Category Archives: The Sleep of Reason

Ron DeSantis: King of the Kulture War

 

According to Rick Wilson a former Republican strategist who became an anti-Trumpster, “Ron DeSantis (the governor of Florida) is the undisputed king of the culture war in America now.” I find that comment sickeningly shocking. It is sickening because I fear Wilson is right. In addition to advancing his Don’t Say Gay legislation now he is accusing the Disney Corporation, an icon in America and Florida in particular, of being guilty of pedophile grooming. Again this is part of the right-wing hysteria about protecting children from perverts and liberals.   He is making it illegal in Florida to criticize the country for slavery just because it makes some white people uncomfortable, when they ought to be uncomfortable for their country. As if you can pretend that racism–even the most vicious form of racism, namely slavery, never happened. Now he has passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country.

 

Those are  pretty big pillars in the Kulture war in America.  And according to Wilson that makes DeSantis the king of the war. No other conservative in America, even Donald Trump can claim a collection of scalps like that. He is doing this, says Wilson, because he and his advisors have determined that this is the way to the Republican nomination for President in 2024.  Can he even defeat the Trumpster-in-Chief?

 

As if that is not enough, Wilson says, “The only thing the Republican base now cares about is the Kulture War.” When Wilson was a Republican strategist they did have a coherent ideology whether you agreed with it or not: limited government, individual freedom, free markets, and the rule of law. They were never evenly applied but they were real policies. But as Wilson said,  “at least the principle of the Republican Party wasn’t lets try burn down Walt Disney because they are secretly trying to groom children for a pedophile ring under the Magic Kingdom.” At least in those days, unlike now,  their principle did not require the complete abandonment of reason and truth.

 According to Rick Wilson, “This craziness which has infected the party is very much what Ron DeSantis is running on.”  The base of course loves this.  No doubt many other Republicans will jump on this band wagon for the upcoming mid-term elections.

DeSantis who grew up in Florida, went to the Navy, went to Yale, and became a graduate of Harvard Law School  as a result of which he was viewed as a classic conservative and a serious politician. At least until recently that was true.  Now he has been downing crazy pills. Of course the current Republican Party has very little room for serious conservatives. The current Republican Party is deeply ensconced in FantasyLand.

 

Wilson believes DeSantis has moved so far into LaLaLand because of the influence of Christina Pushaw. She is deep Alt-right and she is very ambitious and influential in the Republican Party in Florida. To her trolling and the social war stuff is all that matters, says Wilson. According to Wilson, she helped transform DeSantis into an “alt-right, trolling, cultural warrior of the first degree.” He is now Trump’s main contender.  There are a number of Republicans who are trying to be “Trump without all the warts. Or Trump without all the moral and cognitive deficits.” A lot of those candidates vying for Trumps leadership position have said they would deliver “Trump without all the crazy stuff, but it turns out many of them want the crazy stuff.”

According to Wilson,

 

“Because of Pushaw in the most distilled and perfect form, the conspiracy theory QAnon aspect of the Republican Party today requires that they be constantly poked and stimulated with terrifying imaginary demons. Whether it’s critical race theory or pedophile groomers or big tech or anything of the things they imagine are going to destroy their lives, he has become incredibly adept at framing these things so that only he can deal with. That is the same thing we heard in 2015 and 2016 from Trump. ‘Only I can fix it…Only I will be the avatar of your rage and anger.”

 

These Kultural War appeals are powerful to the working class of Florida, says Wilson. I think this is what politics is now all about in the US. The Kulture wars are supreme. Nothing else matters (except inflation).

 

Lies, damn lies, and conspiracy theories.

Mark Twain got it only partly right. It is true that there are  lies, damn  lies and statistics, but there are also  lies, damn lies, and conspiracy theories. One of the most horrid conspiracy theories in America history is one spread by the incomparable Alex Jones. And that is saying a lot because there are so many of them!  As Barry Craig said, “Alex Jones is so repugnant he makes Judas Iscariot look good.

