Note: For the purpose of this piece, I will be using the convention of describing Fascism in its Italian form using the upper case, and the generality which includes German, British, Spanish and many other forms using the lower case ‘fascism’.

 

Intention

 

Fascism is a difficult ideology to crystallise. Not least because of its proponents’ fondness for ideological pragmatism rather than consistency. There is also the fact that – since the 40s – fascists have been largely unwilling to describe themselves as such. One cannot study the ideology, at least in its modern form, by looking at the actions and rhetoric of its adherents because it has no self-described adherents. These problems make it necessary to spend some time defining the ideology in its original form before looking at some of the forms it can take in modern times. I will finish by arguing that fascism is making a disturbing come back as well as trying to show that some of the signs have largely been missed due to some common misconceptions about what fascism actually is.

 

Origins of Fascism

 

Mussolini

 

Benito Mussolini (1883 – 1945) was born in Predappio in central Italy to working class parents. Both parents were heavily involved in Marxist/Anarchist politics. Having briefly moved to Switzerland in hope of finding new opportunities, the family returned to Italy in 1904 with the young Mussolini now very interested in socialism. Back home in Italy, he became editor of a socialist journal called ‘The Future of the Worker’ before becoming leader of the Italian Socialist Party.

Mussolini was strongly influenced by Marx. Ideas including class struggle and emancipation of the working class appealed to the young, working class Benito. However, he also disagreed with Marx on a number of issues. One key issue was that of the inevitable, spontaneous revolution which Marx had predicted. Many on the left, including Mussolini and Lenin had predicted that the rise of universal (male) enfranchisement which was occurring around the beginning of the twentieth century would bring this revolution about. When the revolution failed to materialise, these people began to look for other ways to initiate it.

Lenin’s answer came in the form of an embrace of revolutionary violence and professional revolutionaries who would initiate the revolution. This concept was taken from ideas which had been introduced by the French socialist revolutionary Georges Sorel (1847 – 1922) who advocated the use of violence in his book ‘Reflections on Violence’.

In 1917, Lenin instigated the Russian Revolution. Unlike many of his time, Mussolini saw through the propaganda and saw it for the brutal failure it was. As a result, he began to adapt his views and his thought away from the Leninist idea of a Marxist state which aimed to unite the world under a working class utopia with no bourgeoisie (because Lenin had had them all killed). He kept many of the Sorelian ideas which he had developed in the previous years – including the key idea of the political ‘myth’ – but he discarded much of his previous thinking about the differences between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. Now, he contended that the two were essentially the same and that they were contained in the overarching embrace of the state.

Following the formation of the Fascist Party in 1919, Mussolini continued with his reverence of revolutionary violence with the creation of the ‘black shirts’, a paramilitary formation which would terrorise political opponents. The Fascists continued to grow in popularity – growing to 250,000 members – and Mussolini was invited to join a coalition government in 1921. This was a ploy by president Giolliti to stabilise the country under growing discontent and it was a failure. Mussolini became convinced that only a single strong leader could unite the state and in 1922 he led the infamous ‘march on Rome’, taking power for himself and gradually dismantling the institutions of democracy. In 1924, using heavy intimidation tactics, Mussolini won a general election and declared himself ‘Il Duce’.

 

Key elements of Mussolini’s thought

 

It can be clearly seen from this very brief summary of Mussolini’s rise to power that, counter-intuitively, Fascism did not arise as an extreme form of right wing thought. Rather, it can be thought of as an extension of extreme left wing philosophy synthesised with nationalism. This explains why fascists of all kinds have always found more followers in traditionally socialist parts of society while making alliances with elements of the right.

Here is a summary of some of the elements of Mussolini’s philosophy which can be teased out of the contradictions:

 

  • Myth

 

A key Sorelian idea which was adopted by Mussolini was the ‘myth’. This is not to be understood necessarily as a lie, it will always contain at least a kernel of truth. Rather, it is ‘an organisation of images capable of evoking instinctively all elements that correspond to the different manifestations of [an ideology]’. The example given by Sorel was that of the general strike. A single image which encompassed every element of the struggle against the capitalist state. But Sorel was a socialist. This required a degree of ideological consistency which Mussolini had expressly rejected. The myths which Mussolini pushed were often contradictory, based on the audience. One minute stressing the rule of law and harsh punishment, the next advocating breaking the law for political ends. It is likely that Mussolini had read Machievelli and this pragmatism is likely something that he took from this understanding.

