14 May 2019

Necessary and desirable are different

This has many applications, but the one that's niggling at me is wanting to point out that fascism is violent authoritarian corporatism, to the extent that isn't a redundant description.

It's trying to take over because it must; any functioning democratic process tends to get rid of it.  It can only exist at a fairly low level of social organization.  Widespread information flow, strong democratic institutions, and any kind of effective progressive taxation results in a society that doesn't have violent authoritarian corporatism.

If that system of organization wants to copy itself into the future, it has to take over.  Strong central authority under democratic direction will obliterate it.  (An awful lot of work and money has gone into keeping that from happening since about 1980.  There are limits to these things.)

This isn't to say fascism is trivial (no) or that things aren't serious (they are) or the climate isn't making everything else extra-double-plus-hard-mode (it is); it's to say that the whole thing is coming out of a mix of fear (the system they depend on is very, very vulnerable) and incompetence (if the problem is getting copies into the future, oppression is not the answer.  It shouldn't ever be the question.)  Any sense of inevitability or doom is the wrong way around.


Peter T said...

Not to go all marxist, but there's a strong class-preservation drive here that's not very rational (in the sense that the desire to preserve status often does not look beyond the immediate). Classical example: the imperial Roman elite was absolutely dependent on the empire for their status, riches and - eventually - survival. But when the demands of the empire grew too onerous, they abandoned it - to their ruin in a few generations. In the same way, slave-owners and Southern US elites post the Civil War put the preservation of their status above the survival/prosperity of the system on that status depended.

There's also a strong human tendency to prefer an uncertain horrible fate to an unending dilemma (that is, the stress of prolonged indecision is eventually unbearable, and then you go with anything that promises a way out, however risky or even stupid). See, eg German elites pre-World War I and again in the late 20s/early 30s.

I think we're seeing both.

Daniel O'Neil said...

I think this qualifies as a rousing pep talk coming from you, sir