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Common Intellectual Roots of Fascism and Radical Islamism:

For a more systematic look at the common intellectual roots of European fascism and radical islamism, discussed in David Bernstein's recent post, check out Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit's book Occidentalism: The West through the Eyes of its Enemies. As the authors point out, both fascism and radical Islamism were heavily influenced by the nineteenth century European romantic nationalist reaction against liberalism and free markets. The romantic nationalists claimed that liberal society was overly materialistic, neglected important group ties, and lacked spiritual values. Obviously, the fascists were direct intellectual descendants of the romantic nationalists, whose ideology they took to new extremes. In the Arab Middle East, the intellectual connection emerged as a result of the penetration of European nationalist ideas beginning with the early twentieth century.

In the 1930s, as historian Bernard Lewis explains here, Nazi Germany made a "concerted effort" to export its ideology to the Arab world directly; they were in large part successful. Many of the Nazi ideas were taken up by the early radical Islamists at that time, as German scholar Matthias Kuntzel discusses here.

I would add that the modern radical Islamist version of anti-Semitism also has its roots in European nationalist and fascist thought. This is most clear in its embrace of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery created by czarist Russian secret police and first popularized by right-wing Russian nationalists. As the NY Times puts it, the Protocols have become a "canonical text" for radical Islamists. More generally, the entire idea that the Jews are a powerful, insidious cabal dominating capitalist economic system is rooted in European nationalist and fascist ideology and is very different from traditional pre-20th century Muslim anti-Semitism (which viewed Jews more as objects of contempt than fear). There are some important differences between fascist and radical Islamist ideology. Perhaps the most important is that the latter is an internationalist ideology that cuts across different racial and ethnic groups, while the former tries to exalt a particular nation-state. But they also have numerous commonalities, including strikingly similar reasons for their hatred of liberalism, democracy, the free market, and Jews.

UPDATE: To avoid confusion, I should emphasize that this post is not a defense of the term "Islamofascist." It's a post on the intellectual roots of radical Islamism, many of which are fascist in origin. For what it's worth, I think the term is on balance counterproductive. It tends to alienate liberal Muslims (a key constituency the US must appeal to), while largely failing in the original objective of rallying Western left-wing support for the War on Terror, as David noted in his post. At the same time, the term is descriptively accurate as a characterization of the ideology of Al Qaeda and other similar groups. That ideology does indeed combine a reactionary strain of Islam with major elements of European fascism. Sometimes, the use of a word is both accurate and tactically unwise.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Common Intellectual Roots of Fascism and Radical Islamism:
  2. Islamofascism:
Elliot Reed:
Doesn't this weaken the case for "Islamofascism"'s implicit argument that Abrahamist terrorism is a form of fascism or otherwise extremely similar to fascism? Being influenced by the same 19th-century intellectual/political thinkers/movements is is very tenuous relationship; if this the best the defenders of "Islamofascism" can come up with then I'll be forced to conclude that the relationship is actually minimal.
9.12.2007 12:05am
CrazyTrain (mail):
OK, considering that Stalinism had as much, if not more, of an effect on neo-con philosphy than fascism had on Islamic extremism, how about we refer to Bill Kristol, Norm Podhoretz, and the other loons on the neo-con/weekly standard right, I say we refer to them now as Stalinorepublicans. I am happy to use the term Islamofascist, if you will give me Stalinorepublicans.
9.12.2007 12:08am
Ilya Somin:
OK, considering that Stalinism had as much, if not more, of an effect on neo-con philosphy than fascism had on Islamic extremism, how about we refer to Bill Kristol, Norm Podhoretz, and the other loons on the neo-con/weekly standard right, I say we refer to them now as Stalinorepublicans.

I am not much interested in the debate over the term "Islamofascist," which is why I didn't mention it even once in the post. However, your argument ignores the brutally obvious fact that Stalinism's effect on the neocon world view was that they rejected it, and indeed made the struggle against communism their highest foreign policy priority for so long as the USSR continued to exist. By contrast, the radical Islamists accepted many of the key ideas of Fascism.
9.12.2007 12:15am
johnmilk (mail):
Another ideology with common roots in nineteenth century romantic nationalism is Zionism. The whole idea of a Jewish state, especially one in the levantine "homeland" makes no sense without reference to the nationalist ideologies released after the French Revolution. Witness also the kibbutz movement and its distrust of liberalism and capitalism.

