*Fascism: 100 questions asked and answered*

That is the 1936 book by British fascist Oswald Mosley, and it is arguably the clearest first-person introduction to the topic for an Anglo reader, serving up less gobbledygook than most of the Continental sources.  Mosley actually makes arguments for his point of view, and thinks through what possible objections might be, which is not the case with say Marinetti.  Beyond the basics, here are a few points I gleaned from my read:

1. Voting still will occur, at least once every five years, because “The support of the people is far more necessary to a Government of action than to a Democratic Government, which tricks the people into a vote once every five years on an irrelevant issue, and then hopes the Nation will go to sleep for another five years so that the Government can go to sleep as well.”

2. Voting will be organized by occupation, not geographic locality.

3. If an established British fascist government loses a vote, the King will send for new ministers, but not necessarily from the opposing party.

4. The House of Lords is to become much more technical, technocratic, and detailed in its knowledge, drawing more upon science and industry.  The description reminds me of the CCP State Council.

5. A National Council of Corporations will conduct much of economic policy, and as far as I can tell it would stand on a kind of par with Parliament.

6. “M.P.’s will be converted from windbags into men of action.”

7. A special Corporation would be created to represent the interests of women politically.  Women will not be forced to become mothers, but high wages for men will represent a very effective subsidy to childbirth.

8. The government will spend much more money on research and development, with rates of return of “one hundred-fold.”

9. Wages will be boosted considerably by cutting out middlemen and distribution costs.  The resulting higher real wages will maintain aggregate demand.  Cheap, wage-undercutting foreign imports will not be allowed.

10. Foreign investment abroad will be eliminated, as will the gold standard and foreign immigration into Britain.

11. “…foreigners who have not proved themselves worthy citizens of Britain will deported.”  And “Jews will not be afforded the full rights of British citizenship,” as they have deliberately maintained themselves as a distinct foreign community.

12. Any banker who breaks the law will go to jail, just as a poor person would.

13. Inheritance will not be allowed, but private property in land will persist and will be accompanied by with radically egalitarian land reform.

14. To restore the prosperity of coal miners, competition from cheap Polish labor and Polish imports will be eliminated.

15. The small shopkeeper shall be favored over chain stores, especially if the latter are in foreign or Jewish hands.

16. All citizens, rich and poor, are to have the right to an education up through age 18.  Overall there is considerable emphasis on not letting human capital go to waste, and a presumption that there is a lot of implicit slack in the system under the status quo ex ante.

17. Hospitals will be coordinated, but not nationalized.  That would be going too far.

18. Roosevelt’s New Deal is distinct from fascism because a) the American government does not have enough “power to plan,” and b) it relies on “Jewish capital.”

19. The colonies will sell raw materials to Britain, and produce agriculture for themselves, but will not allowed to compete in manufactures.  And this:  “If we failed to hold India, we should be 1/100th the men they were.”

20. By removing the struggle for foreign markets, fascism will bring perpetual peace.

Mosley was later interned from 1940 to 1943.


Mosley also wrote a very interesting autobiography. It's less focused on policy, but provides the context to understand how a British aristocrat could find fascism appealing. His wife Diana and her sister Jessica also wrote very enjoyable memoirs, which I talk about here: http://necpluribusimpar.net/hons-rebels-jessica-mitford/. Diana, like her husband and her other sister Unity, was fascinated by Hitler, but Jessica embraced communism and fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.

British fascism is rather boring. It never had a chance, so why bother?

Here is a short essay on fascism by a French sociologist: https://notesonliberty.com/2012/02/11/fascism-explained/. It covers Latin fascism in most of its modern varieties and does so in an engaging manner...

"The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"

Thanks for the Wodehouse quote:). It's interesting, now that I think about it, that Wodehouse saw humor in Mosley, when he later got in trouble for joking about the Nazi's.
Also, a very Mosley-esque character was in Aldous Huxley's 1928 novel Point Counterpoint......the character was actually assassinated. The introduction to my version of Huxley's novel is by Nicholas Mosley, a novelist who was also Oswald Mosley's son.

Oh, I like too much that novel!

I find the fact that British fascism never had a chance to be precisely what makes it interesting, because it means that it's not as well known as other, more successful fascist movements and it also begs the question of why fascism never had a chance in the UK, which is interesting.

1. Britain was on the winning side during the previous war

2..Britain's economic recovery began in 1931 with the devaluation of the pound. The contraction in industrial production registered in Britain during the period running from 1929 to 1932 was as small as any among the world's affluent countries.

3. Culture: British political institutions are antique - exceeded in this regard by only a few microstates like Andorra. Brtitish self-understanding provides resistance (among the Establishment, the media, the intelligentsia, and the man in the street) to anything but incremental modifications in political practice and resistance to abusive social regimentation. What the character in Lord of the Flies said, "Everything British is best". The survival of British institutions (which have had no breaches of continuity since 1689 and which have since then had to cope with political violence only on the celtic fringes) give them more justification for that sentiment than anyone else has.

4. Culture: Aggression in British society is channeled into sport. The British generally do not loathe abstractions, just proximate rivals who are palpable to them. Ordinary Brits don't care much one way or another about wogs or frogs, and high class Brits only care about them enough to sneer at them.

5. Social relations: social strata and occupation was not much correlated with ethnic categories (as it was in Poland, Hungary, and Roumania).

Gonna recommend Gottfried's book again:

Tom Woods interviews Gottfried on the book:

It is noticeable how much this is a cross-party platform. Pretty much every political party from 1945-1980 could have stood on this platform. Except perhaps for the foreigners being kept out and Jews discriminated against of course.

4. The House of Lords is to become much more technical, technocratic, and detailed in its knowledge, drawing more upon science and industry. The description reminds me of the CCP State Council.

Reminds me more of the Canadian Senate. I think the technocratic reputation of the CCP State Council is grossly over-stated. Especially as the Chinese State Council is a rubber-stamp of no great importance. It is not even that really. It implements decisions made by the important bodies. The British House of Lords is not an executive body and it actually debates things.

Speaking of cross-party platforms, I wonder why Tyler did not list "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg.

I don't understand this "fasci-nation" by the good professor. Did Bloomberg assign this to him as a multiple book report?

'Liberal Fascism' is fine satire of a certain variety, particularly in how modern its alternative factual nature really is, but that is generally not Prof. Cowen's expressed taste.

What specifically did you find factually incorrect? I thought it was decent history, although the implied "Modern liberals are totally Nazis, wink wink" was a big stretch.

See the passage below, from Mussolini. But who are you are going to believe, a lying socialist who just happened to be the founder of Fascism, so clearly a man who knows nothing compared to a scholar like Goldberg.

However, here is an article from 2010 - http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/122231

A bit of a longer excerpt to give the flavor - 'Feeling oneself a victim is wonderfully liberating. Anything goes. So Jonah Goldberg pulls out all the stops to show that fascism “is not a phenomenon of the right at all. It is, and always has been, a phenomenon of the left” (p. 7). The reader perceives at once that Goldberg likes to put things into rigid boxes: right and left, conservative and liberal, fascist and non-fascist. He doesn’t leave room for such complexities as convergences, middle grounds, or evolution over time. Thus Father Coughlin was always a man of the left, and so was Mussolini (Giacomo Matteotti or the Rosselli brothers, leaders of the Italian left whom Mussolini had assassinated, would have been scandalized by this view). The very mention of a “Third Way” puts one instantly into the fascist box.

That’s too bad, because there really is a subject here. Fascism – a political latecomer that adapted anti-socialism to a mass electorate, using means that often owed nothing to conservatism – drew on both right and left, and tried to transcend that bitter division in a purified, invigorated, expansionist national community. A sensitive analysis of what fascism drew from all quarters of the political spectrum would be a valuable project. It is not Jonah Goldberg’s project.

