Hitchens says why it’s valid to compare fascist and jihadist ideology even though ‘it’s quite the done thing, in liberal academic circles, to sneer at any comparison between fascist and jihadist ideology.’
Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. (“Death to the intellect! Long live death!” as Gen. Francisco Franco’s sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined “humiliations” and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression – especially to the repression of any sexual “deviance”—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.
He left out the fact that both are obsessed with purity, which is important, because that obsession is probably foundational to some of the other obsessions, and to the overall strenuosity and humourlessness of both.
He points out that there are also differences; but the commonalities are decidedly worth paying attention to.