 

This is one of Jones’s crimes against humanity: after learning of one of the most horrid mass shootings in American history when a lone gunman entered an elementary school in a quiet town in Connecticut—Newton, he went on a shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook School where he murdered 20 first graders and 6 teachers. Then when the parents of those children were suffering immeasurably, Jones added salt to the wounds, by taking the plain and uncomplicated truth of that well documented series of crimes and challenged those parents that it was all a hoax and that they were paid actors!  Jones spread these outrageous and putrid lies just to gain publicity so he could sell more of his cheap goods online.

Craig was reviewing a book by Elizabeth Williamson, called Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth when he said this:

“Almost as criminal as those killings, says Williamson, was Jones’ unconscionable misuse of his far right and virulent social media platform, Infowars. With the dead children still lying in the schoolyard, he said the shootings were faked and the grieving parents nothing more than actors in a conspiracy staged by government to support the need for more gun control.”

 

In other words, as Craig said, they were “the undeserving people Jones tortured for years.”  It is not surprising that Craig called this a “degenerate reaction.” Craig also wrote this:

“In his trademark bombast, Jones called on his viewers — largely conspiracy believers — to descend on Newtown in outrage to bully and harass the people in this bogus massacre. It not only worked (and terrified the community), it made Jones rich hustling overpriced merchandise on his program.”

 

The  thirst for vile baubles appears endless. I heard he earns about $65 million per year selling lies and junk! But this is not the most astonishing part.  Here is the part that is really difficult to comprehend: Despite the degenerate part Donald Trump the leader of Trumpism declared his approval of Jones shortly after his election and commented how well respected he was! Only among fools and charlatans was he respected, but that did not matter to the Donald. Trump liked Jones because he was so much like himself. Both men have no compunction about spreading lies provided they serve their private purposes.

Williamson made some interesting comments about Jones and conspiracy theories. First, she drew attention to a fascinating statement by columnist Richard Grenier who defined “conspiracy theories as sophistication of the ignorant.” She also pointed out Jones’ conspiracy theories went well beyond harming the families of the victims. As she said,

 “Jones’ success in making lies true and truth lies encouraged conspiracy theorists in every major conflict after Sandy Hook: numerous shootings, the COVID-19 pandemic, the oxymoron of “alternative facts,” Donald Trump’s bogus claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and last year’s assault on the U.S. Capitol building which he challenged his followers to carry out to “stop the steal.” She says Trump is much like Jones in that he convinces people what they (already) want to believe.”

 

Williamson reported how the hapless parents of murdered elementary students had to put up with angry and aggressive conspiracy theorists harassing them with leers attacking them like “an army of swarming and aggressive news media,” constantly demanding that they relive their nightmare and then spreading lies about them. Finally, they fought back against the malicious lies in court by suing Jones and the manufacturer of the gun. As Craig said,

“While millions of Americans continue to wallow in ludicrous conspiracy theories fanned by liars that make it sound like the truth, Sandy Hook’s victims of this mendacity are also getting back at their perpetrators through court decisions they initiated that are denting their detractors’ bank accounts. By 2018 some 10 Sandy Hook families were suing Jones… He has already admitted he was wrong; the parents recently turned down his first monetary offer to settle their defamation suit against him. In addition, he is being fined by the courts at a daily rate for failing to co-operate. That bill alone is over $500,000 and counting. The parents may well end up with millions, but it’s still in the courts.”

 

Of course, as Craig said,

“(Canada is not immune to the same kind of viral lies. The Senate has been flooded by conspiracy theory claims that changes to basic income legislation is the work of a shady global elite.) It seems not only news travels fast — so does nonsense.”

 

We Canadians have little right to feel superiority to our American neighbours. Conspiracy theories are a plague on us all. One of the things they do is spread mistrust helping to dismantle society which needs trust to survive.

 

 

Christian Hate

 

To me it is a fundamental position that Christians should not hate. They should love. Yet often that is not true. Often they hate.

In the United States far right groups traditionally attack racial minorities, but those are large groups. If you want support from non-whites you have to attack smaller groups such as trans-gender Americans. That is what the current far right is doing in America. Many of those are of course Christians. Take almost any hated group and away you can go. It does not take much for Americans to join an anti-racial parade. Vilify a small group and soon you will have wide-spread support for your cause.

