Demolishing Factuality


Why do oligarchs prefer fascism?  There can be little doubt that oligarchs like fascism. There are very few fascisms of the left. Why is that?


Oligarchs naturally turns to fascism because it is so congenial to their outlook.


Timothy Snyder described Russia at the time this way:

“Russia in the 2010s was a kleptocratic regime that sought to export the politics of eternity to demolish factuality, to preserve inequality, and to accelerate similar tendencies in Europe and the United States.”


The Russians wanted to disrupt American democracy for decades, but for decades lacked any success at all, and found instead only derision for their efforts. But in the 2010s they found remarkable success. In large part that was because Russians efforts found such fertile soil for confusion and American minds astonishingly receptive to the most incredible stories. The soil in America had been fertilized through generations by credulity. In America the death of truth had laid the groundwork for successful interference in their election to such an extent that they were like lambs being led to the slaughter.


Snyder posits the following as political virtues: individuality, endurance, cooperation, novelty, honesty, and justice.  He claims these are not merely platitudes, but actual facts of history.  All of these virtues are important, but one of them has proven particularly significant in the age in which we live—honesty. When all is lies all is permitted. That’s what we must avoid at all costs. We discovered that in American politics, in the pandemic, and significantly, but little understood, in both wars of Ukraine in 2014 and again in 2022.  However, “virtues are inseparable from the institutions they inspire and nourish.” Without trust in those institutions it is very difficult for truth to grow to avoid being crowded out by lies.


Sadly, those institutions are no longer robust anywhere. They are covered in rust from years of abuse. Yet those institutions are needed to preserve democracy. As Snyder said,

“An institution might cultivate certain ideas of the good, and it also depends upon them. If institutions are to flourish, they need virtues; if virtues are to be cultivated, they need institutions.”


Since those institutions in the west are under merciless attack by the forces of unfreedom (both inevitability and eternity in Snyder’s terminology) it is difficult for one to remain optimistic about the future of freedom and democracy in the west. When people suggest fascism in the west is a real possibility one can only harbour grim humility. As Snyder said,

“It is the politics of inevitability and eternity that make virtues seem irrelevant or even laughable: inevitability by assuring that the good is what already exists and must predictably expand, and eternity by assuring that the evil is always external and that we are forever its innocent victims. If we want to have a better account of good and evil, we will have to resuscitate history.”


We will certainly have to resuscitate truth. We desperately need honesty and truth.


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