An English In Kentucky


















Thursday September 12th 2019Tim Candler9


     Facism comes from the Italian word Fasciti, which in turn comes from the Italian word Fascimo which means a bundle of sticks. The idea being that a stick by itself snaps easily, but a bundle of sticks snaps considerably less easily. The word Fasciti  was how Mussolini chose to describe his basic political idea. He wanted an often disunited country to rediscover an identity that would unite it and of the options available, he chose to chase down an ancient idea of re-birth, which meant that the old ways of doing things in Italy had to go, and in their place new forms would emerge just so long as there was a good strong bundle of dedicated sticks rather than a bunch of sticks lying around all over the place doing little more than trying to enjoy themselves. The trouble was how do you make an un-snappable bundle of sticks out of people. Well one way was to start with some sort of romantic mythical aesthetic around which to forge the will, aesthetic is an understanding of beauty, the aesthetic could be turned into a set of symbols, and the thing about symbols is that most of their meaning is in the experience of the eye of the beholder, so any kind of precision of meaning pretty much goes out the window and you don't have to get too deeply into the complexity of the weeds, before deciding that "Yes, I'm with that lot, they seem to be doing something right." Myth and Symbol go together very well, they compliment each other and they support each other especially when an action is required. Just try not putting your hand over your heart as you say the pledge of allegiance, or try burning a flag.


     The first sticks to arrive are more curious than anything, kind of like the first people who decided to adopt the mullet as a hairstyle, and if there are enough of this first group, the second group to arrive are those who think in terms of opportunity, a complicated group driven by a kind of barber shop hope as much as by ambition and they're usually attracted by the possibilities of a better world to live their own lives in, and many of the more ambitious see their chance to become like princes upon who's ill considered whims and self proclaimed brilliance there'd be few constraints. Then there's the question of how the bundle is tied together into a force that will begin the process of transforming established social relationships that will permit people to behave in ways that they might never have considered themselves capable of. You need a charismatic leader, the sort of person others follow for no better reason than he or she seems to best represent the romantic mythical aesthetic defined by the symbols and around which the sticks have seen a path into a wonderful future, a return to Eden, if you prefer. But charisma only takes you so far, what you need to succeed is a plan that seems to be working and around which you can tie the bow that keeps the bundle from scattering. The plan is one thing, Mussolini had the idea of building an Italian Empire with servile colonies for the Italians, Hitler had his Living space for Aryans, but the Bow of Fascism is ultimately pulled tight by a positive attitude toward violence, a kind of muscular alpha male masculinity, which Mussolini reckoned was forged by warrior stuff, violence and heroism. You needed regular revival meetings, a praise the lord church service if you like. And all this was followed by the slow erosion of civil discourse so that information from outside the bundle is ignored by the interpretations within the bundle.


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