Now of course, the Nazis didn't make any "concerted effort" to export their ideology to Jewish Palestine, and I'm not saying the early twentieth-century Zionists were fascists. I'm just pointing out that the same ideology that gave rise to the Nazis also gave rise to Zionism. Indeed, Zionism shares with Nazism its exaltation of a particular nation state and a particular ethno-religious group. To this day Jews from Burma and Ethiopia get full political rights if they move to Israel, while Palestinians who were born in what's now Israel live in refugee camps beyond Israel's borders, forbiden to return.

And yes, I understand there are historical reasons for all this, just pointing out the common roots of Zionism and Nazism.
9.12.2007 12:18am
Jows (mail):
I was going to comment earlier that leftist totalitarians don't want anyone to mock or harsh on their favorite religion of peace because it's just so unfair to the poor misunderstood terrorists. Then I decided "nah no one will believe that, it's too stupid, it's crazy even."

Then two leftist totalitarian dictator lovers do exactly that.
9.12.2007 12:19am
Ilya Somin:
Doesn't this weaken the case for "Islamofascism"'s implicit argument that Abrahamist terrorism is a form of fascism or otherwise extremely similar to fascism?

Say what you want about "Islamofascism," but it's nowhere near as dumb as "Abrahamist terrorism."
9.12.2007 12:26am
Bart (mail):
Fascism is an ideology where the the individual subsumes him or herself to a movement to become part of a greater collective power. Members are recruited among those who feel powerless by blaming their plight on some enemy which can only be defeated by joining the movement.

The modern Islamic fascist movement fits this definition to a "T."

The Islamic world has been decaying socially and economically for decades and is filled with highly educated people who feel they have little or no future. Islamic fascism tells these people that their problems are caused by infidel Jews and Christians. The infidels can be defeated and Muslims restored to their proper place in the world by joining the Islamic fascist jihad against the infidels.

If you have any doubts about the nature of this movement, I would suggest that you go read the book The Wave by Martin Rhue (Puffin Books 1988) or watch the outstanding ABC Afterschool Special by the same name. For those who have not come across this little classic, The Wave is based on a real experiment done by Ron Jones, a teacher in California who tried to illustrate his history lesson on Nazi Germany by running a realistic experiment in fascist thought. The experiment was far more successful than he had intended and Jones had to break it off after a week. I have never seen a better example of the power and attraction of the fascist ideology anywhere.

Then go watch Part 1 of National Geographic's Inside 9/11, which discussed the formation of the Islamic fascist movement (although they do not use that term). Listen carefully to the translation of the recorded speeches of the Imams leading this movement. I sounds exactly like the speeches of Hitler and Goebbels - First the Middle East, then the World kind of stuff.
9.12.2007 12:27am
Ilya Somin:
Another ideology with common roots in nineteenth century romantic nationalism is Zionism. The whole idea of a Jewish state, especially one in the levantine "homeland" makes no sense without reference to the nationalist ideologies released after the French Revolution. Witness also the kibbutz movement and its distrust of liberalism and capitalism.

I don't deny most of this this. However, notice that the Zionist movement, especially the dominant Labor Zionist strain, was far closer to European left-wing socialism than to fascism. Unlike the fascists, the left-wing Zionists embraced democracy, liberalism, rationalism, and materialism.

And the form of nationalism it embraced was much less radical than that of the fascists. Thus, there are some intellectual commonalities between Zionism and fascism at a high level of generality - as between all nationalist movements of any type. But they are so much weaker than the commonalities between fascism and radical Islamism as to constitute a difference in kind. The radical Islamists embrace nearly all the major doctrines of fascism, with the important exception I noted in my post.
9.12.2007 12:30am
Elliot Reed:
"Abrahamist terrorism" was supposed to be making fun of the usually undefended assumption that Islam, rather than some narrower or broader category, should be taken as the defining and explanatory characteristic of "Islamofascism". Apparently I was too subtle.
9.12.2007 12:30am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I'm not aware of any neoconservative who was originally a Stalinist, who expressed any interest in Stalinism, or who was ever sympathetic to Stalin. Trotskyist (Irving Kristol), yes. Stalinist, no. And Podhoretz was neither, just a young literary punk who thought the budding New Left was cool.
9.12.2007 12:34am
Ilya Somin:
Abrahamist terrorism" was supposed to be making fun of the usually undefended assumption that Islam, rather than some narrower or broader category, should be taken as the defining and explanatory characteristic of "Islamofascism".

