Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Notes from the kakocracy: fascist edition

Every woman adores a Fascist,   
The boot in the face, the brute   
Brute heart of a brute like you.
(Sylvia Plath, "Daddy") 

Plath was taking liberties with the truth for poetic effect---it is not true that every woman adores a Fascist, but it is also true that not just women adore Fascists. Certainly too many people currently are fans of fascists around the world---in the Phillipines, Duterte; in Russia, Putin; and at home in the US, Trump. A few weeks ago, I found myself rereading Arendt, but while her observations are acute, it seems to me that they are too wedded to the Stalin/Hitler phenomena to explain what we currently see. Add 90 years of history, sub-nationalist movements, nuclear proliferation, contemporary technology, social media, and an author with Arendt's theoretical sophistication and social/political perception and we might get a new account of contemporary fascist movements and the people who flock to them. I hope we, and intellectual freedom and integrity, survive long enough for such a book to be written, and that we get to read it. But I am not taking any bets.

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