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It also doesn’t encompass situations in which the social change in question is towards a more “conservative” society.
That's not an issue with the definition, that's an issue with people wanting certain words to mean more than they actually do because of what they associate with those words.
Regarding "Strong Man Leader", that all fascists dream about, is it me, or does a lot of Japan's works, Isekai especially (with a lot of Villain centered Isekai focused on it), is influenced by this, making the MC a King and having him go around "benevolent dictator" sorta way, who creates "harsh but fair empire"? Is power fantasy in combination with fascist ideas (which many people today still subconsciously fond of) is why many people love them? Just look at Overlord, The Death Mage Who Doesn't Want a Fourth Time and ec.
I think associating strong leadership with fascism gives fascism way too much prominence. Literally almost all of history has humanity falling prey to this fallacy.
Yeah, Fascism is a 20th Century ideology, venerating strongman leaders has been a thing for ever. Many different ideologies do it, fascism is only one of the more recent. So strongman =/= necessarily fascist.
I mean, it's the basis of Monarchy when not God-Kings or Divine Right.
But strong leadership is not by itself wrong nor is electing someone who can actually fix things and provide guidance.
That's what leadership is about.
It's just giving up all control to one supposedly infalliable person.
Edited by CharlesPhipps on Sep 21st 2019 at 5:34:39 AM
I feel the need to point out that dictionary definitions are of extremely limited utility when we're talking about political science/sociological concepts.
@Very Vile Villian I know little about Isekai specifically, though my understanding is that Japan (and other east-asian nations) tend to be further right than the US. So there is that.
Having said that, I don't think it's fair to call veneration of strong leadership or power fantasy intrinsically fascist, or even intrinsically problematic. They're basic aspects of human psychology, and can be used to push any ideology. A leader can be a tyrant, the voice of a rebellion, and anything in between.
To use an example, in American superhero stories, the hero is usually meant to extol the virtues of the private citizen, not of dictators. This is why the government is usually portrayed as incompetent or obstructive in these stories, the intended message is to declare the common citizen morally superior to a powerful government. They are typically anti-authoritarian.
With Japan, the only Anime I've really politically dissected much is Naruto, which to be fair I would actually call Conservative (if an odd, pacifist-leaning form of Conservatism), but it's also very much not Fascist (see the pacifist leanings above, for starters).
"To use an example, in American superhero stories, the hero is usually meant to extol the virtues of the private citizen, not of dictators. This is why the government is usually portrayed as incompetent or obstructive in these stories, the intended message is to declare the common citizen morally superior to a powerful government. They are typically anti-authoritarian."
This is still problematic. The direct link from leader to people, unimpeded by law or process, is an essential part of the process by which democratic norms are eroded.
Edited by CrimsonZephyr on Sep 21st 2019 at 6:04:09 AM
Frankly, I feel like there's nothing more dangerous than being told to explicitly trust the government because it knows better. It's the kind of traditional 50s conservatism that is used by evil authoritarians to put down people.
Interestingly, in the Behind the Scenes of the old "Dungeons and Dragons" cartoon, they mentioned the most bizarre directive they received was from parent-teacher groups that the complaining character Eric, would always be wrong in any situation because they didn't like the idea of a character who went against the group being shown to be right. They wanted to encourage Group Think and conformity.
It was a deeply uncomfortable message for the writer and justifiably so.
Edited by CharlesPhipps on Sep 21st 2019 at 3:04:45 AM
I wrote nothing about unquestioningly following the directives of government — but I think it's far more important to never allow an individual to assume a position where he or she is unimpeded and unable to be held accountable. When "government evil, people good, leader good," is the general message of a story, we are, in fact, creating a situation for strongman leadership to be endorsed, even tacitly.
Edited by CrimsonZephyr on Sep 21st 2019 at 6:10:07 AM
That's more or less the actual narrative that helped get Trump elected. "Drain the Swamp" and all that.
Edited by M84 on Sep 21st 2019 at 6:10:30 PM
Yes, and the message that the government is always evil and you should trust these righteous individuals is just as dangerous.
It's no coincidence that the American Right gives the exact same message while being authoritarian as heck.
To be fair, I'd argue that's less an authoritarian message and more the horseshoe effect at work. Basically, at some point an anti-authoritarian renegade becomes Judge Dredd by another name.
In fact, if I were writing a superhero setting/story, I'd make at least one supervillain (if not a whole supervillain league) be a Knight Templar superhero-turned-evil revolutionary. I'd have them/their leader give some Hannibal Lecture about "Throwing criminals in jail is just treating a symptom. It's society that's the real problem!" and then something like "who's fighting police brutality? Corrupt politicians? Wealth inequality?" then wrap it up by declaring their plan to take over the world to bring about utopia in their image.
Though it should be noted that it's pretty rare for superhero stories to outright condone anarchism. There's usually at least one good cop in superhero stories, like Phil Coulson or Gordon.
Also, the exact hypothetical supervillain idea I came up with above isn't 100% original, it's something superhero stories talk about quite a bit.
It was, of course, absolutely 100% accurate and necessary. Washington is a swamp that needs to be drained. It's just the fascist was the one saying it and you had to be spectacularly ignorant to vote for him when he is the embodiment of corruption and everything wrong in Washington.
Every single GOP senator should be never let anywhere near a government position again.
