12 March 2014

Veith and Mefferd on Fascism (Part 2/2)


Here's the link to the related piece from February 2014: http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2014/02/postmodern-fascists.html
The Socialist Party Manifesto of 1936 reads, "It is now two years since the appearance of fascism in France. The great capitalists, dogged by declining profits and threatened privileges, fear lest the suffering people free themselves from the domination. They have subsidized and managed fascism."

I guess Veith would tell those Socialists they were in fact the Fascists. I'm afraid Veith is one of these people that are unable to grasp the various nuanced definitions of the word Socialist. It's no wonder they don't understand Capitalism either.

Within the realm of philosophy, all those Existentialists who emphasized Individualism over and against the collective truth-seeking of Hegel... hah! Both sides are Fascists.

Never mind the fact that the Nazis themselves rejected Hegel and the philosophers of the day declared Hegelianism was dead with the ascension of Hitler.

The Individualistic hedonistic Romantics...all jack-booted marching Fascists.

Environmentalists...Fascists.

Islamists... Fascists.

The homosexuals that died in the death camps, they were fascists too.

The Postmodernists that were attacking the very notion that there was some kind of comprehensive political or philosophical system...they're Fascists too according to Veith and not a few who think like him.

Even Mefferd picked up on the inconsistency in suggesting secular relativists and Islamists are cut from the same cloth. Well, it's the worship of the state, Veith answers.

Of course he doesn't see the empowerment of the state with Constantinianism or Right-wing Nationalism? Medieval Europe wasn't a Roman Catholic Totalitarianism where even a whisper in the pub that questioned the system could lead to your execution?

Kierkegaard and Camus were worshippers of the state? Nietzsche becomes a Conservative wishing to preserve social values and traditions?

He's all over the place. Islamists were inspired by the Nazis. But then the secular pan-Arab Baath party...they're Fascists too! Well, certainly Baathism was a form of secular Arab Nationalism. It arose in an attempt to forge nationhood out of states that had been created by Western Imperialism. In the case of Syria, it was an attempt to justify the rule of a secular minority over a religious majority. But militant Fascism on the order of Mussolini?

And if the Baathists are Fascist, then how can their arch-enemies the Islamists be the same thing?

And as far as the Arab Christians involved in the creation of the Baath party, I'm going to assume in this case Veith would reject their claims of Christianity? I would too, as well as Veith's, but generally these folks are quick to claim as 'Christian' any group that is politically expedient.

Racism... he speaks of Eugenics, but doesn't seem to even grasp what the movement was about in the United States. He can't understand why they wished to limit the birth of Southern Europeans? This would perhaps explain why he would be baffled as to why people like Barry Goldwater and many clergymen were interested in the movement? Many of these people were racists who wished to preserve the WASP-ish establishment. What they feared was non-Protestant culture, especially Roman Catholicism. They didn't want them to outbreed the WASP's who by the early 20th century were not having as many children.

In many cases conservatives had embraced (in part) the lessons of Darwin and Eugenics was (in a way) a means of combating what they viewed as a newly discovered natural law. Even wonderful people like John D. Rockefeller appealed to 'survival of the fittest' in Baptist Sunday School lessons in order to justify Capitalism as reflecting a God ordained natural law.

Does Veith want to call Rockefeller and Goldwater Fascists too? I doubt it.

Consequently Capitalism was a kind of baptized Conservative version of Social Darwinism and it is still with us and rabidly promoted by many Christian Right groups... all of course in the name of 'Biblical Worldview'.

Of course the system itself has nothing to do with Scripture but is in every way a child of the Enlightenment. For years I've read the childish attempts to exegete Capitalism from Biblical texts. I call these experiments childish because they start with grossly oversimplified definitions of Capitalism in an attempt to prove a few basic points as if that justified the whole system.

Veith cites racial ideas but fails to mention (or grasp) these ideas were already standardized in the thinking of the British, Dutch and Belgian empires. The French too, but to a lesser degree. The French (at least) always venerated their culture over the blatant racism of the Protestant states. Hitler took ideas that were already present in much of Europe and recast them and amplified them.

There were other Fascist parties in Europe and Hitler quickly found allies in France, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and elsewhere. These parties were trying to combat the social reforms that had been developing in the wake of World War I and the collapse of Empires. The Fascists wanted the glory days back... the days of Empire, Capitalism and Nationalism... ideas that are in fact closely related.

Racism is at the very heart of Imperialism. It always has been and always will be. And what is racism but Nationalism turned up a notch?

This is why when World War II ended the world changed. Everyone had to look in the mirror. Veith has learned nothing from the history he dares to teach.

The fact that this fine fellow is considered a respected history teacher and cultural commentator should give Christians a reason to pause and consider the state of things.

That Mefferd loved the book is no surprise. She understands nothing of these matters, history, or how the world works. The book promoted ideas she wants to believe because they support the political agenda she's wed herself to.

Wow.

All I can say is Judgment is being rendered on the American Church.

I won't go so far as to say that Veith is a Fascist or that the Christian Right is explicitly Fascist... but it's close. I will say with no hesitation that were Fascism to arise in this country the Christian Right would be first in line and very willing participants. Some would argue it has already been here a long time, at least a generation before the rise of Bill Clinton. I might be inclined to agree.

Mefferd is concerned the Churches are being manipulated to emulate the agenda of the government. Quite a stunning statement coming from a minion of the Christian Right and its massive state-corporate interests.

This was just before the show ended and her reminder to support the 2nd Amendment, because gun rights are the most Christian thing imaginable and of course loving guns is anti-fascist. Hitler was about gun control and therefore Obama is like Hitler right? This is like being in Middle School.

Never mind the violent Nationalism that goes along with 2nd Amendment fanaticism. I guess she's forgotten about the militia movements in the 1990's... often racists, Ultranationalists and pro-Nazi sympathizers.

 But for her to be worried about Churches and leaders being shaped by the government is too much. In 2002 I literally wondered how far would it go? How far would the Christian Right go in its obeisance and submission to the warfare state?

Veith cites Bonhoeffer as being faithful to the Biblical Gospel. What? There's much to appreciate (and criticize) regarding Bonhoeffer but to suggest he was theological orthodox again reveals either ignorance or deception on the part of Veith.

He mentions Niemoller? Why? He's obviously not interested in what Niemoller said. Niemoller said that it was Nationalism and pride in German culture that led them to embrace Hitler. It wasn't Environmentalism or Relativism... it was the fact that German-ness was wedded to Christian identity. In the early days it seemed to them Hitler was the Christian leader they had been looking for.

This whole interview was an exercise in fiction, fabrication and was little more than an exercise in propaganda or worse a display of the Theatre of the Absurd.

Listening to this programme I felt like I was in some kind of apocalyptic movie, a Christian version of 1984.

A well known false teacher once rightly said that Satan was alive and well on the planet earth. True, but we should be far more concerned about his presence in the Church, in the pulpits, books and on the airwaves.

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