The bottom line is that Goldberg wants to attach a defaming epithet to liberals and the left, to “put the brown shirt on [your] opponents,” as he accuses the liberals of doing (p. 392). He goes about this task with a massive apparatus of scholarly citations and quotations. But Goldberg’s scholarship is not an even-handed search for understanding, following the best evidence fully and open-mindedly wherever it might lead. He chooses his scholarly data selectively and sometimes misleadingly in the service of his demonstration.

Jonah Goldberg knows that making the Progressives, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and FDR the creators of an American fascism – indeed the only American fascism, for George Lincoln Rockwell and other overt American fascist or Nazi sympathizers are totally absent from this book – is a stretch, so he has created a new box: Liberal Fascism. The Progressives and their heirs who wanted to use government to rectify social and economic ills, and who, in Goldberg’s view, thereby created an American Fascism, acted with good intentions, rarely used violence, and had nothing to do with Auschwitz. Even so, they share an intellectual heredity and a set of common goals with the European fascists. So they go into the “Liberal Fascist” box.'

Nothing in that speaks to factual incorrectness. I agree that Goldberg's implied conclusion is more agitprop than scholarship, but thats a far cry from "alternative factual nature"

"The bottom line is that Goldberg wants to attach a defaming epithet to liberals and the left, to “put the brown shirt on [your] opponents,” as he accuses the liberals of doing (p. 392)"

Sadly, most 'scholarship' of fascism is about attaching defaming epithets to those you dont like. If there is a value to Liberal Fascism, its to show that the fascist label can as easily be attached to the left as to the right. Im perhaps more willing to give Goldberg a pass due to the fact that there is such a vigorous effort to make Fascism into a 'right wing' (whatever that means) phenomenon, which is even more laughable than Goldberg's thesis. While you can fairly say that Goldberg ignores complexity and selectively cites history, the case for right wing fascism is born mostly of the fiction that any kind of racism must mean and can only belong to the right, not from any serious reading of history.

Mussolini killed "Giacomo Matteotti [and] the Rosselli brothers, leaders of the Italian left", proving he was a man of the right.

Stalin killed just about the entire leadership of the Soviet Union, proving he was a man of the right?

Of course, SfS, and all those parties would demand hanging on to India and making sure colonies do no manufacturing, not to mention keeping womens' wages much lower than mens' and having the economy run by a powerful council of corporations. You are so right.

Well yeah, pretty much. They would have called it Imperial Preference but that is what it was. The idea that men should have been paid more than women was perfectly normal in the West until very recently. Companies in the Mad Men period did so openly.

And the British economy was run by powerful councils of "corporations" until Thatcher. In places like Ireland and the Netherlands they still do

I thought A James Gregor's books were worthwhile though I do hesitate to re-read them.

Other interesting British fascists were J F C Fuller, who played a key role in the development of strategies of mechanized warfare

And Henry Williamson, naturalist and author (most notably of Tarka the Otter): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Williamson

Henry Williamson's association with fascism was disappointing but his experiences of WW1 embedded the bitter belief that the millions who died were the victims of the forces of capital and government. His book The Wet Flanders Plain is a fascinating and strangely hollow account of his return to the WW1 western front battlefields ten years after the war and lets you start to appreciate the arc of his outlook.
(An aside, he was also friends with TE Lawrence (of Arabia) and wrote about that too.)

To me this does not sound much like fascism at all, rather very much like a British version of it. Kind of like Fabian Socialism was the British version of revolutionary socialism on the continent.

From Wikipedia:

"Mosley and his wife Cynthia were committed Fabians in the 1920s and at the start of the 1930s. Mosley appears in a list of names of Fabians from Fabian News and the Fabian Society Annual Report 1929–31. He was Kingsway Hall lecturer in 1924 and Livingstone Hall lecturer in 1931."


Mosley, who had started out as a Tory MP at age 22, but then moved to the left and served in the Labour cabinet of 1929, was widely seen in the late 1920s as a future Labour Prime Minister due to his youth and oratorical brilliance.

But the Labour Party's failure in the early 1930s to do anything vigorous about unemployment soured him on Labour. He attempted to start an FDR-like New Party in 1931, and then in 1932 became enamored of Mussolini's Fascism.

Mosley tended to strike his contemporaries as a more modern version of Winston Churchill (who was seen as highly talented but unsound). Americans might see a little of Teddy Roosevelt in Mosley.

Sheri Berman's "The Primacy of Politics" has some great material on how the failure of dogmatic Marxist parties throughout Europe to develop a political response to Depression and unemployment other "wait for the Socialist revolution" was a big factor in the rise of Fascism and social democracy.

The Social Democrats predate the Socialists - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Social_Democratic_Party_of_Germany And Marx didn't approve of them either.

Though if you are into Jonah Goldberg style alternative facts, one should not think that the Social Democrats aren't socialists - why, for a while there, the Social Democrats called themselves 'Socialist' too. Just ignore the reality that both the National Socialists and the SED (the 'unified German socialist party') banished the SPD from their respective political systems.

“Mosley and his wife Cynthia were committed Fabians in the 1920s and at the start of the 1930s.

No. He didn't slide into fascism until about 1932. He was both a Labour minister and a Conservative minister during the period running from 1916 to 1930.

Morally repulsive as Fascism is, experiences like the Chinese one, the Vietnamese one, the Taiwanese regime under the Nationalists and even a more modere instance like the Brazilian regime between 1937-1945 show us that, under a totalitarian regime, a people can defeat superstition and underdevelopment and break the chains of foreign domination.

this sounds eerily familiar

Yeah, it sounds a lot like the Democrat party platform, except change Jew out with Rural White Men.

No, you're a fascist.

No, you are! (Step 3, stop talking and really listening to people who have different opinions.

Step 4, advocate political violence against dangerous evil fellow citizens.

Step 5, nurture the growing hate and fear with as many people as possible. It helps to put on black masks and riot, spread lies and careless hyperbole, and be as impatient for change as humanly possible.

Step 6, civil war!

Step 7, either your side won or the opposition had to greatly militarize to win, either way, you have your authoritarian hellhole. Congratulations!!

Sorry, you're obviously the fascist.

Sorry, Jan, I'm still in Step 1/2: calling people fascist mode. Having a sense of humor is a step 0 trait. Let me know you were just kidding, and I'll take a few steps back with you!

You're right Jan, those Alt Right racists are fascists. I suggest you gather your antifa friends and go beat them up, teach them to respect others viewpoints!

She pretty much has to - if calling me a fascist bigot white supremacist homophone doesn't change my mind, hitting it with a rock will do the trick, right? By the way, this totally makes it A-OK and cool for me and my extremist right wing bible study friends to retaliate in kind. Maybe even escalate things. There's absolutely no way that this can fail*.

*assuming this thread is about trying to make fascism actually happen.

A cousin of mine who lives in Rio de Janeiro thought his friend would not dare hurt him. A stone thrown at his head actually changed his mind about it. And about their friendship, too.

A man came up to me and said, I'd like to change your mind/

By hitting with a rock," he said, "Though I am not unkind."

We laughed at his little joke and I happily walked away

and hit my head on the wall of the jail where the two of us live today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlKjdZWdAtc (sfw: They Might Be Giants)

Sam, just stop. You're a fascist on the last step of fascism.

And Opie, my authority will not be questioned. You need to rethink your statement. Otherwise, there are some black-clad folks with gas masks who would like to chat with you.

Oh please, Jan, truth bomb me, PLEASE. What's this final stage of fascism I'm on? Is it the dehumanizing your opposition by painting them as evil as possible? Is it language and thought policing? Am I, when I'm asleep, prohibiting foreign gays of jewish descent from speaking at a free speech rally, breaking glass at night? Golly!

There's a range of political opinions out there, anon will link to you the political compass. There's room for all voices to be heard and all points to be made. Authoritarians will say there's no freedom without security. Communists will say there's no freedom without a certain amount of economic power. Randroids will say that only the free market can provide freedom. That's 3 different sides without going into any nuance, in reality there's 300 million different sides. There's no Us vs. Them unless you really really force it through violence, hate, and fear... and with all ultimatums, you may not actually like where the winning side of Us vs Them falls.

