The Fallacy of the Fascist Revival – Hope Not Hate

There is an awful lot of hate around.  Even though who talk about ‘hope not hate’ spend a lot of time stirring up hate against particular groups.   The truth is that hatred of ‘the other’ seems to be endemic in human nature.  To experience hatred and dislike because of personal characteristics and faults is one thing, but to be hated because of the group you belong to is another degree of horrible.   To be hated because of your race, gender, skin colour, class or sexuality is just simply wrong.   The trouble is that once group think takes hold, then those that don’t join in become a group to be hated – even in the name of love.

There are legitimate concerns that people have about immigration, but when such concerns become hatred of a particular people or group, it is always evil.  I voted for Brexit because I believe that a country should be governed by its democratically elected leaders and not by a corpimgresorate unaccountable supranational body.  However I find myself disgusted by some of the people who voted the same as I did, because they don’t like foreigners. To be fair my experience (and the vast majority of the research) suggests that this was not the primary motivating factor of those who voted for Brexit – but the fact remains that there are still a significant number of people for whom this was a  real motivation.   The ‘other’ are Europeans.  They are the ones who are taking our jobs, filling our schools and corrupting our values.

But for a different group the ‘other’ are the English. One of the biggest objections I had to my latest posts was the use of this photo showing a house in Scotlanarticle-1367213-0b36c22200000578-94_634x416d dubbed with anti-English slogans.  Its out of date they said.  Our side wouldn’t do this.  But my postbag testifies otherwise.  The constant use of anti-English language and the setting up of a contrast between the ‘We Love EU’ and ‘Hard Right Tory Brexit’ is easily feeds into a narrative which encourages hatred of England and the English.  They are the ones who are leading us down the road to fascism and taking us away from the progressive paradise that is the EU.  Again to be fair the majority of Scottish Nationalists are not like that.

Speaking of fascism – the demeaning of language into meaninglessness continues with the misappropriation of the term Fascist, which now means ‘anyone I disagree with and don’t like’.  People don’t know what fascism is and yet it is constantly used, even by journalists, politicians and church leaders, who should know better.  As usual Brendan O’Neill puts it far better than I can.

“The word is now used with an ahistoricism and thoughtlessness that are genuinely alarming. And among the upper echelons of society, not merely by scruffy protesters or online blowhards. The Archbishop of Canterbury says Trump is part of the ‘fascist tradition’. Prince Charles has warned darkly of a return of the atmosphere of the 1930s, and we all know what that means. ‘Yes, Donald Trump is a fascist’, says New Republic, a magazine that once considered itself a voice of reason among the paranoid style of American political life. But everyone’s paranoid now. Everyone now sees fascists.”

My concern is not so much with fascism but with the dumbing down of our society, including our media and political discourse and what that leads to.  Its not just Donald Trump who tweets nonsense.  I ‘follow’ a number of politicians and sometimes I wonder how any of them have time to do any work for their constituents at all – they are so concerned about tweeting the latest news on Trump or posts on why the EU is paradise, their leader is great, and everything else is bad or ‘fake news’.  This dumbed down discourse can be seen in most of the negative reaction I received to my recent posts. Apart from a few on the Unionist side who asked about why I supported Independence and legitimately asked for more evidence and reasons (sorry that I don’t have the time or inclination just now to spend even more time writing about this subject), all the negative reaction was from people who objected to my articles.  But NOT ONE offered any reasoned refutation, or indeed any refutation at all.  It wasn’t so much the abuse that got me, it was those who didn’t abuse but just accused. “Reads like a Daily Express editorial”, ‘You sound like a Tory”, “Its all opinion and prejudice”.  There was no constructive engagement.  For these people I may as well have used 140 characters for some glib emotive soundbite, rather than write over 10,000 words!

Dumbing down then enables people to become deluded by the delusions.  It really is quite extraordinary that in an age of cynicism and unbelief there are so many political fantasies that people actually believe in. ‘We will make America great again”, “Brexit will mean a return of great British greatness”, “Once we get out of the UK and into the EU we will live in perfect peace and harmony”.    To paraphrase GK Chesterton, when we cease to believe in political ideologies, its not that we believe in nothing, it is that we will believe anything!