To use media, everything Emperor Palpatine said about the Galactic Republic was true. It was a crumbling institution and corrupt to the core with a weak center that needed to be stronger. He took these weaknesses and used them to make something much worse.
Republican government IS about electing righteous individuals. The thing is that Checks and Balances are meant to keep them from tyranny. We're just in the nearly unprecedented situation of the Senate's Checks and Balances being used to prevent reform and righteous individuals fixing the governmment.
Edited by CharlesPhipps on Sep 21st 2019 at 3:53:50 AM
That actually is the central "theme" of the Supervillainy Saga (aside from pop culture references). Gary, the protagonist, is a supervillain who is against society and authority in all forms but tempted by the generic Take Over the World because he thinks he could fix it.
He doesn't (unlike his Alternate Universe counterparts and Bad Future doppelganger) because he knows that would make him a Hypocrite.
In my case, I made the "Innate Authoritarian" be The Hero...don't worry, his Character Development is that he should tone down. Thought several Bad Future has him being more hardcore and simply embracing his authoritarian side.
Like, one of the possibilities of Bad Future (Or good, I mean, look at the alternatives, is that he ends up leading a Titans-like organization, completely willing to bomb entire cities.
The idea comes from the A4 from the Anglo American Nazi War, which...honestly, even with all the doom talk, the post of the Author talking about them in a Out of Universe POV makes them look as the 'Absolute best possible global hegemon ever.
They are about half right.
The A4 has the rather upsetting belief that they KNOW what is best and they intend to keep things on the "right" path. They will almost absolutely not interfere in the internal matters of a country, unless you get some sort of genocide going (my mind reels with how they would have reacted to Rwanda or the break-up of Yugoslavia when things went sideways). They firmly believe that they are keeping the peace, which is good for everyone.
They are actually bothered that some folks are pissed off at them since they don't see any problem with what is going on. They are going to give everyone access to space, at a WAY cheaper rate than anyone can do it themselves; from their perspective they are subsidizing everyone else's research and communication systems.
They banned nuclear weapons, except for India's (of course India had to figure them out on their own), which is a good thing (who wants everyone with nukes?) and since no one can wage an aggressive war without getting the A4 falling on them from the sky, why would anyone NEED nukes. For that matter they can't figure out why anyone has standing armies at all, none is needed outside of a small force that can hold until the A4 comes in and stops the aggression. That is a good thing. Right?
The A4 are not Nazis, not even close. They are global helicopter parents (which is almost as bad in some ways) who only want what is best for everyone. If you get out of line, like any good parent they will mete out discipline, except the swat on the ass may be a 10 ton rock moving at 18,000 miles per hour.
The A4 is, if you will, almost exactly what much of the world see's the U.S. and her allies to be these days, interfering pains in the ass who just don't get it, combined with what many, of not most, Americans see the U.S. as doing, being the voice of reason and freedom who spends all the money and blood with no one even bothering to say thanks.
Nazis? No. Dictators? Hell yes.
I leave it to the individual to decide if a world without serious war, 75+% of the population in at least a reasonable version of democracy or non intrusive hereditary rule, and virtually zero chance of nuclear war is worth having 10% of the population being the ones who control the choices that govern the other 90% of the globe's destinty.
Is safety, security and peace worth having a nanny watching you all the time?
Note 1) This last line is so obviously from someone of the Global North. We already live in a world where a few nations lead the fate of the entire world, why having a Benevolent Global Hegemon should be a negative?
Note 2) Oh yes, I want a more peaceful world. Go go A4.
The author could have mentioned corruption, racism or how the A4 are just a extension of European Colonialism and White Man's Burden...but he mentioned freedom vs security...in a case where the freedom was non-existent to begin, so there isn't no sacrifice.
Going back to my history, the ending is that, despite tons of efforts...every faction fails their ultimate goal and end up having to set with the best possible outcome, merely a return to the status quo. One where humanity will have to continue their efforts to archieve some lasting peace.
Edited by KazuyaProta on Sep 21st 2019 at 7:06:13 AM
Electing being the optimal word, when the government is declared to be universally evil and righteous individuals need to solve problems via vigilante action then it tells a story that's intrinsically vulnerable to authoritarian themes.
I find something distinctly suspicious about people who overly romanticize the law given its traditional place as the boot on humanity's face.
Law is not the boot to humanity’s face. It is what keeps us from stamping each other’s faces.
Human rights are laws. You do not have them without law.
And it really should be noted that "law" is traditionally associated with morality. There is a reason why the word "criminal" has connotations of immorality. The world is filled with wolves, someone has to be the sheepdog.
To be fair, I would argue the great paradox of governance is that humans were made to be ruled, yet humans are rather ill-suited to ruling.
You quite literally cannot have a society without laws.
And it's just as often used to oppress, torture, invade, and destroy.
It's useful but, at best, a Necessary Evil.
It should be interacted with on a law by law, case by case basis. Resisted and removed whenever unnecessary.
Edited by CharlesPhipps on Sep 21st 2019 at 8:32:15 AM
The issue with a generalized "Case by Case" is that...it is very innefective
That’s a view that’s unhelpful at best, not to mention somewhat fallacious.
Law is a fundamental aspect of society. Without it the whole thing just doesn’t function. We should seek to make our laws more accepting and equal, but viewing the basic concept of law as evil is just silly. I’ll also point out that our current legal system does review things on a case by case basis.
Edited by archonspeaks on Sep 21st 2019 at 9:11:16 AM
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