Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Speaking of Turning Against Democracy

Let's hear from one of the new anti-democratic voters, Sonia Valentini of Italy:
Salvini is a good man. I like him because he puts Italians first. And I guess he’s a fascist, too. What can you do?
This expresses pretty well what a lot of people feel, including many who voted for Trump. The messenger may be an odious human being, or have some ideas you consider outrageous, but if he is the only way to get the message across, so be it. The message must be sent.

If democratic leaders can't make the government work for ordinary people, they will be voted out, and the angriest alternative will be voted in.

3 comments:

David said...

A problem with this analysis is that "the people" is almost always divided against itself, and the grievances of "the people" usually amount to resentment at some other portion of the people. And it is impressive how rarely in history those grievances align the masses against the rich. In the Italian case, the two winning parties represent the grievances of northern and southern Italians against each other. In the United States, the key grievance seems to be the hostility of the lower middle class for the lower class.

G. Verloren said...

I love the mental gymnastics on display here.

A good person doesn't harm innocent others for the benefit of themselves.
Fascism is, by definition, harming innocent others for the benefit of yourself.
A good person does not engage in Fascism.
And yet this Fascist who hurts innocent people for his own benefit is "a good person"?

No, sorry. He's really not. This man espouses a selfish, evil, racist rhetoric which led one of his lieutenants to attempt to murder half a dozen people, and then denied any responsibility.

In the same breath that he pretends to condemn the violence carried out by his own followers in the name of his own cause, he also implies that it was justified. His basis for this argument is that the victims (who were innocent of any wrongdoing) were of the same race as a totally unrelated criminal.

A single senseless murder occurs. The murderer is arrested and will face justice. But this is not enough for the Fascists, because the murderer was not of their own race. They happily ignore murders committed by their fellows all the time, and trust the legal system to handle it. But when a murder is commited by some person not belonging to their in-group, that's another story. They have to take action.

So they respond by attempting to commit half a dozen random murders in retaliation. But of course, despite attacking six people instead of just one, they are not the violent ones - the half dozen victims are, because they share a race with the murderer who originally so outraged the Fascists, wholly by virtue of being the wrong race while committing murder.

But I'm sure these are good people. They may be liars, hypocrites, advocates of vigilante murder and collective punishment, and yet also cowards unwilling to openly admit to the values they hold - but I'm sure they're still good people.

And sure, they may be Fascists. But they put "Italians" first! Which is to say, they racistly attempt to murder innocent "non-Italians" (despite their being legal residents and citizens) for the accidents of their birth. Which is to say... they act like Fascists, because that's how Fascists act.

So put simply - while they may be Fascists, at least they're Fascists.

John said...

Modern societies are all divided against themselves, and many of the grievances are mutual. There is no party whose victory would make everyone happy. But if you look at what has happened in Italy over the past twenty years, I think you see that something has happened. No party that stood up for neo-liberalism and the EU had a decent showing in this election. Right now it is impossible for a party to get more than 15% of the votes while campaigning for the status quo.

I look at this and say, these people are letting their resentments make them foolish, they are not voting for anyone with a plan to make things better. Well, why aren't they? Maybe because nobody has a plan that stands a good chance of making things better? When the fall of Berlusconi put "responsible" politicians in charge all they did was wrestle with the national debt and hold endless meetings with bankers. Their rhetoric was all fatalism. And maybe there just isn't much than the Italian government could do to make their people richer; maybe such things depend a lot less on national governments than we pretend. But it was a dismal showing that I thought they deserved to lose. No political party can survive if they devote more attention to bankers than voters. Just as in the US, people are mad that after all the financial craziness the bankers and the EU bureaucrats are still doing great, while they suffer.

Resentment of the flood of refugees is one nativist pole, but there are two: resentment of Brussels bureaucrats and German bankers is also a big part of the "Italians first" program. Right now the combination of those resentments, along with the complete lack of any real program from the responsible people, is devastating the center across Europe.