Sounds very Courageous really, doesn’t it?

The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality — thus it may be called the ‘ethic’ State….

…The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone….

55 thoughts on “Sounds very Courageous really, doesn’t it?”

  1. You should not torment people Tim. Before following the link I thought the little bastard might have written that crap himself. Talk about “Now we’ve got you- you son of a bitch”.Unfortunate it was Musso rather than the Sage of the Internet who said it.

  2. I once suggested to our putative life peer that a person’s income in the first instance belonged to him and not to the State. Can you guess his reply?

  3. Why do you think leftists find Fascism so hard to define?
    It’s because Fascism is a left wing ideology. Mussolini came from a Marxist political background but, like Sir Oswald Mosley, he thought that current left wing parties weren’t doing enough for the ordinary working people, so he started his own movement.

  4. bloke (not) in spain

    To be fare to Mr Murphy,. I’ve never once read him suggesting invading Poland.
    So far.
    Although he was implying military force should be used against certain “tax havens” wasn’t he? Crown dependencies/colonies should be forced to amend their tax laws? But not lebensraum, as such.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    Ah. And i was about to say the word anscluss comes to mind. With Arnald standing in for the Sudetan Germans.
    When up he pops.
    Gutten tag, Arnald

  6. David

    That would prompt a link to the NSDAP (or to quote Murphy ‘ The national savings and deposit scheme) as one commentator managed to trap him into writing.

    Bloke (not) in Spain

    I look at the troll on this thread and am always struck that it’s remarkable (and I am privy to some Facebook threads involving many of the contributors on Tax Research UK) how touchy some of these people are – the phrase quoted above (fascism aside) could have been lifted verbatim from both the Courageous State and any number of publications by the Tax Justice Network and by fellow travellers in other forums. When the historical reality is presented to them you get standard responses:

    ‘You’re making up history’
    ‘It’ll be different this time’

    So the trolls’ response is very telling responses in this instance in
    my opinion – but don’t forget it’s the commentators on here who need to ‘get a grip’ apparently, for having the temerity to condemn someone ‘trying to make things better’ or ‘change things for the better’ – no doubt Mussolini had similar intentions back when the passage above was written.

  7. PF

    No – a few blog entries have pointed out the issues with it but a full takedown would be a big undertaking – especially as the second part of it is filled with those bizarre Venn diagrams which Ritchie returns to on occasion even now- I often suggest Time should do what he did to Ha Joon Chang but he seems reluctant, partly because Murphy’s contentions are so obviously idiotic, and to be honest, he’s so intemperate and offensive when presented with compelling evidence against his theories he rather fisks himself…..

  8. Has to be said, I did giggle at the NSDAP gaffe.

    anyway Vanp-o, I’m not being touchy, it’s just this site revels in pendantry and yet it seems the distinction between corporate fascism and socialism is entirely lost on you.

    Obviously Social Democracy is anathema.

  9. @Arnald, given that everyone who calls themselves “socialist” has their own definition of the term, from the outside “corporate fascism”, as you call it, very much looks like a subset of the broader theme of “socialism”, or “collectivism” if you’d prefer not to use a word which seems to mean completely different things to different people. What normally happens now is we end up down the rabbit hole of discussing why fascism isn’t the same as some narrow view of Marxist socialism (which seems to be shared by exactly 3 people, one of whom is already considering forming his own splinter group). And which wasn’t the question anyway.

    Just like, from the outside, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox and Catholics are all subsets of “christians” even if they do consider each other to be heretics.

  10. @V_P:

    He’s gone a bit quiet on the Venn diagrams.

    I still remember the glory days of his attempt to redefine economics. Basically by tilting the axes of some graphs by 45 degrees. That great project got quietly dropped.

    Perhaps Sue Queef will ask him to resurrect it?

  11. bloke (not) in spain

    I really do suggest Arnald sits himself down & reads Mein Kampf. In parts it’s gong to look very familiar.
    There’s even a whiff of “My Struggle” comes from the author of Tax Research UK, at times. Shame he’s not a competent artist.

  12. bloke (not) in spain

    “‘trying to make things better’ or ‘change things for the better’ – no doubt Mussolini had similar intentions back when the passage above was written.”