If you attack a tiny group you can gather a large group  against them.  This is what Americans have been doing.  Then you can gather a lot of people to join our hateful attacks on very small minorities. Unfortunately, there are often many Americans who want to do exactly that.

As Jason Stanley an American philosopher and expert on fascism said,

“In the United States the audience includes white nationalists who very prominently want to return to a white state that prioritizes white Christianity. So they say they have black Americans who join them in their antipathy against LGBT citizens. It is always about gathering a larger coalition by ever greater vilification  of a small minority while winking to the large  part of the coalition that this is really helping. In the case of the United States that would be white Christianity.”

 

One should never underestimate the power of hate among small groups. Smart politicians know how to enlist such power and amplify it. Often such tactics are used to enhance the interests of white Christianity. Hence we get what Timothy Snyder referred to as Christian fascism which often attacks small sexual groups that are easy to dominate and quick to catch the attention of haters.

There was a recent piece in the New York Times by Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham that reported on The growing religious fervour in the American right. They call it a Jesus movement.”  The far-right movement is increasingly drawing in devout Christians.

As Stanley said,

“That’s because the global fascist movement presents itself as a defender of traditional values. And this is not new. This is textbook fascist politics. If you look at Joseph Goebbels’s speech, “Communism with the masks off,” in 1935, Goebbels says that Jewish Bolshevism is threatening religious faith in Christianity and that the only protection is National Socialism.”

 

Once more, this is Christian fascism. So what Putin is doing is reviving these themes. He is saying liberalism is a threat to tradition. Of course liberalism is not a threat. Liberalism says my Orthodox Jewish brothers may live as they want and other people who aren’t religious can also live however they want. Tolerance for other views is the bedrock of liberalism. However, Christian fascism says Judaism is a threat to its hegemony and must be resisted.

 

Of course, this is not about truth. This is about creating fear among people who chose to live traditionally that they are under attack and this approach in the US, Russia and many other places has been very successful.  As Stanley said,

 

This is about persuading people that other people’s choices threaten them and in particular, threaten their children, and then they say to them, ‘Look they are going after your children. You need us to protect you.”

 

This is a very effective strategy and has been used by authoritarians and fascists many times. It is so effective because it is so easy for us to fear our children are in danger. In its most extreme and absurd recent incarnation this has been the strategy of QAnon followers.  They get people to believe their children are in danger of pedophiles. That is guaranteed to arouse quick and hostile response especially in countries where such fears are rampant such as the United States and Russia. Sexual insecurity adds an existential edge to such fears. It is so effective people are quick to believe totally absurd claims.

 

In both countries conservative members of society are easily convinced that their children are in danger because traditional values have been undermined by liberals. As a result, traditionalist are quick to abandon democracy in favour of the protection of a strong autocratic leader.

 

This is what Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted on April 6, 2022:  “Democrats are the party of killing babies, grooming and transitioning children, and pro-pedophilia politics.”  It doesn’t matter that it is absurd. It matters that it triggers fear.

Hari Sreenivasan who interviewed Jason Stanley on PBS quoted this: “In a recent poll 49% of Republicans said it was definitely or probably true that top Democrats are involved in elite child sex-trafficking rings.”

These are now going viral in conservative Christian circles in particular in the US and elsewhere. This is not a small group of people in the US.  Congresswomen are part of it. This is widespread hair-brained thinking.

As Stanley reminded us, QAnon is clearly descended from “blood libel” and the “protocols of the elders of Zion”,  the conspiracy theories that Jews were stealing Christian babies for their religious rituals. It is a conspiracy theory that there is a global cabal of elites and they are seeking to conquer institutions to get at your children.

To these conspiracy theorist if “their men” cannot stand up to this they are not real men because they are going after women and children and all real men must stand up to defend them.  As Stanley said, “It is that level of fear and paranoia that has seeped into…and permeated much of American politics.”

 American Christian fascism, the ugly American twin of Russian Christian fascism.

