It wasn’t just hate. Fascism offered robust social welfare as well?

Sheri Berman, Professor of political science at Barnard College in New York has a piece on possibilities of fascism rising in US:

An analogy is haunting the United States – the analogy of fascism. It is virtually impossible (outside certain parts of the Right-wing itself) to try to understand the resurgent Right without hearing it described as – or compared with – 20th-century interwar fascism. Like fascism, the resurgent Right is irrational, close-minded, violent and racist. So goes the analogy, and there’s truth to it. But fascism did not become powerful simply by appealing to citizens’ darkest instincts. Fascism also, crucially, spoke to the social and psychological needs of citizens to be protected from the ravages of capitalism at a time when other political actors were offering little help.

The origins of fascism lay in a promise to protect people. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a rush of globalisation destroyed communities, professions and cultural norms while generating a wave of immigration. Right-wing nationalist movements promising to protect people from the pernicious influence of foreigners and markets arose, and frightened, disoriented and displaced people responded. These early fascist movements disrupted political life in some countries, but they percolated along at a relatively low simmer until the Second World War.

The key to all such movements who moves first to renegotiate the social contract:

The fascist solution ultimately was, of course, worse than the problem. In response to the horror of fascism, in part, New Deal Democrats in the United States, and social democratic parties in Europe, also moved to re-negotiate the social contract. They promised citizens that they would control capitalism and provide social welfare policies and undertake other measures to strengthen national solidarity – but without the loss of freedom and democracy that fascism entailed.

The lesson for the present is clear: you can’t beat something with nothing. If other political actors don’t come up with more compelling solutions to the problems of capitalism, the popular appeal of the resurgent Right-wing will continue. And then the analogy with fascism and democratic collapse of the interwar years might prove even more relevant than it is now.

History’s so many interpretations…


4 Responses to “It wasn’t just hate. Fascism offered robust social welfare as well?”

  1. vikramml Says:

    I’m tired of all this fascist obsession. There is almost no basis for it. The academia is obsessed with the problems of the past, while having zero understanding of today and thereby the future. Also, the academia is 80-90% left-wing, so automatically there will be more criticism of right-wing, while the situation and facts don’t bear out their obsession.

    When Obama was elected, fox news ran Glenn Beck shows comparing him to Hitler. Now, its Trump’s turn. Both are completely bizarre. What is even more bizarre is that when Obama and Trump actually intervene, say in Libya and Syria, no one makes that comparison. The media loves it and there is not much criticism.

    Meanwhile, the next totalitarianism is well underway and inevitable:

    Note the author’s criticism of the west. Academia is complicit and their indoctrination of the youth results in outcomes such as this:

    Loss of freedom of speech is the first step towards totalitarianism, this time driven by the left (although isn’t it usually driven by the left?). There is more hate and violence from left groups in universities than right. Remember, the left controls the universities and hence the next generation.

    This is how we end up with loss of free speech and Sansal’s 2084, with the active cooperation of the left: (remember this when Zuckerberg talks about liberal values, because he is going to stand for president someday)


    (note that the liberals refused to expand the bill for all religions and that most Canadians polled were against this bill)

    If I read the paragraph on social contract again, I see the right wing this time looking to offer better protection of freedom than the left. Note the voting on the islamophobia motion in Canada was liberals voting for restricting speech criticizing religion, while conservatives voted against it. Read that again and then tell me who is left wing and who is right wing? Who understands free speech and who doesn’t?

  2. vikramml Says:

    Well, my last comment can just be replaced with Onion’s satire today:

  3. Amol Agrawal Says:

    Hi vikramml. What can I say after reading your comments than just laugh at my ignorance. As economics students we are hardly made to read and discuss on these really important matters. So my posts are just superficial on such matters. Thanks for your comments. Need to read a lot more..

  4. vikramml Says:

    Reading more won’t help, if you end up reading more of the same biased stuff coming from academia or mainstream media. I think it helps to look at both liberal and conservative media, filter out the bias, as well as fake news, and look at the facts only and be as objective as possible. It is good to be a centrist idealogically and to be willing to look beyond labels. It is particularly good to look at conservative media when there is a liberal-elected president and vice-versa as the opposing camp is where one will get any real criticism.

    And, in fact, I hope to stop both reading and commenting on daily politics and idealogy, as it is not a productive use of time, it drains energy, and most of the political developments are depressing. So, perhaps I would recommend not reading more about current politics! 🙂 Also, strange as it might seem, the mono-think problem is actually less severe now than it was in the last 5+ years. People have become a lot more aware today. Which is why the left has started on aggressive censorship as they have run out of options.

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