    So true, Mr V_P. If you look at what was being written about fascism, at the time, there’s so much about “harnessing capitalism for the good of the many”. It really is “Brave New Dawn” stuff.. It’s why it was so enormously popular with intellectuals.

  13. It’s amazing how people want to look differently at various flavors of totalitarian collectivism depending upon whether it comes putatively from the right or the left.

  14. or from the left or not-left-enough…

    Why are we still limited by the vocabulary choices of an evil dead Georgian?

  15. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Our local Fascista (it ends the same whatever the sex) is perfectly clear that Musso was a socialist. and once showed me the old brute’s writings to prove it.

    Ted nails the point.

  16. Arnald

    The Corporate state concept was less well documented or imagined in Mussolini’s time I would say but you do hit on something there – frequently there seems to be a struggle to engage (on either side) with the basic tenets of the other proponents’ arguments, let alone the detail.

    Whenever I am arguing (and I don’t usually write on Murphy’s blog – he’s quite clear on the grounds for commenting and I respect the fact as the blog’s editor he has the right to decide what content is shown, just as the blog commenters here have the right to infer what they will from that editorial freedom) with a proponent of Murphy’s view they do seem to place great emphasis on the nuances between different stripes of socialism, and the differences therein- the problem you then find is that anyone from right of the spectrum is classified as ‘Fascist’, ‘Neoliberal’ or some other epithet. The reverse is true on a right of centre blog here – whatever happened to the centre ground is a classic verging on trite remark but nevertheless it is an appropriate question here.

  17. @GlenDorran

    Or he could call upon Mrs Dutt-Pauker to assist?

    I’m guessing The Telegraph might be anathema to the man – he took great pleasure in saying – ‘ I won’t speak to anyone from the Sun’ when they rang him for a quote….

  18. @Van_Patten

    You’ve either got to be lefter than Lenin or an unthinking twonk to put neoliberalism and fascism into the same pot.

  19. Vanp-o

    Right of centre!

    This blog is as fascist as it gets, in your terms! Everyone is derided and should be executed except for your elite. Anyone that suggests otherwise gets insulted, web-searched and outed.

    It’s a farce, your ‘libertarianism’. Rules determined by smug bastards for smug bastards.

  20. Hello Arnald, and thank you for your usual temperate, well informed and impeccably phrased remarks (/sarc).

    That Mussolini’s fascism was left wing is well documented and well understood.

    Hitler was also essentially left wing.

    Large numbers of well known lefties throughout the thirties thought that both dictators were doing a super job and strove to emulate their success in their own countries.

    Indeed it could be argued that FDR’s New Deal was partly uinspired by Mussolinian fascism.

    And was about as successful.

  21. Arnald says:

    Right of centre!

    I would suggest “marginally” right of centre?

    Sometimes it’s quite left wing as well, as you can see from quite a lot of the posts, but balance is always good?

    This blog is as fascist as it gets, in your terms!

    What? Who? When? Where?

  22. Italian Bloke

    Not sure where you get your information from, and it is in common with the wingnuts on here, but Italian Fascism, Nordic and Mittel-Euro Nazism are not left wing. At all.

  23. Hmm. Self-identified collectivist socialists. Not left wing. Riiiiiiiight.

    What other ideologies should we not permit to self-identify?

  24. “Not sure where you get your information from, and it is in common with the wingnuts on here, but Italian Fascism, Nordic and Mittel-Euro Nazism are not left wing. At all.”

    Then nor was the New Economic Policy of the Soviet Union. Can’t get a fag-paper between them.

    At the time, Western lefties referred to the “Russo-Italian method”. They didn’t seem to think there was much difference either.

  25. WhaddidIsay at 12:12? There we go with a definition of socialism that is marxist and thus exclusionary.

    It’s a broader church than just Marx, ffs. And it gives a much more interesting and informative view of the 20th century if you accept that.

    And the communists killed all other kinds of socialists too – just ask the Mensheviks, trots, Social Democrats etc. Oh wait, they’re dead.

    But I guess that makes the USSR right-wing too then.

    Which is why we can’t have a sensible, interesting and informative discussion about collectivism with lefties of average intelligence.