And after the dream/delusion comes the waking up to reality.  When it dawns that our nirvana is not going to happen instead of admitting we were wrong, we have so much invested that we have to find someone to blame when it doesn’t.   And so the demonisation of the other begins.  People who are either too lazy, too unthinking, or too self-obsessed with their own delusions, can’t stand being challenged and so they hate. Even if, in their own eyes, they are on the side of reason and love they will emote and hate.  In fact its worse than that – its BECAUSE they are on the side of love that they feel they have the right to hate.   And in the age of the internet and social media, they find it much easier to do this online, than spray painting their neighbours house.

This demonisation has frightening consequences. Someone from Edinburgh sent me this photo of a poster in Edinburgh he passed the day after he read my article. One of the most disturbing series oimg_20170214_135429553f messages I got was from someone who said they were a history teacher and described the UK government as a fascist government. Now imagine you are a child who hears that, and hears about the evil of fascism, and then reads a poster like this. It’s beyond irony that those who want to use hate speech legislation to suppress all views except their own, are so often full of hate.

To be honest I took a long time and was quite reluctant to write the original posts about why I opposed a Yes vote in a 2nd Indy ref.  I could have been persuaded to come back to the Yes camp, but the lack of intelligent response, the unthinking abuse and the many stories I heard from people who had suffered the same thing has confirmed my view, not only that I would vote No, but that the referendum itself would be a disaster for Scotland. It would be bitter and divisive – even more so than the first one.

Where is the Hope in all of this?   I don’t see it in politics.  And I don’t see it in groups like ‘Hope not Hate’, because they too demonise the other, in order to justify themselves.  It seems as though we are in an endless cycle of blame, guilt and hatred.   But there is a solution.  There is somewhere where ‘the dividing walls of partition’ are broken down, where people really do become one and where love, harmony, unity and diversity predominate.  I am of course talking about the church of Jesus Christ.   I’m not so much talking about the institutions, or political organisations or social clubs that masquerade as churches – I’m talking about the church where the Word is proclaimed and lived, the Gospel believed and where Christ is central.  There everyone is welcome.  The photo below is of the wedding of a Malaysian couple who are part of St Petes.   We had a great celebration last Saturday, people of different ages, cultures and backgrounds worshipping and celebrating together.  They are part of a community that welcomes people from all different backimageground and points of view.  Here we have people from many different nationalists, here we have pro and anti-Brexit, pro and anti Scottish Indy…..and here is a shocker – this is a that welcomes Fascists, Communists, Trump supporters, Nationalists, Socialists and even Tories!  We welcome all, because we want to proclaim Christ to all. Christ does not accept any of us ‘as we are’.  He accepts us in order to change us.  That is our great hope – that we might be changed.

Its not an ideology that brings love and unity – its Christ.  If you want Love not Hate, then you need to know the One who is Love.

 

 

 


16 thoughts on “The Fallacy of the Fascist Revival – Hope Not Hate

  1. It’s true and being English and brought up in Scotland I get what you say about anti English. Often not recognised but it would be considered racist if say similar were said and done to people of colour.

    So when it used to happen in school playgrounds I learned to fight and found out very quickly that behind every bully is a covard.

    Now if someone calls me an English b*****d I think they are right on both counts. I am English and I was conceived outaide of wedlock.

    Is it any wonder that the natural man without reference to anything else becomes tribal out of a survival instinct? Given the amount of splits in the church in Scotland over the centuries, its clear that she is not immune to this nature.

  2. my own view of the EU is this. I was at school in my senior years when we discussed what was then called the common market and we were told that we would be more prosperous if we joined it and did it not make sense to be part of a European market where there would be no tariff barriers. There were six nations in it and when we finally did join there were nine. The whole manner in which it was presented to the public was that we would be joining a market. There was no referendum and the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal party were all in favour of joining, it was only a few individual politicians who were opposed who probably had a far better idea of what the common market really was. when Harold Wilsons Labour govornment had a renegotiation followed by a referendum, I voted to accept the new conditions even though I really did not grasp what they were all about. I thought we were just in a market for trading purposes and indeed I still believe Britain joined for purely economic reasons. The original six had very different reasons. They had fought each other in the first and second world wars and the Common Market was to unite them so that they would not go to war again. Edward Heath who took us into the common market saw what the war did to Europe and it was then that he thought Europe must unite. Once we were in and the years went by an and the EU passed more and more legislation, it slowly dawned on me what we had really joined. It was not just a Common market, it was a political union. I felt deceived. I think the politicians in the 1970s put it in the best way so as not to cause public upheaval, but they did not tell the whole truth. One day, years after we had been in the EU and we could see what it really was, Edward Heath was on television and he was asked if he knew when we joined that it would be like this that the EU would pass laws that we would have to abide by. He said yes. I was so angry. That is not what he has told the public at the time. When he it was put to him that we had given up sovereignty, he disagreed and called it a pulling of sovereignty. I had never heard that phrase before and it was certainly not used in the lead up to joining the EU. I voted to leave last year because of what I feel was a the deception joining it and circumstances have changed since then. India and China were not the vast markets then that they are now. The EU has become enormous and more difficult to govern effectively. Indeed Italy and Greece now suffer because of their membership.