 

  • Expansionism / militarism

 

An element of Fascism which Mussolini also advocated was geopolitical. He believed that people are unable to focus on a political unit larger than the state (the world, a union of states) and that they were led astray by focus on smaller units (the individual, the church). Because of this, it was necessary to harness the power of nationalism. The particular form of nationalism was dictated by other elements of Mussolini’s myth building. The nationalist myth of the state as being under threat from various outside forces (in this case, Bolshevism) leads naturally to a militarised form of nationalism which, in its turn, leads to an expansionist foreign policy. After all, the newly militarised masses needed to have some focus, especially when the foreign threats were only half true at best. This expansionism was an important part of Fascism as well as Nazism, but it is not vital to fascism in a broader sense.

The militarism which Mussolini encouraged also spoke to another element of the myth that he was creating. That of order, discipline and submission to the will of a leader. Military discipline has always sought to instill these qualities and this pushed Fascist ideology further down the expansionist path.

 

  • Anti-intellectualism

 

Mussolini was also influenced by the work of Freud and Le Bon who both worked extensively on irrational elements of human behaviour. This new way of thinking showed that people were not always rational and thoughtful beings, as had been supposed by many during the enlightenment.

Le Bon had worked on the notion of crowds and the way they behave which is not often the way a rational individual would behave, while Freud had begun to reveal the individual subconscious – also far from rational. This is an important element of all fascism. That of anti rationalism. Opposition to a certain type of intellectual, the rationalist/positivist which had been popular since the enlightenment. The following quote from a popular magazine demonstrates the Fascist contempt for rationalism amply: ‘Reasoning does not communicate, emotion does. Reasoning convinces, it does not attract. Blood is stronger than syllogisms. Science claims to explain away miracles, but in the eyes of the crowd the miracle remains: it seduces and creates converts.’

Although this opposition to one type of intellectual implies reverence for another, this has not always been the case. Indeed, the pragmatism that I have previously mentioned has meant that those intellectuals deemed acceptable to fascists can change regularly.

 

  • Socialist economics

 

A final thing to consider is fascism’s economic suggestions. It is generally accepted that fascists have rarely offered any opinion on economics and are more pragmatic than ideological in this regard. This is not necessarily accurate and there are some economic ideas which tend to be adopted by fascists of all stripes. Fascism can be said to be a system which ‘places key institutions under government control through indirect means – regulation, selection of directors, government/management/labour boards – as well as through direct ownership.’  In this sense, it is once again clear that in many respects, fascism is a perversion of Marxist tradition rather than an ideology emerging from the political right. This analysis would seem to be true of Mussolini’s Fascism.

Mussolini rejected the (implied) Marxist contention that everything in life ultimately boils down to economic considerations. For this reason, he adopted an approach to the economy which placed its needs second to those of the state.

 

Nazism

 

An important distinction needs to be made at this point concerning the relationship between Nazism and Fascism. They differ in several key ways. Nazis are fascists, but fascists need not be Nazis.

To start with, Nazism proceeds, not from socialist philosophy but from biological racism. To be sure, Fascism was a racist ideology in the sense that it excluded those from outside Italy, but this was not the entire philosophical premise upon which Mussolini built his ideology. Hitler’s hatred of Jews was the core of everything he believed and he equated everything else that he hated with it (communism, liberalism, Weimar). In this sense, Nazism can be seen as indeed stemming from the far right.

There are four elements which epitomise Nazi ‘philosophy’ and each can be seen as stemming from particular French thinkers. Hitler was not a particularly intelligent man (read Mein Kampf if you don’t believe me) so it is unlikely that he read any of these people’s original work. It is likely however, that he read the work of a number of German thinkers who followed in their footsteps.

Note: for this description, I will be relying on Josep R Llobera’s fantastic book ‘The Making of Totalitarian Thought’

 

  1. Race (Gobineau)

 

Arthur de Gobineau (1816 – 1922) wrote a book called ‘An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races’. The influence of this idea on Nazi philosophy hardly needs stating. It was a book which ‘tried to explain the rise and fall of civilisations in terms of racial miscegenation between Aryans and the other races’. This tradition was carried on by a naturalised German called H.S Chamberlain (1855 – 1927) who was the first to attempt to categorise races in a hierarchy with Aryans at the top and Jews at the bottom. In apparent contradiction, he also believed that Judaism was an ideology rather than a race, meaning that anyone could be categorised as a Jew, an idea known as the ‘intuitive theory of race’.

