From Newsweek (which has become a truly noxious rag of late):
Bannon implied that Fetterman, who's running for U.S. Senate against Trump-backed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, is a follower of Satan in a Gettr post on Wednesday. The remark was made while Bannon shared an article from the right-wing website The Washington Free Beacon, which alleged Fetterman was part of a "Democratic Grooming Scandal" because his family was photographed next to a person dressed as an anime character.
"Is Fetterman satanic??" Bannon wrote. "His look, his vibe, his associations ... has there been anyone in the history of the country that exudes more just pure evil than this guy ... the Citizens of the Commonwealth need to ask themselves—do we want someone who hangs with Satanic Groomers to represent us in the US Senate."
Hilarious! Bannon himself is a worshipful devotee of Julius Evola, who was the living embodiment of occult evil.
In recent times, quite a few writers (though still not enough) have discussed Evola's philosophy of Traditionalism, which we may partially define as a return to feudalism. If you don't know much about that worldview, this book is an absolute must.
But first and foremost, Julius Evola was a Hermetic thinker who genuinely believed in ceremonial magic. Most people are not aware of that fact.
Maria taught her sex magical doctrines to the symbolist and surrealist artists of 1930's Paris. Her techniques included sensory deprivation, ceremonial magic, sexual intercourse with demons and angels and erotic asphyxia. Please note that this 175 page hard cover book contains approximately 170 illustrations detailing every aspect of Maria's life including Rasputin, The Mariavites, the cafes of Montparnasse, the Surrealists, alchemical diagrams and the magical rituals of the Third Term of the Trinity. Her students included William Seabrook, Michel Leiris, Georges Bataille and her lover, Julius Evola.Let us pause to savor the majesty of Bannon's hypocrisy.
We are supposed to consider Fetterman a "groomer" because a member of Fetterman's family showed up in a photo with someone dressed as an anime character. (If you or anyone you know has ever visited Comic Con, give up all notion of ever entering politics!) But it was perfectly all right for Bannon's hero, Julius Evola, to engage in sex magic and erotic asphyxiation with dear old Maria.
Oh, but the story gets even weirder.
The symbol of that group was a headless man. Why? Because logical thinking is bad. Or so said Bataille.
Some consider Bataille the founding father of postmodernism. Foucault would never have become Foucault without Bataille.
In recent years, the right has spent a great deal of time and energy assailing postmodernism. They hate the stuff. I hate it too -- in fact, I've hated the pomos since the early 1980s, long before doing so became cool. The rightwingers continually try to convince their easily-gulled followers that postmodernism is a form of Marxism, which is a complete lie: The pomos were and are anti-Marxists to the core.
Postmodernism is the pre-eminent anti-Enlightenment philosophy of our time. It's a virus. Foucault caught the virus from Battaille, who got it from Evola -- the same Julius Evola that Steve Bannon just loves loves loves.
So here's the question: What substantive thing separates Foucault from Bannon? Both are anti-Enlightenment, anti-science and anti-democracy. Those similarities are the only points that matter; everything else is insignificant
The two are really one.
We battle a monster who sometimes wears a right-wing mask and sometimes a left-wing mask -- but it's always the same monster, a beast who detests both reason and democracy.
For decades, I've struggled to come up with a workable definition of fascism. Here's where I've landed: The term "fascism" may be applied to any anti-Enlightenment philosophy pressed into the service of political action in the modern age. By this definition, there can be right-wing and left-wing fascisms, nationalist and anti-nationalist fascisms, libertarian and "Big Gummint" fascisms, religious and atheist fascisms, materialist and mystical fascisms. There is a fascism for every race and ethnic group, including blacks and Jews. As was pointed out long ago, there can even be a fascism that calls itself anti-fascist -- that truly believes itself to be anti-fascist.
I live in PA and like Fetterman. I'm sure he's not perfect, but he seems like a pretty solid liberal that is actually interested in helping the people of PA, rather than catering to the wealthy, like Oz (who is pretending to be a PA resident). He went around the state personally surveying people on their views of legalizing cannabis. The result was 75% of residents thought it should be totally legal (I suspect nationwide it's not too different, though at this point I think most people don't care one way or the other....and I know you don't think it's a very important topic and I tend to agree, especially now that so many states have it medically and recreationally...I know a lot of right wingers who were all for legalization before they became Trump worshippers). Anyway, I know who I'll be voting for at any rate.ReplyDelete
You lose me a bit sometimes, but I love to read whatever you write. I'm really happy to see you writing again, please keep it coming.ReplyDelete
Thanks, guys. I apologize: This post was sent out into the world prematurely. Good writing is rewriting, as they say. Hope you like the rewritten version.ReplyDelete
It seems to me that what you are describing is anarchy, not fascism. I think fascism is a totalitarian form of government resulting from a marriage of power and money. Fascism doesn't necessarily require demonization of minorities, although it is generally an effective technique to control the population. Mussolini wasn't particularly anti-semitic, he did have a Jewish mistress after all. I believe he was more anti-cleric early in his career. Anyway, there can be benign dictatorships, though usually it doesn't work out that way. Generally the fascist governments are close to oligarchies. In Italy it was the marriage of Mussolini as power with the large corporations as the money.ReplyDelete
jospeh, your definition cannot work. Consider the Nazis in 1926. Consider Tom Metzger. Consider Guy Lincoln Rockwell. Consider the Golden Dawn in Greece. I would apply the word "fascist" to the lot of 'em, but where's the money? Where's the power?ReplyDelete
We need to position the movement philosophically. We need to be able to say: "Fred and Ed are both working class guys with less than a thousand bucks in the bank. Fred is a fascist and Ed is not, because Fred believes..." Finish that sentence and you have your definition of fascism.