  3. Thank you. You clearly put a lot of thought into that; it is both factual and fair, although of course I don’t agree with all of it. I agree there is too much hatred in politics today. I came nowhere near losing friends over the independence referendum but Brexit has been different. I still feel bitter and to be quite honest very humiliated that my original part of Wales voted leave to the same degree that Scotland voted remain. At the moment I can’t imagine ever going back there. Although I do keep telling my Welsh Nationalist friends that Scotland is not the paradise they imagine it to be! (E.g I know a fervent independence and SNP supporter who is one of the biggest anti-Gaelic bigots I’ve ever met. He’s fine with the English though. Life is strange.) One thing we could all do, both here and in the real world, is to stop using derogatory clichés about our opponents. How about eliminating these: Red Tory, Nat, CyberNat, BritNat, Brit, Latte Socialist, typical Daily Heil reader, traitor. There are many more – none do us any good.

  4. A much needed concluding last two paragraphs.

    In the West, however, “God is love” has been replaced by “love is god.” And “God is love” is almost unknown outside the Triune God of Christianity.

    Where we have “Value Added Tax ” in the UK, in the West, Christianity, has largely been redfined as “VAJ” Value Added Jesus, that is, we can have it all, live any way we want AND have Jesus as well. We’ll let him be saviour, but not LORD over every area of our lives.

  5. The trinity of fascism as defined by Mussolini is “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” – As one who personally espouses the primacy of the individual rather than the primacy of the state, I do find it an ideology with which I cannot agree. Having said that when stripped of the name, these ideals are very much prevalent in the governing style many governments, but I shall not name them. Nevertheless, they are not the right wing “populist” governments to which many would apply the label Fascism.

    In reality Fascism, or corporatism as it perhaps should be called is a much more left wing ideology where state corporations are very much in the foreground.

    It does amaze me that so many people band this term about without understanding what the word means – but perhaps I shall have to accept the modern definition – even though, as you imply – it just means anyone with whom “I” disagree.

    Moving on to othering – like many others who have commented on your blog, I have witnessed the anti-English sentiment that has escalated in Scotland over the last 4 years. When I first moved to Aberdeen it was very much a liberal mix of Scots, Other Brits, Europeans, Maltese and quite a few North Americans, no sectarianism and very little broblems between people of different ethnicities – we all got on pretty well. There was also a smattering of people from the other continents.

    The othering of the English began to permeate this city during the run-up to the Independence Referendum so much so that a Portuguese colleague of mine noted that though he had been wary of moving to Scotland before he came, he subsequently found it a welcoming city, but noted that this was true of all nationalities “so long as you weren’t English. In a subsequent conversation in my work’s Tea Room, one day, a number of English colleagues were comparing experiences – our European colleagues (from The Basque Country, Belgium, Germany, Spain, more from Portugal, and the Netherlands were astounded that this went on – they had never experienced it.

    Othering of Leave voters in the EU referendum has come from various sources and the media should take its fair share of the blame – apparently Leave voters are “Knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who are uneducated, racist, thugs” – By the way I voted Leave and am more than happy with my motivation for doing so – and it wasn’t race. I have witnessed othering from surprising sources – a University lecturer – who said in my company without a hint of irony – the people of the North East of England didn’t understand what they were voting for. Needless to say I called the person out on their statement along the lines that it was “Top Othering” and that the question was not difficult, people were free to make up their own mind and in a democracy, the greater section of the society that votes a particular way wins – it ain’t a perfect system but it’s the best one we have.