While it is unlikely that he read Gobineau, Hitler would have been familiar with his ideas through Chamberlain. The contradictions in Chamberlain’s work would have been no problem in a fascist sense, as contradictions are inherent to the ideology to start with. Another example of an obvious contradiction is the common idea that Jews were both powerful elites and revolutionary communists.

 

  1. Crowd (Le Bon)

 

The work of Gustave Le Bon (1841 – 1931) is something that I have already touched upon. He introduced ideas relating to the behaviour of crowds and how they can be manipulated to doing things which no individual in the crowd would consider. This is perfectly summarised in the Holocaust. How many prison camp guards sincerely believed in the final solution’s moral righteousness? Likely very few. In fact, one of the main tasks given by Heinrich Himmler to Odilo Globocnik (the man in charge of implementing the murder of Jews in Europe) was that the murder method should be ‘less psychologically burdensome for the killers’.

These acts are unthinkable to all but the most unhinged individuals. To the amorphous crowd however, they are well within the bounds of acceptability.

 

  1. Eugenics (Vacher de Lapougee)

 

Darwin’s concept of natural selection had sent shock waves throughout society when he first published Origin of Species. Though not the waves imagined by the modern day American religious right – the church was not particularly troubled by Darwin’s thought except insofar as it implied that Homo Sapiens was a species of animal like any other and occupied no special place in the universe. His half cousin, Francis Galton (1822 – 1921) developed the theory in some profoundly troubling ways. He proposed that human beings could actively shape their evolution through selective breeding and thus, improve the race.

This idea was picked up by Georges Vacher de Lapougee (1854 – 1936) who continued the idea, but within particular races, rather than saying that the human race should be improved as a whole.

Following from this, there were a number of German thinkers who developed the ideas in other directions. Notably the following:

 

  • Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) who gave a similar interpretation of Darwin to Galton and Lapougee, but with a distinct focus on the nation. He also attempted to assign objective value to the lives of members of different races.
  • Ludwig Woltmann (1871 – 1907) who had attempted to synthesise Darwin, Marx and Nietzche – Evolution, Socialism and the will to power/ the superman.
  • F.K Gunther (1891 – 1968) who believed that the state should encourage racially pure families to avoid mixing blood. He also thought that mental illness should be eliminated by eugenics. A number of Gunther’s ideas were later made law by the Nazi party including:
    • Elimination of enemies of the Aryan race through eugenics
    • Preventing the propagation of mental illness through compulsory sterilisation
    • Banning the physically or mentally ill from marrying
    • ‘Euthanasia’ of mentally ill people

 

  1. Violence (Sorel)

 

I have already mentioned Sorel’s ideas of the myth and revolutionary violence, so I will not repeat myself. These ideas were embraced just as fully by Hitler as by Mussolini.

 

It should be clear by this point that Nazism differed from Fascism in a number of ways. While both were ‘fascist’ (lower case), they were not the same ideology transplanted into different nations. In everything that follows, when I speak of ‘fascism’, I mean those features which mark out the more general political theory, when I speak of ‘Fascism’ or ‘Nazism’, I am referring to that specific incarnation of it.

 

Modern fascism

 

Mussolini’s Fascism was the original. As such, it can be seen as the archetype for all other forms that were to follow. As you can see, there are some surprises along the way when categorising fascism. The fact that it so closely resembles what many regard as its antithesis (communism) will seem counter intuitive to many. Once this idea has been understood however, a lot of what comprises modern fascism begins to make a lot more sense.

There are a number of elements which I believe are key to modern fascism:

 

  • Left wing economics

 

In his book ‘Chavs’, Owen Jones remarks with apparent surprise on the success of the BNP in working class areas of the UK. Indeed, this is something that many people have been shocked by when they have accepted the received wisdom that fascism is right wing ideology on steroids. After all, right wing policies often expressly harm the working class, so extreme right wing policies will cause even more harm. Once we accept that fascism is actually a perversion of socialist thought mixed with ultra nationalism, this success begins to make more sense. The same goes for the support found among the working class by other fascists such as Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen. In all cases it is possible to shoe horn the fascist into an explanation relying on an unscrupulous individual manipulating the fears of the crowd to his own ends (and without a doubt this is true to an extent), although it is much simpler to realise that these people are not voting for the far right at all. They are voting for far left economic policies, but only insofar as they apply to them and not to ‘others’.

