The Myth of Fascism

By:  Selwyn Duke
10/31/2011
       
The Myth of Fascism

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is a series of agreed-upon myths.” I’m not quite that cynical, but our history books do sometimes seem more like mythology than reality. In fact, in school we don’t even call the subject “history” anymore but “social studies” (socialist studies?). Yes, the victors write the history, and it’s pretty easy to see who has been winning the culture war for the last 100-odd years.

“You’re a fascist!”

It’s an accusation so common that I can only paraphrase Helter Skelter figure Charles Manson’s remarks about being “crazy” and say, there was a time when being a fascist meant something; nowadays everybody’s a fascist. Why, even the Online Etymology Dictionary, a source not generally known for hyperbole or any discernable sense of humor, has the following statement under the entry “fascism”: “1922, originally used in English 1920 in its Italian form (see fascist). Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923; applied to everyone since the rise of the Internet.” Unfortunately, though, the term’s sloppy application didn’t start with the virtual world. It started with virtual history.

If those commonly known as historians are right, Germany’s Adolf Hitler, Italy’s Benito Mussolini, and Spain’s Francisco Franco all were fascists, despite the fact that their regimes were very different ideologically.
 

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “History is a series of agreed-upon myths.” I’m not quite that cynical, but our history books do sometimes seem more like mythology than reality. In fact, in school we don’t even call the subject “history” anymore but “social studies” (socialist studies?). Yes, the victors write the history, and it’s pretty easy to see who has been winning the culture war for the last 100-odd years.

“You’re a fascist!”

It’s an accusation so common that I can only paraphrase Helter Skelter figure Charles Manson’s remarks about being “crazy” and say, there was a time when being a fascist meant something; nowadays everybody’s a fascist. Why, even the Online Etymology Dictionary, a source not generally known for hyperbole or any discernable sense of humor, has the following statement under the entry “fascism”: “1922, originally used in English 1920 in its Italian form (see fascist). Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923; applied to everyone since the rise of the Internet.” Unfortunately, though, the term’s sloppy application didn’t start with the virtual world. It started with virtual history.

If those commonly known as historians are right, Germany’s Adolf Hitler, Italy’s Benito Mussolini, and Spain’s Francisco Franco all were fascists, despite the fact that their regimes were very different ideologically.

Click here to read the entire article.

Selwyn Duke (photo)

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