  26. I know it irks you lot that what, due to Stalin-era propaganda you see the minor doctrinal difference of who owns what (hint: the workers have never owned the means of production in any marxist state either) as being fundamental, and you still let your understanding be limited by Stalin’s use of terminology (Stalin called anyone who opposed him “right wing”), but really, life’s easier if you stop being Stalin’s zombie sock puppets and have a clearer view of what happened in the 20th century by lumping all the collectivist ideologies in together where they belong.

    I know it’ll be difficult coming to terms with understanding exactly why conservatives and libertarians are fucking confused (and irked) by your insistance that they’re living next door to fascists, but once you understand that actually it’s you lot doing that, you’ll understand the world a whole lot better. And you won’t have to engage in mental gymastics to make contortions about “state capitalism” or completely ignoring the NEP to try to build a coherent picture.

    Try it. You might like it.

  27. And while you’re at it, how the everloving christ do you square the anticapitalist, rent-and-price-controlling national socialists with free-market libertarians/conservatives and not with the anticapitalist, rent-and-price-controlling communists?

  28. abacab>

    I’m pretty sure you’ve misunderstood Arnald here, if you think he’s a Marxist. He’s a sieg-heiler, not a trot, whatever he claims. Hence the support for Murph – don’t forget that the sage of North Norfolk isn’t fascist, he’s Nazi.

    Personally, I’ve never thought it makes any real difference what you call it. The problem with Nazis isn’t that they’re left or right wing, but that they’re genocidal racists.

  29. Arnald

    So apologies – what I meant was the idea of ‘corporate fascism’ as you understand it was not as well documented as your conception of it today in Mussolini’s time. From recollection (and I would need to brush up on his work to be certain) he posited control by employers, workers councils and the state bureaucracy – aside from the downgrading of employers how does this differ from the vision of Murphy?

    Thanks also for your point on the blog’s ‘Fascist’ nature – kind of makes my point for me – you also would no doubt answer the excellent abacab’s point about the Soviet Union policy being near identical with the riposte that the Soviet Union is ‘right wing’ , a boast so absurd that making it almost puts you beyond the realms of serious debate – but even were it true, it would mean Murphy’s ideas have never been tried anywhere and are thus in the realms of the purely theoretical, and should as such have very limited, if not no, bearing on any considerations of future policy making.

  30. “Personally, I’ve never thought it makes any real difference what you call it. The problem with Nazis isn’t that they’re left or right wing, but that they’re genocidal racists.”

    Not that the USSR was averse to a bit of that (Chechens, Crimean tartars etc etc etc).

    Nor to a bit of plain old racism – what else were the russification programs? Posting Russians to the colonies effectively as colonial administrators. Police harassing people speaking their native languages in the streets. Ask an Estonian or a Lithuanian who lived through it…

    And of course there’s the “classicides” like the liquidation of the kulaks, the Katyn massacre, the Khmer Rouge, etc.

    So, really, I’m terribly sorry if some doctrinal theory about who owned what that didn’t bear out in any real, actually existing form in practice is a nuance I just can’t quite grasp as being a gaping chasm that puts the Nazis/Fascists with conservatives on one side and the Glorious Marxists on the other.

    Terribly sorry, old bean.

  31. Abacab>

    The distinction I’d draw is that Soviet genocides were, well, ‘incidental’ seems to trivialise them, but you I’m sure you see what I mean: they happened, but they needn’t have*. Nazism, on the other hand, requires a hate-group as a focus for aggression, and you can’t have a Nazi state without hatred, violence, and so-on. (*Perhaps it would be better to say they were possibly an inevitable result of the system, but not fundamental to it.)

    You make a good point about gentricide by the Khmers Rouges. Despite their claimed ideology, that was a state which had much more in common with Nazi Germany than the Soviet Union, with ‘intellectuals’ taking the place of Jews, gypsies, etc. as a focus for hatred and slaughter.

    But that brings us back round to my original point, which is that it doesn’t really matter whether you call Pol Pot right-wing or left-wing, Nazi or Marxist, because either way he was still a mass-murdering maniac. That latter part remains the important one.

  32. @Dave, I don’t think the massacres *were* incidental – the system is quasi-religious and is based on class hatred, and the precept of destroying the bourgeoisie as a class.

