Griffin Roger - The nature of fascism

Author : Griffin Roger
Title : The nature of fascism
Year : 1991

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Preface. There are moments when from above the horizon of the mind a new constellation dazzles the eyes of all those who cannot find inner peace, an annunciation and storm-siren betokening a turning point in world history, just as it once did for the kings from the East. From this point on the surrounding stars are engulfed in a fiery blaze, idols shatter into shards of clay, and everything that has taken shape hitherto is melted down in a thousand furnaces to be cast into new values. The epiphany to which the German Ernst Jünger was alluding here on the first page of his novel, Battle as Inner Experience, was bound up with his personal experience of front-line combat during the First World War. However, his words express a central component of all revolutionary sentiment: that privileged moment when frustration and despair in the contemporary state of human affairs are suddenly transfigured into the visionary sense of an imminent metamorphosis, a new world. There is no need to be a modern Nostradamus to predict that all societies which operate the Judaeo- Christian scheme of historical time will, as the year 2000 approaches, be rife with speculations about the immediate fate of the world. Prophets of doom will vie with Utopian futurologists in announcing competing visions of decadence and renewal as our fin de siècle gives way to the third millennium, a prospect laden with mythic force even for ‘modern’ minds. The collective sense of an historical watershed can only be reinforced by a number of major transformations in the perceived and objective structures of world society: the rise of fundamentalist, separatist and tribal nationalisms; the overthrow or dissolution of oppressive state communisms through revolutionary and gradualist democratic movements; the proposal of a ‘new world order’ safeguarded by a United Nations which finally lives up to the visionary ideals which led to its foundation; the growing realization of how imminent ecological catastrophe might be, and the efforts to transform a suicidal and biocidal modern civilization into an indefinitely sustainable framework for all terrestrial life, including that of our own species. To say that humanity is at a crossroads may for once not be a piece of ethnocentric rhetoric. At such a time it may well be asked if an investigation into ‘the nature of fascism’ can really justify the intellectual, publishing and paper resources expended on it. After all, if by ‘fascism’ we mean Fascism and Nazism and movements which sought to emulate them, it comprehensively failed in its bid to lay the foundations of a post-liberal society immune from the evils which it attributed to liberalism and socialism, despite the horrendously destructive persecutions and wars it unleashed. The New Order in which nations would be refounded on ‘healthy’ principles and the New Man who would inhabit it remained a chimera. In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War it was only too natural that the human sciences devoted considerable resources to explaining the meteoric trajectory traced by Nazism and Fascism before they both burnt out and to investigating kindred movements which had not achieved power but were symptoms of the same international crisis. Half a century on, in an age dominated by dreams, not of the reborn national community but the international one, does a preoccupation with the definition and dynamics of fascism have any direct ‘relevance’ except as a contribution to a wellestablished sub-discipline of history already overflowing with data and theories ? ...

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