Thursday, October 2, 2008

Radical Fascist Chic

Ed Driscoll has a great video piece up at his site making the following argument:

This past summer, Rick Perlstein, the author of the new biography called Nixonland, looked back on the period leading up to Richard Nixon's 1968 election and told Reason magazine that in his opinion, "Bonnie and Clyde was the most important text of the New Left", adding: "It made an argument about vitality and virtue vs. staidness and morality that was completely new, that resonated with young people in a way that made no sense to old people. Just the idea that the outlaws were the good guys and the bourgeois householders were the bad guys--you cannot underestimate how strange and fresh that was." It certainly was strange, compared with the nation's politics at the start of the 1960s.

In the latest edition of our Silicon Graffiti videoblog, we take a look back at
the film, its radical chic times, and its champion--Pauline Kael of the New Yorker, who would reject traditional culture for "trash cinema." And we'll also look at Bobby Kennedy's Fascist Moment--and even a Bonnie & Clyde-related excerpt the fourth edition of Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan's A Quick And Dirty Guide To War. Which sounds like one meaty, beaty, big and bouncy little video to me.

Tommy guns and fedoras are optional, of course.

Violence, wedded in a most ironic way to righteousness, is at the core of fascism. It is the default impulse of the powerless, as Hannah Arendt pointed out in On Violence. and also of the mindless. The Nazis glorified irrationality and will over cold, bourgeois reason. The New Left, and now the New New Left, mirror that preference: note the presence of violent agitators that has become expected at all political conventions and meetings of transnational organizations. Most of the protestors don't even know what the organizations are, what they do, or what is being discussed. They show up for the mindless violence and to join a mass expression of the will to destroy whatever exists. They are the shock troops intended to spread chaos and distrust of institutions and leaders, in order to make way for the strong man or party to step in and restore order. A fascistic order, that precludes that over-rated bourgeois value, freedom.

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