(...or you can turn the page)

photo of Auschwitz barbed wire
How can you sit on THIS fence?

The story of Nazis and Jews, and of Blacks and Whites, easily lends itself to a theme of heroes and villains.

TOO easily.

Everyone is "anti-fascist". Good for them. But what is this fascism that they are against? Is it any use of power you don't like? Using fascism as nothing more than a term of abuse only trivializes it and risks making it exciting.

When antifascism and antiracism are merely markers of absolute good against an absolute evil, they backfire. Now any insecure fool fumbling for a way to be right - and everyone else wrong, anyone seeking to cover a sense of shame and guilt with a breastplate of righteousness, can latch on to antiracism. It is the same kind of weakness that brings others to latch on to Christian fundamentalism so as to distract their neighbors from their own secret sins, or for junkies to become vegans. Fascism takes on the pleasures of naughtiness and racism becomes racy, while anti-fascism reduces itself to a symptom of hypocrisy and looks like goody-two-shoes next to the jackboots. Just as the minister who is molesting the kids discredits christianity, and the vegan junkie makes vegetarianism look like a joke, so too the self righteous politically-correct prig discredits anti-racism.

Now every government whose citizens have gotten too cynical to support it will present itself as the hero of anti-nazism, hoping to salvage what is left of their popular support. If you want to manipulate the masses just scare them with Nazis and you can impose as much power as you like.

But when the entire postwar power structure is built on antinazism, and in the last few decades on loud and often-repeated slogans about racial equality, is it any surprise that racism and fascism might appeal to the victims of that order?

Rulers have always sought sympathy and support by looking back to a time when their faction were the oppressed political prisoners. Communist dictators talked of martyred union organizers. Christians talk about the lions that devoured their forebears - a couple thousand years before. Israelis tell disposessed Palestinians about Auschwitz. The next dictators will talk about Martin Luther King.

"Therefore when thou doest [thine] alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. --Matthew 6:2-3

Postmodern Pharisees try to force us to display political responsibility and good taste, so gotta fight for the right to be rude.

this link takes you beyond good and evil
"'Opposites,' said Naphta, 'may be consistent with each other. It is the middling, the neither-one-thing-nor-the-other that is preposterous.'" -Thomas Mann

"Is any given bombing in Italy the work of leftist extremists, or extreme-right provocation, or a centrist mis-en-scène to discredit all extreme terrorists and to shore up its own failing power, or again, is it a police-inspired scenario and a form of blackmail to public security? All of this is simultaneously true, and the search for proof, indeed the objectivity of the facts does not put an end to this vertigo of interpretation." - Jean Baudrillard