The Past Weeks in Fascism
I’ll be soon returning to a more regular posting schedule, but until then here’s a run down of some stories in the last couple of weeks that seem to be particularly dense with Hitler particles.—
The most significant story at the moment is the collapse of the Republic of Artsakh and the flight of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. The status of the region, which has an overwhelming Armenian majority, had been disputed since the end of the 1988-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Republic of Artsakh, although a declared—and mostly unrecognized—separate state on paper, was de facto part of Armenia. In 2020, Azerbaijan under dictator Ilham Aliyev launched a successful offensive in the region that Armenian forces were unable to resist. Now another push from Azerbaijan has led to the total capitulation of Armenian resistance. A Russian peacekeeping force that was supposed to guarantee security in the region did nothing to intervene and was easily brushed aside. A mass exodus of Armenians living in the enclave has begun: “By Thursday evening, over 78,300 people — more than 65% of the population of 120,000 — had left for Armenia, and the influx continued unabated, according to Armenian officials….” Many are presenting this as voluntary flight—as if such a thing was possible—but make no mistake, this is ethnic cleansing.
In a massive and embarrassing fuck up, the speaker of the House of Commmons in Canada recognized Yarsolav Hunka, whom he called "a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians” after President Zelensky’s remarks to the chamber. One little problem there: he fought against “the Russians” in the Second World War, that means against the Soviet Union, and that means for you know who. Hunka volunteered as a young man for the 14th Waffen-SS Galician Division. This division, like all Waffen-SS units, perpetrated war crimes on the Eastern front. As Frank Golczewski writes in The Shoah in Ukraine:
The unit was also involved in the destruction of the village of Huta Pieniacka and the murder of between 500 and 1,000 Polish civilians there, a crime for which Poland may now seek Hunka’s extradition.
This is a PR nightmare for Ukraine and its allies in the West, who must contend with the Russian propaganda line that Ukraine is infested with Nazis. And indeed, anti-Ukrainians are trying to present this as a revealing moment of truth about the nature of Ukraine's government. Instead, I think this is mostly indicative of two things that plague our time: stupidity and memory loss. The meaning of the phrase “fought against the Russians in the Second World War” is no longer instantly clear to people. The memory of the War, its participants, its events, and its ultimate moral stakes are fading fast. Its ideological content is also disputed and confused. Part of this is not entirely new: During the Cold War, the hard right in the West often tried to clean up the stories of Eastern nationalists to make them out to be good anti-Communists rather than bad Nazi collaborators. Now both sides in the present war want to claim the legacy of antifascism, while also containing extreme right nationalists within their camps. This is not to imply any moral equivalence, of course: the side that is waging aggressive war and possibly genocide on its neighbor is the far more Hitlerian party in practice. But minimizing or obfuscating the historical record just serves to normalize the extreme right and furthers its penetration into the political system.
The 29th and 30th of September mark the anniversary of the massacre at Babi Yar, a ravine outside Kyiv where 33,571 Jews were murdered by Nazi Einsatzgruppen units. Ultimately, Babi Yar would be the site of up to 150,000 killings of Jews, Soviet prisoners, and Roma people. I highly recommend Anatoly Kuznetsov’s book Babi Yar. Kuznetsov’s “documentary novel,” initially published in 1966, is sometimes called the Soviet diary of Anne Frank. Kuznetsov was a boy during the Nazi occupation and the book combines his memories with other eye-witness accounts. Babi Yar is now available in English translation with the sections removed by Soviet censors restored. It’s very good at providing a picture of the complexity of Ukrainian society under the Soviets: Kuznetsov’s mother and father were loyal Communists, while his grandfather hated the Bolsheviks passionately and even initially welcomed the arrival of Hitler’s armies as a deliverance from Stalin—until the true nature of the new occupiers was revealed. From a literary point of view, it’s also a masterpiece, lucid in both its style and moral message:
How pleasant it is, after all: to treat all politics of whatever kind with utter contempt, to dance, to love, to drink and sleep and breathe. To live. God give you strength!
The only thing is that I can see from my little window that while some people are loving and sleeping, others are busy making handcuffs for them. Why? That’s the question. There are so many would-be benefactors in the world. And they are all determined to shower benefits on the whole world. Nothing less. And for this purpose very little is needed: simply that the world should fit itself into the design which is taking shape God knows how in their feeble, complex-tortured minds.
They do not scorn politics; they are makers of policy. They make their own cudgel and then bring it down on other people’s heads and in this manner they put their politics into practice.
Careful my friends!
