The main reason I recommend everybody study at least a little history is that it really brings home that the past was just completely fucking awful


In seriousness, I think this is actually an underappreciated element of anti-fascism.

A core element of fascist ideology is the idea that there was once a perfect, ideal past, that we through our degeneracy let slip away. The fascist promises to bring us back to it by being a stern ruler who will punish us for our sins.

So it's important to help people understand that there was NEVER a perfect, ideal past. There was just people and their various screw-ups. And people now are fundamentally the same as people then. The clothes change, the rituals change, but people are people.

@jalefkowit Great point. The "good old days" narrative being fascist-adjacent is one of the reasons I have a real problem with a lot of (mainstream, US-radio-played) country music.

I don't think that the musicians are necessarily consciously promoting fascism, but the uncritical romanticization of a past that never really existed seems to feed directly into it.

The last time the US was majority-rural by population, women couldn't legally vote.

@kadin Yeah. You don't HAVE to be a fascist to long for the Good Old Days.

But, you know. It helps

@jalefkowit @kadin so, do all facists long for the good ol days?

i... actually havent ever heard one who didn't preach that

@ketmorco @kadin Not everyone who longs for the Good Old Days is a fascist. But everyone who is a fascist definitely longs for the Good Old Days

@ketmorco @jalefkowit Off the top of my head, it seems like a nearly universal part of #fascism.

There are probably exceptions, though. I've run into some "accelerationists" who are uncomfortably, uh, fascist-adjacent. Some seem to have a good enough grasp of history to not fall into the "good ol' days" narrative, but still think a Dear Leader-run ethno-state is a good way forward.

@kadin @ketmorco @jalefkowit accelerationists are either hopeless optimists who haven't studied enough history, or false flag fascists keeping the hope alive for the first group.

@ketmorco @jalefkowit @kadin It's a core tenet of fascism, yeah.
"Reject modernity, embrace tradition" is just fascist propaganda.

A few weeks ago, I went on a kick researching the Italian futurists. They were, in many ways, the exact opposite of several of the core principles of fascist ideology, rejecting the past in favor of the future. Embracing technology, etc.

But they were also key to the propaganda of the Italian fascist movement, and I've been trying to figure out how that happened.

(a misapplication of Nietzsche, plus a general shared desire to forge a new world in blood and pain mostly.)

The problem being, of course, getting people to agree as to what counts as history...


I think your toot explains why fundamentalism and fascism are so friendly. They both have this delusion at their heart and both lie about the past. Except that fundamentalism has a bigger incentive to believe the lie since they use it to explain why God created such an imperfect world.

@SnerkRabbledauber There is definitely a lot of overlap. Fundamentalists tend to believe in a stern god who punishes people when they don't follow his rules, so the idea of a human ruler made in that image feels right.

The smart fascists foster this connection explicitly. Franco, for instance, did quite well by positioning himself as a sort of Defender of the Faith.

@idlestate @jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber I'm not really sure what you're aiming at but I'd say that the Garden of Eden is a prime example of good old days that are mainly exist to demonstrate that if any good old days do exist or you tend to believe in them you need to know that there is not in any case a f-ing way to go back there whatsoever and you should deal with life as it is.

@idlestate @jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber fwiw at least that would be an anti-fascist interpretation that I could encourage people to hold on to. 🙃

@nilsreichert @idlestate @jalefkowit

The Christian world view has been for ages has been one of increasing corruption and depravity. Which is just the fall from grace writ large across all of human history.

I had a line in a poem I wrote in the 80's about losing faith that said that when I got rid of Christ "time stopped. Reversed."
Suddenly I could see the steady but oh so gradual improvement in history instead of decay.

@jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber sometimes it basically becomes its own institution... the patriarch of Moscow is, and has for decades, been basically a mouthpiece for legitimizing whoever's in the Kremlin

@jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber (i already deleted and redrafted this once, but i'll leave it as is and whoever comes in to correct me will have completed a textbook example of the OP)

@jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber

That whole defender of the faith thing links nicely into Putin's (orthodox mother) Russia as well.

@esty @SnerkRabbledauber Not even just Orthodox. There are an awful lot of Evangelical American Protestants who think Putin is some kind of Christian warrior, because he happens to oppress the same people they would like to oppress.

@jalefkowit @esty @SnerkRabbledauber finally being forced to see that overlap for what it was, stripped of any sense of immunity for the one that should have been the true church, was one of the things that made me quite comfortable in identifying as an atheist now after 7 years of devout Orthodox practice

@carcinopithecus @jalefkowit @esty

In the US, Christian's reaction to Trump and to Covid-19 have ruined my wife's faith in the church. She remains a believer, but finally sees the danger of religion.

One of my daughter in-laws seems to be on the verge of becoming atheist, which would be a big change for her.

