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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020

Instructive bad reading, Part III: Dissecting fascism with the help of “Might is Right”

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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