More on fascism. Red font emphasis added.
This here is a link to an essay in the Fascism journal arguing that the Antebellum American South had “proto-fascist” features similar to “Germany’s nineteenth century Völkisch movement.” This paradigm may be of interest to “Southern nationalists” extant in Der Movement (which I am not), so I’ll just reproduce a few interesting excerpts with very brief comments, and let the “Hunter Wallace” types delve into this in more detail if they are so inclined.
This article examines how the Southern proslavery defense produced a distinctly proto-fascist ideology. Rather than comparing the Antebellum South to twentieth century racist regimes, this study compares Southern fascist thought to Germany’s nineteenth century Völkisch movement. The author uses Roger Griffin’s Palingenetic Ultranationalism to explore how the Antebellum South promoted an illiberal vision of modernity. The author argues that proto-fascists rejected liberalism, had a profound sense of social decay, and advanced a vision of a new man, new political structure, and a new temporality. The striking similarities between nineteenth and twentieth century fascist movements mandates that the Antebellum American South should be included in comparative fascist studies. The results of this study contextualize the comparisons made between American racism and fascism along with deepening our understanding of fascism’s protean qualities.
It’s interesting how these “analysts of fascism” stress “fascism’s protean qualities” and then they proceed to impose rigid definitions on various fascist sub-genera. While those are different authors, they share the same mindset, writing for the same journal, and yet construct fascism according to pre-conceived notions while also asserting “protean qualities.” True, there are some fundamental constant in fascism, but “anti-modernity” and völkisch racialism are not, in my opinion two of those.
Similarly, Riehl also believed that hierarchies are natural and it is modernity which is alien for the aristocracy preserved the true nature of the Volk. Such ideas were not limited to Europe. For the South, hierarchy, inequality, and slavery was, too, a patriarchal system descended from God. With such strong convictions, it is no wonder the South sought a palingenesis. They regarded their aristocracy not only as the best hope for the future of humanity but as a God ordained institution besieged. For the Southern intelligentsia, to allow Northern abolitionists to criticize slavery was intolerable.
Fair enough, I suppose.
Nonetheless, perhaps the largest hindrance toward the development of a populist fascist movement was the proto-fascist cult of aristocracy. The proto-fascist image of the new man is rooted in traditional elitist conservatism and excluded popular participation. Nevertheless, there were signs that this position was untenable. Southern elites were facing increased pressure from a newly emerging class consciousness of the poor and sought ways to mobilize popular participation to the extent possible at the time. The South’s emphasis on the white race was, to a certain degree, a populist message which promised to elevate the non-slave owner through his skin color. Fitzhugh even advanced the idea of a Southern education to disseminate principles of the new man: ‘We alone are a new people. Our social relations and institutions differ widely from those of other civilized countries of modern times, and in some respects from those of antiquity. New, original, and valuable combinations of thought will be suggested by our social organism . . . A Southern university will beget Southern thought and a Southern literature . . . When we cease to study Northern and European books . . . [we will] build up a Southern literature, more truthful, more Christian, more natural, and therefore superior to any that has preceded it.’ In fact, Fitzhugh advocated the elevation of white masses to the positions of superiority: ‘Our citizens, like those of Rome and Athens, are a privileged class. We should train and educate them to deserve the privileges and to perform the duties which society confers on them.’ Later, in Sociology for the South, Fitzhugh continues to venerate classical aristocracies as a paragon, ‘Like the Roman citizen, the Southern white man would become a noble and a privileged character’. De Bow contributor, L.W. Spratt believed that reopening the Atlantic slave trade would open Southern slavery to the masses, enabling popular participation in the slavocracy. In De Bow’s Review, he stated: ‘for all to become slave owners . . . will thus bring all the ruling race to the same social stand point; it will thus reintegrate and erect our social system . . . and open the prospect to a broader and brighter future than was ever yet expanded to the eye of man.’ Although the South was a rigid oligarchy, Southern intellectuals envisioned popular participation in the creation of the new man; heralding the future arrival of the populist ultranationalism of future fascist regimes.
Thus, the tension between aristocratic elitism and populism…possibly resolved through a common set of racial interests?
Proto-fascists between the South and Germany believed stripping the individual of their rights created a better society. Although the assault on individual liberty strikes at the very foundations of American notions of freedom, Southern intellectuals portrayed their alternative in a positive manner.
The Ramseyian Alt Liters weep.
Conclusion and Discussion: Toward a Fascist Revolution?
The Southern intellectuals sought the creation of a new man and a new modernity in a new nation. This palingenesis would enable Southerners to end their status as victims under Northern degeneracy. It would preserve traditional social roles between men, women, and race. It would be a forward looking ideology, a distinctly Southern modernity as an alternative to the liberal society of the North. The core of the Southern palingenesis was the creation of a new type of industrial slave society.