Maybe the assumption doesn't need much defense, given that the people in question themselves claim that their ideology is based on Islam and use Islamic texts and doctrines to justify their actions. Whether or not it is the "true" or "correct" interpretation of that religion is a different matter, of course.
9.12.2007 12:39am
Elliot Reed:
That doesn't remotely begin to explain that Islam, rather than some narrower or broader category, is actually explanatory. Through history, lots of Christians have claimed to base slavery and their many other atrocious acts on Christianity and used Christian texts in defending them. That doesn't make Christianity explanatatory, or even justify putting all recent religiously-motivated terrorism by Christians (abortion clinic bombers, fighting in Ireland, etc.) in the same category, as "Christianity-inspired-terrorism".
9.12.2007 12:57am
Elliot Reed:
correction: justify the conclusion that Islam . . .
9.12.2007 12:59am
Elliot Reed:
Now that I think about it, let me put it another way: people's explanations for, and justifications of, of their acts can't be taken at face value. Anyone familiar with economics should know this.
9.12.2007 1:03am
Ilya Somin:
That doesn't remotely begin to explain that Islam, rather than some narrower or broader category, is actually explanatory. Through history, lots of Christians have claimed to base slavery and their many other atrocious acts on Christianity and used Christian texts in defending them.

My argument is not that Islam fully explains the actions of radical Islamist terrorists. Rather, it is that their ideology is a combination of a version of Islam and fascist ideas of European origin. The evidence (some of which I link to in the post) overwhelmingly supports that view. Likewise, many of the groups you refer to had an ideology at least partly based on a version of Christianity.
9.12.2007 1:05am
Bruno (mail):
I'm sure you're aware of Paul Bermans's book, Terror and Liberalism. He follows many strands of the intellectual roots of radical Islam in fascism. My personal favorite way to refer to the radical Islamists is Oriana Fallaci's "black fascists".

Fascist states are famously militarized. the goal seems to be forming society into something like military formations, when everyone executes orders for the benefit of the whole. Or something like that. The Zionist fascists in johnmilk's post lack this defining characteristic.

Another thing that he misses is that Zionism, unlike fascism, was founded and grew as a direct reaction to increasing persecution near the end of the ninteenth century. As far as I'm aware, early Zionists weren't evoking some kind of national grandeur. They were looking for a way out of the fear and uncertainty of persecution. Most Jews weren't interested in Zionism because they had a place in society after the French Revolution, when discriminatory laws were struck down in much of Europe. This attitude started to change after pograms in Russia and especially the Dreyfuss Affair, which turned Paris citizens into rabid anti-semites.

Also, fascism is expansionist. As the master race, the fascists felt entitled to reduce neighboring states to helot status. This happened in European and Japanese fascism. The status of the West Bank today does not constitute anything like Germany's invasion of Poland or the Japanese invasion of China. They're different in scale and in intention: the Israeli government has supported the goal of a Palestinian state since the early 90s. Before that the anexationist movement had a brief moment but it has been marginalized for the past 15 years.

My conclusion is that--along with their origins--the jihadists are fascists in the classic sense: expansionist (reducing neighbors to dhimmi status); militarized; glorify their status as Muslims in the same way the fascists glorified their nationality. That's aside for the other similarities like anti-intellectualism, anti-liberalism.
9.12.2007 1:58am
gus (mail):
I follow--

"White" Republic of South Africa -- BAD. Not a Dutch offshoot ethnic group trying to preserve a few hundred years of culture and their own identiy, but a bunch of racist thugs out to oppress immigrant African tribes who moved into SA land for good jobs in the mines. Of course.

"Congregationalist" Commonwealth of Massichusetts--troubling on First Amendment Grounds. Don't let religion get in the way after all these years. Go gay marriage, that is what the Pilgrims meant with that Mayflower Compact.

"Baptist" State of Alabama (ala Roy Moore) -- constitutionally disruptive ... where is the ACLU to make that state dump its 10 commandments monument? Oh that happened--no more Baptist state.

Islamic Republic of Iran -- designate them as terrorists.

Jewish State of Israel -- oh that's ok. Call them an ally. Quite ok to let Rabbis decide rules for marriage and divorce (so long as that doesn't carry over to Brooklyn.) Ok to limit full citizenship to "true" believers. And how exactly does an honest woman get a "get"?

