Posts Tagged ‘Benito Mussolini’

Libertarian Sexism – Just Fascist Misogyny Mixed Up with Rothbard and Rand

July 20, 2017

About a week ago I put up a post commenting on a video from Reichwing Watch, a YouTuber who creates videos and documentaries about the rise of the extreme Right. That particularly video remarked on the way contemporary Libertarian was becoming a front for Fascism. The two ideologies share the same hatred of democracy, Socialism, minority rights, and organized labour, and exalt instead authoritarianism, private property and industry. The video included clips of comments from Rand and Ron Paul, Hoppe, Ayn Rand and other Libertarian ideologues laying out their highly elitist views, along with similar comments from Adolf Hitler. Libertarians have often described themselves as Anarcho-Individualists or Anarcho-Capitalists. Now, however, a number of them, of whom the most prominent appears to be the internet blogger, That Guy T, have begun to describe themselves and their ideology as Anarcho-Fascism.

And one of the attitudes they share with traditional Fascism is sexism and a deep distrust of women. Both the Nazis and the Italian Fascists believed that women were inferior to men, and that, rather than seeking equality and careers, they should properly confine their activity to the home. In Nazi Germany girls were explicitly educated to be home-makers under the official Nazi slogan ‘Kinder, Kuche, Kirche’ – ‘Children, Kitchen, Church’. This education culminated in a useless qualification derided as the ‘pudding matric’. The Italian Fascists held the same opinions, and also equated masculinity with aggressive militarism. One of Mussolini’s slogans was ‘Fighting is to man, what motherhood is to woman.’ Incidentally, it’s quite ironic that a female screenwriter, interviewed in the Radio Times this week about her forthcoming detective series about the organized abuse of women in international prostitution, is quoted as saying, ‘motherhood is the equivalent of when men go to war.’ I’ve no doubt many mothers, and fathers, for that matter, see it differently. Though it might appear to be so after they’ve been up all night with a crying baby.

Some of the clearest statements of Fascist misogyny came from the Futurists, the modern art movement launched in 1909 by the Italian poet, Marinetti. This glorified youth, speed, the new machine age, violence, dynamism and virility. Mussolini in his manifesto baldly stated ‘We advocate scorn for woman.’ In his manifesto Contro L’Amore ed il Parlamentarismo – ‘Against Love and the Parliamentary Process’, Marinetti declared ‘the war between the sexes has been unquestioningly prepared by the great agglomerations of the capital cities, by nocturnal habits, and by the regular salaries given to female workers.’ The Futurists were impressed by the militant dynamism of the suffragettes and early feminist movements, but later became violently opposed to any kind of demands for equality or female liberation. Marinetti declared that “Women hasten to give, with lightning speed, a great proof of the total animalization of politics… the victory of feminism, and especially the influence of women on politics will in the end succeed in destroying the principle of the family”.
(‘Love and Sexuality’ in Pontus Hulton, ed. Futurismo: Futurism and Futurisms (Thames and Hudson 1986) 503.

The same attitudes have returned with the rise of the anti-feminist Conservatives following the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Much of this is a reaction to the gradual decline of the nuclear family and massive increase in divorce following the emergence of more liberal attitudes to sexuality in the ‘permissive society’. Thus, Conservatives like the American Anne Coulter, Libertarians like Vox Day, and their British counterparts, many of whom seem to be in UKIP, stated very openly that they were in favour of removing women’s right to vote. This was partly because they feel that women favour the Left, and so reject economic individualism and property rights for collectivism and a welfare state. The denizens of the Men’s Rights Movements, who are regularly critiqued and pilloried by the male internet feminist, Kevin Logan, are also vehemently opposed to female sexual liberation. Far and Alt Right vloggers like Avis Aurini sneer at modern women as promiscuous, whose selfish hedonism is a threat to marriage and the family. One of the individuals even hysterically declared that women were responsible for the fall of all civilisations. This would no doubt surprise historians, who have actually studied the reasons for their fall. The forces responsible can include climate change and desertification, foreign invasion, social and political stagnation and economic decline. Rome fell, for example, because from the third century AD onwards it was suffering massive inflation, a growing tax burden that the aristocratic rich evaded, and put instead on the shoulders of the poor, a growing gulf between rich and poor that saw the free Roman plebs decline in legal rights and status to the same level as the slaves, along with the massive expansion of aristocratic estates worked by slaves, urban decline as the population fled to the countryside, a decline in genuine democratic institutions and the rise of feudalism, and, of course, the barbarian invasions. Women don’t feature as a cause, except in the writings of some of the Roman historians commenting on sexual depravity of various emperors, and the general moral decline of Roman society. O tempora! O mores!

