Monday, November 2, 2009

Heidegger, Fascism and Communism

A bit more on Carlin Romano’s article “Heil Heidegger”:

In regard to whether we should place totalitarian Fascism in close proximity to totalitarian Communism, I have been following events in Russia somewhat closely, and especially their toying with a new Nationalism. They are not a dictatorship, but Putin is within spitting distance of being a dictator. He is restrained by world opinion and the need to trade and get along with other nations. But listen to them talk and they hate Poland as much as they ever did and think the Germans responsible for Katyn and the near-abroad nations are opting out of the Russian Federation because of the “aggression” of the EU and the US.

At the root of our wanting to rate Communism higher than Fascism is understanding that Marx believed in an ideal. He modified Hegel a bit and saw history tending inexorably toward a Utopia, and Lenin was his prophet. Fascism on the other hand was ethnic nationalism, sort of what Russia is tending toward today. There is no universalism in that sort of Fascism. The best ethnicity wins and every other becomes second class – if not slaves.

However, in our willingness to exalt Communism above Fascism, we should add somewhere the observation that this Communist Experiment failed. It didn’t work. As wonderful and heartwarming as was the Marxist ideal, it didn’t work. Yes, it was more successful than Fascism, but now what is it, and what is following in its wake? Putin calls his brand of Nationalism, “Sovereign Democracy,” which seems to be whatever he wants it to be.

But like so many in Europe after WWII, the Russians today hanker after a large centralized government that will take care of them. If Putin turns out to be something like Stalin, then all the better. The Russians don’t trust Liberal Democracy any more than the Chinese do. They are willing to make a few adjustments in order to benefit from the World Economy, but they feel comfortable with Socialism and not Liberal Democracy.

I know it is common to say “left” and “right” when we refer to Fascism and Communism, and put them at opposite poles, but I don’t see it. National Socialism and Soviet Socialism need to be closer together and at the opposite end of any spectrum from Liberal Democracy. They are both forms of socialism. At their Socialist end you have big totalitarian government making decisions for the people. Granted one form is based on ethnicity and the other on faith in a Utopia, but they both believe in managing the people. Liberal Democracy on the other hand (and at the other end) has no such over-arching beliefs or plans. Things are haphazard and chaotic, but not oppressive – at least not oppressive by government. People have the freedom to do most of what they want – as long as it doesn’t hurt others.

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