The BNP is all but a spent force in Britain, but it’s spirit lives on in Britain First. A short look through this organisation’s policies shows just how left wing they are and supports my contention that fascism is a horrific perversion of socialism rather than the right wing ideology that they claim for themselves (the leaders are regularly filmed calling people ‘left wing trash’). The following is taken, verbatim, from their website’s policy section:

 

ECONOMY

Massive state support, funding and training for new business and industries.
The protection of British companies from unfair foreign imports in certain areas where competition is not on an equal footing.
Financial penalties on businesses that outsource their operations to foreign countries.
A deep and meaningful campaign of tax cuts across the board to encourage and stimulate economic growth.
The removal of “stealth taxes”, VAT and a whole raft of other taxes which drain the pockets of the British workforce.
– Prohibit the sale of domestic companies to foreign entities.
– Initiate a clamp down on the negative speculation of the banks and Introduce a national “Bank of Britain” to fund British economic growth with the use of generous grants.
– Transfer the sovereign power to create money away from the privately owned Bank of England to a new national “Bank of Britain” which shall be controlled by the UK government.

Marx and Engels would be proud! Nationalising banks and ploughing state funding into selected businesses is not something one would usually expect of a fanatically right wing organisation. You will also notice that this policy statement is hysterically nationalist and protectionist. The ‘foreign imports’ that we are to be protected from are workers from abroad. They also want to ban foreign investment in the UK, a terrible idea by all accounts but (inkeeping with fascist ideology) economics comes second to the perceived needs of the state.

As I have already said, they are not simply paying lip service to this extremely socialist policy. They really mean it, and many of the ideas are things that a working class Brit could easily get behind. I myself have advocated a state run bank, state support for business, and clamping down on bank speculation.

 

  • Sorelian myth

 

Myths have always been an essential feature of fascism. For fascists in America such as Donald Trump, the second amendment functions as a key Sorelian myth. A fixation on the right to bear arms has become a non negotiable element of these movements because it symbolises everything else that they stand for: ‘family values’ (meaning of course, white, heterosexual, married couples with children), Christianity, hard work, the rule of law and so on.

In Britain the myths are different, but they serve the same function. For me, the main myth is that of ‘Blitz spirit’. The idea that once we were a nation under siege who endured the most extreme hardship in unity with one another in order to staunchly overcome adversity. The historical accuracy of this idea is irrelevant (the fact that crime flourished under the Blitz shows that we were not as united as people may believe) it is what the image represents that counts; It conjures up countless unrelated notions of national unity, sacrifice, courage and anything else the speaker wishes to invoke. Tories have used it to encourage support for austerity. Fascists use it to foster a sense of a nation under siege from dangerous foreigners.

Blitz spirit is nothing more than a British form of the ‘blood socialism’ myth used by Mussolini. It invokes a spirit of national unity under adversity. The bond between people under extreme circumstances of any kind. Mussolini and Hitler used the trenches, Britain First use the Blitz.

 

Another element of myth which is still used by fascists is that of the physical symbol. It is a long established trend when discussing fascism to speak of their fondness for misappropriating symbols used by other groups and twisting the meaning of these symbols. This speaks to the myth element which I believe is essential to any fascist movement, wherever it originates. Symbols such as the swastika have  been twisted away from their original meaning and are now forever linked to the Nazis. This symbol conveys in an instant, every element of Nazi ideology to the viewer. Now – I would ask you to be honest with yourself – consider what comes to mind when you see a cross of St George. Many fascist elements in England bemoan the fact that their national flag has started to be seen as a symbol of oppression, apparently unaware that their actions and their use of this symbol is the cause of this perception.

 

  • Ultra Nationalism

 

No incarnation of fascism can exist without strong nationalist feeling. Just as Fascism and Nazism placed the state in a position of godlike infallibility, so the fascists of today focus on the nation as a solution to any and all problems. Note that the fascist will only regard the abstract concept of the nation as being a glorious entity. The specifics of what makes the nation are usually seen as treasonous conspiracies designed to destroy the largely imaginary concept of the glorious nation.