Islamofascists? -- Are these like Wisconsin Synod Lutherans? Perhaps. Close-minded folks beholden to out of date European ideas.

All of these differences are so very clear.
9.12.2007 2:01am
Dzhohar Zarmulayev (mail):

My argument is not that Islam fully explains the actions of radical Islamist terrorists. Rather, it is that their ideology is a combination of a version of Islam and fascist ideas of European origin.


Kafir's argument is foolish. He thinks that because fascists hated the jews and Muslims hate the jews - their hatred is similar. But he is mistaken. A simple analogy will suffice here - women avoid kafir Somin's timid advances not because he is a jew, but because he has all the charisma of a dying donkey. Just like Muslims don't hate the jews because they are jewish, but hate them because they occupy the Holy Land and subjugate other Muslim brothers.

Free Chechnya!!!
9.12.2007 2:11am
r78:
Speaking of fascism, how about a regime that imprisons its citizens for years without charges or trial, subjects it citizens and others to torture, and monitors the personal telephone calls and e-mails of it citizens without probable cause or warrants?

What are the "roots" of that?
9.12.2007 2:14am
Christopher M (mail):
Ah, but both Islamofascism and liberal democracy are linked by their common historical root in the Western, Judeo-Christian tradition! Or the law of the excluded middle! Or something!

I mean, seriously, it is extremely unclear to me what the point is supposed to be of linking Osama bin Laden and Mussolini. They both think society should be run along rather rigid lines, yes, okay, though obviously the specific "lines" involved are not only different but utterly, almost diametrically opposed to one another. It was important to fight a war against one of them because he was allied with Hitler who actually seriously threatened to take over a significant part of the world by force and kill a lot of people, ostensibly to remake it along the lines he wanted. As to the other one...??? He lives in a cave or something.
9.12.2007 2:15am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Ilya, as you note, the key distinction between the Islamic jihadists and the fascists lies in the exaltation of the nation-state by the fascists. Islamic jihadists do not exalt one nation or even one ethnic group over everyone else, they exalt their own version of Islam over everything else.

The mistrust of democracy and liberalism is common to many backward looking ideologies.
9.12.2007 2:16am
BGates (www):
r78 - the Clinton administration, I guess. I assume you're talking about the Carnivore program and the extraordinary renditions, right?

Locking citizens up for years didn't start with Clinton, of course, that goes back at least to Lincoln. Clinton preferred to have the FBI or ATF just shoot people.
9.12.2007 2:36am
jim:
Gus, as I believe that the first and fourteenth amendments represent principles of universal morality, I shall not quible with your implication that Israel's establishment as a Jewish state with preferential citizenship to a select group gives the nation less legitimacy than we require of our domestic states. But would you care to point me in the direction of a state in that region of the world that does any better at this test? Not to mention the test of not opposing our national interests. (Hint: Iran isn't listed as a state sponsor of terrorism because it has "Islamic" in its name.)
9.12.2007 3:21am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Jewish State of Israel -- oh that's ok. Call them an ally. Quite ok to let Rabbis decide rules for marriage and divorce (so long as that doesn't carry over to Brooklyn.) Ok to limit full citizenship to "true" believers. And how exactly does an honest woman get a "get"?
Much of this, of course, is false; the parts that are true are incomplete. Rabbis do decide marriage and divorce rules for domestic Jews. It's definitely an unjustified burden to require this, but any Israeli Jew can evade restrictions by getting married outside of Israel. And non-Jews are not governed by "Rabbis" at all in terms of marriage and divorce. (An honest woman, or a dishonest one, gets a get from her husband.)

Israel is a "Jewish state" in that it's a state for Jews, not in the sense that, e.g., Iran is an Islamic state.

Citizenship is not limited to "true believers" in any way. Presumably this is some sort of ignorant reference to the Law of Return, but since Judaism isn't based upon "belief," it's wrong even in reference to Jews. And of course non-Jews are citizens of Israel.

On those lines, Jim, I don't think there are any countries -- not just those "in that region" -- that don't give "preferential citizenship to a select group."
9.12.2007 9:09am
abb3w:
Some noodling on possible selection of alternate vocabulary...