    People are allowed to have different opinions, this is vital; when you wish to engage with someone of a different opinion one may do this in two distinct ways: 1 – To win the argument, and 2 – to speak and listen so that the two parties might learn a little of each other’s thoughts and perhaps go on something of a journey of ideas.

    In today’s media and government, it is a shame that there is too much of option 1 and not enough of option 2.

  6. Adam,

    I was greatly impressed at Justin Welby’s response when information about his biological father became national news: his true identity was in Jesus Christ.

    We can thank God for a new birth and that, in our union with Christ, we become a child of God, or rather a “son of God” (Galatians 4:26). For all the women, this is not a gender issue, for as a “son” we share in the inheritance of the Son.

    This is a truly redeemed life, “foreknown” and “predestined”, “chosen in Him, before the creation of the world” (Romans 8, Ephesians 1), a “child of God”…”born not of natural descent, nor of human decision,,,but born of God” (John 1) “The flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3) Entry into a new, eternal Kingdom, of every, tribe tongue and nation.

    Hope this encourages you, as we all need it, a constant renewal of the mind through the washing of the word.

    1. Geoff, thank you.

      Perhaps I should also add that I am glad to say that with living in Glasgow, I have know people to be some of the friendliest around.

      I guess maybe the two sides to the Scottish psyche.

      As I heard in a sermon recently on of the things about human nature is that all it takes for a nice guy to become a savage is Black Friday!

  7. If we let ourselves subscribe to “the only good fascist, is a dead fascist,” then according to our popular media outlets, anyone who disagrees with strong progressive liberalism, should be killed. Which would end up being an enormous amount of people.

  8. David, as always thank you for being a voice crying out in the wilderness so to speak.
    and like you who voted for Brexit not because you were whipping the fires of hate, new age fascism or some new ideology—but because for the very reason you stated… over a country’s right or responsibility to govern itself—yet there were many who voted due to paranoia—and so as I voted for Trump, it was not because I wanted to feed the paranoid hate and discrimination by one side of this country…but because I found nothing edifying in Hillary…Her role at Sec. of State and her inability or blatant refusal to intervene in Benghazi left me numb…that is not a leader I want….
    But that is not to say that I think Trump is our “savior” come to necessarily making us great again…but I hope that given a mere chance, he may reset our course as it were…so perhaps we may right our ship back on the proper course…
    But in the end—only in Jesus Christ may we find our hope and our peace!!
    Amen!

  9. “I find myself disgusted by some of the people who voted the same as I did …”

    Oh, would that you could work out what criterion to apply! In order, that is, to decide correctly which of which Leave voters to be properly disgusted at. Instead of being disgusted at them all, like those uncouth Remoaners, whose hatred is so much less discriminating than yours. Then you could look down on those whose hatred wasn’t nearly as refined as your own, as well as those whom you and they both hated.

    “… because they don’t like foreigners.”

    Ah, I see you *have* worked out what criterion to apply, in deciding who is “other”, and therefore disgusting. You are xenophilic. That is good. They are xenophobic. That makes them disgusting. Got it. Well done!

  10. NE England and Brexit.

    I am from there and voted Brexit. I voted against Europe in the 1970’s as a fairly recent law graduate, having studied Constutional law. On both occasions it was because of the ceding of legislative power to Europe, thereby usurping parliament and the people.

    While I don’t embrace all of his politics, here is part of a letter Tony Benn, an independent thinker, sent to his constituents. It applies today, as it did then.

    Britain’s continuing membership of the Community would mean the end of Britain as a completely self-governing nation and the end of our democratically elected parliament as the supreme law-making body in the United Kingdom.

    “I am writing, not to argue a case, but to explain — as best I can — what effect British membership of the Common Market has had upon the constitutional relationship between a member of Parliament and his constituents. The Parliamentary democracy we have developed and established in Britain is based, not upon the sovereignty of Parliament, but upon the sovereignty of the People, who, by exercising their vote lend their sovereign powers to Members of Parliament, to use on their behalf, for the duration of a single Parliament only — Powers that must be returned intact to the electorate to whom they belong, to lend again to the Members of Parliament they elect in each subsequent general election. Five basic democratic rights derive from this relationship, and each of them is fundamentally altered by Britain’s membership of the European Community,

    First: Parliamentary Democracy means that every man and woman over eighteen is entitled to vote to elect his or her Member of Parliament to serve in the House of Commons; and the consent of the House of Commons is necessary fore Parliament can pass any act laying down new laws or imposing new taxation on the people. British Membership of the Community subjects us all to laws and taxes which your Members of Parliament do not enact, such laws and taxes being enacted by Authorities you do not directly elect, and cannot dismiss through the ballot box.