In his classic essay ‘Notes on Nationalism’, George Orwell identified three distinct types of nationalism:

 

  • Positive: Not to be understood as being a force for good necessarily. Rather this is the reverence for one nation above all others and the feeling that one’s own nation (or race/religion/political affiliation) is above all others. Any and all ‘others’ are to be regarded as a threat and inferior to the object of the nationalists’ focus. The contradiction between ‘others’ being both strong enough to be an existential threat as well as fundamentally inferior to ‘us’ will be entirely lost on the nationalist.
  • Negative: This is the specific focus on one group as inferior to all others. It can be seen in modern times, epitomised by any group which holds that Muslims are fundamentally inferior to all other people. The negative nationalist is more concerned with the inferiority of a specific ‘other’ than with the superiority of a specific ‘us’.
  • Transferred: A phenomenon whereby a nationalist will project his own nationalist feeling onto others. They will begin to identify with another group which they are not themselves a part of and will begin to have strong nationalist feeling for that group.

 

Any one of these forms of nationalism could be present in a fascist, but there must always be an extreme form of one of these in order for a movement to be classed as such. It should also be mentioned that – as Orwell makes clear – ‘nationalism’ does not always mean focus on a nation necessarily. Religion, race, language groups, social class or any other group can function as the object of a nationalist’s passions.

Orwell also mentions the characteristics of nationalist thought which can be said to mark out nationalism as opposed to other, more benign, forms of ‘love of one’s own’. In fascists, these key elements will be supercharged into ‘ultra nationalism’:

 

  • Obsession: as Orwell himself puts it ‘as nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit […] he will generally claim superiority for it not only in military power and political virtue but in art, literature, sport, structure of the language, the physical beauty of the inhabitants, and perhaps even climate, scenery and cooking.’ Obsession with the superiority of one’s own race can be seen in any modern fascist organisation. Where negative nationalism is at play (as in Britain First or Donald Trump), the clear obsession with ascribing the exact opposite of any of the qualities mentioned onto Muslims can regularly be observed.
  • Instability: This refers to the tendency of nationalists to regularly change the object of their obsession from one group to another. The more extreme the nationalist, the more likely they are to change their allegiance on a regular basis. One day a British fascist may obsessively glorify Vladimir Putin, the next it will be Trump, and the next it will be Geert Wilders. They may extol the virtues of a British master race in the morning and bemoan the weak character of the British public by dinner. At all times, the feeling will be obsessive and passionate.
  • Indifference to reality: Reality is never something which a fascist will allow to hold him back. Historical revisionism has always been a core element of fascism to the point of being official state policy under the Nazi party. It need not be true that the group in question is superior in any of the ways noted, facts can always be changed. Another important element of this is the changing moral colour of the same action when committed by ‘us’ rather than ‘them’. To quote Orwell once again, ‘there is almost no kind of outrage – torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians – which does not change its moral colour when committed by ‘our’ side.’ British fascists have no problem with war crimes committed by Britain (or America, or Russia). Waterboarding is fine because it is in service of the war on terror (which the fascist sees as a war on Islam), bombing of civilians in Iraq or Syria are also seen in a different light when committed by ‘us’. These are just a few examples, no doubt you can think of more.

 

I want to be clear that I am in no way saying that nationalism begets fascism. Nationalists need not be fascists, but all fascists are nationalists in the extreme.

 

  • Anti Intellectualism

 

I have already touched upon anti intellectualism in the discussion of Mussolini’s original idea. This is still at the core of fascist ‘philosophy’. The desire to appeal to the so called ‘working man’ or ‘ordinary people’ leads fascists to denounce anything perceived as coming from a liberal intelligentsia. As such it is far from Mussolini’s original intention of a rejection of enlightenment focus on rationality and is more of a cynical ploy to manipulate elements of the population who have swallowed the idea that the working classes are not as intelligent as the ruling class.

The rejection of intellectual thought also has the benefit of ensuring that many followers of fascist groups are unlikely to notice its inherent contradictions and fallacies. They are unlikely to think too much about the substance of what is being told to them because that would mean becoming part of something that they hate. This in itself also raises a paradox. If the intelligentsia have in fact been educated out of any grasp of truth, by what criteria are they still intelligentsia? If the fascist who rejects intellectualism is actually in possession of the truth that the liberal elites are too blind to see, does the fascist not become the truly intelligent one? As a result, should the fascist not oppose himself on the grounds of his own (self proclaimed) intelligence? The paradox is resolved by a steadfast refusal to look too closely at it.