I understand that the Left has Truth, Demographics, Time, and The True Will Of The People on its side. It can survive a 4 year time-out while Satan Himself bumbles around ineffectively. Less than that if the Left wins some midterms, which of course it will because it has Truth, Demographics, Time, and The True Will Of The People on its side. Calm yo tits. 4 years. Sometimes the other guy, in a democracy, gets to speak, even if he's an inbred old white cis male with the IQ of a rutabaga. It's horrible, I know, but better bad rules than no rules at all, right?

Sam, I will not listen to this. WE will not listen to this. Freedom of expression stops at expressing dictatorial views.

In short, you're a obviously a fascist and if you do not stop expressing your obviously fascist views, views that so undermine freedom...You. Will. Be Silenced.

Heehee, ok, sorry, for a moment there I was taking this thread seriously. Poe's Law and all that. I'm not in the mood for it now, but you're ok after all, Jan or Jan Sock Puppet. :)

The first suggestion in #10 reminds me of the vox populi segment on Monty Python about taxes: "I would tax all foreigners living abroad."

If you want to study fascism you need to go to its roots: Rousseau's philosophy and the Terror during the French Revolution.



By the way, fascism is a reactionary phenomenon against dechristianisation. It can be atheist like bolchevism or christian like fascism or nazism.

What's the optimal level of Christianity? If an assessment's results is "dechristianisation", which the the ruler used to made the measurement?

Belt buckles - if your government hands out belt buckles saying 'Gott mit uns' to its common soldiers, then you know it is a Christian Nazi government. Though even the Nazis were less than perfectly Christian, as the elite Waffen SS soldiers received belt buckles detailing their loyalty to their leader, 'Meine Ehre heißt Treue.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gott_mit_uns

Which might just give a hint how Christian the Nazis really were, actually. But oddly, there is a strange group of people (it is hard to actually call them Christian) who seem to believe that Jesus Christ would have joined the SS to fight godless communism, apart from those pesky racial requirements.

Probably not up to SS requirements, but He was clearly a Mischling. Yes, His mother was Jewish, but his father was...well, anyway, not a Jew - religious Jew, nut not "racially" a Jew. It is complicate, but He was not a full Jew, so maybe some slack could be cut in this particular case?

Well, good point on his reported father.

To be fair, His father has been closed associated to the Jews for the last ... three thousand years, maybe? It has not always been a happy relationship, far from it, but it has lasted more than most marriages or nations have so that's it.

Thanks prior, I didn't know that.

My memory is slow.....as always but I remembered this: Mussolini's Italy would have not existed if the Papal States have not lost a war against "Italy" in the 1870s. Unified Italy exists thanks to the Church losing power, "Italians" were so catholic that they were not even a modern nation state.

France killed their king and was a real pain in the ass for the rest of kings in Europe. They were very afraid either of being conquered by a powerful dechristianised emperor or by being overthrown by their own subjects after reading French books. Mr. Bonaparte understood the effect of religion on people's emotions, he restored Catholicism after French Revolution only to the extent that was useful to the expansion of French empire. The successful French 1st Empire was while the catholic church was a tamed beast under Napoleon's orders.

And today's Post helps out too - ' Instead, Putin's post-Soviet ideologues see Russia at the vanguard of global Christian nationalist conservatism. In this struggle, they've found common cause with Europe's far-right parties as well as key figures within the Trump administration.' https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/13/beyond-flynn-other-ties-bind-the-white-house-to-the-kremlin/?utm_term=.b182f9e04380

In other words, former KGB agent has found the proper lord too, and Russia is apparent rechristianizing even as we speak.

When Mr. Putin visited Brazil, a few years ago, he said he always wanted to see by himself Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro City (which, by the way, is widely considered one of the Wonders of the modern world).

Actually, daquix, the root is not Rousseau or the Terror, but Napoleon. The longstanding tradition of strong nationalism drawing on elements from both the left and right of the political spectrum with a strong leader was called "Bonapartism" until Mussolini came along and called it "fascism."

Furthermore, Mussolini was against the Church as was Hitler. I also do not think Mosley was particularly religious.

Not with the Trump version of this in the USA, we have Jerry Falwell, Jr. and others falling all over themselves for out Great Leader. But, this is America, where 40% of the population rejects evolution.

But is Trump himself "particularly religious"?

"Lisa: Dad, you can’t take revenge on animals. That’s the whole point of Moby Dick.
Homer: Lisa, the point of Moby Dick is, 'Be yourself'."

The point of the Bible according to Trump probably is that The Art of the Deal is a great book.

I generally agree with your points above, but I'll add a few tangential comments.

Close to 100% of liberals reject human evolution over the last 50,000 years. Most people believe what they want to believe.

Jerry Falwell, Jr. watched his dad help elect a morally upstanding guy who ended up nominating a gay liberal for the Supreme Court. I can appreciate why Jr. is more results oriented.

I am way behind in my consumption of Supreme Court gossip... Who is/was the gay judge? Scalia? All that bitterness would make sense after all - the world can be cruel to gays, I am told. I do not know, I know none.

"In Brazil we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

Perhaps you could not have foreseen Bonaparte during the Terror, but Burke did.

The Piketty obsession was a lot more entertaining.

Trump is many things, but he is not a F/fascist.

However, Trump is definitely a threat to the system that has been relatively stable since the Reagan revolution. A system that ensures the highest goal of all human endeavor, ensuring that the rich get richer, is America's ruling principle. Something which Trump directly challenges, mainly through sheer incompetence.

Trump is about as far from fascism as you can get. But to see that, one would have to know what "fascism" means, which is asking a lot from certain people.

Fascism is entirely a tool of the Dems these days. Read the best book in decades on the topic, "Liberal Fascism" by Jonah Goldberg.

Best satire using alternative facts, that is. But then, who are you going to believe, a lying socialist like Mussolini ('Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production' - http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/mussolini-fascism.asp ) or a scholar like Goldberg?

Just because a book is advocating a position instead of making an honest impartial inquiry does not make it a "satire". You seem to have trouble with that word.

I am a simple fellow. Sometimes I stick with simpler explanations that don't appeal to cleverer people. They want more gears to turn, or something.

I was always unhappy with a left-right view of the world though. Too simple. And so when I discovered the Political Compass about 10 years ago, I adopted it. Two axes, the good old left-right, and perpendicular to that, libertarian-authoritarian. I thought it made beautiful sense, and I still do.


You seem to worry about left-authoritarians, but they are not all the left, any more than right-authoritarians are all of the right.

But just the same, authoritarians on both the left and right are real, and have done terrible things.

So in my simple view, don't be or support authoritarians.

The problem with these types of solutions is the arbitrary factor analytic rotation solution. We have a bias against multidimensional solutions because they don't look very nice when printed on two dimensional paper and most social scientists are not trained to think critically about model comparison and fit statistics. If the theories of political affiliation are so complex and conflicted why should you simply sweep them out of the way by fitting a two dimensional pair of axes to a bunch of likert scale items?

I LOVED the Reagan Era!!

I was poor then. Now I'm not! By some standards, by others' not!

Man-in-the-pub economics is always keen on "cutting out middlemen".

While demanding the bar tender run a tab.

Well, I don't drink, but I'll have some snacks , for which I will gladly pay you Tuesday.

Termite walks into a bar, asks, "is the bar tender here?"

Did it occur to you that he might be posting this summary with the expectation that his readers will notice how very little Mosley's proposals resemble Trump's?

+1 Except for the anti-tradism, this is mostly the Democratic party.

#s 1-5 & 7 are irrelevant 1930s British crankery. #6 is pure Trump, so is #14, just substitute "Mexican" for "Polish". #s 9, 19 & 20 are Trump-like. #15 could be Trump if you substitute "Nordstroms" for "chain store. #s 10 & 11 reflect the opposition's view of Trump, although not necessarily correct. #12 is just generic anodyne populism, as is arguably #8. #13 is anti-Trump. #16 is Bernie Sanders. #17 is Obamacare, not Trump.

