17 May 2009

Neo-fascism, the Soviet Union, Islam and all that

Today I received an email from a John Weeks in Texas:

"Sir: Thank you for your lecture series/book. It is the most humorous garbage I have read in many years. Monty Python could not have done better! I didn't know it was possible for someone to twist history so much to make their neo-fascist beliefs seem logical. The material on the Soviet Union and Islam are priceless. What a hoot!
Thank you, John Weeks, Texas, USA"

I emailed back and asked his permission to post his email on my blog, and he replied:

"Sir: You may post this on your blog under one condition: you must refer to me as one of those ignorant Americans who have caused all the world's problems.
Take care, John Weeks"

So let us note that I dutifully made the required reference but that it was John Weeks who said it and not me.

The email raises a few interesting questions. It is not often that I am called a neo-fascist. The usual understanding of neo-fascism is that it is a political movement and associated ideology that developed after the end of World War II, revives significant elements of fascism and expresses admiration for fascist governments of the past. I don't think that I have to go into great detail to make the case that nowhere in my material do I express admiration for Hitler, Mussolini or any other fascist leader. So the epithet neo-fascist cannot be applied to me.

It appears that John Weeks was careless in his use of words. Maybe he meant to use fascist and give it a bit more emphasis? After all, the word fascist is used and misused in many different contexts – there are ecofascists, vegefascists, fashion fascists, animal rights fascists and many more. Used in that way the word becomes utterly meaningless, as George Orwell already observed in 1944:

"It would seem that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox hunting, bullfighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else." (George Orwell: What is Fascism? Tribune, 1944.)

It would seem that people who use the word fascist without much thought use it as a derogatory term and nothing else. This has become more and more fashionable lately, a trend that I find disturbing. As a German with a good education I am aware of the history of my country of birth and citizenship, and it always stings me when someone uses a word associated with the greatest atrocity of world history for such trivia as fashion.

So, John Weeks, call me an ignoramus, an ideologue, a witless moron, or whatever takes your fancy, but don't call me a fascist or neo-fascist.

John Weeks clearly does not like what I say about science and society in the Soviet Union and under Islam. It is difficult to say much about this without knowing what he finds objectionable. He may find it interesting to learn that some of the staunchest pillars of capitalism are turning towards Islamic practice. As Jeremy Harding reports in the London Review of Books, financial institutions based on the tenets of Islam have been barely affected by the debt crisis that triggered the Great Financial Crisis. Such esteemed institutions of capitalism as London's Lloyds TSB and HSBC and the German Deutsche Bank are now offering Sharia-compliant banking products to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. (Jeremy Harding: The money that prays. London Review of Books vol. 31 no. 8, pp. 6-10.) Maybe Islam is not such a hoot after all.


Matthias Tomczak said...

John Weeks read my blog entry but sent his reply to my email address. Here it is:

Sir: You wrote: "So, John Weeks, call me an ignoramus, an ideologue, a witless moron, or whatever takes your fancy, but don't call me a fascist or neo-fascist."

I would not call you an "ignoramus," "ideologue," or even a "witless moron" -- you said that, not me.

When I used the word "neo-fascist" I was referring to the inner soul of a "liberal," "left winger," or "progressive" as it is currently used in the United States to describe President Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrat Party. The word "neo-fascist" can be used in reference to most of the political leaders in Europe -- whom are also called socialists -- that are allowing the creation of Eurabia. I guess history does repeat!

Your failure in your writings and lectures to express admiration for facsists leaders, such as Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin, Hirohito, Zedong, Castro, Chavez, etc., is most likely due to your need for a job and and a comfortable position in life. However, you do express neo-fascist leanings within your interpretation of history and in espousing your beliefs in global warming, and other environmental lies.

I suppose there are some admiral aspects of Islam, as there are for most institutions. (Having visited the moderate Islamic country of Turkey I would be hard pressed to mention any.) Even Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler brought Germany back from hyperinflation after WWI. I would tend to think the atrocities committed by Mussolini and Hitler would hardly balance the scales of history in their favor. I don't even think it is reasonable to assume the trains would run on time under Islamic Sharia Law.

At this point, I should quote someone of importance or someone of relevance like Jeremy Harding. "I yam what I yam, and that's all I yam." (Popeye, 1928, Thimble Theatre Comic Strip)

Take care, John Weeks

What can you say to this? No critical analysis of my arguments, not a single bit of evidence that I may have gone wrong in my research, only inspection of my inner soul and intellectual confusion. In other words, another document to the sorry state of education and knowledge in the USA.

But we should not be too hard on John Weeks. The press has lost much revenue to the internet and has gone through many staff cuts, so investigative journalism has been replaced by opinion pieces. Janet Albrechtsen writes similar stuff every day, not necessarily in the style of John Weeks but certainly in his spirit. The only difference is that she gets paid for it, filling column after column in the Opinion Pages of The Australian, and is appointed to the board of Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC. Serious analysis is not in demand.

Sebastian Tomczak said...

I don't really know what to say...

John Weeks said...

Sir: Sorry to waste your time with my lack of intellectual acumen. Unfortunately, I have not had the many hours of leisure a college professor has in which to expand my mind. I hope your knowledge gives you much pleasure and does not weigh you down like an anchor.

Take care, John Weeks

John Weeks said...

I found myself with some free time today during lunch so I decided to look at more of the comments on this blog. My first impression was that there were not many comments. I asked myself "Why?" because you are discussing some relevant topics. Then I read some of your responses to people who challenged your thoughts and I have concluded that you have a very closed mind. Your response seems to be limited to insulting people.

Take care,
John Weeks
Texas, USA