So, after all the pontifications about fascist” anti-modernity” we see “a distinctly Southern modernity” and “a new type of industrial slave society.” Modernity is not something to be fought, but something to be leveraged and used, according to your society’s own unique Race-Culture. The “protean qualities” of fascism are compatible with the more healthy aspects of modernity – particularly science and technics.
Although the South prized slavery as the ideal of communist goals, they abhorred the ideology. The Southern intelligentsia sought a third way between capitalism and communism because they believed free labor begat revolution and degeneracy. Low paid workers fermented revolution, abolition and feminism.
Slavery has never been stable throughout human history. Slaves always ended up being freed. It seems that the slave-owing antebellum southern aristocracy were justifying their own greed and reactionary refusal to change with the times and cut their losses. Free White labor is infinitely better than free Colored labor, and ultimately, that was the only long term choice.
Above all, a working class led to socialism, not only in terms of the emancipation of their slaves as property but in inaugurating equality between race and sex.
Nonsense, if you believe an absolute inevitability.
To fight against degeneracy was to fight against democratic participation, abolitionism, feminism, socialism, and communism. To control and roll back the discontent of the working class and the revolutions they ignited, it was necessary to control them as tightly as possible, hence, a renewed and modernized slave state was the answer.
Cumulatively, the proslavery ideology of the South was proto-fascist. The palingenesis of the South did not completely resemble the fascist regimes of the next century. As previously stated, the South’s proto-fascism shares the same ineliminable core of the rejection of modernity…
Compare that last phrase to what is written above about the Southern embrace of a distinctively “Southern” and “industrial slave” modernity. These types of authors are so hysterical in their rigid and dogmatic interpretations and definitions of fascism that they cannot be consistent from one paragraph to another.
…and proposal for a radical new order as interwar fascist regimes such as Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy. Historian George L. Mosse, said: ‘Ideas of regeneration, of sacrifice, and a vision of utopia were the staple of all fascism’. Indeed, Southern calls for a new nation centered on their notions of race and sex heralded the Nazi’s doctrine of master race utopianism and Lebensraum when a South Carolinian politician polemicized:
Unite, and your slave property shall be protected . . . Unite, and . . . . California shall be a slave State; the dismembered territory of Texas shall be restored, and you shall enjoy a full participation in all the territory which was conquered by your blood and treasure. Unite, and you shall form one of the most splendid empires on which the sun ever shone, of the most homogeneous population, all of the same blood and lineage.
The Southern nationalists fought and died for their palingenesis.
If slavery was s essential for “southern nationalism,” then what are the modern “Southern nationalists” doing? Perhaps there is more to core Southern culture than slavery?
Nonetheless, these ideas continued to live on in a defeated South. For the Völkisch proto-fascists, their ideas would find new life and be incorporated into Nazi Germany. One question than can be conjectured is – if the proto-fascism was similar between the Antebellum South and the Völkisch movement – how did the experience of war lead to completely divergent directions? In post-First World War Germany, liberal modernity was associated with defeat coupled with a weak Weimar Republic. In the United States, liberalism triumphed so soundly that the South’s resentment of defeat never aroused the mass mobilization on the scale of the Europeans. After all, the North forced liberal-democratic institutions on the vanquished South. In Europe, proto-fascism was able to take root because liberal-democracy’s validity was questioned with the defeated nations and their ruined economies. For a defeated South, the best they could do was Klan terrorism and Jim Crow. The triumph of liberalism ensured that Jim Crow would never reach the extent of the Holocaust. Under Northern occupation, racist terrorists had to be secretive about their activities.
Liberalism was triumphant in America because the nation was in some sense founded upon it; in contrast to the deep roots of European High Culture and Race-Culture with a blood-soil component, the diaspora colonial American experience lacked those historical deep roots and exhibited a more ephemeral idea-based paradigm. I am not saying America was, is, or should be an “idea nation,” but that, in a relative sense, compared to the Old World of Europe, it is more in that direction.
Furthermore, the notion of proto-fascism, like post-fascism, deepens our understanding of the ‘protean’ or adaptive qualities of fascism to historical and external forces.
Right…except when the author wants to confine fascist ideology into a rigid cage, so as to prevent more modern interpretations that can prove a threat to the globalist liberal order.
The ineliminable core of palingenesis explains similarities to contemporary ‘pseudo-fascism’ – such as through American President Donald Trump’s ‘Make American Great Again’ slogan for instance.
This study has shown that there was a continuum of illiberal forces which preceded and survived through the Southern nationalist movement that culminated in the American Civil War. The proto-fascist features of the Antebellum South explain many of the similarities other historians have drawn between the Third Reich and the post-Civil War South. As such, the Antebellum South of the United States warrants serious study in the discourse of comparative fascism.
Those similarities may be one reason why Type I American Nutzis are so enamored of Hitlerian völkisch racialism.
On another note, I’d like to see an analysis of Cola di Rienzi in this journal.