 

Fascists want to preserve ‘traditional values’

 

According to philosopher Jason Stanley, who wrote the book How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them,  Russian fascism,  is different from German fascism which wanted to install Germans as dominating the world. Putin is about traditional ethno-nationalists dominating each of their countries  with a strong powerful masculine leader. The leader might be a woman of course, like Marine Le Pen  had she won the French national election in 2022. Usually the strong leader though is a man—like Putin—i.e. a traditional male bully.

Stanley says  the job of the fascist leader  is always about “protecting traditional values against democracy.” The fascist parties therefor must show that they are not corrupt decadent and weak like western democracies. That is what Putin believes and fosters. The strength of the bully. This is what Putin has claimed to be doing in both the 2014 and 2022 wars in Ukraine.

 

Putin is not alone either. For example, the United States has had such anti-democratic leader too—I.e. Donald Trump. To resist, the democracies must show that they are strong. They can be strong, but they must show it now that they are under attack from anti-democratic forces. We will see if they are strong enough.

So far Ukraine has showed it is strong–perhaps stronger than Russia expected. That is what Ukraine is facing.

 Putin is demonstrating Russian  fascism Putin style.

 

The Politics of the Bully

What is fascism?  It obviously has many faces depending on which country it is operating.  I have my own definition that I think works. Fascism is the philosophy of the bully. I really think that is the essence of fascism.

Few thinkers are as cogent and convincing about fascism as Jason Stanley a professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of the book How Fascism Works: the Politics of Us vs Them. Fascism is often linked with empire and the attempt to restore colonial glory and with that the glory of the colonizing state. This is a classic kind of fascism.  Both Hitler and Mussolini employed it and nearly 70 years later so did Donald Trump though his fascism was aspirational. He wanted to bring it about. He tried to bring it about, he just didn’t quite get there. At least not yet. He is still hanging around ready to try again.

There are a range of fascists or near fascists around the world. For example, Viktor Orban of Hungry who is so popular among the American right, particularly Trucker Carlson.

Classic fascism can appeal to many different forms of bigotry, racism, and authoritarianism such as hatred of blacks, Jews, LGBGTQ and other groups. Such fascism loves to attack weaker and more vulnerable people. That is why I call it the politics of the bully. That is why racism is so vital to fascism.  Fascists love to pick on vulnerable minorities.  As Damon Young said, “cowardice is the fuel of white supremacy.” I will come back to that later in a subsequent post.

Classic fascism like all of these is closely linked to violence and militarism. I characterize it as the politics of the political bully. As Jason Stanley said on Amanpour & Co. “we find fascist leaders gaining in popularity when they can talk about lost empire and when they tell their citizens that they are going to be ones to restore their empire.”

According to Stanley, since Russia is no longer a super power either militarily or economically like China and the United States are, it has tried to become a super power ideologically instead. That is why Putin has emphasized so much ideology. That means, according to Stanley:

 “Putin is trying to be the leader of the world’s traditionalists–the ethno-nationalists,  the patriarch , the anti-democrats, and white supremacists. He tries to convince people that he is going to defend traditional values against decadence and weakness.

 

Really that is exactly what Tucker Carlson is trying to do as well. He is trying to gather all the ethnonationalist movements to him.  At the same time he said he wanted to de-Nazify Ukraine. Of course, he did that to tap into deep historical roots and anxieties of the Russian and Ukrainian people. Stanley says that is “classic fascism. Classic fascism involved calling your enemy what you yourself are.”

 

Since the Maidan revolution of 2014 Ukraine has adopted a democratic revolution so Putin will remove it from institutions, schools and politics. He will place the leaders on show trials, if he can, execute or imprison them and then replace them with puppets or Russian fascist ideologues and extinguish completely Ukrainian democratic identity and Ukrainian identity full stop. That is what Ukraine is facing. That is fascism Putin style.

Bullies never stop. We learned that with Hitler and Mussolini. That is why we had to help Poland against Hitler and that is why we must help Ukraine now against Putin .

