Modern Fascism by Gene Edward Veith – Lecture notes (1)


“Fascist intellectuals sought to forge a new spirituality of immanence, focused upon nature, human emotions, and the community. The fascists sought to restore the ancient pre-Christian consciousness, the ancient mythic sensibility, in which individuals experience unity with nature, with each other, and with their own deepest impulses. Fascism was essentially a spiritual movement. It was a revolt against the Judeo-Christian tradition, that is to say, against the Bible. Some fascists believed that Christianity could be purged of its Jewish elements; others believed it should be completely replaced. Some advocated a syncretistic Christianity, revising the faith to make it accord with the new culture. Other sought completely different kinds of religious experience. The fascist rebellion against transcendence restored the ancient pagan consciousness. With it came barbarism, a barbarism armed with modern technology and intellectual sophistication.”

“Fascism is a worldview. The elements of this worldview derive from romanticism, Darwinism, and existentialism. They are part of the mainstream of Western thought. As such, they were basic assumptions of the intellectual elite of the 1930s. They remain so today. This worldview soon acquired spiritual implications. Fascist totalitarianism was more than a system of political control; it was, totalitarian in seeking to encompass and to direct all of life. Fascism emerged not only as a political and economic system but as a new religion, whose promise was to heal the alienation of the modern world. The emotional life would be freed, harmony with nature would be achieved, and the culture would be revitalized. This new worldview defined itself against the existing spiritual framework—that of the Jews and their Bible. In rejecting not only the Bible but objective meaning, transcendent morality, and the authority of language itself, the fascists arrayed themselves against the Word.”

“Ernst Nolte has defined fascism as “the practical and violent resistance to transcendence.”5 Whereas the Judeo-Christian tradition focuses on a transcendent God and a transcendent moral law, fascist spirituality is centered upon what is tangible. Nature and the community assume the mystical role they held in the ancient mythological religions.”

“Fascists seek an organic, neomythological unity of nature, the community, and the self.”

“The rationale for anti-Semitism was also the ideas of the Jews. According to fascist theorists, the Jewish influence—that is, the idea of a transcendent religion and a transcendent moral law—was responsible for the ills of Western culture. The target of the fascists was not only the Jews but the Judeo-Christian tradition. Christianity was to be purged of the Bible. Because Christianity has always been open to culture, there have always been versions of Christianity that lend themselves to becoming absorbed by the culture. Most fascists saw the need of organized religion to give a sacred status to visible social institutions. This might be accomplished under the form of a romanticized Catholicism or the civil religion of Protestantism. Liberal theology, which originated in prewar Germany, challenged the church’s traditional preoccupation with transcendent issues such as the salvation of the soul. Instead it gave the church new, this-worldly agendas centering on culture and politics. Biblical criticism as practiced by the liberal theologians weakened the authority of the Bible, and thus diminished the “Jewish” presence within Christianity.”


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