Since the Greeks, educated men have pondered how it is man came to live in societies governed by political institutions. By the time societies reached the point where they could have men sitting around thinking about this stuff, rather than farming and fighting, the answers had been lost to time. The state, in one form or another, has been a thing that exists since the “memory of man runneth not to the contrary.” For just as long, men have been debating the form of government.
A core assumption, for as long as anyone has known, is that government has a practical purpose for society. For example, it is the job of every form of government to defend society from external and internal threats. The government adjudicates disputes between members of society. It is the state that deals with the rulers of other societies on the matters that concern them. Since private government has been the norm, the state defends the interests of the king or ruling elite.
These are obvious things that everyone accepts, but there has always been another purpose to the state. The welfare of the people has always been one of the duties of whoever is in charge. Again, private government has been the norm, so the king or the aristocracy is supposed to look out for the people. For most of human history this has meant economic interests. A good ruler gets powerful because his policies allow his people to grow rich through trade and commerce.
A new wrinkle was added in the 19th century with the growth of liberalism. The state was not just about practical things, like war and trade, but also had a duty to protect and promote freedom and opportunity. The state needed to be organized around the principle of liberty and equality. This meant that the law was neutral in that everyone was equal before the law. It also meant that the people were free to do as they pleased as long as it did not cause direct harm to others or the state.
That is a big leap when you stop and think about it. The role of the state has evolved from the private interest of the rulers and the economic interests of the people to cultural and spiritual interests. A government dedicated to preserving the liberty of the citizens is different than a government dedicated to protecting the interests and privileges of the rulers. The state is now in the business of securing the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of the people.
Various forms of socialism take this a step further. Instead of the government getting out of the way of the people and making sure no one interferes with their pursuit of happiness, the government needs to make sure no one is being exploited and that everyone can achieve their potential. This requires the state to take an active role in shaping the lives of the people. The state is now charged with making sure you are able to maximize your potential.
This very brief summary of government is useful in thinking about what is currently happening throughout the West. Until now, government existed for a positive purpose, to accomplish some goal or promote a set of ideas. Communism may be irrational, but it had a rational, positive purpose. Communism promised a world where everyone is equal and free of exploitation. Liberal democracy was supposed to deliver a world free of coercion and limits on your liberty.
The West is now reorganizing away from these sorts of positive purposes to an entirely negative purpose. Antifascism is becoming the organizing ethos of the ruling elite and that naturally means the government. By fascism, they mean a collection of ideas and concepts they think are integral to fascism. Things like racial discrimination or opposition to men wearing dresses. The point of the state is to eliminate all of these precursors to fascism from human society.
What we are seeing is the evolution of the first anti-state. Instead of being organized around a set of aspirations linked to the nature, culture and history of the people, the state is organized around exterminating ideas and concepts associated with the nature, culture and history of Western people. In order to eliminate these things from humanity, the state must use every tool at its disposal. It also means leveling existing society in order to rebuild the antifascist state from scratch.
This is why something like structural racism now takes up so much space in the discourse of the ruling elite. They look around at the inequality of man and conclude it must be systemic. Then they look at history and see that Western societies were created by Western people. They conclude that society was created to benefit Western people, so they must exist to the detriment of non-Western people. The solution is to tear down the system in order to eliminate structural racism.
It is tempting to think that communist societies were similarly organized around opposition to a concept, but that is not true. Communism promised something at the end of the struggle against capitalism. Since there was no practical path to that promised land, fighting the imaginary enemies of the revolution was a way to deal with the resulting disconfirmation. Blaming the wreckers for why the promised bounty of communism had not materialized was a coping mechanism.
The antifascist state, in contrast, is not making any promises about what comes after the struggle against the basket of “isms” they oppose. Justin Trudeau is not talking about the glorious future. He is seizing power in order to wage war against the concepts he and his coreligionists believe are lurking around every corner. That peaceful protest by the citizens was seen as Kristallnacht. Screaming “never again”, the forces of the antifascist state have swung into action.
Since the purpose of the antifascist state is to oppose fascism, it is vitally important that fascism exists. That is another main task of this new model. There is a lot of time invested in proving that the threat to “our democracy” is real. This is not done to convince the public to support their actions. This is done to maintain their own commitment to the cause. A main task of antifascism is manufacturing fascists as proof that it is a real thing that must be opposed.
The result is one side of antifascism justifies any means necessary to fight fascism, while the other side conjures a never ending supply of fascists. Unlike the terror that was unleashed by the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks, the terror of the antifascist state is not a defect of ideology. The growing terror is a feature of the system. Since fascism can never be defeated, the war against it is permanent. The price of antifascism is the permanent terror campaign against incorrect thoughts.
Antifascism is irrational and immoral, but it does solve a serious problem for the managerial elites in the West. Strip away the political theory and managerialism is essentially management by committee. This is horribly inefficient and we see the results all over society. Roads are crumbling, schools are a mess, public services are increasingly sclerotic and inept. The system is failing to deliver the basic services people expect from their political and social systems.
This new civic religion of the ruling elite is providing both a purpose and a justification for defending itself against the complaints of the people. All dissent is quickly labeled racist, fascist, white supremacist, etc. Not only does this justify the abuses were are seeing, but it also justifies the unresponsiveness of the elites. They no longer have to dignify the complaints of the people, because those complaints are white supremacy and therefore illegitimate.
In the end, government is a set of compromises to solve the immediate problems that come with large-scale human organization. A god-king is not the ideal form of rule, but it solves the problems that need to be solved. Popular government brings its own unique problems, but it solves the problems of inherited rule. Communism failed primarily because it could not solve the problems it promised to solve. Those compromises that came with it became intolerable.
The antifascist state is a solution to a problem that does not exist. Instead, it is a luxury good for a swollen managerial elite disconnected from reality. Unlike communism, it is not promising a new tomorrow. Instead, it promises endless struggle. There is a limit to how long any society can struggle, even against a real enemy. At some point the West will exhaust itself in the struggle against this imaginary enemy. The question is how much damage will it do on the way out?
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