12 March 2014

Veith and Mefferd on Fascism


I remember when Veith's book Modern Fascism first came out in the 1990's. I recall a Lutheran friend of mine and fan of Veith being quite excited about it. At the time I was just beginning to come out of my Right Wing mindset but for the most part still embraced it.

As my friend reviewed Veith's basic thesis I remember being a bit puzzled because it didn't seem to match up with what I knew... at all.

Clinton was a wicked guy and I sure disliked him, especially then...but a Fascist? That didn't seem to make sense.

In the almost twenty years since that time I can only say I had no idea how flawed Veith's thesis was. Recently I've encountered similar arguments (from FOX news watchers and Christian podcasts) and then just recently I stumbled on this episode of Mefferd's show. She was praising the book. I was thankful that there was going to be a fresh discussion. I thought perhaps he would tread a bit more cautiously. Maybe he would reflect and realize that he had painted too broad a brush. Far from it.

In the end it would seem everyone Veith disagrees with is pretty much reckoned a Fascist. That seems to be the criteria. It's almost a catch-all for him. As I listened, when I wasn't shaking my head in disagreement and lamenting his lack of knowledge, I was laughing. The list of 'Fascists' kept growing.

I was left thinking that either he really doesn't understand the material... which he leaves little clues throughout the interview which lead to me to believe that's the case... or he's just reading it with a political agenda in mind. I think this certainly plays into it as well. Regardless his commentary is unworthy of a Christian leader and an embarrassment for someone who purports to be an academic.

As I mentioned Glenn Beck tried this line of argument a few years back. It got a lot of attention in Conservative Christian circles. It was during that period that I was astonished to find out that supposedly respectable Christian intellectuals were appearing on his show.

As I often say about the Right, even if you agree with the overall agenda, you should be appalled by Talk Radio and the entire FOX project. Their presentation of information and method of dissemination is dangerously misleading and utterly deceptive. There are a handful of conservatives that are rightly upset and refuse to watch. If what you believe is true, then you should never have to reduce yourself to base behaviour and deception in order to promulgate it.

Shame on these Christian leaders who have participated in the lies and deceptions of FOX and have approved of its evil deeds.

I really believe the Right is trying desperately to spin Fascism as a Leftist movement... which is prima facie absurd and hilarious if it wasn't so dangerous.

I say this as one who is not a Leftist. Just to clarify I am 'theologically' Conservative but I don't believe it's possible for Christians to remain Biblically faithful and be 'politically' Conservative. Nationalism (a foundation of Rightist thought) is a form of idolatry and is incompatible with Christian Worldview.

Just because I reject the Right, this does not mean I am therefore a Leftist. I realize that is incomprehensible to many minds but the problem is how they've been taught to think.

I believe in a concept I call Negation. We are Truth-tellers and we reject the World-Project.... the Beast project that's trying to create models and systems to make a perfect society. They are all idolatries that will fail. There is no Biblical political or economic system. Our message is not a political order or an economic model. We bring the Gospel which the world will always hate and revile. We will always be a dissenting pilgrim minority. We cannot reform this world.

The Bible tells us how to think about power and money, but the redemptive system can only be embraced by those who are renewed by the Spirit. If all of society were really converted, (an impossibility in light of Scripture) the existing systems would be rejected not reformed.

We expose the works of darkness and live as strangers and exiles. We bear witness, suffer and if need be die.

The greatest threat is not the pagan world declaring itself to be anti-Christian. The greatest danger is baptized paganism and pagan thought inserting itself into the Church. This happens regularly in the realms of theology and Biblical study. There are theologically liberal threats and conservative threats. Yes, there are those who proclaim to believe the Bible and can be even more dangerous than those who treat it as the words of men. They have a greater power to deceive because when compared to the theological liberals of the Mainline churches they seem like stalwart confessors.

But that's not always the case.

In recent years they have battled for control of the culture and in particular the historical narrative of culture. They have wedded themselves to the Political Right and Nationalism and yet the 20th century has a bad track record with Nationalism. Veith and others are working to change the narrative to appear more attractive to their point of view.

Like Clinton, Obama might not be the most praiseworthy individual, but a Fascist, a 21st century Mussolini or Hitler? Is this some kind of bad joke?

Somehow homosexuality, environmentalism and individualistic relativism all end up being key foundational planks to the Fascist vision.

Militarism and Nationalism, the actual heart of Fascism somehow seem to be left out of the discussion. That's rather convenient.

As I talked about in the other article, this is just misleading. Any philosophy teacher or historian would laugh these people out of the room. It's hard to know where to begin. I literally did not agree with a single point Veith was trying to make. He's fundamentally misunderstood the nature of what Fascism is, and how the ideas he cites influenced (or didn't influence) the movement.

His argument is a mumbled jumbled mash-up mess of a bunch of different philosophical strains which can be said to influence not only Fascism but about a dozen different strains of thought. He's playing one of the worst guilt-by-association games I've ever seen. I have to wonder if he knows what he's even talking about?

What's worse a profound ignorance or designed deception?

According to Veith modern Europe (which is overwhelmingly Socialist) is basically Fascist. Because in his mind they're the same thing! I guess we didn't realize the Nazis won after all!

All those people who fought the Fascists during the war... they were actually Fascists and didn't know it.

1 comment:

Protoprotestant said...

Unfortunately the link is dead. Mefferd's show died, although I believe she has a re-boot somewhere. If someone finds an active link to this, let me know. The article still stands.