Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 25. 6 October 1972

The Common Mans Fascism

The Common Mans Fascism

Melvin Rader, in, "No Compromise" quotes James Drennen, a prominent British Fascist leader of the period: "Facism is real insurrection - an insurrection of feeling - mutiny of men against the conditions of the modern world. It is completely characteristic of this aspect of Fascism in its early stages, both in Italy and in Germany, that the movement should have grown up without either logical theory behind it or cut and dried program in front of it. The men who built Fascism in Italy and Germany, who are the 'common men', the 'men in the street' leave theories to the intellectuals and programs to the democrats who have betrayed them for a century. The Fascist....... acts, in fact instinctively, and not theoretically."

Does that ring a bell or two in our own context? Now compare Thomas Paine The Rights of Man for a breath of fresh air: "Reason and Ignorance, the opposite to each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself. And Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it... Government in a well-constituted republic requires no belief from man beyond what his reason can give." Paine goes on to talk about the tensions and corruption which ensues when 'Mixed Government' rules.

The criticism that economists and political scientists fail to provide the tools of moral commitment would be more constructively directed at philosophy. It is a matter of urgency that the linguistic and dilettante areas in philosophy should be layed aside until there is more time to spend on it, which is not likely to be this side of the year 2000.

It is significant that in the Philosophy I text (Hospers) the only chapter not included in the syllabus is Chap.9. Ethics. This last chapter has a good summary of the theory of Goodness, value and conduct, perhaps a more useful pursuit than wasting time proving God's non-existence.

With a radical reorientation of the place and purpose of philosophy, perhaps there would be less uncritical acceptance of such phenomena as Peter Wilson et al., who have under-cut any claims they might have to know anything in their appeal to R.Zaner, 'The Way of Phenomenology', who orders us to accept his apparently mystical insight that, "There is no such thing as a 'method', as distinct from what is discovered thereby." This is more of a theory of ignorance than a theory of knowledge, and such irrationality is the fertilizer of Fascism.

It is time to come to grips with this totalitarian mentality, and to realise that New Zealand has no more natural immunity from it than did those jolly aristocrats and boorish Bavarian boozers only three decades ago in Europe.

When a culture loses its head, it does not take too long before the only question left to debate is,

"Who Will be Our Fuhrer?"