We return again briefly to this mistaken application of the term “fascism” to a vast array of groups with different objectives and goals. Here’s the funny thing. Just as some correctly pointed out that you can’t engage in warfare against a technique–the war on terror–you can’t engage in warfare on a misapplied political adjective. V.D.Hanson writes,

>The common denominators are extremist views of the Koran (thus the term Islamic), and the goal of seeing authoritarianism imposed at the state level by force (thus the notion of fascism). The pairing of the two words conveys a precise message: The old fascism is back, but now driven by a radical fundamentalist creed of Islam.

In the first place, as a factual matter, Iran, al-Qaeda, Syria, and sundry terrorists have little common cause outside of their intense dislike for us or some of our friends–Israel for instance and, oddly, Saudi Arabia. Their client terrorist groups are directed at their own local interests. Al qaeda has local interests as well–the overthrow of the corrupt Saudi monarchy (which is supported by our military). Syria is baathist and decidedly secular (like Iraq *was*), with internal islamist enemies (the muslim brotherhood). These are commonly known facts–or they ought to be.

But more fundamentally, you can no more go to war against fascism than you can go to war against terrorism. Fascism is a political ideology (like Hegel on steroids). Military weapons, which islamo-fascist-utterers urge upon various and sundry targets, cannot kill the idea, only the person with the idea. But it’s not the idea that bothers us–otherwise we’d wage war on Jerry Falwell–it’s the violent way of achieving the idea. And that brings us back to the war on terror (a method). War is waged–so people who’ve participated it in have told me–against nation-states. Ignorant of this fact, Hanson argues:

>And appeasement–treating the first World Trade Center bombing as a mere criminal justice matter or virtually ignoring the attack on the USS Cole–only spurred on further aggression.

So the legalistic Clinton administration–what with its parsing of words and all–spurred further aggression! Perhaps someone ought to point out to Hanson that the current enemies (except the new specious ones Hanson is recruiting–Iran and Syria) are *not* nation-states. More basically, however, reacting with our military is just exactly what they want, as endless experts have pointed out. They are waging a war of ideas. The idea is violence. What a wonderful dream Iraq has turned out to be for them. For they know that no amount of blowing someone up with convince him that democracy works. Being blown up can only convince him that blowing people up works; being terrorized that terror works. This is how one loses a war of ideas.

2 thoughts on “Fascism”

  1. I gave up on reading Hanson’s Op-Ed at “Like the Nazis who whined,” but thought I’d comment here anyway.

    jcasey wrote: “But more fundamentally, you can no more go to war against fascism than you can go to war against terrorism. Fascism is a political ideology.”

    But didn’t the U.S. go to “war” against (so-called) Communism and (supposedly) win?

    Nevermind the U.S.’s less successful fairings in the war on drugs, despite Nixon’s spectacular “all-out offensive against crime, against narcotics, against permissiveness.” Though at least “drugs” is a concrete noun. (Shock and awe those bags of weed, Mr. N).

  2. Good point Jeremy. The U.S. did go to, note the italics “war” against communism. Note that the “war” was not a military conflict in the straightforward sense. Rather a conflict of ideas. Our ideas turned out to be more successful than theirs, so they lost. As far as I know, we never fired a shot against the Soviet Union. We fired many against Viet Nam, but ended up losing. The “war” with the bombs and the shooting and so forth, is not against the idea, but the actions of the people who have the idea. We don’t care about things worse than fascism (theocracy–Saudi Arabia anyone?), so they’re idea doesn’t bother us. Hell, it would be an improvement for some states. It’s the violent adherents that cause the trouble. Against them–to restrain them–we wage war without italics.

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