On the basis of my own and other people’s experience and of experience generally, on the basis of much thinking and searching, worry and calculation, I say to you: THE PERSON WHO TODAY IGNORES POLITICS WILL REGRET IT.
Two weeks ago, Costin Alamariu, also known as “Bronze Age Pervert,” self-published his doctoral dissertation on Amazon under the title Selective Breeding and the Birth of Philosophy. It quickly shot up the bestseller lists—I strongly suspect with the help of certain billionaires. Writing under the BAP pseudonym, Alamariu is a self-declared Nazi: “I believe in Fascism or ’something worse’ and I can say so unambiguously because, unlike others, I have given up long ago all hope of being part of the respectable world or winning a respectable audience.” Well, perhaps he shouldn’t despair too much based on the response to his book.
His argument is basically that there is a biological elite of aristocrats within society, which is entitled to rule and must maintain its purity through “selective breeding:”
I make the case in this introduction that this same matter of selective breeding, whether sexual selection, or various societies' management of marriage and reproduction, constitutes the most important part of morality, legislation, or of the "lawgiver's art," and that a sharp awareness of this reality is what led, again, to the discovery of the standard of nature and the subsequent birth of philosophy.
The book is also a justification of the “tyranny” of these types. This is simply a combination of the “aristocratic” scientific race theories from the 19th century and the esotericism of Leo Strauss—in short, Nazi bullshit. As Arendt writes of Arthur de Gobineau in Origins of Totalitarianism:
What Gobineau was actually looking for in politics was the definition and creation of an “elite” to replace the aristocracy. Instead of princes, he proposed a “race of princes,” the Aryans, who he said were in danger of being submerged by the lower non-Aryan classes through democracy. “If race and mixture of races are the all-determining factors for the individual…it is possible to pretend that physical superiorities might evolve in “every individual no matter what his present social situation, that every exceptional man belongs to the “true surviving sons of . . . the Merovings,” the “sons of kings.” Thanks to race, an “elite” would be formed which could lay claim to the old prerogatives of feudal families, and this only by asserting that they felt like noblemen; the acceptance of the race ideology as such would become conclusive proof that an individual was “well-bred,” that “blue-blood” ran through his veins and a superior origin implied superior rights.
Again, Alamariu’s is a crude, barely veiled Nazi philosophy dividing the world into übermenschen and untermenschen. While even Martin Heidegger disdained the vulgar biological determinism of Alfred Rosenberg and other Nazi ideologues, Alamariu embraces it. This, of course, has not prevented its enthusiastic reception on the right. Dasha Nekrasova, of the Red Scare podcast, posted a photo of herself with the microfilm of the original dissertation. Christopher Rufo, of the Manhattan Institute, Tweeted his congratulations to Alamariu. Rufo, a DeSantis ally and surrogate, recently hosted a Twitter space where the strategy of “no enemies to right,” the accommodation and alliance with extremists, was opently discussed. Hannah Gais of the SPLC remarked on this in an article in The Guardian:
Hannah Gais, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence project, said: “There’s sizable segments of the right that want the best of both worlds, namely the energy and the vigor of reactionary far-right movements but without any of the baggage.”
Gais added: “The idea that the ‘dissident right’ – a sort of umbrella term used within the movement to refer to white nationalists and others on that political spectrum – could make some kind of viable political partner seems to be an extension of this line of thought.
“What disturbs me the most about these comments is it makes clear that some on the right are more than comfortable with the fact that the guardrails are off.”
As I wrote in August:
What I can say with a lot of confidence, is just about everybody in the vanguard of the right-wing, among its intellectuals, its staffer class, its journalists, etc. is in close daily proximity to some form or another of fascist or white supremacist propaganda. And I don’t mean this in the “woke,” everything-is-kinda-white-supremacy way, I mean this in it literally bubbled up from Nazi message boards and the like. At the very least, they do not react in horror at coming into close contact with someone or something from the real extreme. It’s titillating for them. Perhaps it might be worrisome for their career prospects, but not for their sense of themselves. They barely bother to really hide it anymore! It’s in their feeds. It’s in their DMs. It’s their real life social networks. It’s just the air they breathe. Even if they are afraid to hold or evince extreme views, they will admire those who do as the cooler ones and heroes.
This is being clearly born out in the present, right before our eyes. Again, this is helped along by the memory loss and stupidity, but also by a lack of courage: it is much easier to just go along, to accommodate, to minimize, to not make a fuss, to not take it seriously. — “The person who today ignores politics will regret it.”