That was then…

Here is an excerpt from Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, the guy who coined the term “The Third Reich” (hint: he wasn’t against it):

The Left has reason.  The Right has wisdom…Masculinity is the essence of wisdom.  It takes character not to succumb to self-delusion.  The conservative man possesses this character as well as the physical prowess and moral determination to act in accordance with this character…He has the innate ability to pass judgement, and to make deductions, to recognize reality…Conservatism is based on an understanding of human nature.

That is from the new and excellent book Nazis and Nobles: The History of a Misalliance, by Stephan Malinowski.  This book builds on themes from Arno Mayer’s old and excellent The Persistence of the Old Regime.

It is an interesting question why these sentiments — some of which are cliched rather than offensive per se — are as correlated with fascism as they are.  In my oversimplified model, feminization is the key variable.  Van den Bruck saw the feminization of society coming, and opposed it, but I believe he was more interested in Nazism and fascism per se.  Many current commentators also oppose that feminization virulently, and that leads them to take up with strange and rather unfortunate bedfellows, namely fascists, as fascists do in fact have modes of discourse for opposing or criticizing feminization.  Often fascism per se is not the main interest of today’s right-wing thinkers, and if you started lecturing them on Speer’s building plans for Berlin, or earlier German cartel policy, their eyes would glaze over.  They are more interested in the current cultural wars, but they don’t always have the intellectual equipment to fight them, and so they look to fascists, a badly mistaken choice.

I say feminization is here to stay, we need to find workable versions of that — how’s that for a challenging intellectual project?  Those of us looking backwards to “the nasty people” are going to find themselves staring down a dead end, intellectually and otherwise.  Hungary and Salazar are not the future, people.  You should be jumping on better bandwagons, or if need be building them yourselves.


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