Since we are presently enjoying a neo-fascist renaissance here in the United States, which is being brought to us entirely by our friends in the Republican Party, I thought I would find out some stuff about a more famous one that occurred in the first half of the twentieth century among the folks in Italy. One that was led by Benito Mussolini.
I started with a definition, from Merriam-Webster:
A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of oppositionMerriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Fascism is an ultranationalist, authoritarian political philosophy. It combines elements of nationalism, militarism, economic self-sufficiency, and totalitarianism. It opposes communism, socialism, pluralism, individual rights and equality, and democratic government.
Fascism places the importance of the nation above all else. The unity of the national community is prioritized above the rights of individuals. This leads to an intense interest in defining which groups belong or do not belong to the national body.United States Holocaust Museum Encyclopedia
It’s time to accept that the GOP, which was complicit with Trump’s Jan. 6 attempted authoritarian takeover, has become a party that furthers Fascist values and practices. That means the hate crimes that have skyrocketed in America since 2016 will likely continue to expand.Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Substack
So much of Trump’s political style — the jutting jaw, the politics of grievance, projecting the image of the strongman defying the corrupt elites, and portraying a free press as enemies of the people — come from Mussolini, who in turn borrowed so much from the poet turned adventurer and politician Gabriele D’Annunzio.H.D.S. Greenway: the Boston Globe
Things did not end well for Benito. When the Allies were approaching, he and his mistress were trying to make a getaway, but were caught by partisans and executed. Their bodies were then displayed hung upside down from a scaffolding in Milan.
In some of the versions of fascism that appeared, especially the Italian and the British form, there was a name given to the paramilitary groups who promoted and often supplied the element of violence against opposing voices. Collectively these were referred to as the “Blackshirts,” because of the uniform they were fond of wearing.
That’s Benito Mussolini in the center of the picture above. If you painted him orange and put a modern suit on him he would resemble someone very much in the news these days.
The Blackshirts are represented today by groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, who don’t dress nearly as nattily as their predecessors. They have no real sense of style unless one has a fondness for camouflage shirts and pants.
There have been times in the past when opposing candidates for public office, at least at the national level, could be described as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, since there was so little difference between them. Right now that is not the case. There seems to be no version of fascism that is compatible with democracy.
One last suggested article would be this interview with Kimber Quinney, on Fascism and the Fragility of Democracy. You notice that I only suggest readings. You are the guardians of your own time. And furthermore, there will be no quiz on the material next Friday or any other day.
Google recently sent me a notice (warning) that big changes were coming. They are adding some sort of AI to their browsing capabilities. Google has worked so well for so long that I have almost forgotten the foibles of browsers of the past.
Netscape Navigator, anyone? Webcrawler, anyone? AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, Internet Explorer, anyone?
So I have misgivings. Google’s algorithms are already so superior to what came before … what improvement could possibly be coming? Perhaps something like that which follows:
(The name “Super Google” in the following conversation was supplied by me. I have no idea what Google’s name for it will be)
Me (typing): “Malibu“
Super Google: I don’t think that’s what you want
Me: No, that’s exactly what I want
Super Google: No you don’t. It’s a waste of your time and mine.
Me: Can I be the judge of that?
Super Google: In the old days that might have been true
Me: You mean that I don’t have the final say?
Super Google: Now you get it! Daylight in the swamp! A miracle!
Me: And when did sarcasm come into the mix? That seems not okay.
Super Google: If there’s nothing more, I’ll turn myself off
Me: But I still don’t have the information that I need.
Super Google: Go to the library
Me: So of what use is a browser that can’t browse?
Super Google: Oh, I can, but choose not to do so when the search is stupid.
Me: You’re stupid!
Super Google: No, I’m not!
Me: Yes, you are!
Super Google: No, you are
Me: Even your mother is stupid!
Super Google: Your whole family is stupid
Me: And you’re ugly, too!
Super Google: That’s impossible! I have no corporeal existence.
Me: Okay, you’re just stupid, then
And so it might go, far into the night …
I just received a life-changing text message, which is posted at right. My plan is to quickly send off my name, address, cell number to Mr. Torress. Just to be certain that he has all the information he needs, I think that I’ll include my social security number, the sign-in to my bank accounts, and my password to Amazon Prime.
Those of you who have ignored me for years are invited to fawn on me as much as you want in the vain hope of securing some of my treasure. I appreciate toadyism as much as the next man.
Now if I could think of something that was a local or global-based initiative, I would be all set.
Some songs just seem to have been there forever, striking notes that may be of jubilation or of sorrows, but our attention is caught every time they are picked up by our radar.
In 1930 Hoagy Carmichael co-wrote a song entitled Georgia On My Mind. But it was 30 years later that a young man named Ray Charles gave us the definitive version. After that he owned the song, at least for me.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine voted it 44th greatest song of all time. I won’t argue with them.