I considered but rejected "Islamocrat"; as a liberal sympathizer, I don't think the Democrats would find the association too offensive, but I think the Republican's Thoughtfree and Theocratic factions would immediately link the term to anyone on the US political left with any tolerance of Muslims whatsoever (Ellison especially), further degrading the already excremental state of political discourse in the US.

Perhaps "Islamocratists" instead of "Islamofacists", to indictate those who want Islamic values to be globally imposed, without risking offending some of the more moderate Muslims?
9.12.2007 10:47am
anduril (mail):
There have been a lot of interesting comments here, and there can be no doubt of the historic connections between European nationalism (with its many different tendencies) and non-European movements, including radical Islamism or whatever one wishes to term it. However, to really get to the roots of Islamism it seems to me that one needs to ask: is there something in Islam that makes it particularly receptive to such ideologies? By the same token, one might ask: despite the violence that has been endemic in Christian areas of Europe, is there some theory that explains both that history of violence as well as the development of these areas into representative forms of government?

My answer to the second question is, yes. The interaction between tribalism in Europe and the new faith explains much: the tribalism which has remained strong in the form of nationalism explains the violence, the specifically Christian elements explain the trend toward representative government.

My answer to the first question is also, yes. It helps to view Islam, at least as it emerged on the historical scene by the 9th century or so, as an ideologization of a way of life--specifically of the Bedouin raiding way of life, now moved to the international stage: the Dar al Islam is the desert homeland of the believers and the rest of the world is the field for raiding. This is hardly unprecedented. One need only look at the Mongol invasions to find a similar belief that this raiding people saw themselves as religiously obligated to subjugate the entire world (one can find this in the remarkable correspondence between the popes and the khans).

It seems clear that Islam, seen from this standpoint, would be peculiarly receptive to virulent forms of European nationalist ideologies. It is the cultural differences that explain the variations that johnmilk and others were grappling with: the outcome of influence by nationalist ideology may depend on the underlying culture that is subjected to nationalist influence.

That's a pretty broad brush, but...
9.12.2007 11:05am
samuil (mail):
Ilya, neocons may have rejected Stalinism.
But they certainly retained all the necessary prerogatives from Bolshevism/Trozkism
The violence as the method to change the world order, anti-historical approach to the world events, disregard to cultural differences and different developments ,readiness for a change ( remember forces" socialism" of feudal in essence Central Asia republics), and amazing anti-humanitarianism. Total Utopism.
So the may have rejected Stalinism, but they did borrow the tactics and romanticised inhumane violence from Bolsheviks.
Check also this article :http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20590 by Buruma
9.12.2007 11:43am
Roundhead (mail) (www):
the term "Islamic fascist" is about the only appropriate use of the term "fascist" that has come up since the end of the World War II...

Quite beyond any actual connections between the founders of what is now Islamic-fascist terrorism, and the Nazi German state, the contemporary Islamic fascists share in the same antinomian tendencies as found in both Nazism and Italian Fascism...

Someone tried to say contemporary Islamism differs with regard to classical Euro fascism in that the Islamic fascists do not idolize the nation. But this wasn't true of the Nazis, either, who idolized not one particular nation but the fictional Aryan race (which included, to them, the Danes and other Scandanavians, as well as the English and old-stock Americans).
9.12.2007 12:07pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Re Israel. The mainstream Israeli labor party that ruled the country until the late 70's had some communist roots, but Ilya is right that it was really like a european social democrat party. There was/is a communist party in Israel, but once Israel was firmly with the West in the 1950's (and not with the USSR), Israeli communists became much like their western european counterparts (today, they are mostly Israeli Arabs).

BUT the "mainstream" Israeli right of Jabotinski (the so-called "Revisionists") expressly modeled itself after European fascists. Even DB will back me up on this. Menachem Begin's Likud were the direct descendents of the Revisionists, as is today's Likud. So, from now on, perhaps we should refer to the Likud as Jewofascists. It certainly is more correct than Islamofascists given the clear and unequivocal fascist roots of the Revisionists.

