News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Soft Fascism

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Soft Fascism

The following article provides a description of a new form of fascism. The author argues that current American politics exhibits not the fascism of a Mussolini or Hitler, but a fascism that images the "invisible hand" working behind the scenes. He addresses the causes of this _soft fascism_.

Richard Sennett's books include the following:

- The Fall of Public Man
- Authority
- The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism
- Respect in a World of Inequality
The age of anxiety

American academic Richard Sennett, who has been teaching in London for five years, returns to New York and takes the cultural and political temperature
The Guardian

"It was no surprise that two people in Fanelli's Bar and Grill were reading Philip Roth's new novel, The Plot Against America. Fanelli's is the left epicentre of Soho, a manufacturing district in lower Manhattan that became home to artists and galleries in the 1970s and now is filled with Euro-shoppers. Tourists avoid Fanelli's - grimy, badly lit, air-conditioned down almost to absolute zero - leaving in peace the elderly union organisers, greying sculptors and the odd younger family feeding enormous Italian meatballs to children in prams.

Is it "false consciousness" to counter these changes by prohibiting abortion or gay marriage? Translating economics into culture is both irrational and logical. In the wealthiest country on Earth, the economic engine rouses Ricardo's ancient spectre of uselessness; the class map is shrinking the number of people who matter, who are included. The new class map breeds fear, and the counter to fear is to assert that the old values matter. By shifting the centre of gravity, you assert your own value when confronted with conditions you can do nothing about."


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