Man in Confederate flag t-shirt
A white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th, 2017 (Photo: Evan Nesterak)

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a four-part series on the white suprema­cist text Might Is Right and the his­to­ry of Amer­i­can fas­cism. This series looks at how ideas stat­ed out­right in that late nine­teenth cen­tu­ry text have con­tin­ued to have influ­ence into the present day, from Satanists and Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ists to pale­o­con­ser­v­a­tives and right-wing terrorists.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

Might Is Right is will­ing to come right out and say that it does­n’t think all peo­ple count as peo­ple, which resolves the seem­ing con­tra­dic­tions of ide­olo­gies that are more mealy-mouthed about it but ulti­mate­ly feel the same way.

In the pre­vi­ous install­ment, we looked at how that applies to so-called incel or “invol­un­tar­i­ly celi­bate” men, who active­ly oppose sex work­ers. It’s not sex they desire so much as they want to remove the sex­u­al agency of women entirely.

But an impor­tant con­tra­dic­tion for incels and their cousin fas­cists does remain, even for those as open-eyed as Might Is Right’s author.

Should a believ­er start to think about it too much, the cen­tral para­dox of the fas­cist would then become inescapable:

1) every­thing thought unfair by peo­ple unlike the fas­cist is a result of the immutable nat­ur­al hier­ar­chy of the world, which is good;


2) the fas­cist is moti­vat­ed by a deep intu­ition that the world is unfair to the fas­cist and must be fixed.

In Might Is Right, there is sup­pos­ed­ly no moral­i­ty beyond tak­ing what­ev­er you’re able to take, and still the author can’t help but com­plain some peo­ple have gone about their theft the wrong way, by con­vinc­ing peo­ple instead of forc­ing them.

The prox­i­mate ene­my, then and now, can be many things:

  • lib­er­al Christianity,
  • com­mu­nism,
  • anar­chism,
  • fem­i­nism,
  • anti-racism — even the bankers in cap­i­tal­ism sup­pos­ed­ly ruin­ing it.

But if you lis­ten to fas­cists long enough, they’ll reveal that the ulti­mate ene­my is the Jews. It is always the Jews.

It’s not obvi­ous why anti­semitism should have this rela­tion­ship to fas­cism. Ital­ian fas­cism was not built on it, though as asso­ci­a­tions with the Ger­man strain became stronger, Mus­solin­i’s fas­cism came to tar­get Jews more explic­it­ly as well.

In R.G. Price’s essay, Under­stand­ing Fas­cism and Anti­semitism, Price writes:

The charges are that Jews pro­mote lib­er­al­ism, equal­i­ty, com­mu­nism, social­ism, sec­u­lar­ism, are anti-patri­ot­ic, greedy, liars, and thieves, who con­trol bank­ing and finance and have cor­rupt­ed capitalism.

Price observes that these are all the things fas­cists oppose, so it might seem to be a nat­ur­al devel­op­ment. But anti­semitism goes back at least to the Greeks of Alexan­der, and even before, accord­ing to the Hebrew Bible’s own stories.

In the sto­ry of Esther, it’s enough that Morde­cai does­n’t bow to Haman and that Morde­cai is of a peo­ple set apart who can be targeted.

By virtue of being dif­fer­ent in some way, the idea of “the Jew” can be picked out and loaded up with every neg­a­tive attribute as needed.

That seems to be why the Unit­ed States’ most notable anti­semite Hen­ry Ford was obsessed with Jew­ish peo­ple. In the 1920s, Ford pop­u­lar­ized the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion as a con­spir­a­cy and pub­lished his 18-month series “The Inter­na­tion­al Jew: The World’s Prob­lem”, which ulti­mate­ly would also influ­ence the Nazis. Ford decid­ed to blame Jew­ish peo­ple for the First World War and for the degen­er­a­cy of his own coun­try. They were the Bol­she­viks as well as bankers.

As Umber­to Eco observes, the util­i­ty of Jews is that the fas­cist can por­tray them as a threat both inside and out­side of society.

That means any domes­tic or inter­na­tion­al issue can be con­nect­ed as part of a grand plot, a con­spir­a­cy that must be root­ed out at home and fought aggres­sive­ly abroad. Com­mu­nism, in par­tic­u­lar, ful­fills this same role by being inter­na­tion­al and is direct­ly counter to fas­cism by describ­ing his­to­ry as a strug­gle of class­es rather than immutable bio­log­i­cal groups.

New terms like “Social Jus­tice War­riors” (SJWs) or “Post­mod­ern Neo-Marx­ism” will work, too, of course, and if you lis­ten long enough, you’ll hear it’s some­one like George Soros fund­ing all those col­lege protesters.

Jews are the ene­my not just because they exist but because the ide­olo­gies sup­pos­ed­ly ema­nat­ing from them have the pow­er of turn­ing strength against itself, infect­ing our good white chil­dren. To the fas­cist, every­thing is the way it is sup­posed to be and could be no oth­er way, but it is in con­stant dan­ger of all falling apart, and the rea­son for that is ulti­mate­ly the Jews.