I would be especially interested in DB's take on this, as I am sure he cannot deny the history.
9.12.2007 1:16pm
whit:
"The infidels can be defeated and Muslims restored to their proper place in the world by joining the Islamic fascist jihad against the infidels"

*and* (and it's a "*big AND* for me) is HOW they go about defeating the infidels.

iow, i think (and i believe i made this point in the other thread) a big part of the reason why islamoFASCISM is so appropriate is not merely what the islamofascists believe/want but HOW they want to bring it to fruition.

if islamofascists merely wanted to convert the world to their way of thinking by the force of their logic/reasoning/persuasion, then i would not be as willing to use the label fascist.
9.12.2007 2:00pm
R. Richard Schweitzer (mail):
Is not the most common thread in the "isms" and "ists," be it fascism, nazism, socialism, communism and the Islamists, the subordination, and ultimate submergence of the individual into the collective, and thus under the dominance and direction of those who can manipulate the forces of the collective?

In Western experience, we can track establishment of conformities, and the development of various forms of collectivization (and causes thereof). The end results have always been the same, the submission of the individual to the collective, so far, followed by a "breaking-out" in search for individual freedoms (from and in relations with other humans).

In Islam, by its very meaning and intent, the submission of the individual is divinely ordained, and with periodic regularity that bent of submission, so commonally accepted, has been manipulated for other objectives.

Those other objectives have included submission to temporal rulers, submergence of individual needs and desires to traditions of clans, tribes and sects; sometimes for order in society, more often for power and the allocation of resources in limited access societies.

The responses of the Western experience may not be reflected for some time to come in the "middle-Eastern" cultures, so long as the Islam remains the dominant religious and intellectual force, and "submission" remains its core and consolidating doctrine.
9.12.2007 2:16pm
Gordo:
Another common thread between radical Islamism and fascism is the nihilism inherent in their philosophy and actions. Communism at least claimed to be aiming for a utopia.
9.12.2007 3:05pm
Ilya Somin:
Ilya, neocons may have rejected Stalinism.
But they certainly retained all the necessary prerogatives from Bolshevism/Trozkism
The violence as the method to change the world order, anti-historical approach to the world events, disregard to cultural differences and different developments ,readiness for a change ( remember forces" socialism" of feudal in essence Central Asia republics), and amazing anti-humanitarianism.


Many ideologies are willing to use violence as a method of change in some situations. Consider the American Revolution for example. Many ideologies are also skeptical of the importance of culture relative to institutions. For example most economists take that view. It doesn't make them analogous to "Stalinists" or Trotskyites except in a very superficial way.
9.12.2007 3:46pm
Ilya Somin:
BUT the "mainstream" Israeli right of Jabotinski (the so-called "Revisionists") expressly modeled itself after European fascists. Even DB will back me up on this. Menachem Begin's Likud were the direct descendents of the Revisionists, as is today's Likud. So, from now on, perhaps we should refer to the Likud as Jewofascists. It certainly is more correct than Islamofascists given the clear and unequivocal fascist roots of the Revisionists.

There is a small kernel of truth here, along with a large pile of BS. It is indeed true that Jabotinsky expressed admiration for Mussolini and his Fascist Party, as also did many Westerners at the time, including many American New Dealers. Jabotinsky certainly deserves criticism for that, nonetheless. It is NOT true that Jabotinsky "modeled" his Revisionist Movement after the Fascists - for the good reason that its beginnings actually PREDATE the rise of Fascism in Italy. Unlike Mussolini, Jabotinsky also embraced multiparty democracy and freedom of speech. After WWII, right-wing Israeli oppositionists like Begin and the much later Likud, dropped even the limited embrace of Fascist ideas that Jabotinsky had made in the 1920s and 30s. There is much to criticize about the Israeli right. But they are not fascists in any meaningful sense of the term.

In sharp contrast, the radical Islamists of today continue to promote the fascist ideas taht their predecessors first latched onto 70 years ago.
9.12.2007 4:05pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
William Kristol is not a Neocon since he was never a leftie. That was his father.
9.12.2007 4:49pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Another common thread between radical Islamism and fascism is the nihilism inherent in their philosophy and actions. Communism at least claimed to be aiming for a utopia.
Radical Islamism is also claiming to be aiming for a utopia. It isn't one that I would want to live in, but it is a utopia (in the original sense of "nowhere") just as much as the Communist utopia.

I'm not even sure that I would accept your claim that fascism didn't have a utopian goal. It just isn't a utopia that most people today find attractive--but many Europeans disgruntled with capitalism in the 1930s thought presented an alternative socialist future.
9.12.2007 5:09pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
It is indeed true that Jabotinsky expressed admiration for Mussolini and his Fascist Party, as also did many Westerners at the time, including many American New Dealers.

