Albert Einstein said, “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well.” I think there is great truth to the quip, and although it was likely not his intent, the effect it has had on me is to always seek perfect examples. Recently I came across one for Neoconservatism that is worth sharing. It comes from Joshua Muravchik’s Heaven on Earth, a book that attempts to track the “rise and fall of Socialism.” Despite being far from new, it is steadily becoming the book on the failures of Communism within the overlapping circles of Conservatism Inc and Libertarianism Inc — or the “Kochtopus,” if you will. Being a part of said circles, I trudged through all four-hundred-plus pages of it recently, and discovered this incredible passage, from its chapter on “Fascism”:
Fascism also borrowed much of the paraphernalia of socialism. Where the socialists decked out their legions in red shirts, the fascists countered with black or brown or silver. Where the socialists sang the Internationale, so the fascists had their anthems, such as the Italian Giovinezza or the German Horst Wessel Lied. Where the socialists hailed each other with a clenched-fist salute, the fascists, and not just in Italy, adopted the stiff-armed “Roman salute.” Like variations on a musical theme, these small changes were reminiscent of the way the Christian church devised its own versions of the Sabbath and the sacramental bread and wine of Judaism. They were reminders of Mussolini’s point that fascism was a heresy of socialism — bearing much the same relationship as Christianity to Judaism or other heretical schisms.
Dissecting the above is quite frankly, not worth my time. Perhaps the only other thing that should be noted is that the author of the above wrote another book as well, Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America’s Destiny.
Originally published by Chronicles on June 6th, 2014