It is largely an artifact of World War II, our age’s relentless demonization of fascism. The fascists lost; “we” won.

I have long been in the inconvenient position of itching to demonize fascism as a political and economic system while also sweeping under the Demon rubric the forces that did the grand work of defeating the Nazis, Italian fascists, and Japanese imperialists. For the nation-states and ersatz empires of the Allies shared more in common with their enemies than with the polity for which I advocate. They are all cultists of the omnipotent state. Though I readily admit, by happy accident I was born an American, where the omnipotence of the federal government was contained, traditionally, by some constitutional procedural niceties . . . legal limitations on governmental scope. American fascism was a thing, but fascistic elements of the Progressives’ beloved central government were even more important. And those American limits on state potency have eroded over time.

Nevertheless, it is today’s social justice, intersectionalist “pseudo-progressives” (to use the Misesian pejorative form) who are most likely to use “fascist” as the ultimate term of abuse. They have World War II behind them, and the modern Democratic Party beside them, to make their terminology stick. But their abuse of history and language remains an issue. For more on this problem, consult David Ramsay Steele and The Mystery of Fascism. It is an essay in a book. Look it up. Last year Lee Waaks and I talked with Mr. Steele about it on the LocoFoco Netcast:

But there is no end to the discussion, apparently. See a recent post to Liberty at Large on Quora:

Fascism and anti-fascism, in popular debate, are usually just political tribalism. Fascists were worshipers in the Cult of the Omnipotent State who made much of their differences with Socialists. Progressives in the Progressive Era preferred fascism, generally, to socialism; since World War II they preferred socialism to fascism. But what any of them “really mean” when they say “fascism” (bad) or “socialism” (good) is open to dispute. For, like always with political people, between fantasy and compromise lies a vast tract of spongey territory with no sure footing.

I sometimes find one fantasy worse than another depending on where the action is on the spongey marshland. I try not to be distracted by each will-o’-the-wisp conjured up out of swamp gas.

But hey: it is hard, since usually there is more gas than light. And we need the light.


N.B. This afternoon I chatted with Anthony Comegna again, for an upcoming podcast. But I should mention two recent episodes of his podcast, Ideas in Progress, are about actual America fascism, with historian Katy Hull. Highly recommended!