Not content with starting small blog wars to get his new blog noticed, Chris Trotter is now going wider. After listening to "a fascinating interview" on Radio NZ -- an interview between a blowhard and a blonde "about the blogosphere’s malign influence on the quality of public discourse" -- Trotter now declares war on the whole blogosphere. "There is indeed a 'fascist' quality to the blogosphere," he says.
Certainly we find the same levels of misogyny, anti-intellectualism, and aggression. And, even more worryingly, what I would call “ideological exterminism” -- the notion that your opponents' ideas should not simply be refuted, but annihilated.
Thomas Mann’s famous observation about burning books leading to burning bodies springs to mind.
We live in worrying times.
Worrying times indeed, when the country's most quoted leftist critic is unable to distinguish between the annihilation of ideas and the annihilation of human lives -- between a dagger thrust through a syllogism and an ice pick thrust into a human heart -- and is willing to talk airily of "virtual fascism" just because a large number of bloggers think he talks bollocks.
Has he seen the books heaped up under his window? Can we just ascribe it to the nonsense new bloggers say just to get noticed? Or is he now feeling the chill wind of a new oppression -- of a culture in which corruption can be "courageous," and where principle has given way to the flexing of political power?
Here's Christy Moore with 'Burning Times.'
NB: For the record, 'fascism' is nothing to joke about, or to devalue through over-use of the term. The word "fascism" comes from the Italian fascismo, from fascio, meaning "group." Rather than being the opposite of communism, fascism is simply another vicious variant of the same ideal of collectivism; where the Marxist bases his collective on "class," the fascist's grouping is one of race, or of nation. Where Marxism is a totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies "class war" and assigns to the state control over every aspect of private life, fascism is a totalitarian philosophy of government that glorifies the state and nation and assigns to the state control over every aspect of national life.
The result is the same: one neck, ready for one noose.
As Ayn Rand observed, the so called opposition of communism and fascism is a malodorous myth -- they are simply two jackals hoping to fight over the same corpse. "For many decades, the leftists [ propagated] the false dichotomy that the choice confronting the world is only: communism or fascism—a dictatorship of the left or of an alleged right—with the possibility of a free society, of capitalism, dismissed and obliterated, as if it had never existed."
It is obvious what the fraudulent issue of fascism versus communism accomplishes: it sets up, as opposites, two variants of the same political system; it eliminates the possibility of considering capitalism; it switches the choice of “Freedom or dictatorship?” into “Which kind of dictatorship?”—thus establishing dictatorship as an inevitable fact and offering only a choice of rulers. The choice—according to the proponents of that fraud—is: a dictatorship of the rich (fascism) or a dictatorship of the poor (communism).
Essentially, it's a choice between a dictatorship that nationalises factories, and one that nationalises people.
The effect is the same -- human destruction. Only the slogans are different.
UPDATE: Owen McShane disagrees ever so slightly:
There remains much confusion between communism and fascism. They are quite distinct philosophies.
Socialism is the dark side of the Enlightenment Tradition. (If science helps you design a bridge then science helps you design society.)
Fascism is the dark side of the Romantic tradition. (Reason is trumped by feelings. Primitive people have greater wisdom than intellectuals.)
Socialism is econocentric. Fascism is not.
Communism combines the two by drawing on the "charismatic leader" of fascism.
Go to "The Rise of the Urban Romantics" here.
I heartily endorse Owen's excellent and thought-provoking article (go read it here), but respectfully suggest however that while agreeing that the two political ideologies have differing origins -- and on this I think Owen makes his case brilliantly -- the source of their power is the same, that is, the overarching philosophy of collectivism that was endemic in the Europe of the nineteenth century; it's no accident that both the communist Marx and the proto-fascist Fichte owed intellectual allegiance to GWF Hegel (whose idea of the authoritarian state as the "divine idea on earth" is one of those "big ideas" one wished had perished with the arsehole who devised it), and nor is it a surprise therefore that the ultimate result of both sick systems is essentially the same: dictatorship in the name of a collective.
It should be clear, then, that the antidote to both these variants of collectivism is their polar opposite: a good healthy dose of individualism.