was out of his depth in military matters and he did what the experts said was the best thing to do. I wouldn’t call him a fascist. A fascist would be someone who plotted the fraud along with the war mongers, like Bush and Cheney did.

    J Edgar Hoover, eh? You think he was a Democrat, do you?

    But I like the last one the best: The Republican Party isn’t a front for fascists! They haven’t killed all the Democrats yet! Never mind that the Republican party has cheered incrementally fascist policies and distinctly anti-republican abuses and crimes. Never mind that! Unless you see a holocaust, it’s not fascism! What about the million Iraqis dead? Well! Hitler killed SIX million Jews! Can’t be fascism til we reach the six million mark!

    I’m not convinced by an argument like that, and I can’t believe you are either.

    You conservatives sort it out: Fascism isn’t conservative, and you don’t have conservative leaders if you have leaders with the kinds of policies and practices pushed by Bush and his neocons and his fascist movement supporters.

    Fascism isn’t a conservative interpretation of American political discourse. Fascism has no place in a society with a democratic sovereign and a republican government. We the People are sovereign, not the president or his coterie of pretentious aristocratic cryptofascists. We have a republican government, not a corporate fascist franchise ruled by people with multiple titles.

    You want conservative policies? You want less change and more tradition? Fine. We can have that discussion. We’ll discuss it on the merits. We progressives will win that argument, because those traditions we cherish need not be destroyed in order to have the change we human beings need. You want your kids to be safe walking the streets? Fine. Progressives have no quarrel with that. You want less corruption and better awareness of Christian virtues like charity, forgiveness, love and honesty? No quarrell with that either.

    But tell me truly: Is it conservative to heal the sick, educate the children, care for our planet, and provide for our own needs in the least destructive and most beneficial ways? Then we progressives and conservatives have a lot in common. And we have more in common with one another than either of us have with fascists.

    I’m not on your blog to whip conservatives with Bush’s disasters or the sinister policies of his fascist movement. I’m here to try to make you see that there is NOTHING traditional or conservative about the neocons and fascists who have duped ALL of you conservatives into buying their brand for so long.

    Do you believe in the rule of law? democracy? freedom? Then get wise and realize we can’t win that “over there” while the fascists TAKE it from us here. Quit listening to their fear mongering about some PUNK “over there” which they paid at least $40 million dollars to scare you. Be strong. Stand with us. We aren’t going to surerender to some culty punk and we won’t surrender to corporate fascists either. We’re AMERICANS, damn it!

  6. Gay Says:

    Good night, Happy Fool’s Day!!!

    A town in Poland had only one cow, and it stopped giving milk. The townspeople did a little research and discovered they could get a cow from Moscow for 2,000 rubles, but they could get a cow from Minsk for only 1,000 rubles. So they got the cow from Minsk.
    It was a great cow, gave lots of milk and lots of cream, and everybody loved this cow. The people decided they would mate the cow and get more cows, and then they would never have to worry about their milk supply again. So they got a bull and led the cow and the bull into the pasture. When the bull came in from the right to mount the cow, the cow moved to the left. When the bull moved in to mount the cow from the left, the cow moved to the right. This went on all day.
    Finally, in desperation, the people decided to ask the rabbi what to do. After all, he was very wise. They told him the story. “Rabbi, we’ve tried all day to mate our cow. When the bull moves in from the right the cow moves left, and when the bull moves in from the left the cow moves to the right. What do we do?”
    The rabbi thought a moment and said, “So, why did you buy this cow from Minsk?”
    “Rabbi,” they said, “you are so wise. We never said we bought the cow from Minsk. How did you know that?”
    The rabbi said, “My wife is from Minsk.”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  7. Michael Eden Says:

    It’s still April Fools day here.

    And you got me, as I was looking for meanings from “the right” and “the left” and whatnot.

    Cute joke.

  8. 4TimesAYear Says:

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  9. Michael Eden Says:

    4TimesAYear,

    Thanks much. Articles like that one get the fewest hits because average people barely even know what fascism is, let alone postmodernism. And most people don’t bother to LEARN.

    You want a lot of hits today? Write about “the Beebs.” Or I mean, OMG, what’s Kim Kardashian doing in her last selfie?

    But articles like that one are the most important that I write, in my view.

  10. 4TimesAYear Says:

    You’re very, very welcome. Much appreciation for writing it. I sure hope those I shared it with will start thinking and wake up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: