Chapter 2, part 1: Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

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William
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Chapter 2, part 1: Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

Post by William » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:05 pm

Chapter 2 part 1
Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

This is part 3 of a thread on the book Mussolini's Intellectuals by James A Gregor.

See here for what this thread is about:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=162

and here for part 2:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=518



For this, and future chapters I will be adding whatever comments I may have as footnotes. The main text is me summing up Gregor's ideas as best I can. Any expansion of ideas or text in the book, or citations used ask and you shall receive.


I. Introduction

The author states that one of the often stated differences between Left and Right wing revolutions is that the Left is explicitly anti-capitalist. He then goes on about how leftists used language to drag Fascism into a “pro capitalist” phase of development. This was mostly addressed in the last chapter, and he goes on that theme more in this chapter. I won't say much about it here, as I think it was already adressed decently enough last post, unless requested to do so. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the author trying to show that this is a typical definition that the author seems not to agree with. He doesn't agree with Marxist theory of history, and seems baffled by the fact that Marxist logic goes into Ptolemaic epicircles with Fascism using terms like “finance Capitalism”, and seems confused how Fascism is associated with capitalism as it mostly seems a feature of marginally industrialized states.

He calls Nazism a variant of Fascism and notes that the Capitalists were not at all supporters of the Nazi Party. Germany seems to be the most industrialized nation that had something like Fascism going on, and there the Capitalists did not support it. Gregor states that Fascism is very much a “Modern” ideology in that part of what it purported to do, part of it's credo is to industrialize and turn a society into a technologically advanced and economically modern environment. It was supported by many Futurists and intellectuals with an “unconditional adherence to logic and reason”. Fascism was animated by a search for rational programs and functional strategies. Fascism, the book will argue, is goal directed and functionally rational. Even if one finds the intellectuals who advocated it wrong, their theories incorrect, their rational was as competent as any political theory ought expect.

The principle thinkers of Fascism were Marxist Heretics(1). These Marxists felt that classic Marxism in the early twentieth century offered little guidance on what to do. Gregor identifies Mussolini as a prominent Marxist thinker and leader of the Socialist Party in Italy prior to WWI. These early proto fascist / neo-Marxist Italian thinkers were acutely aware that Marxism was directed towards highly developed economies, which Italy was not. Gregor compares the Fasist revolution to the Bolshevik one in stating that Russia and Italy were only just beginning to show signs of economic growth, industrial development, etc until they were then involved in a war seized by radical political groups. He states that both Fascists and Bolsheviks had their share of financial and intellectual backers from all classes and that Bolshevism was hardly a pure “proletarian” revolution. He then states that Marxism, in whatever variant it was in, was of little use and irrelevant to a Italian politics at the time of a mostly agrarian Italy between WWI and Mussolini's March on Rome. It was the Fascist radicals that proved the alternative to Marxist logic.




II. Machiavelli – Mazzini

Fascism's development, as a theory that helped provide a workable political and revolutionary theory for a less developed nation is idebted to a long history of Italian thought. Fasism is the evolutionary product of a long line of nationalism and socialism that was unique to Italy.

One of Machiavelli's chief political concerns was a united Italy. He wished to deliever Italy from the influence of foreign powers. Though, he opined, that it was perhaps Italy's fate to endure such humiliation in order to foster a greater rebirth. He stated that Italians were greater slaves than the Israelite, more spread out than the Athenians, and more opressed than the Persians. Italians were without chiefs and laws, bound to be plundered and pillaged by foreign powers.

With this, Machiavelli helped to reinforce an Italian inferiority complex and a narrative of exploitation and humiliation that is to become a reoccurring theme in Italian narratives.

In 1614 Alessandro Tassioni went on a Jeremiad to the Italians reproaching them for enduring the pretense of others and allowing themselves to be “downtrodden by the arrogance and conceit of foreign people”. Giambattista Vico on the otherhand offered Italians a different way to revel in inferiority complexes by stating that “history moves in cycles”. He discovered this “law” like everyone else did in the 18th century, “through a new science” of course! And wouldn't you just know it the history of Italy moves in a tripartate stages from a youthful “golden age but naive” antiquity, to the misearble present, to the cake and Ice Cream Ag directed by his “new scientific thought!!! who would've thunk it! Either way, this was called a reactive nationalist sentiment. That is a cry of redemptive desire of a once proud people who are now subject to abject humiliation and now have no self esteem or collective purpose. This reactive nationalist narrative of Italy as an “August Matron” who was once the seat of all wisdom and values and was now divided, humiliated, exploited, despised, and enslaved was a major political sentiment of 19th century Italian politics. It was one of the main narratives in play calling for Italian unification.

The main historical force that drove these sentiments, already looming large, to a point where they could no longer be contained was the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. And the main intellectual and political voice at the time to hold these opinions was that of Giuseppe Mazzini.


I think it's best to keep massive topics like this relatively short on a forum setting, so in the service of brevity, this concludes part 1 of chapter 2. Next post I'll deal with Mazzini and some events following him. After that a post on the main thinker of this chapter, Enrico Corradini. That will be concluded by some historic interlude and a feature on one or two more thinkers during this early era. After that chapter 3 will begin. If you guys want cfull chapter summaries, I'll do it. I just figured chunking these chapters would be easiest for people to digest and discuss.

(1) Like Neocons! Also, throughout this text observations of people like Mises, Schumpeter, Hayek, etc seem to be validated that most of these radical circles, right or left, had a lot of overlap and flow that went back and forth. Fascists, Marxists, and other crazy groups had more in common with each other than with the goings on of the “Bourgeois” world.
I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term 'social justice'.
F.A Hayek

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Re: Chapter 2, part 1: Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

Post by Physiocrat » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:57 am

Excellent stuff again. I think chunking on various chapters makes it easier to follow.

It really does seem like the Italian fascists see the anarchy of the market and wish to impose a new scientific rational order on top of it, just like the Marxists.
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Re: Chapter 2, part 1: Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

Post by Nyarlathotep » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:43 pm

The Fascists weren't exactly unique in that regard. It seems that around the late 19th/early 20th century laissez-faire, liberalism and representative government were on the out in intellectual circles. Fascism, Fabianism, Communism and half a dozen dead ideologies like Technocracy that never got into power were all the end results of this thinking.

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Re: Chapter 2, part 1: Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

Post by William » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:00 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:43 pm
The Fascists weren't exactly unique in that regard. It seems that around the late 19th/early 20th century laissez-faire, liberalism and representative government were on the out in intellectual circles. Fascism, Fabianism, Communism and half a dozen dead ideologies like Technocracy that never got into power were all the end results of this thinking.
I agree, I think it's a tertiary point of this book to note that. It was also a point people like Thomas Sowell, Hayek and Mises made on occasion. These radical groups often considered "opposites" had more similarities than many would like to believe, and there was often a large flow and interchange of followers between them.
I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term 'social justice'.
F.A Hayek

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William
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Re: Chapter 2, part 1: Historic Background and Enrico Corradini

Post by William » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:15 pm

Physiocrat wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:57 am
Excellent stuff again. I think chunking on various chapters makes it easier to follow.

It really does seem like the Italian fascists see the anarchy of the market and wish to impose a new scientific rational order on top of it, just like the Marxists.
Lol, wait until chapter 3. The thinker there is going to reinforce that. That guy is all about collectivism, "peoletarian" logic, with a ruling elite through anarcho syndicalism.

I guess if anything the economic model that we are going to see is a syndicalism through Marxist analysis and some garbled Pareto, especially his notion of "circulation of elites". Which I think many of these thinkers badly misread. I think they saw the word "elite", and "circulation" in regards to some socio economic system and simply interpreted it as:

"Socio economics exist, we aren't in power, other elites are, this book (Pareto on capitalism) notes elites circulate. Therefore we will "circulate" in power and dictate the socio economic system"

I'd say that's shockingly stupid, missing the point, self anointed, and hubristic... but at this point in my life nothing stupid, self anointed, and hubristic coming from a bureaucratic "intellectual" class shocks me anymore.

That stated, and I can hardly wait for this: when we get to the climax of these intellectuals, in an out of touch "mystic " aristocrat named Julius Evola we may actually be shocked by his stupidity. It's going to be glorious.
I have come to feel strongly that the greatest service I can still render to my fellow men would be that I could make the speakers and writers among them thoroughly ashamed ever again to employ the term 'social justice'.
F.A Hayek

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