My friend sent me an article during a contest over which one of us could find the most preposterous essay on the “fascist danger.” After seeing his submission—“Getting used to the F-Word” by Canadian educator William Gairdner in The New Criterion—I cede the prize to my friend.
Gairdner tells us nothing about fascism, although he blithely assumes that Germany, Italy, and Russia were all at one time “Macro-fascist,” unlike the US, which at the present moment is “Micro-fascist,” which seems to signify some kind of soft despotism. After griping about “identity politics” in the US and Canada, which confers special rights on minorities for their presumed past victimization, Gairdner offers this conclusion:
In short, multiculturalism has mutated into multi-fascism, a trend that is creating mini-nations within nations, many of which, as in France, are now violent “no-go” zones for police. Nature has come galloping back again.
What does kissing up to Third World delinquents have to do with Mussolini’s Italian national revolution or a neo-corporatist economy? Any self-respecting fascist leader would have made the rioting Arabs in the suburbs of Paris disappear overnight. Fascists were anything but multiculturalists.
Gairdner traces all the abuses of power ascribable to Hitler, Mussolini, and the Jacobins to a few lines from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s guide to education Emile. By speaking in that text about how the ego wishes to be “a part of the unity,” Gairdner says Rousseau was laying the groundwork for both Macro- and Micro-fascism. But where is the evidence for this sweeping indictment? How do we know that Hitler or Mussolini read the passages that are so repugnant to Gairdner?
Fascism has a definite historical meaning. It is not an expletive to describe everything that someone dislikes.
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