 

  • Other possible elements

 

The features described above represent what I believe to be the ‘musts’ of contemporary fascism. There is also a long list of ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds’ such as the following:

 

  • Demagogue – It is not always necessary that a fascist movement be based around a single demagogue leader, but it is common.
  • Militarism – Many fascist movements concentrate heavily on the military and desire expansionism. This is common in Britain where a key part of the fascist myth is longing for the days of empire.
  • Obsession with petty crime – Fascists like the idea of order. Petty crime represents a visible challenge to their worldview so they will often fixate on extremely harsh punishments for relatively minor crimes.
  • Corporatism – In complete contradiction with their expressly socialist economic policies, many fascists will claim to be devout corporatists and may have occasional policy statements which favour the corporate state. This is more out of hatred for socialists than love for capitalists. It results from a desire to place themselves in opposition to the ‘dangerous left wing’.

 

The Return of fascism

 

My mentions of Britain First are not intended to place them in a more prominent position than they actually occupy. Despite their social media presence, they actually have far less support than they believe, as can be seen in their atrocious performance in the London Mayoral Election (1.2%).

Despite the lack of support for this one particular fascist group, there is growing fascist feeling in Britain. Nationalism and protectionism are there for all to see in the wake of the Brexit vote. Mistrust of foreigners and even hate crimes have shot up in the immediate aftermath. Every one of my ‘musts’ for identification of contemporary fascism have been amply fulfilled in recent months, despite their not being connected to any particular movement as such.

 

  • Left wing economics

 

Hatred of bankers and elites was one of the driving forces of the decision to remove Britain from the EU. The desire to save money and pour it into the NHS (one of the most socialist institutions imaginable) was a core part of the leave campaign’s message. It matters not that this was a cynical ploy by powerful individuals to manipulate the public. What matters is that this feeling was so strong and easily manipulable.

 

  • Sorelian myth

 

The ‘Blitz spirit’ myth which I have spoken of has been out in force too. Comparison of the EU to the Nazis is an ironic, yet predictable part of it. The desire to be ‘self determining’, to ‘return to the good old days’ speak to a powerful urge in many Britons’ psyche, to once again be the country which ‘rules the waves’. The myth is of course impossible in today’s globalised world, but the possibility of the proposal is never what makes a myth powerful.

 

  • Ultra nationalism

 

Fear of foreigners has been out in force. Hate crimes have gone up by 42% following the vote and fear of foreigners was on display whenever a claim was made that foreigners commit more rapes or ‘out-breed’ local populations. This is a very old idea. Consider the following quote from Llobera: ‘Black Africans were seen as beings with an uncontrollable sexual urge, if not completely engrossed in satisfying their lust. […] they were scantily clothed and seen as promiscuous and incestuous’

This is the essence – with the wording altered to suit the audience – of any claim that foreigners are more prone to rape or that they ‘out-breed’ local populations. It is a claim which has been in existence since the middle ages. The fact that it is now being cloaked in moderate language does not change the core of what is being said.

Further to this, elements of racism which had been almost extinguished are now back with a vengeance. Where once, one could not mention immigration without being called a racist, now one cannot challenge those who never shut up about it without being drowned in a sea of ‘legitimate concerns’. Where once, prefixing a sentence with ‘I’m not a racist but…’ brought ridicule, it is now a perfectly acceptable way to guard against responses to the inevitable racist sentiment which follows (a popular contemporary incarnation of this prefix is ‘I have nothing against immigrants but…’ which amounts to the same thing).

 

  • Anti intellectualism

 

‘People in this country have had enough of experts’ – Michael Gove

 

Need I really say more?

Suspicion of ‘liberal elites’ has been a common theme. Everyone from the Bank of England to the CBI has been accused of being part of a conspiracy to spread economic lies about the dangers of Brexit. Refusal to acknowledge the fact that expert consensus (at least in the economic profession) was that this was a dangerous thing to do speaks to a growing anti intellectual feeling in Britain.

 

To be absolutely clear, I am in no way saying that Brexit voters were all fascists. Far from it. I am simply pointing out that fascist feeling – unconnected as it is at this point to any particular movement – has been growing for some time and Brexit is dangerously close to being the spark that ignites the whole thing.

Across the pond, Americans are dangerously close to electing their first fascist president. Austria came within 1% of electing a fascist. We must be more careful about the feeling that we encourage here. We could be next.

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