Mad Analysis: Mosley and the "Far-Right"
It was on this day in 1980 that the washed up would-be dictator of Britain, Sir Oswald Mosley, Bt. died at his home in northern France. I doubt many in the United Kingdom today think of Mosley, but it is significant that, when they do, they will describe Mosley as the leader of the British Union of Fascists (which he was) usually with the preface of “the far-right” which is about as untrue as one could possibly be. However, he was, and is still remembered today, as a “bad guy” and the bad guys are always of the “far-right” in the modern media. However, if one were to take an honest look at the background of Oswald Mosley and the things he advocated for throughout his life, one would see that, rather than “far-right”, there was very little right-wing about him at all, in any degree. Just consider some of his positions and ask yourself if a politician holding these same positions today would be more at home on the political right or the left. You be the judge. Here are some of the political positions of Oswald Mosley:
- Opposed the use of military force in Ireland (the Black and Tans).
- Was a member of the British socialist Fabian Society.
- Supported the nationalization of British industries.
- Opposed free trade and supported protectionism; high tariffs on imported goods.
- Supported more power for government, a government controlled economy in accordance with Keynesian economics (and those extra powers would not go to Parliament which he favored having less control over policy).
- Supported the creation of a unitary European super-state.
- Opposed large scale immigration to Great Britain from the Commonwealth.
- Quit the Conservative Party in favor of the Labour Party and was finally forced out of the Labour Party because his proposals were too radically socialist.
- Opposed pretty much every war that came along in his lifetime.
- Called the House of Lords an unworkable anachronism and wanted it abolished.
Now, I will freely admit that I would have opposed the actions of the Black and Tans in Ireland as well but it was a policy more popular with the right than the left at that time. Opposition to large-scale immigration is also something that, these days, neither the Tories or Labour really seem to oppose. So, on the whole, I do not see how anyone could look at the entirety of the career of Oswald Mosley and conclude that he was a “far-right” political figure. Oh, but wait! He was anti-Semitic! That means he was a racist and the racists are all on the right. Right? Well, today, in mainstream politics anyway, no one wants to say anything that is clearly anti-anyone but I can say that, from what I have seen, hostility to Israel seems to be much more prevalent on the left than on the right. Take from that what you will though, there may not be very strong opinions even among Jews on the subject of Israel since, in my country anyway, the right is the most vocal in their support of Israel but most Jews vote consistently in favor of the left. Yet, broadly speaking, everywhere I look today, it is the left that wants to determine things based on race and the right which wants to treat everyone the same regardless of race with no special penalties or benefits for anyone.
I am sure, because it has happened any time I say that people like Hitler or Mussolini (who may or not have been one thing or the other on the political spectrum) were at least products of the political left, that someone will say that I am being terribly unfair, I am completely wrong and being utterly offensive. Well, I am afraid I may not be offensive enough so let me throw in another firebomb; there are plenty of people in British political life today that I would consider far worse than Oswald Mosley and I would even prefer someone like Mosley over a number of people on the political scene today in Great Britain and some other Commonwealth countries. Why do I say that? Because, frankly, Mosley does not scare me as much as some other people do. Part of that is because of something I would fundamentally disagree with Mosley on.
A fundamental difference I would have with Mosley is that he believed in ideology (as described by Pat Buchanan) as a “political religion” and that his brand of fascism would solve all of the problems of British society. I do not believe that to be the case by any means. A country built simply on ideology will have very shallow roots and, in my opinion, would not last long. For myself, certainly in the case of the United Kingdom, the key, the foundation, the most important thing (outside religion -though they are, of course, linked) is the monarchy and the fact of the matter is that Mosley was not against the monarchy. If that position changed later in life for him, I don’t know for certain but I have never heard that it did. On the subject of “Loyalty to the Crown” Mosley wrote that, “Whatever is good in the past we both respect and venerate. This is why, throughout the policy of the movement, we respect and venerate the Crown. Here, at least, is an institution, worn smooth with the frictions of long ago; which in difficult experience has been proven effective and has averted from this Empire many a calamity. We believe that, under the same impartial dispensation, the greatest constitutional change in British history may yet be peacefully achieved”. He meant, by that, of course the conversion of Great Britain from a parliamentary democracy to a fascist state.
