Thirty-five years ago I sat in history class, as one of my fellow classmates told Father O’Connell that Hitler must have been a liberal because he was a socialist. The old man smiled and said, “Then that would mean Teddy Roosevelt was an actual moose.” It took a minute, but eventually we got the joke. You can call yourself a leprechaun, but that does not make you a leprechaun.
Where to put fascism, especially Nazism, on the political spectrum is a big topic due to the use of Nazi iconography by some movements and the defensive position of most conservatives on the issue. It is also important because our rulers are making the claim that any resistance to their nation wrecking program is fascism. Everyone is now required to have an opinion about a political movement that stopped being relevant close to eighty years ago.
The first thing to note is that relying on a two-dimensional political spectrum cooked up by 18th century French radicals is not a good way to understand the world. Even the updated Cold War version that places internationalism at one end and nationalism at the other is of little value to our current age. Embracing the ahistorical Progressives worldview that insists history started when they synthesized their current worldview is equally foolish. It leads to nothing but error.
There is also the fact that there are no Nazis or fascists today. These movements were outliers that existed in the narrow space book-ended by the Great War on one end and the Second World War on the other. The late historian Ernst Nolte argued that fascism, broadly defined, was a reaction to the violence and mayhem created by the Russian Revolution and the spread of Bolshevism. It should be noted that Bolshevism was also an outlier movement that has long since died off.
This is a point that Paul Gottfried makes in his book on the history of fascism as a political concept. Note the difference between concept and ideology. An ideology has a tight, well defined set of rules, while a concept is vague. Progressives took the dead ideology of fascism and turned it into a political concept to include the set of people who oppose the Progressive project. As the opposition adjusted, the definition adjusted to meet the new threat. As a result, fascism is as meaningless as it is non-existent.
Any effort to connect modern political movements to fascism, therefore, is nothing more than rhetoric or cynicism. The conditions in which both fascism and Bolshevism were born no longer exist and are unlikely to exist again. To Western Europeans of the age, the excesses of communism were frightening. It is eastern origins appeared sinister. The ad-hoc and incoherent response called fascism, to what appeared to many people as a foreign conspiracy to bring down the West, was, in context, quite sensible.
Putting fascism on the right of your antiquated political scale probably makes sense, as it was opposed to what is on the left end of that scale. That means, of course, you are embracing a base assumption of Progressives. They argue that all opposition to them is reactionary and incoherent. Therefore, nothing on the Right can exist in isolation. It can only exist in opposition to the Left. In that regard, they are correct about fascism. It was a devil with an expiry date that has long passed.
A more reasonable argument, with regards to fascism and the Western Right, is that fascism was a rearguard action. It was a final last desperate gasp of the old culture before it was destroyed by liberalism. Fascism therefore is a grab bag of items from the ancien regime, bolted onto some modern industrial economics and sold to the public with modern public relations techniques. That would put fascism on the Right, but only when it is defined on a spectrum that has not had relevance for close to a century now.
The fact is, debating the place of fascism and the relevance of Nazism to our current age is a pointless waste of time. It lets grifters like Dinesh D’Souza peddle books to well-meaning normies and it lets internet pranksters generate some laughs, but otherwise, fascism, as a political force, has no relevance in our age. It is as salient as free silver or calls to restore the king of France. There will always be people clinging to the detritus of past failures, but there are people that believe they are space aliens too.
The great divide today is not over economics. It is demographics. The cultural struggle that is developing, therefore, will be how our people will thrive in a world of modern challenges and modern threats. What will drive politics in the West, in the coming decades, is what Steve Sailer calls the world’s most important graph. How to survive as a people in a world dominated by races unable to escape the Neolithic, is not something contemplated by Bolsheviks or fascists.
The debate itself underscores the fact that we are at the end of a cultural cycle, one born in the Great War, defined by the Second World War and formalized during the Cold War. Modernism as a cultural force has come to an end. Those in charge of the brittle husk that is the prevailing orthodoxy keep reaching into their past for villains to maintain support among the faithful. Those in opposition find themselves without fully formed alternatives in the present, so they look to the past.
Regardless, the place of fascism on the political spectrum then or now is as irrelevant as the spectrum itself. The arguments putting the fascists on the Right only make sense in the context of the long gone era in which they were born. Putting them on the Left only makes sense in the context of the dying era, if you are hoping to squeeze a few more bucks out of the rubes. Hitler is irrelevant to the current age and will have no more bearing on what comes next than Genghis Khan or Henry VIII.