Is Neoconservatism Born of Fascism?

I found this interesting article, Flirting with Fascism, in The American Conservative. In short, John Laughland sets his sights on one of the neoconservative movements preeminent thinkers Michael Ledeen, calling out his roots as a “fascist-movement apologist.”

Like his claim that the common ground between Nazism and Italian fascism was “exceedingly minimal”—Ledeen writes, “The fact of the Axis Pact should not be permitted to become the overriding consideration in this analysis”—Ledeen’s careful distinction between fascist “regime” and “movement” makes him a clear apologist for the latter. “While “fascism-movement” was overcome and eventually suppressed by “fascism-regime,'” he explains, “fascism nevertheless constituted a political revolution in Italy. For the first time, there was an attempt to mobilize the masses and to involve them in the political life of the country.”

Laughland goes on to draw what he calls “prophetic” connections between the the American neoconservative movement and the fascist movement in Italy.

As Ledeen shows, the Italian fascists expressed their desire “to tear down the old order” (his words from 2002) in terms that are curiously anticipatory of a famous statement in 2003 by the Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. In 1932, Asvero Gravelli also divided Europe into “old” and “new” when he wrote, in Towards the Fascist International, “Either old Europe or young Europe. Fascism is the gravedigger of old Europe. Now the forces of the Fascist International are rising.” It all sounds rather prophetic.

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