Why do you right wing revisionists keep insisting that Fascism was a socialist, left wing, movement. Jesus, give it up. Fascism's biggest supporters outside of Spain, Germany and Italy was the right. In this country the "America First" movement was most closely associated with the Nazis. Lindbergh wasn't let back in the Army because of his Nazi leanings. Henry Ford and Hitler were best buds, as was our current president's grandfather. The industrialists in this country just loved what Hitler was doing. After all he hated the communists and quashed the independent unions. And as long as you weren't a Jew, he left your business alone. It was the left wing of this country who fought the fascists in Spain and formed the Lincoln Brigade.
9.12.2007 5:27pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And if I hear one more of you idiots tell me that "socialist" is part of the official name of the Nazi Party, I swear I will reach through the internet tubes and strangle you.
9.12.2007 5:28pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Ilya, you confuse fascist with totalitarian. The Islamists do not promote fascist ideas. The ultimate (and completely fantastic) aim of the Islamists is religious, multinational caliphate governed completely by an extreme, literal interpretation of Sharia would by necessity not be fascist at all unless you conflate "fascist" with "totalitarian."

Do you consider Stalin to have been a fascist? His ultimate aim was, like Islamists in some sense, a multinational state (that would ultimately wither away of course), governed completely by communist ideals. (Replace communist ideals with Sharia.)

I agree with you that the Israeli right today is not fascist -- that was my whole point, which you seemed to have missed.

If you don't know that the Revisionist youth movements were modeled after European fascists then you are seriously misinformed. Finally, and to get away from the mainstream Revisionists, please read about Avraham Stern and his admiration of Hitler (not Mussolini, even) --- there is no question that he wrote a letter to Hitler, in the middle of WWII when all other Jewish groups had decided to join with the British for the war, proposing an alliance between Jewish Palestine and Germany (of course, he was viewed as a complete nut by most Jews at the time, including the Irgun and other mainstream Revisionists, for doing that). Who was Stern's direct successor? None other than Yitzhak Shamir, a long-time prime minister of Israel.
9.12.2007 5:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Radical Islamism is also claiming to be aiming for a utopia.

Gee, a radical religion is utopian! Stop the presses! A religion promises Utopia for its adherents!

Except for liberal reformed Christianity, Judaism, and a few other religions that teach that life is hard so you just have to make the best of it, almost every religion is utopian, radical or not. Even those that don't promise an eventual earthly utopia usually promise a utopia in the afterlife for the faithful. Ever hear of heaven?
9.12.2007 5:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Why do you right wing revisionists keep insisting that Fascism was a socialist, left wing, movement. Jesus, give it up. Fascism's biggest supporters outside of Spain, Germany and Italy was the right.
Define what you mean by "right." The right of Germany (distinctly non-laissez faire capitalists) was hardly the same as the right of the U.S. (which was laissez-faire capitalist). For that matter, the right of Germany would not have supported government taking control of existing department stores, and renting out space in them to individual small merchants, as the Nazi Party platform of 1924 called for.

In this country the "America First" movement was most closely associated with the Nazis.
A more accurate description is that their enemies associated them with the Nazis, who did apparently provide some funding (unknown to Lindbergh) to the movement. Call America First naive if you wish, but they weren't part of the German-American Bund, and included a lot of naive antiwar sorts.

Lindbergh wasn't let back in the Army because of his Nazi leanings.
Real, or perceived?
Henry Ford and Hitler were best buds, as was our current president's grandfather.
Ford was also a prominent antiwar activist in the period before World War I. What does that tell you, besides great naivete?
The industrialists in this country just loved what Hitler was doing.
Evidence?
After all he hated the communists and quashed the independent unions.
Hmmm. The Communists also quashed independent unions.
And as long as you weren't a Jew, he left your business alone.
This is flat-out false (as usual from you). The Nazi government established cartels that stopped competition, and created a massive planning bureaucracy. Within two years of Hitler taking over, corporations were complaining about the paperwork. Read William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich for starters.

It was the left wing of this country who fought the fascists in Spain and formed the Lincoln Brigade.
It wa also the left wing of this country that kept switching back and forth between support for war against Hitler, and opposition to war against Hitler, depending on the state of relations between the Soviet Union and Hitler. It was also the left wing of this country that vigorously opposed war of any sort--until the Spanish Civil War started, and then the League Against Imperialism and Fascism changed its tune, because their bosses in Moscow told them to do so.

