This is a guest post by Hugo Schmidt
Following the Breivik atrocity, the ‘counterjihad’ blogosphere had a certain amount of shuffled feet and shifty glances. One common refrain is that there is a fire of condemnation heard about the grisly acts from groups who were in the process of excusing it when it appeared to be a Jihad atrocity. That’s true, but it’s a truth that cuts both ways. Another line is that Breivik can’t be inspired by a given person because he also cites a large list of other figures including Churchill, Ghandi etc. Well, I know bad faith and casuistry when I see it. One cannot insist that various jihadist should be taken at face value when they say their religion is their inspiration and then demand that Brevik be taken at something other than his face value.
That said, there is also a bad faith attempt to use this gross crime to silence any criticism of both Islam and the Islamic far right. The wretched Stalinist technique of the amalgam, and the related tactic of assuming that the worst motive for anything is always the right one. And then there’s the combination of hyperbole with banality. In particular the term fascism has become diluted to the point of meaninglessness, applied by a certain section of the left to everything from budget cuts to Srebrenica, from David Cameron to Nick Griffin. A word that can mean so many things ends up meaning nothing. This is particularly bad in the barrooms of the web, where ill-thought positions must be defended to the death. The same thing can be seen on the right, where “radical Marxist” or Stalinist thrown around with the same lack of continence.
What makes Øyvind Strømmen such a treasure is that, when he starts discussing fascism, he tells us exactly what he means. He gives us the definition of Roger Griffin, Professor at Oxford Brooks University: ”Fascism is best defined as a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the ‘people’ into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence.” And he adheres to it severely, insisting that, whatever one thinks of them, restrictions on immigration, or even xenophobia, are not fascism.
It’s for this reason that he is worth taking seriously when he warns about a resurgent European fascism. Central to his analysis is the work of the blogger Fjordman (Peder Jensen). Reading through Defeating Eurabia (an achievement in itself), Strømmen shows that Jensen’s views agree entirely with the classical model of fascism. The EU is predicted to collapse, civil war result and only a strong, revolutionary caste of nationalists can be the answer to both the current decadent ruling class and the Muslim minority.
The precision of this analysis is worth noting. Mark Steyn, Bruce Bawer, and Sam Harris have all posited the rise of the European far right in response to the Islamic, but none of them can be called fascist, as they write in various degrees of warning. Jensen, by contrast, actively advocates for such revolutionary overthrow. Moreover, Strømmen is one of the few writers (your humble servant amongst them) who noticed the connection of Breivik with the nouvelle droite, the European fascist international. His book, Eurofascism, is now available online, and is probably the best work on the subject around.
Strømmen’s restraint makes him all the more devastating. It would be neither true nor useful to indict the whole or even the majority of the counterjihad scene as fascists. However, in the same way that one can argue that in many cases there is no firewall between conservative Islamic religiosity and Jihadism, one can argue that in other cases there is no firewall between the crypto-fascists and the counterjihadists. The blog BrusselsJournal, for example, routinely praises the writers of the nouvelle droit, whose website Arktos features such items as posters of Codreanu, the founder of the Romanian Iron Guard.
There really isn’t an excuse for tolerating this sort of thing. As the old AIDS slogan goes, “Silence = Acceptance”. Peter Hitchens, a proud and open reactionary, believes in the Christian religion as the moral basis of Britishs society, is opposed to homosexuality, supports a strong law and order system, and sharp controls on immigration. Yet no one could seriously call him a fascist because he makes it quite clear that he despises the BNP and any other neo-fascist who tries to get chummy or ingratiate himself. Serious conservatives should pay heed.
The method of getting at the truth is the dialectical and adversarial. But name-calling is not dialectic, nor are taboos or tantrums. Dialectic requires sound arguments based on facts. For this reason, Strømmen’s work on the rise of Eurofascism is invaluable, and should be read by anyone with a serious interest in the various far-right factions, be they Islamic, home grown, or otherwise, on the loose today.