    Second: Parliamentary Democracy means that Members of Parliament who derive their power directly from the British people, can change any law and any tax by majority vote, British Membership of the Community means that community laws and taxes cannot be changed or repealed by the British Parliament, but only by Community authorities not directly elected by the British People.

    Third: Parliamentary Democracy means that British Courts and Judges must Uphold all laws passed by Parliament; and if Parliament changes any law the courts must enforce the new law because it has been passed by Parliament Which has been directly elected by the people. British Membership of the Community requires the British Courts to uphold and enforce community laws that have not been passed by Parliament, and that Parliament cannot change or amend, even when such laws conflict with laws passed by Parliament, since Community law over-rides British Law.

    Fourth: Parliamentary Democracy means that all British governments, ministers and the civil servants under their control can only act within the laws of Britain and are accountable to Parliament for everything they do, and hence, through Parliament to the electors as a whole. British Membership of the Community imposes duties and constraints upon British governments not deriving from the British Parliament; and thus, in discharging those duties Ministers are not accountable to Parliament or to the British people who elect them.

    Fifth: Parliamentary Democracy because it entrenches the rights of the people to elect and dismiss Members of Parliament, also secures the continuing accountability of Members of Parliament to the electorate, obliging Members of .Parliament to listen to the expression of the British people’s views at all times, between, as well as during, general elections, and thus offers a continuing possibility of peaceful change through Parliament to meet the people’s needs. British Membership of the Community by permanently transferring sovereign legislative and financial powers to Community authorities, who are not directly elected by the British people, also permanently insulates those authorities from direct control by the British electors who cannot dismiss them and whose views, therefore, need carry no weight with them and whose grievances they cannot be compelled to remedy.

    In short, the power of the electors of Britain, through their direct representatives in Parliament to make laws, levy taxes, change laws which the courts must uphold, and control the conduct of public affairs has• been substantially ceded to the European Community whose Council of Ministers and Commission are neither collectively elected, nor collectively dismissed by the British people nor even by the peoples a all the Community countries put together.”

    These five rights have protected us in Britain from the worst abuse of power by government; safeguarded us against the excesses of bureaucracy; defended our . basic liberties; offered us the prospect of peaceful change; reduced the risk of civil strife; and bound us together by creating a national framework of consent for all the laws under which we were governed. We have promised a ballot box decision because all these rights are important, and none should be abandoned without the explicit consent of the people.”

    Again, “I am against] the Treaty of Rome which entrenches laissez faire as its philosophy and chooses bureaucracy as its administrative method.”

    Benn again on democracy:

    “A historical perspective is the key to democratic politics, which if denied can bury the real issues and confine news coverage to high-level gossip about the rich and the powerful, reducing us to the role of spectators of our fate, rather than active participants,” he explained. “The obliteration of the past strengthens the short-term calculations that pass for political thought, and for me the real heroes are those few who try to explain the world in order to help us to understand what we can best do to improve our lot.”

    Finally, particularly pertinent to David’s essays and this one:

    The House will forgive me for quoting five democratic questions that I have developed during my life. If one meets a powerful person–Rupert Murdoch, perhaps, or Joe Stalin or Hitler–one can ask five questions: what power do you have; where did you get it; in whose interests do you exercise it; to whom are you accountable; and, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.

    Where, O where, is this depth today?

  11. Benn was always interesting to listen to even if you didn’t agree with him. He was not always succinct, but here he has provide a simple framework for democracy, to be understood at any level of intelligence. That, in itself is a mark of high intelligence, wisely applied, an ability that is all too rare, particularly today.

    Scotland, in her quest for severance, independence in the UK, is seeking to forego independence and democracy to be welded to the EU. Where are those in Scotland with a historical perspective of democracy that Benn espouses and calls for? They are, in his words, being “obliterated” by “short term calculations that pass for political thought” in the name of independence, thus incinerating the “real issues” of the Scottish people that David has emphasised with the all consuming heat and fire of independence.

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