As usual, J.F. Thomas knows no history.
9.12.2007 6:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:


Radical Islamism is also claiming to be aiming for a utopia.



Gee, a radical religion is utopian! Stop the presses! A religion promises Utopia for its adherents!

Except for liberal reformed Christianity, Judaism, and a few other religions that teach that life is hard so you just have to make the best of it, almost every religion is utopian, radical or not. Even those that don't promise an eventual earthly utopia usually promise a utopia in the afterlife for the faithful. Ever hear of heaven?
You might actually learn to read for context and meaning, idiot. My point was to disagree with someone who denied that Islamists are utopians. You are agreeing with me, and thinking that this shows how smart you are.

What's your story, J.F. Thomas? Are tenured faculty at Columbia?
9.12.2007 6:28pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The Nazi government established cartels that stopped competition, and created a massive planning bureaucracy.

Both the U.S. and the British achieved a much better central control of their wartime economies than the Nazis ever did. Granted, a lot of it had to do with the sheer incompetence and corruption of the Nazi government. But to claim that the Nazis were "socialist" because they tried to centrally manage their war time economy is ridiculous. What industries did they nationalize?
9.12.2007 7:21pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
You might actually learn to read for context and meaning, idiot.

And you might actually learn to read for sarcasm.
9.12.2007 7:22pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Real, or perceived?

Well, you can accuse me of tarring someone of guilt by association. But when you are secretly married to a good Nazi and have a couple of good arayan kids with her in Germany, you are a Nazi yourself in my books.

And don't get me started with Prince Edward and his American bride, both of them should have been hung for treason too.
9.12.2007 7:26pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:


The Nazi government established cartels that stopped competition, and created a massive planning bureaucracy.


Both the U.S. and the British achieved a much better central control of their wartime economies than the Nazis ever did. Granted, a lot of it had to do with the sheer incompetence and corruption of the Nazi government. But to claim that the Nazis were "socialist" because they tried to centrally manage their war time economy is ridiculous. What industries did they nationalize?
If you had just come into this conversation, I might excuse your confusion here, but I was responding to your false claim that, "And as long as you weren't a Jew, [Hitler] left your business alone." You were wrong--as usual. And that you are trying to change your argument after the fact shows that you are dishonest.



You might actually learn to read for context and meaning, idiot.


And you might actually learn to read for sarcasm.
Explain the sarcasm. Remember, you were trying to show me up as an idiot.
9.12.2007 7:57pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Well, you can accuse me of tarring someone of guilt by association. But when you are secretly married to a good Nazi and have a couple of good arayan kids with her in Germany, you are a Nazi yourself in my books.
If you are talking about Lindbergh, you are (as usual) wrong. Anne Morrow was born in New Jersey. Their first child was born in America, they lived in England and France--not in Germany before World War II, where their subsequent children were born.

Do you ever get anything right?
9.12.2007 8:02pm
Gaius Marius:
Radical Islam predates Fascism by about 1300 years.
9.12.2007 9:01pm
Thomass:
While we are at dumping "Islamofascist" I say we step it up and just dump fascism too. It's mostly a Stalinist meme / construct and it comes with a lot of Stalinist baggage (re: the extreme Euro right is pro capitalism and fascism is late stage capitalism, et cetera). The Italian big F Fascists were not anti Semites and lack some other 'fascist' characteristics. Small f fascism really means National Socialist... along with some right wing movements in France (the first national socialist movements started in France)... Let's just call it that... or radical Euro right… for clarity...
9.13.2007 1:05am
Perseus (mail):
Robert Kagan of The Weekly Standard:

This article ["I Am Not a Straussian"] is first in a series. Next: "I am not a Trotskyist."

I guess Kagan really does need to write the "I am not a Trotskyist" article.
9.13.2007 7:02am
SenatorX (mail):
R. Richard Schweitzer : "Is not the most common thread in the "isms" and "ists," be it fascism, nazism, socialism, communism and the Islamists, the subordination, and ultimate submergence of the individual into the collective, and thus under the dominance and direction of those who can manipulate the forces of the collective?"

This is the truth and its why trying to say the left are socialists and right are fascists is inaccurate. Fascism and Socialsim are on the same branch (collectives that are opposed to individuality).
9.14.2007 5:19pm