Monday, 10 May 2010

On 'Liberal Fascism'

The charge that 'liberal' and 'fascist' are interchangeable isn't a true one; but it has 'legs' ... which is to say, it sounds truthy to a certain audience. I wonder why that might be? I wonder if it has something to do with the social reality implicitly acknowledged by left-wing, and broadly airbrushed out of right-wing, political philosophies: that living in 'society' entails duties and responsibilities to other people. What I mean is that various right-wing positions, to various degrees, aim to shrink or minimize the notion that we owe any duties to fellow human beings (by, for instance: severely limited who gets included under the rubric 'fellow human beings' to exclude, as it might be, foreigners, other races, other sexual orientations, poor people and so on), reaching a vanishing point with those versions of US Libertarianism that deny the individual has any duties or responsibilities to anybody but him/herself. Liberalism, in acknowledging the counter position, in effect says: the teenage fantasy of absolutely untrammelled individual liberty is a lie. I can see how a malevolent perspective might spin that as 'fascism'.

1 comment:

Lizzie Barrett said...

Isn't it that loop of ideas that merge somewhere round the back? Like that Eddie Izzard sketch where he's talking about being cool and then somewhere round that back it segues into looking like a dickhead and then back to being cool?