 

Truth Under Siege

Despite the confusion manufactured by the Russian fascists and their allies around the world, not all forgot what the Fascists had done. They remembered the young students who were beaten on a cold November in the Maidan in Ukraine in 2013.  Ukrainian Mothers and fathers heroically came to the streets in support of “their children.” Thousands of people came to Kyiv and put their lives in danger. Since then and again in 2022 people around the world have come to appreciate the heroic defiance of ordinary Ukrainians. No one else has defended truth like Ukrainians.  Timothy Snyder described their appearance in the Maidan and Kyiv in 2013 this way:

 

“One can record that these people were not fascists or Nazis or members of a gay international conspiracy or Jewish international conspiracy or a gay Nazi Jewish international conspiracy as Russian propaganda suggested to various target audiences. One can mark the fictions and contradictions. This is not enough. These utterances were not logical arguments or factual assessments, but a calculated effort to undo logic and factuality. Once the intellectual moorings were loosed, it was easy for Russians (and Europeans and Americans) to latch on to well-funded narratives provided by television and the internet, but it was impossible to work one’s way  towards an understanding of people in their own setting: to grasp where they were coming from, what they thought they were doing, what sort of future they imagined for themselves.”

 

Ukrainians were not only fighting for their country they were fighting for the truth. They were battling unreason.  I am sorry to say most of us around the world did not realize that at the time. At least I know I did not realize that until about 6 years later.

 

Ukrainians had begun by defending a European future they had chosen but, as Snyder said, they found themselves fighting for a sense that “there could be a past, a present, and a future.”

Russian propagandists claimed the protest at the Maidan was “a right wing coup,” but the real coup according to Snyder was when Putin in 2011 and 2012 returned to the office of president in Russia, which was then not allowed by law.  Snyder believes that Putin wanted to divert attention from his illegal usurpation. He was quite successful as many people in Europe and North America were duped into thinking it was a right-wing coup. As Snyder said,

 

“The Russian claim of a “coup” in Ukraine was among the most cynical of the Kremlin formulations, since the very Russians who made it that, had expected Yanukovych (Ukraine’s president ) to be removed by force and organized (failed or successful) coup d’état in nine Ukrainian districts. The issue in Ukraine was the weakness of the rule of law and the associated inequality of wealth and ubiquity of corruption. It was obvious to protesting Ukrainians that the rule of law was the only way to distribute resources collected by oligarchs more equitably through the society, and to allow others to succeed in the economy. Throughout the entire period of the Maidan, social advance in predictable and just conditions was the central goal. The first protesters were concerned with improving the rule of law by the Europeanization  of Ukraine.”

 

In the current war in Ukraine, the Russian propagandists have been trying similar tricks, like claiming the Russians are there to remove Nazis in control of the Ukraine government and many people in Russia believe that. However, I have not seen much evidence that anyone else believes their propaganda except to some extent American conservatives like Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump.  That is a huge improvement over what happened in Ukraine in 2013 and 2014.

Once again it seems like Ukraine is the bulwark against fascism and once again it is paying a heavy price, but this time at least with great support from the west. Once again Ukraine is defending truth again under siege.

Confederates

 

Although the first Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 like the second in 2022, was advertised by the Russians to be  a battle against fascism, as everyone outside of Russia understood, it is interesting how many fascists from the around the world support the Russian fascists. In 2014 The American white supremacists Richard Spencer, Matthew Heimbach, and David Duke celebrated Putin and defended his war. In fact, Russia, borrowed the Confederate battle flag as the basis for their new flag over the occupied territories in Ukraine. The Polish fascist Konrad Rekas also endorsed Putin. The European far right also demonstrated approval of Russia’s actions. Many of these supporters also expressed anti-Semitic tropes. The neo-Nazis of Greece praised Russia for fighting the international Jewish conspiracy. Hungary’s leader, Jobbik invited Dugin to Moscow while he praised Eurasia. The Italian fascist party lauded Putin’s “courageous position against the powerful gay lobby.”

 

In 2022 Russians were supported by Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump who both voiced sympathy or admiration for Putin.

 

In 2014 the array of fascists helped Putin to achieve his goal of dismembering in part Ukraine. As Timothy Snyder said,

“The schizofascist lies displaced the events in Ukraine and the experiences of Ukrainians. Under the weight of all the contradictory concepts and hallucinatory visons of spring 2014, who would see or remember the individual on the Maidan, with his or her facts and passions, his or her desire to be in history and make history.”