This is what happens when you mix state and religion. It is bad for both!

@carcinopithecus @jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber

I respect that. Walking away from a community is very hard, and for many so hard that their principles take a back seat to it.

I think there's big 'A' Atheism and little 'a' atheism these days though, where many of the 'big A' atheist 'gurus' are super transphobic and/or racist (e.g. Dawkins, Pinker, etc). So these days I'm reluctant to apply that term to myself.

@esty @carcinopithecus @jalefkowit

I just say I'm a non-believer. I don't believe there is but I'm not fully sure there isn't *some form* of supreme being.

@SnerkRabbledauber @carcinopithecus @jalefkowit

I was raised without religion, I wasn't like baptised and my family didn't attend church, so it simply never mattered to me until people started telling me i "could not have morals without religion". Then of course I got offended.

@esty @carcinopithecus @jalefkowit

It's fun to see how people in the early Christian church would tie themselves in knots dealing with the paradox of supremely moral and respected philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were pagans! It usually came up with questions like "If only faith in Jesus saves us, is Socrates in Hell?"

@esty @carcinopithecus @jalefkowit

Oops. "were pagans" should be "being pagans". Sloppy editing on my part.

@SnerkRabbledauber @esty @jalefkowit it's certainly not something restricted to the early church either, even if a lot of the normie population of believers have just numbed themselves to the thought

@SnerkRabbledauber @carcinopithecus @jalefkowit

I think it's very interesting. I don't feel as defensive about my non-religion as many of my friends who were raised in a church. Also, I don't reject everything. I reject dualism right enough, I have no reason for a 'soul' because I was never raised to require one, but I -do- see the importance of ritual. Like, celebrations are important, taking time for grieving is important etc.

@jalefkowit @esty @SnerkRabbledauber You get American evangelical fascists turning up to speak to far-right rallies in heavily Orthodox places like Georgia, it's a profoundly weird axis of evil.

@JubalBarca @jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber

RE: fascism x evangelicism; Yeah I've been reading about the recent statistics of the right wing authoritarian scale (which is a whole adventure because the first attempt was based on Freud and therefore rejected but the recent iteration (Altemeyer 1981) is quite interesting). Folks in the US score comparatively high according to recent stats. I suspect that's at least partially driven by evangelicism

@esty @JubalBarca @SnerkRabbledauber One of the most interesting developments of recent times (to the lapsed political scientist in me, at least) is the evangelical movement's embrace of Donald Trump, a man who has led just about the least Christian life it is possible to imagine, as a kind of saint.

Some of it is just plain opportunism or profit-seeking, of course; the top evangelical preachers didn't get where they are by telling their congregations things they didn't want to hear. And some is darker -- we know now that Jerry Falwell Jr.'s endorsement came at least in part because Trump's lawyer and bagman, Michael Cohen, had blackmail material on him.

But there do seem to be an awful lot of people in the fundie world, particularly among the rank and file, who sincerely believe it. It's a stark reminder of how little evangelical Christianity has to do with the actual words of Jesus.

@JubalBarca @jalefkowit @SnerkRabbledauber

And wasn't the second KKK also particularly protestant evangelical at its base?


In the Midwest, at least, there is a strong thread running through the Christian churches of enforcing an external locus of control. "Let go, let God" was an example that appeared on lots of car bumpers. More currently I see the "He>I" version.
They assert that problems are beyond us and only a supreme deity can fix them.

That's perfect grooming for accepting a fascist leader. Perfect setup for when Trump came on stage and said he alone can fix us.

@jalefkowit Early homo sapiens drew dicks on cave walls. Young men today do the same.

We as a species have not changed. However, we have the benefit of collective knowledge passed down over time. The trick is to know how & when to be skeptical of the information passed down, because intentional or not, bias creeps in & we never get a true record of the past.

Skepticism & humility are both extremely useful traits today.

@jalefkowit I think you see this a lot with hard core "green" people too, who imagine a time when we were in tune with nature and ignoring that the nature frequently won in a painful and deadly manner.

@jalefkowit I think my one caveat to this would be that the "the past was all irredeemably awful" also has risks on the right. Like as a medievalist I often see that the "gritty middle ages" people imagine full of mud and gore actually is many fascists' idea of their imagined past paradise. So I think the "people were people" line here is a better framing to work with than the "all the past was just horrible".

@JubalBarca @jalefkowit

True. I'm sure Mr. Lefkowitz was exaggerating for effect. The main point being that we don't really want to go back there.

@jalefkowit I think we could consider "progressive" fascism as well.
Who take control over medias.
Who use our thoughts as a mean to do business, monetising freedom of thought. (The act of googling is a thought)
Making the crowd believe we are all considered equal.
That if we get sick we will be cured.
That markets are the way to it.

@jalefkowit Ultimate truth is that every person, no matter how good, can and does bad things.
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