For Might Is Right, this extends even to Christianity.

I said ear­li­er that Might Is Right does not ever end up say­ing any­thing brave, says noth­ing real­ly sur­pris­ing, and goes along sid­ing with the pow­er­ful at every turn.

There is one excep­tion to this, or at least it would seem so at first.

That appar­ent excep­tion is the author’s hatred of reli­gion, which for the author is indis­tin­guish­able from a hatred of Christianity.

For the author, Chris­tian­i­ty, too, is indis­tin­guish­able from his hatred of Jews and their con­quest of Roman strength with Jew­ish ideas.

Why it is as child­play to the hys­teric Idol­a­try of to-day — the deifi­ca­tion of a Jew. The ‘Divine Demo­c­rat’ was exe­cut­ed upon a gov­ern­ment gib­bet, because the Rulers of Impe­r­i­al Rome were more pow­er­ful men than he was.

His strength, and that of his fol­low­ers, was not equal to theirs.

He died an abysmal fail­ure — a Redeemer who did not redeem — a Sav­iour who did not save — a Mes­si­ah whipped like a calf — a slave-agi­ta­tor deserved­ly destroyed for preach­ing a False­hood — the mon­strous gospel of Love, Broth­er­hood, Equality.

Else­where, the author says:

Both ancient and mod­ern Chris­tian­ism and all that has its root there­in, is the nega­tion of every­thing grand, noble, gen­er­ous, hero­ic, and the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of every­thing fee­ble, atro­cious, dis­hon­or­able, das­tard­ly. The cross is now, and ever has been, an escutcheon of shame. It rep­re­sents a gal­lows, and a Semi­te slave swing­ing thereon.

You don’t real­ly hear this sort of mock­ery of Chris­tian­i­ty in Amer­i­can soci­ety, but note the sort of Chris­tian­i­ty being mocked.

The author of Might Is Right is only both­ered by the ver­sion of Chris­tian­i­ty he views as weak, demo­c­ra­t­ic, over­ly con­cerned with char­i­ty and equity.

He’s not talk­ing about the Chris­tian­i­ty of Mar­tin Luther who encour­aged Ger­man princes to strike down rebel­lious peas­ants or Chris­tians to burn, loot, and mur­der all Jews. This isn’t the Chris­tian­i­ty of John Calvin that ruled Gene­va by bru­tal force and jus­ti­fied suc­cess as being a sign of God that per­son was of the elect.

Cer­tain­ly today, the “Pros­per­i­ty Gospel” that cel­e­brates the rich for the exis­tence of their wealth, the white evan­gel­i­cals who wor­ship pow­er to jus­ti­fy their sup­port of venal men, and the domin­ion­ists such as Wash­ing­ton State’s own Matt Shea would not be mis­tak­en for those who turn the oth­er cheek or fail to ground their claims of author­i­ty in tem­po­ral pow­er as well.

The direct­ly vio­lent white suprema­cist Chris­tian­i­ty Iden­ti­ty move­ment, strongest in rur­al Ida­ho, and the respectable polit­i­cal gov­er­nance of Washin­gon, D.C.‘s The Fam­i­ly on C‑Street, share a sim­i­lar fetishiza­tion pow­er and hier­ar­chy despite pur­su­ing dif­fer­ent means to achieve it.

The lat­ter orga­ni­za­tion, behind the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, actu­al­ly start­ed with busi­ness­men in Seat­tle hor­ri­fied by the West Coast Gen­er­al Strike of 1934.

What they saw they need­ed was “total­i­tar­i­an­ism for Christ.”

More gen­er­al­ly, Pacif­ic North­west jour­nal­ist David Nei­w­ert, a good friend of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, iden­ti­fied in 2003 the rela­tion­ship between fun­da­men­tal­ism and pseu­do-fas­cism as one of George W. Bush’s core con­stituen­cies, and in a revi­sion of the same mate­r­i­al in 2005, Nei­w­ert concluded:

The con­ser­v­a­tive movement’s straight­for­ward appeal to a dual­ist and apoc­a­lyp­tic mind­set is, in fact, the cor­ner­stone of its dri­ve to cre­ate a one-par­ty state – because nur­tur­ing such a mind­set among the mass­es is absolute­ly essen­tial to estab­lish­ing that kind of total­i­tar­i­an polit­i­cal control.

That fla­vor of Chris­tian­i­ty has nev­er been the only one extant in Amer­i­ca, but per­haps if Might Is Right’s author had been from the U.S., he may have rec­og­nized that his own love of slav­ery paired well with a belief that claimed moral­i­ty came from God while still allow­ing the pow­er­ful to intu­it who God cared most about.

In the final install­ment of this series, which will be pub­lished tomor­row, we’re going to look at the endur­ing influ­ence of Might Is Right and how its direct influ­ence is alive today on spe­cif­ic orga­ni­za­tions and individuals.

Jump to Part One | Two | Three | Four

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