There are ominous parallels between “The Last Man in Europe” (published as “1984”) and “Homage to Catalonia,” which recounted Orwell’s struggles as a militiaman in the Marxist Unification Workers’ Party militia fighting christian fascism (El caudillo de Dios) in Spain. Back before there was any such thing as an aggression-rejecting Libertarian Party, intellectuals had to side with either International or National Socialism. There was no way out of that universe-of-discourse dilemma. Writer Henry Miller was one of the rare famous libertarians rejecting the entire false dichotomy, to Orwell’s shock and dismay. Ayn Rand’s “We the Living“ and “Anthem” and were published in 1936 and 1938, but Orwell managed to ignore her somehow.
Orwell contrasts Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer with a book by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, which was a “protest against the horror and meaninglessness of modern life–actually, indeed, of LIFE.” But Miller’s book “is the book of a man who is happy.” In 1936 Miller “felt no interest in the Spanish war whatever. He merely told me [Orwell] in forcible terms that to go to Spain at that moment was the act of an idiot.”
So what is fascism? Trotsky’s pamphlet offers nothing resembling a definition. Orwell, faced with the same question, likewise produced no definition. Instead, Orwell in 1944 also spouted gibberish to justify evading an objective definition certain to enrage religious fanatics:
“To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make.” –Orwell, What is Fascism? 1944
Yet the closer one looks at German National Socialism and Spanish, Vichy & Italian fascism, the more their definition converges on simplicity itself:
Fascism, (n.) Religious socialism.
Mussolini signed a treaty with the Pope to bring religious indoctrination into government school classrooms. Franco’s own posters described him as el “Caudillo de Dios,” saluted by the kiddies, and Adolf Hitler–painter of churches, Jesus and Madonnas–passed up no opportunity to exploit Christian altruism as a vehicle for demonizing “selfishness,” meaning all things Jewish and/or laissez-faire (meaning liberal).
During the Spanish revolution, Orwell reported, a sign of anti-religious “leftist” sentiment was the chiseling of religious symbols off of gravestones at the local graveyard. Yet Orwell shied from openly mentioning religiosity as the crucial difference in the late thirties or early forties.
By the 1970s, fans of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand were forming the Libertarian Party as an alternative to linear, anti-life ideologies so popular among Europeans. The first Libertarian platform included a plank the Supreme Court copied as its Roe v Wade decision striking down ku klux Comstock laws. Soon politics changed from a one-dementional line to a two-dimensional plane representing the four states available where there are two separate binary switches.
To those who, like King Solomon, recognize freedom from coercion as an indivisible whole, there is no real left or right. Both labels are the result of an assumption that freedom can safely be divided by having the right people commit just enough violence to make things better, provided their motives are altruistic. Whether such credulity is prompted by fear or hatred is irrelevant, for wherever it exists a skilled bipartisan persuader can convince both kinds of altruists that they AND their adversaries are both right, and then increase how much violent coercion is “just enough.”
This has happened in Germany, Austria, Italy, Rumania, Russia and its satellites, Japan, China, Burma, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador, all mohammedan countries and most African nations at one time or another. All of them started by assuming freedom could be “cut” with just the right amount of coercive aggression, then increased that amount until totalitarian rule became established. Observe that ALL totalitarians criticize as “anarchic” anything that offers more freedom than their armed goons have orders to tolerate. The best hedge against the abyss of totalitarianism is a functioning Libertarian Party.
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