I've already given mine.
I am grateful to you for not marrying the concepts of fascism and anti-Semitism. I would argue that fascism is always going to demonize SOMEONE because any anti-Enlightenment philosophy is powered by illogic and emotion.
“I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos." - from The Big LebowskiReplyDelete
“Not anymore.” - Inspector Clouseau
Joseph made an important observation: they’ve got all kinds of fascism on offer, right now, all at the same time. Even the racists among them probably love Clarence Thomas. The misogynists love MTG and Boebert. (It’s a fantasy of mine that Jewish casino manate Sheldon Adelson died of apoplexy upon the discovery that his Trump campaign contributions were being used to fund neo-Nazi groups.)
Having watched Putin, and Trump, they do use anarchic, or chaotic-appearing, methods. Partly to keep their opponents off balance, which is very successful, and also to obscure their true aims. Another element is that all the work of developing consistent ways of thinking can be done away with. Just say and do what the moment requires. Frequently what is required is just fresh meat to keep the public frenzy going, keeping the rage alive.
The rage of the followers is very valuable because it renews the feelings for the leader. It also distracts from how poorly the leader serves anyone’s interests but his own, and his backers.
No way can André Breton rightfully be called a fascist.ReplyDelete
It's true that he doesn't pass your test for what makes a fascist, because his anti-Enlightenment orientation wasn't pressed into the service of political action. He went from membership of the Communist Party to an alliance with Leon Trotsky, followed by membership of the Anarchist Federation, without submitting his outlook to any of theirs. But it gets a little too close for comfort, because he might be said to pass the anti-Enlightenment and illogical-irrationalist parts of the test. What is the "Enlightenment" anyway? Science? This crap we've had since the "industrial revolution"? Rationality before everything? Comtean positivism? Comte was a nutter. Turing was even worse. I'm with André.
Key sentence in Breton's 1924 surrealist manifesto:
"I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak."
That puts the finger on it better than the perhaps more famous lines about "pure psychic automatism".
There have been those who say the rational (scientific, left-brained) and irrational (psychic, magical, imaginative) should be united with the rational in the driving seat. They include fascists such as Colin Wilson. Breton didn't think that.
Salvador Dali was a fascist for sure.
Oh, let us be generous. Let us allow for a definition of "fascism" expansive enough to take in the anarchists and surrealists. And yes, that would include Breton.ReplyDelete
There has always been a strong fascist aspect to surrealism, and I speak as one who has always loved surrealism and who has made a few (not very good) surrealist paintings.
You cite Dali as an example of a fascist surrealist. I think he was a bit of a special case, since -- Hamlet-like -- he adopted his crazy-man persona in order to survive the Civil War which engulfed his nation, and to distance himself from Marxist chic in France. After WWII, I don't think he had any great argument against bourgeois Keynesian democracy, since he made a lot of money from patrons who prospered under that system.
Any art movement which elevates the irrational will make paintings beloved by those infected with political rabies.
The surrealists always end up nesting with the fascists. Surrealism is the sleep of reason, and the sleep of reason breeds monsters.
On the other hand, we can't go our entire lives without sleep, can we? And that's how I justify my love of surrealist art.
I have to confess that my younger self would be appalled at the things I'm writing now. How can an old anti-CIA activist like me descend into a state in which he uses a word like "bourgeois" approvingly?
In my defense, I've felt for a long time -- since the 1990s -- that any revolution in this country would be one that the left did not want to see. Many of my little prophecies have not come true, but that one did. I did not truly value American democracy until I saw it start to crumble into fascism.
I love some of the strands in surrealism and I've made surrealist art too (poems).ReplyDelete
If dream happens in the sleep of reason, then reason happens in the sleep of imagination.
Fascists murdered hundreds of thousands of people in Spain, and there is no way that Dali can rightly be let off the hook, regardless of how much he may have been motivated by wanting to cock a snook at Breton in another country where there was no war going on. Dali continued to revere Franco long after the Spanish war was over too. And his paintings are crap. Dali didn't get past Freud. Breton did - his psychological understanding has different roots from those of the Viennese couch jockey, and is FAR more profound - even if sometimes it was as if he didn't know it. Carrington was way past Freud too.
Your definition of fascism leaves little or no room for technofascism, by which I mean not just the use of technical means but that which comes with a whole ideology of the human person as a machine - a belief that brings in Turing as well as B F Skinner.
Thank you for your alerting me to Alexandr Dugin. While he may not be PUtin's brain, PUtin most assuredly is following his playbook. And while we are on Dugin, the New Yorker had a story about Alito which said that Alito was fighting secularization. Is there a philosophical connection between Alito and Dugin?ReplyDelete
Joe - I’m just glad to see a post. Politics - Schmolotics. Give us more of the whole sec magik, occult, OTO stuff. I’m done with the tedious at this point.ReplyDelete