Whatever intellectual guise the contemporary Conservative and Libertarian right might want to give such ideas, such misogyny really is just Fascism, or an element of Fascism. It’s just been given another name, and mixed up with the economic individualism of Ayn Rand, von Hayek and von Mises, rather than Hitler, Mussolini and Marinetti. It is, however, rapidly approaching and assimilating them as well. If female freedom and, more widely, a genuinely democratic society are to be preserved, the Fascist nature of such misogyny needs to be recognized, and very firmly rejected.

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah on Donald Trump’s Fascist Week

March 5, 2016

This is a piece of excellent satire – it makes you laugh, but like Bremner, Bird and Fortune and The Last Leg, there’s a deadly serious point to the jolly japes.

In this clip from The Daily Show, Trevor Noah goes through a list of the features of Fascism from the New York Times to show how they fit the attitudes and comments of Donald Trump.

Those features are:

* A cult of action.
* A celebration of aggressive masculinity
* an intolerance of criticism
* a fear of difference and outsiders
* Intense nationalism
* Resentment of national humiliation.

The Cult of Action
Trump: ‘I get things done. Better than anybody’.

Intolerance of Criticism
‘For those guys back there, the media, they are the worst’.

The Celebration of Aggressive Masculinity
‘Big hi-fives, smiling, laughing, I’d like to punch him in the face.’                                              
‘I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.’

Resentment of National Humiliation
‘We never win. We just don’t win’.

Intense Nationalism
‘I’m going to make America great again!’

Fear of Outsiders
‘A complete shutdown of all Muslims from the United States’.

Trump also retweeted a quote from the Fascist Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini ‘It is better to live one day as a lion, than 100 years as a sheep’. Noah points out that the quote itself isn’t particular offensive. You could probably find similar comments posted up all over gyms across America. But it’s acceptability changes once you find out the source of the quote. Trump was asked by one of the news anchors if he was disturbed by it coming from il Duce. He said that was all right, it was from Mussolini, but it was still a good quote. Did he want to be associated with Fascists? No, he said, he wanted to be associated with good quotes. But Noah says he had to think a long time about that one.

He points out that Trump’s statement that if he gets in, he’ll pass new libel laws so that they can sue critical journalists ‘and win lots of money’ is one of the key features of Fascism. It violates the principle that journalists cannot be sued for accurately reporting the bad actions and attitudes of politicians. If that happened, then the media could never report on his dodgy business dealings, shady policies or the fact that he wants to bang his daughter.

He also comments on Trump’s refusal during an interview to distance himself from David Duke, a former grand wizard of the KKK. Noah asks the question how he could possibly state that he was ignorant of the KKK, and plays a clip from an interview when he was running for the Reform Party, where he denounced Duke as a racist and a bigot and said he didn’t want him in his party. Noah ends by saying, ‘There’s a lot of Republicans saying that now too.’

He also makes a good point when he says, ‘It almost stops being funny the more you get into it.’ Totally. It looks funny, because we’re so used to comedians making fun of democratic politicians by comparing them to Nazis. But the laughter fades when you realise that with Trump, the comparison isn’t just superficial, but real. Noah says he’s not calling Trump a Fascist, but he is saying he has had a Fascist week. He’s right. Trump is Fascistic.

And that’s no laughing matter.