    If that isn’t a recipe for exactly what happened in the USSR from its very early days I don’t know what is.

  33. Abcab>

    Note my parenthetical add-on to that paragraph. I think we’re in agreement there. But it’s also important to note that Communist China didn’t engage in the same practices. They had the absurd and deadly Cultural Revolution, but that wasn’t a deliberate and systematic attempt at mass murder.

    We could argue that a revolutionary Communist state makes it so easy for the state to kill off its subjects in large groups that it’s almost inevitable it’ll happen accidentally, but that it takes a Stalin or similar to deliberately instigate the process.

  34. I think people here are misinterpreting Arnald’s argument. To put it a little more simply:

    Right wing = bad
    Left wing = good
    Fascism = bad
    Fascism = right wing

    @ abacab “the workers have never owned the means of production in any marxist state either”

    Ah well, but there has never been a Marxist state; the various states that have been described as Marxist have, for reasons of bad luck, the entirely coincidental emergence of sociopathic leaders and the evil influence of capitalists, slipped away from Marxism and ended up as oppressive soul-crushing hellholes. i.e. bad, i.e. right wing.

    It might be worth quoting esteemed progressive George Moonbat, writing in Prospect in 1998 about the now-defunct Living Marxism magazine:

    “For the closer one looks at LM, the weaker its link to the oppressed appears, and the stronger its links to the oppressor. It has, in other words, less in common with the left than with the fanatical right.”

    And it’s not just LM of course, so blinded were the Nazis by their own evil, that they named themselves socialists, even though – by definition – they could not be.

  35. FWIW, Ian Kershaw considered the Nazis were not really socialists. Not that I’m arguing from authority, just that I doubt I’d be prepared to get into an argument with *him* over it.

    OTOH, I’d pay to watch Hayek go head-to-head with Kershaw on the point.

    But, chaps, I really cant help but think all this name-calling is at best counterproductive. Not that I’m immune, I’ve occasionally lapsed into it myself. But I think terms like ‘statist’, ‘collectivist’ are more helpful or, in a pinch, ‘corporatist’, ‘crony capitalist’ and ‘social democrat’.

  36. Ed>

    Just because terms are thrown around as insults when they shouldn’t be doesn’t mean they’re not useful factual descriptions. The only problem is that, as you demonstrate, people mistake a statement of fact for an insult because the term is so often used in that way.

  37. abacab

    Great point re: Russification – The Daily Mail drew the ire of a number of idiot leftists for its headline ‘The man who hated Britain’ on Ed Miliband’s Dad – with a number of blogs running long articles on how patriotism wasn’t the exclusive preserve of ‘the right’ – My riposte was that the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians also loved their country, but that Ralph Miliband was quite happy to support a regime that brutally suppressed that love of country…

  38. Dave: “They had the absurd and deadly Cultural Revolution, but that wasn’t a deliberate and systematic attempt at mass murder.”

    Are you fucking joking?. The Cultural Revolution and the mass starvation of the Great Leap Forward into socialist oblivion were only a small part of that sack of shit Mao’s antics. The killing started long before 1948 and only dropped of ( to mere tens of thousands rather than millions ) in the last years of the old scumbags life. They killed in excess of 70 million.

    As for Arnald–if any socialist prick ever deserved a nice long holiday in the Lubyanka basement followed by a grovelling self-abasing show trial Arnald is that socialist prick.

  39. Dave, it may be a statement of fact. Just as you might call me a cunt, and it would be a statement of (metaphorical) fact. Doesn’t, however, stop it sounding childish and absurd.

  40. No, you misunderstand. Ritchie actually is a Nazi. That’s not a childish or absurd insult, like calling you a cunt would be, it’s a simple factual statement about his politics. The man actually believes in National Socialism, death camps for Jews, and so-on.

  41. Dave said:
    “We could argue that a revolutionary Communist state makes it so easy for the state to kill off its subjects in large groups that it’s almost inevitable it’ll happen accidentally,”

    Not sure about that –

    “To overcome our enemies we must have our own socialist militarism. We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia’s population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated.”

    —Grigory Zinoviev, 1918

  42. Jonathan>

    I meant to add that I was talking about the post-revolutionary period. It seems revolutions themselves are rarely bloodless.

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