Guest post: The old style of fascists often hid behind tears

Originally a comment by Der Durchwanderer on Entry points.

On one level, Julia Carrie Wong is correct — instrumentalising the concept of “transphobia”, as a particularly-potent example of the more general “phobia”-based political discourse which has come to dominate rhetoric over the last couple of decades, *is* a tributary that leads to a sort of popularist authoritarianism that is becoming the modern conception of fascism.

But of course Wong doesn’t see that it is she who, by attempting to direct the rivers of fear and hatred and contempt into controlling how other people express themselves and even what they are allowed to think, is the mouthpiece for modern fascism. Of course she is simply defending what she sees as the truth, and she is working to protect the most vulnerable minority in the history of the world — it just so happens that protecting this minority requires us to reform society by jettisoning the hard-won freedoms of assembly and expression, along with the presumption of innocence and the ability for a professional to disagree with whatever governing body claims the consensus to be. And she believes that dismantling these things in the name of fighting fascism will only have positive consequences (at least until the society she helps to build decides that she is a fascist after all, and devours her as she wishes it would devour so many others).

The more traditional conception of fascism as blood-and-soil authoritarian nationalism has been dead and buried for about eighty years. But even in its time, the old style of fascists often hid behind tears, claiming to be the victims of a uniquely evil history, grasping for the power to overcome and revenge themselves upon that history. The new fascists, whatever their ostensible cause, are not so different from the old.

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