Because of the last line of that statement alone, I could never be an enthusiastic supporter of Mosley (in addition to opposing just about every economic policy he ever came up with or his infatuation with European unity) because, it seems to me at least, that his support for the monarchy was somewhat conditional. I think his way of looking at the monarchy was vastly different from my own. However, he was not opposed to it and even gave it some praise whereas there are some in the British government and on the political scene today that totally oppose it and make no secret of the fact that they would like to see it destroyed and in my view those people are far more dangerous than someone like Mosley ever could have been. After all, as was proven in Italy, no matter how bad things might become, as long as the monarch remains, there is always the ability, with the proper support, to get rid of someone like Mosley and reverse any disastrous policies he might implement. A country, any country, has to have something at its core that all else is built upon; one thing, no matter how seemingly nominal it might be, that everyone must be united in upholding. Ideologies will come and go, can cause varying degrees of harm or benefit, but as long as the monarchy remains there is always hope, there is always a chance, there is always another alternative.
Mosley may have had some frightening ideas but he never held any real political power. There are plenty in Great Britain and other Commonwealth realms today with ideas just as frightening and even more so who actually do. And if you are going to call Mosley and his comrades people of the “far-right” just consider that Mosley himself, in an interview with the American conservative William F. Buckley Jr. said, “…it’s all nonsense to believe that fascism was ever a conservative movement or a movement of the right…” His words, not mine.
It's a case of the left controlling the educational system and popular media that the term "right wing" has simply become shorthand for "everybody and every thing we don't like". They spout off the "right wing" term mindlessly, without any real comprehension of the actual ideologies behind the people they're condemming.ReplyDelete
The whole thing can be torn apart so easily. What did the Fascists want in every country where they were active? A dicatatorship. What is a dictatorship? An all powerful, all controlling, arbitrary government. What do modern Conservatives most consistently and vocally argue for? A smaller, more accountable, and less active government. Fascism simply CAN'T be right wing because the right wing has the totally opposite position on what government should do and should be.
I think a lot of it also has to do with the left's constant and irrational hatred of anything having to do with authority and tradition, which means they have always hated the police and the military. Fascist regimes were quite militant, and seemed to really like their uniforms, so to the left, Fascism=militarism, and militarism=right wing. They end the whole discussion right there.
Fascism is definitely right wing with SOME left-wing tendencies.ReplyDelete
Think of what modern and even classical liberalism advocates. Fascism is clearly the opposite. Fascism is nationalism, militarism, hierarchy, anti-egalitarian and ancestral/culture worship. Do you honestly think that has to do with anything the left is or was? Not a chance. You can't just look at the economic policies of a fascist and base everything off of that. Otto von Bismark was in favor of some socialist policies, does anyone think of HIM as a leftist? I think not.
Does anyone think of Bismarck as a fascist? No. But let's go down the list: nationalism -the province of the left before the right. The right only took up nationalism when the left moved on to internationalism. Militarism -neither left nor right, both sides have done it. Hierarchy -neither left nor right, each side has their own. Anti-egalitarian -are you freaking kidding me -have you read anything that guys like Hitler or Mussolini ever actually called for? Ancestral/culture worship -I don't even know what that means. Like those goofy Druids and neo-pagans running around England? Are they fascist?Delete
But, hey, if you don't agree with me, fine. Like I said, those were the words of the most prominent British fascist of his day. Not my words.
