Liberal Fascism

International Fascism

From a reader:

Mr. Goldberg,

First, I haven’t read the book (I might get around to it between classes) but the idea that 20th-century fascism has common intellectual roots as radical leftism isn’t new to me. As an undergrad, I couldn’t help noticing that Rousseau and Marx (among others) were espousing an individuality-annihilating collectivism that manifested itself in slightly different flavors in the Soviet Union and in Germany. To the extent that that is your thesis, it’s nothing new to me, though I’m grateful that someone has written a coherent and comprehensive explication of it. Like I said, if I have time, it looks like a great read.

Having got those preliminaries out of the way, would it be appropriate, if merely as an exercise in semantics, to call Communism “international fascism”? My point is this – one of the distinguishing marks of Communism as a radical left ideology is its international character. The workers of the entire world must unite – national boundaries are artificial divisions that merely divide the proletariat for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. Italian fascism and Nazism were strongly nationalist – but doesn’t that make their brand of fascism inherently less dangerous? The Nazis wanted to unite the German people and expand the borders of Germany, but we have no idea how far they intended to go. On the other hand, we know that Marx thought the whole world should fall under Communism, and that the revolution was not complete until that happened. This isn’t to say that Nazism was any less evil, but by tying its military ambitions to nationalism, it at least seems to have an ideological limitation that Communism does not. Communism has to conquer and enslave the world, whereas what is commonly called fascism may be satisfied merely enslaving its own people.

If this is covered in the book, sorry! I’m sure I’ll get to it someday.

Thank you.

Me: I kind of like this. It might be worth remembering that there was a leftwing faction among the Nazis who supported what they called “National Bolshevism” so I see no reason why you couldn’t have something like International Fascism. Though the specific doctrinal issues would need to be worked out by someone else.  

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