A Real Fascist

The problem with the casual use of the word “fascism” is that I’m failing at impressing upon the students the gravity of actual fascism.

In my course on the history of Spain, I find myself helplessly repeating, “But he was a fascist! Like, a real fascist. A REAL fascist, you know?”

And the students just shrug because it means nothing but “not completely woke.”

9 thoughts on “A Real Fascist”

  1. “I’m failing at impressing upon the students the gravity of actual fascism”

    You think you’ve got it tough, imagine some poor instructor trying to teach about the Holocaust when “literal nazi” means someone who thinks that men don’t give birth….

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  2. Yes, I can see how you’d have problems talking about fascism. Which definition do you use when you explain that Franco was a real fascist? Umberto Eco’s? Kevin Passmore? Jonah Goldberg’s?

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    1. Well, actually, Franco wasn’t an honest, sincere fascist himself. He hated the founder of the Spanish fascist party, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera and envied him bitterly. When JA was executed by the Republicans, Franco pretended to venerate him and support the fascist movement. But after the war, he pushed the fascists out of his government, and they hated him. He had to do it as a price he paid for the US creating a functioning economy for him.

      This is fascinating stuff, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Franco wasn’t an honest, sincere fascist himself”

        What I know of Spain under Franco (especially toward the end) it always seemed less like real fascism and more like extremely parochial authoritarianism, kind of a small town small minded traditionalism (backed up by force when needed) stamped across the country.
        Real fascism tends to think big (even when it can’t back it up) while Franco mostly seemed to think small, very small….
        Or am I all mixed up?

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  3. Most of my students, on the other hand, would prefer fascism over what we’ve got, don’t agree with much of the bill of rights, etc., and that is why they are not impressed. They also keep telling me Hitler wasn’t a fascist either, he was a Communist, and you can tell because he was authoritarian (never mind that it’s the authoritarianism they desire in fascism). They are just not coherent

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    1. A student asked me how I’m not afraid of getting fired for what I say in class. I swear I don’t say anything remotely controversial. But the stuff that was greeted with a yawn ten years ago – freedom of speech, totalitarianism is bad, censorship is bad – is now perceived as very subversive.

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    2. Is this because civics education sucks? They just don’t remember a time when the government wasn’t bonkers?

      I would blame either or both, but I don’t see a whole lot of evidence that people over the age of 40, people who benefited from better civics education and less bonkers government, know what communism, authoritarianism, socialism or fascism mean or the differences between them. Or care.

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