The Elizabethan poet Sir John Harrington uttered an eternal truth: “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”
In other words, emotively pejorative designations no longer apply if those who merit them emerge victorious. Hence, because so far the EU has swept all before it, none dare call it fascist. However, fundamentally that’s exactly what it is.
The word ‘fascism’ is rich not only in denotation but also in connotation, and the connotation is largely emotional, evoking as it does concentration camps and genocide. Yet state-initiated violence is but a manifestation of fascism, not its essence.
It certainly can’t be used for the purpose of defining fascism. In fact, so-called democracies may well outdo fascist states in that category.
For example, nobody calls the US circa mid-1860s fascist. Yet Lincoln closed down 300 pro-Southern newspapers (and had their presses smashed), suppressed the writ of habeas corpus and had 13,535 Northern citizens arrested for political crimes between February 1862 and April 1865.
Comparing his record with that of the indisputably fascist Mussolini, who only managed 1,624 political convictions in 20 years and yet is universally and justly reviled, one begins to see political taxonomy in a different light.
Any valid definition has to be exclusive to what’s being defined. I’d suggest that fascism can be best defined as the end of politics and thus of governmental accountability. A fascist state replaces politics with administration.
The administrators are neither politicians nor statesmen, but bureaucrats who rule more absolutely than any Christian monarchs ever did. Whether or not the bureaucrats are elected doesn’t matter as much as is commonly believed.
By whatever means they ascend to power, once they get there they’re no longer accountable, and their power becomes arbitrary even if they had to go through the travesty of elections along the way.
People don’t like to be excluded from politics, which is why there’s always a fair amount of dissent fomenting at the grassroots of fascist states. Therefore they have to rely on two expedients to hold on to power: propaganda first, violence second. The former is ever-present, but the amount of the latter may vary from nonexistent to egregious. Whatever it takes.
Modern Western states all have germs of fascism within their systems. But some, those loosely called democracies, also have antibodies preventing the germs from wreaking havoc. These are traditional institutions, those that inoculate the body politic with healthy doses of accountability and equity. The older and more robust such institutions are, the less likely are the germs to develop into a full-blown disease.
That’s why we mustn’t be misled by the EU still not building concentration camps. It’s nonetheless a classic fascist state in the making, only a step or two removed from gestating to full maturity.
The boot in the face may or may not come. If this god-awful contrivance sticks around long enough, it definitely will come sooner or later. For, make no mistake about it, since the state being created on the European continent bears every hallmark of fascism, sooner or later it’ll have to protect itself with violence.
The EU is an unaccountable bureaucracy riding roughshod over every national tradition, institution and custom. It may not yet crash a boot into your face, but it’s already crushing underfoot everything that makes England English.
For England, or for that matter Britain, is dramatically different from other European states. Most of them had an outbreak of wartime fascism and, even if they’re now in remission, few have been cured of this horrible disease. It reveals itself, as it does in Germany and France, as greater tolerance of statist bureaucracy reaching for greater power.
It’s on this heritage, latent or otherwise, that the EU is building its shaky foundations. This isn’t the kind of building that England can live in – not with her 800-year tradition of just, accountable government. This is our vaccine, but it can be overridden.
The other day the Queen asked her guests to name three good reasons for her realm to stay in the EU. I doubt they managed to do so, for there isn’t a single one.
Every reason the Remain campaign has concocted is spurious, if not downright mendacious. Yet the Leave campaign hasn’t communicated the reason to shake the EU dust off our feet clearly enough.
Instead it has tried to catch the red herring of immigration by its tail. Yes, unlike the Remainers’ harebrained scaremongering, uncontrolled immigration is a real problem. But much of it is caused not by the EU but by our own negligence in controlling our borders, which had been too permeable even before 1992.
I suspect this problem will exist, on perhaps a smaller scale, even if we left the EU. Yes, reducing the scale of this problem is a reason to leave, but it isn’t the reason.
The reason, the only valid one, is choosing liberty over servitude. It’s to nip fascism in the bud, before it has conquered. As history shows, it’ll still be stoppable then, but only at an awful price.
Tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, is your chance to say no to fascism, while we still dare call it what it really is. Please don’t miss it, for this would upset me too much.