What have we learned here? Not much.

The U.S. is going to be be importing Mexican oil until there isn't any left.

Oh, Slocum, so the post was about Trump after all? All I can say is this Straussian method gets on my nerves. Leave to the autocratic Chinese the method of pedagogy, signalling, and argument that is indirect, suggestive, and circumlocutious with its hints and insinuation. If you want teach your readers about the similarity or dissimilarity between Trump and fascism don’t patronise them as though they were preschool deplorables. The age of the Democrats, the Nudge, and reading between the lines are over. In Trump’s world you know what he means when he says it.

In fact it is ironic that this post written using indirect Straussian method is indirectly a criticism of fascism — about that there is no doubt because it is a priori obvious to every reader that Mr Cowen does not support fascism. Because in one way or another the indirect method of writing is closely associated with conditions of repression.

The following are excerpts from: Arthur M. Melzer. “Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing.”

“As poet and essayist Yahia Lababidi explains:
Literature under restrictive regimes has tended to develop a flair for allegory—confessing in code, or through the use of symbolism. As Borges shrewdly notes, “Censorship is the mother of metaphor.” In repressive societies, means of indirect communication tend to thrive. Egyptians have a gift for this sort of thing. Past masters at innuendo, they deftly employ double meanings to get past the censors on stage and in life. Slyly they vent their sexual (and political) frustrations in jokes, songs and video clips that manage to hint at everything without really saying anything.”

“But in describing this strategy of speaking about Z when you mean Y, Machiavelli is at the same time employing it, for this open description of the Roman writers is also meant, covertly, to be about himself—to teach us how to read him. This becomes clear, as Strauss points out, in the very next chapter, where Machiavelli celebrates the great virtues of pagan Roman religion—an indirect way of criticizing its enemy Christianity.

Another example, which many scholars have pointed out, is Montaigne’s very explicit critique of Mohammed’s and especially Plato’s doctrine’s of the afterlife: his true target was something else. As one critic put it: “Montaigne stabs the Christian teaching . . . through the body of Plato.” It was indeed a very common practice, especially among early modern thinkers, to go on at length about the ancients, the Chinese, the Amerindians, the Hindus—either in extravagant praise or blame—as an indirect means of criticizing their own government and religion.

The same strategy is just as apparent in more contemporary authors. According to J. M. Ritchie, writers in Nazi Germany could count on “the sensitivity of the reader to pick up a literary allusion, a biblical reference”

“It would be more accurate to say that direct speech has been the cultural norm in the liberal West. Those parts of Europe that lived under Nazi or communist totalitarianism became well acquainted with the uses and ways of indirect speech”

>Roosevelt’s New Deal is distinct from fascism because a) the American government does not have enough “power to plan,” and b) it relies on “Jewish capital.”


#20 is quite interesting. The British fascist assumed colonies were not foreign markets. The solution to war is to divide the world into colonies from Germany, UK, France and Italy......such a patronizing pig.

Well, I guess Americans don't think of Hawaii as a foreign market, right?

During the rise of right wing populism I often commented on the similarities of right wing populism and left wing populism, and that if the two were to ever realize it, then, then, we would be in trouble. I suspect the similarities contributed to Trump's victory, for Trump focused his ire on "elites" and if there is one overlap between right wing populists and left wing populists it's their hostility to "elites". That "elites" is a vague term that can encompass most everybody is beside the point. What distinguishes Trump from fascists is that the Trump administration has thus far proven itself incompetent, and one thing that separates fascism from other systems is that fascists are (often cruelly) competent: the trains run on time. I believe more relevant in today's America is this summary of the criticism of the American left by 1960s liberal philosopher Richard Rorty. http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/9/14543938/richard-rorty-liberalism-vietnam-donald-trump-obama Rorty divided the left between the (highly successful and pragmatic) reformist left (essentially New Deal liberalism) and the (highly individualistic and divisive) cultural left (which exploded on the college scene with the advent of what I call navel studies). Not coincidentally, the rise of the cultural left was matched by the rise of the cultural right, and while the two may seem very different (one seeking inclusion while the other seeking exclusion), both put the focus on culture rather than economics. In effect, both the cultural left and the cultural right have been engaging in a culture war. Rorty points out that this diversion from economics further empowers those who are already in power. For those who might argue that the right wing populists are focused on economic issues (i.e., the loss of manufacturing jobs), I would point out that the policies promoted by the politicians who are supported by the right wing populists are highly unlikely to help them and more likely to help the most powerful and wealthy. So here we are, in Trump's America, the left and right fighting over nonsense while the "elites" enjoy the benefits.

(highly successful and pragmatic) reformist left (essentially New Deal liberalism)

FDR's 'New Deal' had much more in common with Mussolini's programs than anything Trump has dreamed of. This was taken in America (not Germany or Italy) in the 1930s:


This one, too:


And, you make the call, Fascist or New Deal art?


Overdoing it, Slocum. The Bellamy Salute dated from the turn of the century, originally suggested by the man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy, a Christian socialist who died in 1911. It was regularly done in schools when kids said the pledge (back before it had "under God" in it, an artifact of the McCarthyite 1950s). It was under Roosevelt after we entered WW II that it stopped being used. Your link is to the end of the period it was used.

So, Slocum, you are a fake news liar. Try to remove your head from your rear end, please.

Regarding NRA, that is the one part of the New Deal that clearly has fascist linkages and inspiration and was declared unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. There were some fascist influences on New Deal, and that was the main one.

As for the art, sorry, but pretty much all art all over the world at that time, aside from surrealists in France, was of this monumental type. In the Communist Soviet Union it was called Socialist Realism and continued to dominate as the officially accepted form well into the 1970s. It was also fascist, but also all over much of the democratic world as well, very much a product of the Great Depression period where there was an emphasis on workers and nations and realism against all that snooty elite abstractoinsim and so on.

Yes, I know what the Bellamy salute was. The Fascists and Nazis did not adopt similar 'gestures of mass allegiance to the state' randomly. Yes there were a lot of similarities between New Deal, Fascist, and Soviet art and economics in the 1930s. That is the point. In contrast, Trump has almost nothing in common with any of that -- the current comparisons are moronic. I didn't vote for Trump and am by no means a supporter, but it's clear that FDR had a lot more in common with the Fascists of his day than Trump has in common with Fascists of any day.

'The Fascists and Nazis did not adopt similar ‘gestures of mass allegiance to the state’ randomly. '

Rome über alles.

To be fair, the bulk of the American fascist adoration occurred before the German fascists took up mass murder and global conquest.

Wrong again, Slocum. Sorry.

So among other things we have demands for protectionism in economic policy, which was not FDR's view but was most certainly that of the 1930s fascists. Then we have strong anti-minority policies (FDR did go after the Japanese during WW II, but before the war did not make dumping on groups a part of his approach, even if he failed to undo some in-place discriminatory policies, notably those against blacks in the South). Then we have extreme nationalism. Then we have demands to undo democracy, although Mosley still allowed for voting, but not Mussolini or Hitler. Then we have demands for the leader to be viewed as an all-powerful dictator, an unsurprising followup to the ending of democracy. Sure, lots of his enemies charged FDR with it, but that was at best a wild exaggeration, even if many overdid the admiratin of him.

Sorry,but just what was it you were saying again, Slocum?

"Sorry,but just what was it you were saying again, Slocum?"

Let's try it this way. Column A will be "ways in which FDR's was more like the fascists than Trump". Column B will be "ways in which Trump is more like the fascists than FDR".

I got a bunch of stuff in A. The only thing I have in B is 'protectionism' (FDR, to his credit, was opposed to Smoot-Hawley). But 'protectionism' is hardly unique to fascism.