Cults of personality (which could include ancestor/culture worship) are clearly a peculiarity of the left. They are anti-traditional religion and generally atheist, so they replace belief in God with worship of the organs of the State and worship of secular government leaders, both living and deceased. The Soviet Union had Stalin and Lenin, China has Mao, North Korea has the three Kims, and the left in America has FDR, JFK, and LBJ (what is up with the initials?) I'm not drawing a moral equivalency between them, I'm just saying that the left will always take a politician over a clergyman, a legislative session over a church service, and a dead politician over a saint.Delete
Rob, by your definition, one of the most influential, conservative, right-wing leaders to ever live in history, Otto von Bismark, was a leftist if you consider he created the first welfare/quasi-socialist state. As you can see, that would be totally absurd. There is a reason why most right-wing nationalists view Bismark as a HERO. See? The whole big v. small government thing doesn't define anything totally. The right-wing goes BEYOND economics and the size of government. You have to look at its SPIRIT and what it wants to achieve.ReplyDelete
"A dicatatorship. What is a dictatorship? An all powerful, all controlling, arbitrary government."
Oh, you mean like an absolute monarchy? There is little difference between fascism and an absolute monarch.
"Fascism simply CAN'T be right wing because the right wing has the totally opposite position on what government should do and should be."
Absolute nonsense. The "right wing" is actually quite diverse and not a monolithic entity with a single list of demands or tenets.
Mad monarchist: I never said Bismark was a fascist, he was clearly not. That was more of a response to Rob.
"Anti-egalitarian -are you freaking kidding me -have you read anything that guys like Hitler or Mussolini ever actually called for?"
Um, yes. They called for incredibly anti-egalitarian measures. Fascism is inherently anti-egalitarian.
"Ancestral/culture worship -I don't even know what that means."
At least in the case of Nazi Germany, racial ancestry was clearly at the focal point of Nazism. It was the pinnacle of what "volk" meant.
"I'm just saying that the left will always take a politician over a clergyman, a legislative session over a church service, and a dead politician over a saint."
In many cases, actually throughout most of history, the clergy and church were no better than corrupt politicians or legislatures.
I doubt any right-wing nationalists outside of Germany would view Bismarck as a hero. But again, (and unless you tone down the attitude this is last comment of yours I'm posting) Bismarck was NOT a fascist. Can you wrap your head around that? There was no such thing in his time, no one has ever accused him of it and the article in question is not about nor has anything to do with Bismarck.Delete
A monarchy is not a dictatorship, you can do some reading right here and get an education on this point. Absolute power is not the same as arbitrary power and no monarch has *ever* been "all-powerful". For monarchists, the left vs. right divide goes back to the English Civil War for English-speaking countries and moreso the French Revolution for most others (where the royalists sat on the right and the republicans on the left). Many monarchists would consider fascism just as "left" as any other political party machine because many monarchists oppose all party politics period. Personal loyalty to a hereditary ruler over ideologies and mass politics.
Adolf Hitler said he wanted all class distinctions abolished. He detested royalty and aristocracy and you have ever read his original party platform and can still say he was anti-egalitarian you are being purposely ignorant. Mussolini was little better. He blamed his every mistake on the traditional upper class and ended up betraying his king and establishing the first post-Risorgimento Italian republic. He was also the first to give women the vote in Italy.
And on the last point you can take your anti-religion drivel and hit the road. I'm not about "tolerance" around here and that sort of leftist, atheist trash will not be tolerated.
"Israel" and "Jewry" (or, simply, Jews) are very different matters. And since Arabs are Semites, the hogging of the term by Jews is a further clouding of waters of dispute.ReplyDelete
Like socialism and communism, fascism is a specie of collectivism. Obviously, all three are implemented differently, but they all believe in the same thing, i.e., the abstract group supersedes the tangible individual, which is the core of collectivism. The individual is merely a slave in the machine, nothing more or less.ReplyDelete
Aleady it has been said but Ill elaborate on it. Rob said the left defines right wing as thatwhich it doesnt like. its a bit mroe than that. Its also peopel they used to like but became popularly hated. The Left used to really LOVE the Soviet Union, then it became demonised as a Monster so, it was dropped.ReplyDelete
The LEft see's Mosly as Right Wing for two reasons. He didn't support the Labour Party and he was villified.