Thursday, December 13, 2007

How old is fascism?

We think of fascism as a twentieth century aberration. Not so, really. It was the long culmination of foment, agitation, growing nationalism, a generalised anger which manifested itself in a brutish creed which gloried in and relied on confrontation and violence. Robert Pearce notes:

[Experts]have traced its origins back to the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, and to an intellectual revolt not only against rationalism but against the liberalism, industrialisation and urbanisation of the nineteenth century. Its formative ideas included the notion that life was a perpetual struggle, between nations as well as individuals, that race was a key concept and that each nation had a special identity.

Robert Pearce. Fascism and Nazism. Hodder and Stoughton, p 8

Appeasers beware, belittlers beware. Never underestimate the power of a movement which appeals to sentiment and emotion.

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