 

The lies were meant to spread confusion and they did exactly that. The lies were not expected to convince people, just create enough doubt to give them cover. That’s all fascists need. Confusion is the fertile soil of fascism.

 

Pulverizing Truth

 

The first task of the fascist is to pulverize the truth. That is exactly what Russian did in Ukraine after the war in the Ukraine in 2014.

 

During the Second World War Russian propagandists identified the enemy of Russia as the “fascists.”  That was certainly right in part. Clearly, the Nazis of Germany were fascists as were their Italian allies. The Russians also associated fascism with capitalism, again, not entirely without reason. Later, Brezhnev said that fascism was the eternal threat Russia felt from the west.  As a result, according to Timothy Snyder, “ ‘fascist’ meant anti-Russian.”  Thus by definition, fascists were opposed to Russians so it became impossible to claim, as I claim, that the Russians were fascists.

Russians are the epitome of the modern fascists. They are the ones that the “wanna be” fascists, like Donald Trump, are jealous about. Trump on more than one occasion has pretty well admitted that. He wants to have military parades and he wants everyone in government to do exactly what he wants, whether it is moral, legal, right, or not. That’s a fascist. Putin can do it. Trump had to be satisfied with trying to do it.

 

As Snyder said,

In the Russian language it was practically a grammatical error to imagine that a Russian could be a fascist. In contemporary Russian discourse, it is easier for an actual Russian fascist to call a non-fascist a “fascist” than it is for a non-fascist to call a Russian fascist a “fascist.”

 

For that reason, Russians like alexander Dugin would call Ukrainians who were defending their country “junta mercenaries from the ranks of the Ukrainian swine-fascists.” As well, for that reason, a fascist such as Alexander Prokhanov could describe fascism as something “that spilled in from the West to threaten Russian virginity.” As well he wrote of fascism as being “black sperm” that threatened “the golden goddess of Eurasia.”

Once again note the coupling of racism and sexual anxiety. Together they produce the toxic brew of fascist ideology.

 When they were done the Russian had not only completed an assault on Ukraine, they had completed an assault on truth. That is the modus operandi of fascism.

 

 

 

Schizofascism and The Russian Spring

 

The Russian intervention in the Donbas in 2014 was called “the Russian Spring.” it  was so wildly inappropriate one might have thought George Orwell invented the description.  It was like saying War is Peace. Timothy Snyder in his book The Road to Unfreedom was much more accurate when he said, “It was certainly springtime for Russian fascism.” Russia of course tried to paint it as a liberation as they did again in 2022.

 

The fascist Alexander Dugin was happy for he saw it as the “expansion of liberation (from American’s) ideology into Europe.” Another fascist Alexander Prokhanov called a Ukrainian politician of Jewish origin a “ghoul” and as “bastard.”  He also said chaos in Ukraine was the work of Israel’s Mossad.  As if all that was not enough lies, he also said on TV that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the fault of Ukrainian Jews.

Snyder described this as follows: “This was a new variety of fascism, which could be called schizofascism, actual fascists calling their opponents ‘fascists’, blaming the Holocaust on the Jews, treating the Second World War as an argument for more violence.” The Soviet foreign minister in 2022 echoed this same type of thinking when he said Jews were some of the worst offenders during the Holocaust.  The fascist theory was that Russia was always innocent and thus could never be fascist. Russia’s enemies were always fascists.  Once more, this reminds me of the American proto-fascists who cannot tolerate the idea that America might not be innocent. That is what their fear of critical race theory for example, is all about. That is why they don’t want anything to say anything critical of America. To them, America is by definiiton always right and just.

During the Second World War Soviet propaganda identified the enemy as “fascists” and ever since, it is believed there  that fascists are their enemy. That is one of the reasons Russians in both Ukraine wars in 2014 and again in 2022 were so quick to accept Russian propaganda. They had grown up with such ideas.  During World War II it was of course true that the fascists were their enemy, but in time their own supporters became fascists in all but name. Soviet ideology also held that fascism arose out of capitalism, once again, not entirely without truth. From this beginning, Soviet propaganda turned the permanent enemy from the west into “fascism” even though they became much more fascist than their enemies.  When truth dies, lies become truths.