"but before the war [FDR] did not make dumping on groups a part of his approach"

Before FDR put the Japanese in camps (and before the war even started), FDR refused to admit Jewish refugees for fear that they were terrorists spies. And the Wagner Act gave labor unions a new ability discriminate against black workers.

What do you have in Column B?

I'm not seeing any of it after the "demands for protectionism"


FDR's limitations on Jewish immigration were simple continuations of existing immigration policy that dated to the 1924 act. Likewise the racism of the Wagner Act reflected deeply entrenched practices and views in the US. Neither was something that FDR specifically pushed. While in retrospect given what happened later to the Jews in Europe, the refusal to accept refugees looks awful, but at the time this not foreseeable. FDR was not personally anti-Semitic and had many Jewish advisers and friends, so many that indeed this was held against him by the fascists and nazis of the times, "Rosenfeld," he was called in some of their propaganda.

Another item in Column B is complete opposition to immigration. FDR simply continued the existing limits, he did not make them stronger.

I have granted NRA.

Trump and those around him have made statements highly critical of the courts with at least one of his advisers claiming that the president's word should be superior to what courts say. FDR did not violate the constitution to become president for a third term. There is now an amendment to the constitution preventing that from happening.

Persecution of gays was simply entrenched practice. FDR did not make this worse and certainly did not push this as some major part of his view or policies.

You are in fact dead wrong about FDR using troops to "nationalize" companies with uppity CEOs. "Nationalize" means having the nation take ownership of the company. That was not done to the Montgomery Ward CEO. He was hauled out of his office, but his company remained privately owned. As it is, Trump has taken to calling up CEOs and threatening them, lots of them. He has done this more than any president we have ever had. This is in line with fascism.

As it is, about all you have is either stuff that was simply entrrenched practice or wartime exigencies, the internment camps, with us being back really only to the NRA. Column B has both extreme protectionism and extreme anti-immigrant views. Looks to me that if one gets rid of wartime stuff, Column B beats Column A.


This is not something that Tyler listed, but another item for Column B is attitude towards military and militarism, which Bonapartism before it and fascism later would glorify. Trump has not glorified it to their extent, but he has talked a lot about increasing military spending and has made noises about possibly going to war against a rather long list of countries, even if this is mostly just noise.

FDR of course did go to war after the US was attacked and then put a lot of focus on the military, although as you have noted that was not until his third term. Earlier on he did stress the military at all, and in fact made peace and withdrew the military from a number of nations, especially in Latin America, where Trump's attitude has been just the opposite, wiht him even making a comment about how maybe we should send troops into Mexico.

"FDR was not personally anti-Semitic and had many Jewish advisers and friends"

Ah, the old 'some of my best friends' defense. Did you read the linked article?

In 1923, as a member of the Harvard board of directors, Roosevelt decided there were too many Jewish students at the college and helped institute a quota to limit the number admitted. In 1938, he privately suggested that Jews in Poland were dominating the economy and were therefore to blame for provoking anti-Semitism there. In 1941, he remarked at a Cabinet meeting that there were too many Jews among federal employees in Oregon. In 1943, he told government officials in Allied-liberated North Africa that the number of local Jews in various professions "should be definitely limited" so as to "eliminate the specific and understandable complaints which the Germans bore towards the Jews in Germany." There is evidence of other troubling private remarks by FDR too, including dismissing pleas for Jewish refugees as "Jewish wailing" and "sob stuff"; expressing (to a senator ) his pride that "there is no Jewish blood in our veins";

"the refusal to accept refugees looks awful, but at the time this not foreseeable"

Seriously? He turned away the refugees on the St Louis the year after Kristallnacht. The Jews on board certainly seemed to foresee terrible things happening to them.

"Trump and those around him have made statements highly critical of the courts with at least one of his advisers claiming that the president’s word should be superior to what courts say."

Whereas FDR went *way* beyond mere jawboning and attempted to engineer, in effect, a hostile takeover of the Supreme Court by packing it with supporters.

"Persecution of gays was simply entrenched practice. FDR did not make this worse"

Again, did you read the linked article?

Thus, politically motivated, Roosevelt had no compunctions about ordering a hidden and undercover investigation to uproot the conditions of vice (homosexuality) and depravity (homosexual acts) that existed in Newport.

"You are in fact dead wrong about FDR using troops to “nationalize” companies with uppity CEOs. “Nationalize” means having the nation take ownership of the company."

The terminology isn't the point. Instead of 'nationalized', say 'sent in the Army to forcibly evict the management and seize control of'. Still WAY more fascist (both in the action itself and in the use of the Army to carry it out) than anything Trump has done or proposed along such lines.

"FDR did not violate the constitution to become president for a third term."

Nor when he was elected to a 4th term--he just violated a universally observed norm for presidential limits on power starting with Washington. The constitutional amendment was, of course, to prevent a repeat of FDR's power grab.

" Looks to me that if one gets rid of wartime stuff, Column B beats Column A."

It doesn't look like that to me at all. The antisemitic stuff (from limiting Jews at Harvard to keeping out refugees) was prewar and some of it was pre-Presidency. The gay crackdown was pre-Presidency. The NRA and court-packing attempt were pre-war.


So why did Trump's Holocaust Remembrance Day statement become the first one by a president ever not to mention Jews?

"So, Slocum, you are a fake news liar. Try to remove your head from your rear end, please."

Calling someone a "fake news liar" seems like the calling card of a dipshit at present.

For fuck's sake, TV, stop acting as if you're some kind of neutral centrist observer and just admit you're a right-wing Trump supporter like the rest of the bunch around here.

Your fellow Trump lovers don't need the pretense, and we Trump haters don't buy it. You don't need credibility with them, and you don't have any with us, anyway.

Invoke hall of mirrors spell! All fake news is real news and Turkey ? Vulture is an authority on something.

Supporting slocum doesn't give you any more credit than pretending to be a cane for a cripple.

Oh shit, I don't have credibility with FUBAR007? I think I'll go kill myself.

That last picture makes me think of 1930s auto styling. And in a post truth world, obviously all American cars built in the 30s were fascist inspired. Or socialist, depending on how seriously one rates Goldberg's scholarship skills.

Oh, I went too far. Trump has not yet demanded ending democracy or making himself a total dictator, although he seems to like to make false claims that he won the popular vote. But he has gone along with the rest of it, not supported by FDR, but supported by Mosley, Mussolini, and Hitler. Sorry, looks pretty fascistic to me, certainly compared to other current US politicians, if not all the way there..

So you fault Slocum as a "fake news liar" for going too far in his comparisons, but then you casually say that Trump looks pretty fascistic to you, and seem to equate "ending democracy or making himself a total dictator" with "false claims that he won the popular vote"? Okay bro. You seem reasonable.

I really really appreciate msgkings. Someone who does not like Trump, will critique him and poke a cult of personality on either side. I wish the (vocal elements of the) Trump opposition were more like him, because then we'd be back into policy debate where Trump can actually and easily be beaten. And policy debate is good for all of us, even the other side.

Yeah, not only is msgkings more pleasant to interact with as a result, but he is far more likely to convince people who aren't firmly aligned in either camp.

Most Trump opponents go the "you're either with us or against us" route, so anyone who isn't sufficiently denouncing Trump is therefore an enemy. So to them, I am now pushed into the "Trump supporter" camp despite voting for Gary Johnson (and before that, Gary Johnson, and before that, Obama). I don't want to be a Trump supporter, but I also don't want to have to denounce him for everything he does, or for being a fascist, or whatever else I am supposed to denounce him for. Policies can be bad without having to believe their creator is Hitler.

Yeah, this level of discourse is making us all dummer. I voted for Trump, before that Johnson and before that Barr. Even as a Trump voter I don't want to have to defend him this much. Trump is like, "Honey, I crapped the bed," and the left responds, "I'm going to burn this house down and shoot your dog and run away with the kids". Not a great starting scenario, but damn bad reaction.