 That is why the assault on truth is so important and why it is vital to defend truth.

In 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine, Putin characterized himself as the Redeemer from beyond history. As Snyder pointed out, Putin characterized the invasion of Ukraine which was led by the “Little Green Men” who wore green uniforms without insignia, as “a spiritual defense against permanent western attack.” Putin sees himself as saving Christianity from Western perversion.  The west wanted to separate what was essentially one nation. This was the same line Putin used again 8 years later, in 2022, when he tried to finish the job he left unfinished in 2014. Malofeev described the Russian invasion as a war against eternal evil: “for those who do battle there, the war looks like a war waged against hordes fighting under the banner of the anti-Christ with Satanic slogans.” What could be more eternal than the campaign against Sodom?” That’s why Snyder refers to Russian fascism as Russian Christian fascism. They claimed to be Christian, but are actually fascists.

When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 they telephoned confederates in the region to help them plan a coups d’état.  They later used the same methods as a template around Ukraine. As Snyder said,

“A crowd would storm the regional state administration building,” and then some new assembly would coerced to declare independence and ask Russia for help. In Kharkiv, a crowd of locals and Russian citizens (brought by bus from Russia) did indeed break into the regional state administration building, after first storming the opera house by mistake. These people beat and humiliated Ukrainian citizens who were seeking to protect the building. The Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan refused to kneel and had his skull broken.”

 

Russian propaganda was so effective that from the 1970s on Russians by and large believed that the word “fascist” meant anti-Russian. As a result they don’t believe it is wrong to think that their enemies are all fascists.

In 2014 the Russian propaganda machine claimed that  the Americans had installed a “Nazi junta” in Ukraine, Just as 8 years later they said they had not invaded Ukraine they performed a special military operation to protect it from fascists.  They claimed that by invading Ukraine they were defeating an American occupation. To do that it was necessary for them to drive out the American ruling elite, as well as European bureaucracy and Ukrainian.  Just add perverts to that list and you have a complete list of “fascist” enemies.

 

Izborsk Club: Russia’s Republican Party

 

The Izborsk Club was the intellectual hub of the new Russian nationalism. Its founder was fascist novelist Alexander Prokhanov, Vladimir Putin’s friend. The club was endorsed by Putin. Many of Russia’s fascist ideas grew out of that club. It was created in September 2012. Taking their lead from Ivan Ilyin, the club manifesto contained the claim that “actuality was a Western weapon against Russia.”  Or to put it another way: Truth is anti-Russian. 2 years later the little green men invaded Ukraine.

 The club believed that there was a deadly threat at the centre of Russia and this, of course, came from liberal values. This was part of the war of liberal values against traditional values and the fascists were on the side of tradition, just like their American conservative counterparts.  As Timothy Snyder explained in his book The Road to Unfreedom, they saw liberal values as

“the lethal ideological and transformational ‘machine’ that destroyed all the bases and values of the “White” Romanov empire and then destroyed all the foundations  of the “Red” Soviet empire. The result was chaos. The liberal machine was supported by social scientists, anthropologists, historians, economists, specialists in “chaos theory,” and importantly, “masters of information wars.”

 

In other words, they were as anti-intellectual as those conservatives in America so well described by Richard Hofstadter in his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. With both American and Russian conservatives, anti-intellectualism paves the road to unfreedom. Or as Goya said, the sleep of reason brings forth monsters. The consequence of course, was the war on truth on both continents and both led by conservatives. As Timothy Snyder said,

“For the Eurasianists of the Izborsk Club, facts were the enemy, Ukraine was the enemy, and facts about Ukraine were the supreme enemy. An intellectual task of Izborsk Club was to produce narratives that transported any such facts toward oblivion. Indeed, the mission of the Izborsk Club was to serve as a barrier to factuality.”

 

Does that not sound exactly like the American Republican Party? Over and over again I am amazed at how Russian Christian Fascism is the twin of American Christian Fascism. In Russia it led to Ukraine. Where it will lead in the United States we can only speculate.