Msgkings, we may not deserve you but we need you.

Our website turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo

Oh poor Turkey Vulture, all those anti-Trump people are being such meanies, pointing out his fascistic tendencies. They are just forcing you, forcing you against your will, to become his defender.

Hey, I recognize that he did not vomit all over the prime minister of Japan at dinner the way George H.W. Bush once did. i give him credit for that. And he has been willing to let his wife stay in New York rather than demanding that she stay in that dump of a White House he has to spend time in, although it might be nice if he footed the bill for all the extra security needed to take care of her and Barron there. But at least he is sort of being a nice non-sexist guy.

Oh, and he as not arrested Hillary Clinton, even though he promised all those shrieking and screaming Trump supporters that he would. I mean, those terrible emails of hers. But then maybe he is aware that he is using a totally unsecured phone himself.

Oh, and he has not yet declared a state of emergency and martial law, thereby openly and fully arrogating to himself dictatorial power, at least not so far.

Happy now, TV?

"Oh poor Turkey Vulture, all those anti-Trump people are being such meanies, pointing out his fascistic tendencies"

Nope, just being the clowns you accuse Trump of being. You have embraced hyperbolic ridiculousness as a means to your political ends. Trump has taught you well, it seems. Good for you.

Rosser was this way well before Trump became a "serious" candidate for the presidency, unfortunately.

Sorry, Rayward, although I see that you put yourself forward as some great expert on this who has been propounding who knows what for some time now, but fascism in practice was not really all that competent. Mussolini may have made the trains run on time, although that may have been more true in propaganda than in fact, but his foreign invasions were largely botches, aside from conquering Eritrea (but failing to get the rest of Ethiopia). He was a blowhard bungler, and he came to power backed by fake news, a claim that Italy was gypped out of its territorial claims in WW I when in fact it ended up with more territory than it even demanded in Alto Adige and around Trieste. Just a pack of lies.

Then we have Hiter, who certainly looks more competent than Mussolini, except for the fact that he kept intervening stupidly in war strategy against his generals almost always to bad effect, not to mention that his super anti-Semitic attitude drove out all the scientists to the US who knew how to make nuclear weapons. Yeah,real competent that one.

Spending hours and days and months debating whether Trump is a fascist is pointless. As is debating the finer points of fascism. It only serves to divert attention from the very real policies that benefit the "elites" that both right wing populists and left wing populists oppose. So while the "proles" of the right wing populists and the "proles" of the left wing populists engage in a culture war, the "elites" derive the benefit of the actual economic policies that are adopted. [As for the "pragmatic" reformist left, the success of the New Deal is measured by the number of very real (New Deal) policies that were actually adopted, not by whether those policies are in fact successful.]

I think "fascist" has a simpler meaning in practice. It is just "very much, too much, governmental authority." Cops pepper spraying peaceful protesters are called fascists because they are claiming too much authority.

A modern economy requires authority, but that doesn't mean we should not worry about a bit too much, or way too much.

So, this thing about "what Mosley said" is kind of interesting, but "what authoritarians say" might be quite a bit more varied. The tokens might matter less than the claim of legitimacy.

That would be more helpful if “very much, too much, governmental authority.” were easy to define. Would you call Obama a fascist? W Bush? There are no shortage of people who would say that both expanded and abused governmental authority.

I would say it is supposed to be an argument, and an issue of every election.

I really don't like US citizens being required to give customs agents their email passwords. No idea when that started, but I would like it to be elevated to Presidential debates.

Or sooner, ask it at a Presidential news conference.

The Nazis were generally not very competent, and astonishingly corrupt. Nazi Germany was forced to go to war, and keep the war going, because the late 1930s peace-time economy would have quickly collapsed in a cloud of subsidized loss making industries, quarreling ministries, unsustainable defense spending, badly planned import substitution and outright theft. Nazi Germany survived basically by robbing - first domestic Jews and political undesirables, then Austria and the Czechs, then France and Poland, and then the rest of Europe, until the game ended. Hitler himself had a horrible work ethic and a poor attention span for issues that didn't interest him. He was about as far from the image of a cruelly competent Prussian technocrat as you can imagine.

You and Mr. Rosser are absolutely correct in this regard. The myth of fascist kick ass efficiency needs to be debunked at every turn. Mussolini didnt make the trains run on time, he just changed the schedule.

#12 - This might have proved useful to the Obama Administration back in 2009. Too bad they didn't have the courage. Ooops, I forgot, Tim Geitner was the Sec of the Treasury and would not let this happen to his friends.

Just what were you going to jail Richard Fuld for doing? Making bad investments is not a crime.

Making bad investments is not a crime.

Which points to the problem. What penalties currently exist--legal and otherwise--are insufficiently deterrent. Incompetence, recklessness, undue optimism, underestimation of risk, and bad decision-making are not adequately punished.

The 2008-09 crash was not an Outside Context Problem. It was not a once-in-a-millennium weather event. It was the result of processes and decisions deliberately made by people who, at best, came to believe their own bullshit and, at worst, gambled in bad faith with other people's money. Fuck 'em.

It was the result of central bank incompetence.

Did you drink the Steve Hanke Kool-Aid or the Scott Sumner Kool-Aid?


CPI fell 4% in the second half of 2008, the largest 6-month drop in the price level since 1933, with predictable results on employment.

Money was too tight. No kool-aid needed.

are not adequately punished.

suggest you consider means, costs, and benefits.

Bigots scared of the world, scared of competition, scared of their own citizens. And I love #18: 'I don't really have any rational criticisms against the U.S., but......Jews!"

Remember, the guy is a fascist. He couldn't criticize the U.S. because it was too fascist

Fascism was very popular before the war. There was a story where someone read some german nazi policy with a few expressions changed to an educated audience in eastern Canada post war and got cheers and full agreement. Pre war the two competing ideologies of Communism and Fascism were having arguments essentially about ideological purity, but much of the foundations of policy were in agreement. Strong state control of industry, commerce, religion, culture, both against the political and power institutions of the time.

Both failed not because Fascism! or Communism!, but because they didn't work and as they failed required extraordinary power backed with violence to maintain. Collective farms were a great idea except for recalcitrant Ukrainian farmers, nothing that starving a few million of them wouldn't fix. Same with Fascism who couldn't resist invading neighboring countries, and killing the deplorables among them.

The most frightening story of fascism was told to me by a German man. He was a qualified well trained industrial tradesman in the early 1930's, living at home with his father, unemployed. He and many millions more like him. Within weeks of Hitler gaining power, he received a letter telling him where to report for work. Another lady told me that she was afraid to go out on the streets, but after Hitler was in power she felt safe going about her business.

By that measure both Bush and Obama were Fascists because both had stimulus policies to get people to work.

'Pre war the two competing ideologies of Communism and Fascism were having arguments essentially about ideological purity'

Not to mention who should be killing who, as seen here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Civil_War

Indeed. Very few utopian illusions survived that conflict, especially among communists. The utopian idealists who flocked to that conflict found the doctrinaire party communists as implacable an enemy as the fascists.

All the hard ideologies of the time rose in response to catastrophic failures. The Prussian militarism and societal discipline led to WW1, as well as the elite incompetence in Britain. That bloodbath pushed the Czarist Russia over the edge, laid the seeds for Nazi Germany. The economic turmoil from the beginnings of a tightly coupled worldwide economic system poured more fuel on the fire.

If there are any parallels now it is similar. The pan European experiment is not bringing the expected results, a global economy is leaving vast swathes of the population with no productive place in the economy. The internal contradictions of Islam are convulsing the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the spillover is having it's effects almost everywhere else. Post Christian western civilization has decided to breed itself out of existence. Asia either has either stopped reproducing, or in China trying to find the fine line between authoritarian Communism and free markets, hoping not to get hung in the process. All the while the massive 50 year old almost worldwide bureaucracy is entering it's third generation and finding it's host unable to keep feeding it to it's satisfaction.


There are no internal contradictions in Islam. It is a complete, internally consistent, and moral way of interpersonal relationships, government, justice, and policy.

The Middle East is in turmoil because its governments have been kleptocracies. There is nothing in Islam against free market transactions (minus usury). The Middle East needs more Islam, not less. And it will happen , Inshallah.

Mosley was a completely inconsequential figure after 1931 and his organization never won a single seat in parliament or on a local council. He had also been a prominent figure within the British establishment for 14 years, something quite atypical among Europe's interwar fascist leadership (Vidkun Quisling was an establishment figure, and almost as unsuccessful electorally as Mosley. Gyula Gombos was an establishment figure as well, but his political advancement occured pari passu with renunciation of salient features of proto-fascism).

Actually, I picked up Prof. George Mosse's classic Nazi Culture (essays with original source documents).

Here are some of the Chapter headings. either of essays or actual source written by Nazi's:

"The Aryan as Custodian of Culture"

"The State Is Not an End But a Means"

"The Jew Has No Culture"

"The Necessity of Propaganda"

"The Bonds of Family"

"The Tasks of Women" by Adolf Hitler

"Emancipation from the Emancipation Movement"

"The Blond Craze"

"Against the Political Woman"

"The Nordic Race as Ideal Type"

"Heredity and Racial Biology for Students"

"The New Biology: Training in Racial Citizenship"

"To Preserve the Strength of the Race: Compulsory Sterilization"

"A Soldier Believes in Plain Talk"

"Intellectuals Must Belong to the People"

"On the National Responsibility of Publishers"

"What is German in German Art"

"The Limits of Science"

"The Fellowship of Battle"

"The Development of the SS Man"

"The Renovation of the Academic Community"

"Civil Rights and the Natural Inequality of Man"

"The Nature of Academic Freedom"

"Jewish Graduates Are Numbers, Not Persons"

"The Wage Freeze for Stenographers"

Some statistical tables on Nazi membership as well. Since it is hard to repeat the chart on this site, here is the key for the data: the first number is the percentage of members of the Nazi Party from an occupational group; the second number is the percentage of German society with that occupation. Blue Collar Workers (28.1% of Nazi party membership/ compared to 45% of the population ; White Collar Workers (25.6% of the party /12% of the population ); Self-employed (20.7% of the party / compared to 9% of the population.

Mosse's book is excellent and a classic. He was an interesting man and great lecturer. I took European social history from him a half century ago. After the fall of communism in the former East Germany he was able to get back ownership of some property that had been taken from his family by the Nazis and then remained in state hands during the Communist period. He ended up giving a large sum of money to the University of Wisconsin, and now what used to be called the Humanities building is named after him.

Question to Tyler Cowen and Barkley Rosser (because both seem pretty informed about these things):
Did Keynes ever comment on Mosley? If so, what did he say? Any cites you can point me to?

Interesting question. Skidelsky wrote bios of both men, and he is the best source.

Near as I can tell, Keynes had nothing to say about Mosley after he went fascist. The influence mostly went the other way, with Keynes's incipient views on aggregate demand influencing Mosley in the mid-1920s, including the Birmingham Proposals, which Mosley had a hand in writing, arguing for government fiscal stimulus to lower unemployment (which was high in UK througout the 1920s, mostly due to an overly high value of the pound). He was drawing strongly from Keynes when he was a minister in the Labour government in 1930, including proposing protectionist policies. But Keynes did not support his call for a National Economic Planning Council. After he quit the Labour Party, he drew on Keynes for ideas with his New Party, but as he dropped that and moved on to wanting to limit political liberalism and pushed his hard anti-Semitic line, Keynes had nothing to do with him.

That said, it is well known that Keynes from time to time made unpleasant anti-Semitic remarks, even as he had many Jewish friends and aided refugees from the Nazi and Italian fascist regimes. There is also the famous matter of the Preface to the German translation of his General Theory that says that Germany could show the full application of his theory, although this was later explained not as him supporting Hitler's Germany, which he clearly did not, but as an affirmation of his claim that his theory was indeed "truly general" and thus supposedly applicable to all societies.

Hope this sort of answers your question, David.

See p.8 and the cites there: https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Autumn_2010/Bret_Rubin_The_Death_of_British_Fascism.pdf

Thanks, Barkley and Tyler.

Nice to have a convenient list of policy proposals that can be rejected out of hand as "fascist."

Let's say the 1-10 dial of libertarian-authoritarian bias should normally be set to around 5.

Fascism is just that dial cranked to 11.

Ok, fascism is right-authoritarianism cranked to 11. Franco.

Left-authoritarianism at 11 is communism. Castro.

And what would you say makes fascism 'right' and communism 'left'?

I am pretty sure this is conventional political science.

Eysenck's political views related to his research: Eysenck was an outspoken opponent of what he perceived as the authoritarian abuses of the left and right, and accordingly he believed that, with this T axis, he had found the link between nazism and communism. According to Eysenck, members of both ideologies were tough-minded. Central to Eysenck's thesis was the claim that tender-minded ideologies were democratic and friendly to human freedoms, while tough-minded ideologies were aggressive and authoritarian, a claim that is open to political criticism. In this context, Eysenck carried out studies on nazism and communist groups, claiming to find members of both groups to be more "dominant" and more "aggressive" than control groups.


Doesnt seem that settled to me. Can you answer in your own words what makes fascism ‘right’ and communism ‘left’?

Do you realize that "authoritarianism" is an idea created by communists?

Not tribal chiefs? Dominant individuals in any social species accepting such things?

Libertarian-authoritarian is not the right dial.

I would propose egalitarian-authoritarian instead.

Anarchism-totalitarianism should be another dial, with libertarianism far toward the anarchist end.

That doesn't really work because egalitarianism is a goal and authoritarianism is an action.

A left-authoritarian might brutally pursue an egalitarian outcome, as in Mao's Cultural Revolution.

I am thinking of "egalitarianism" as a belief in opposition to hierarchy, not as an end goal. Perhaps "political egalitarianism" would be a better term, though I think you'd want to similarly say "political authoritarianism." I would call "equality" the imagined end goal in the Cultural Revolution and other such utopian totalitarianisms. Though of course, some might argue that we can't be "egalitarian" if we aren't "equal," thus justifying something like a Cultural Revolution or other totalitarian project to try to make people equal as a prelude to a truly egalitarian society. But I don't think that is a necessary belief.

A radically egalitarian system would place no special weight on the views or decision of any individual or small group of individuals. An authoritarian system places special weight on the views or decision of a single or small group of individuals.

"Authoritarian" should be understood to relate to the system used to arrive at policy outcomes, not to those policy outcomes themselves. We can imagine a brutal authoritarian who tries to rework humanity into his preferred image based on some additional ideological commitment, but we could also imagine a benevolent authoritarian who lets people do whatever they want (except challenge his power over policy-making).

Perhaps look at that T axis above. An "authoritarian" who "lets people be free" is nonsensical in that framing.

Also note, since this is about Trump, that he wants to be tough-minded, to be tough, that is not about letting people be free. He literally said "kill their families." Repeated photo ops with cops is not about letting people be free. Etc. Etc.

Stop your dishonest campaign of distraction.

It's not distraction you partisan hack. It is trying to understand the world instead of tossing whatever shit I can find at my political opponent.

Not everything has to be about Trump. You're making it obvious that your political hackery is so strong that any discussion you have about defining "authoritarian" or the like is calculating whether your definition allows you to apply the label to Trump.

He may constantly brutalize your poor mind, but not everybody is so stuck on him. Every day, the same thing. Just give it a rest.

As I say, we can reduce this very simply.

"Kill their families."

Does that sound fascist to you?


That would be an example of defining "fascism" as "policies I think are bad." That is a stupid definition of "fascism."

Maybe ask yourself "how did I end up on the 'kill their families' side of this argument?"

So now you are quite literally saying that anything bad is "fascist"? That because I don't think something is "fascist" means I support it?

I've seen you argue like that before, so you may actually believe it, but it is ridiculous.

Dude. You ignore an entire body of thought and literature to say fascism just equals bad.

That is going to look pretty stupid to any reader who followed the "Political Spectrum" link above.

Any reader can follow your arguments here and see "pretty stupid" amply illustrated.

I argued for what I believe to be the proper way to define and understand things like "authoritarian."

You, after briefly feigning an abstract interest in the issue, make clear that your only interest is making sure to define Trump as "authoritarian" and "fascist." Any definition that doesn't allow you to apply those labels to Trump is therefore wrong. You are interested in taxonomy as a weapon, not as a route to understanding the world.

So then you continue, reminding us that "Trump is bad. Trump says bad things. Trump must be a fascist. If you aren't willing to call something Trump-related fascist, you must support it and Trump."

What makes "kill their families" fascist?

This sounds like syndicalism to me. Not anarcho-syndicalism, but syndicalism all the same. Looks like "socialism of the Russian pattern" versus "socialism of the German pattern" is still an appropriate way to view things.

Apart from explicitly enshrining as ideology the exterminating of inferior races, though. Assuming we are living in Goldberg's world, that is.

Otherwise, the National Socialists did not practice 'German socialism,' they practiced murderous barbarism wrapped up in explicit racism in the service of a vision of a better world through eugenics.

But not just that

Absolutely right - they used 'enhanced interrogation' against their enemies, often without benefit of a trial, for example.

They also started a war in an attempt to grab natural resources to fuel their economy, while employing slave labor to keep their factories churning out weaponry.

I would say it has a corporatist flavor, which could be seen as syndicalism expanded beyond purely economic concerns. Which is why some argue that the corportist policy should be considered a defining feature of "fascist" ideology.

Eugenics not fascism will be the 20th century doctrine revived in the 21st century.

Get with the right bandwagon, TC.

I thought the point Tyler was making is that Mosley's proposals are mostly(with the exception of the unfortunate "Jewish question" BS) quite reasonable.

Another interesting aspect of this list is the antisemitism. This makes the Mosley's form of fascism closer to Nazism than to Italian original fascism, which at first and for a long time was not antisemitic.

However, on a second look, Mosley's antisemitism seems quite different than Hitler's one:

According to Tyler's summary <>. On the contrary in Germany Jews were very well assimilated, often converts to protestantism, and this is precisely this which made Nazis furious.
Hitler resented Jews for being too assimilated, too hidden in the society, corrupting the Aryan race without people watching. A lot of the Nazis' early antisemitic propaganda were aimed at "teaching people how to recognize Jews".

I do not know well enough the history of the Jewish community, or of antisemitism, in UK to understand the roots and cause of this difference, but it is noticeable.

For some reason the quotation of Tyler I was commenting on disappeared. It was:
“Jews will not be afforded the full rights of British citizenship,” as they have deliberately maintained themselves as a distinct foreign community.

Jews were probably more assimilated in Italy than in Germany. It was 1938 when Mussolini followed Hitler in getting on the virulently anti-Semitic bandwagon,later than Mosley.

If you read the latest Scott Alexander, Italy was apparently one of the very best places to be for a Jew in Europe

The roots? How about

1. People are readily willing to be led, especially by someone who has (by all appearances) successfully finessed some real problems and

2. Hitler was nuts. By October 1938, he held all the germanophone territory it was practical to acquire and hold in Europe bar Danzig (a de facto dependency of Germany from 1935 forward), germanophone South Tyrol (in re he'd have to trade with Mussolini), and Memelland (which he was able to take in March 1939 without causing a conflagration). The Hohenzollern Empire never included Austria or the German portions of Bohemia and Moravia. The productive capacity of these areas went a long way toward compensating Germany for the loss of its overseas dependencies (which are to this day not very productive, the concessions in China the exception), Alsace-Lorraine, and the portions of Posen and West Prussia taken by Poland. The restrictions on German re-armament in the Versailles Treaty were effectively abrogated (and Britain had recognized this explicitly with the Anglo-German naval treaty), the reparations were by 1938 sour accounts receivable for the Allies, and Germany's economy was humming along better than America's or Britain's or France's. Germany had an alliance with Italy, buffers between it and Russia, wasn't facing any unrealized liabilities in Africa, and had opportunities to build patron-client relations with states in Eastern and Southern Europe. What was left of the Versailles edifice was some piles of masonry and the entryway (with 'War Guilt' carved in the stone). Germany didn't have it all back, but Germany did have 80% of it back, and he still went to war.

And while he was at war, crucial resources were diverted to build and maintain camps devoted to killing merchants, artisans, and rank-and-file professional men along with their wives and children. Because he believed his own rubbish.

Thanks Art Deco. I read a lot of History, but your description of Hitler is awesome.

A point worth making: just because Mosley called ideas "fascist" doesn't mean they have to be included in the definition of "fascism," any more than we have to include any nation calling itself "Democratic" or a "Republic" in the definition of those forms of government.

Very true. The guy was a fascist and he included what he thought was needed to make fascism work for the purposes he wanted it to work for, including peace and economic well being for the country. Some of that may be done, or planned to be done, in other forms of government.

Mosley's list, and how fascism actually turned out when practiced, reminds me of some of the lofty ideals of Communists that didn't work out either.

It seems that extremes of government may sound good as ideals, but they don't work out well in practice. The main things that fascism and Communism are used for, in the modern world, is for bashing people who think differently from you politically. If they're Right Wing, you call them fascist, even if there's no evidence (In DT's case, however, there is some evidence of similarity to fascist regimes.) If they're Left Wing, you call them Communist, even with no evidence.

You might like to read Mikhail Sholokhov's 'The Fate of a Man' if you want to know a little more about Fascism. This Russian writer's account of Fascism is contained in a book called: "Do the Russian's Want War?" General Editor Chinghiz Aitmatov from Progress Publishers, Moscow - 1985. He is one of about 30 writers in the book who demonstrate that the Russia they are talking about is not about the monster Joe Stalin or even about Soviet Communism. It is about the Russian People and their quest for world peace which goes right back to before the first World War. Later in the book writer Alexander Chakovsky a Lenin Prize winner, asks us: "Which was set up first: NATO or the Warsaw Treaty Organisation? How many times according to the Brookings Institution in the United States, did Washington resort to demonstrations of its "military fist" in the decades since the war? I will refresh your memory." he says "215 times." and goes on to list eight such incidents starting with the Korean War and then Vietnam c.f the film "Born on the 4th of July". Since I came to live in East Europe I have learned that there many more colours in the geo-political rainbow than the primitive two I was brought up on in England.
Alexander goes on to say " Would anyone deny that Soviet literature is inspired by peaceful goals? Literary works permeated with a spirit of internationalism, a spirit of the fraternal unity of people, are being written in 76 languages in our country. The keynote of our books is.....peace, a striving to understand people of goodwill in other countries of the world." "...Is this only a matter of repeating, in the current threatening situation" (!!!) "the efforts of the writers of the prewar generation? No,...stop thinking by inertia and take a fundamentally new approach to the possibility of war." (!!!) "because there will not be any winner. The alternative to peace is universal doom.." and this was written in a book published over 30 years ago!!!

Um, the Korean War started when North Korea invaded South Korea unprovoked, not the other way around. Sorry, but that was not an example of the West demonstrating its "military fist," unless you want to say that the US helping the South Koreans to defend themselves was such. Do you really want to say things would be better in South Korea today if they were like North Korea? I do hope you understand that the book you are quoting is an old piece of Soviet propaganda, and that there is a reason that there is no longer a Soviet Union. And it is not because the US demonstrated its "military fist" 215 times.

Russia R Us, now, with Putin's best friend as our president . So Soviet propaganda fits right in.

What is fascism? Anybody know?


And what would you say makes fascism ‘right’ and communism ‘left’?

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