Frederick Engels proposed a history of capitalism in his book The Condition of the Working Class in England. Gareth Jones discusses his views and quotes from Engels extensively:
By ‘dissolving nationalities’, the liberal economic system had intensified ‘to the utmost the enmity between individuals, the ignominious war of competition’. ‘Commerce absorbed industry into itself and thereby became omnipotent.’ Through industrialization and the factory system, the last step had been reached, ‘the dissolution of the family’. ‘What else can result from the separation of interests, such as forms the basis of the free-trade system?’ Money, ‘the alienated empty abstraction of property’, had become the master of the world. Man had ceased to be the slave of man and had become the salve of things.’ The disintegration of mankind into a mass of isolated mutually repelling atoms in itself means the destruction of all corporate, national and indeed of any particular interests and is the last necessary step towards the free and spontaneous association of men.’
It is predictable that whenever someone other than a Democrat wins election to the Presidency, we start to hear about “fascism” all over the place. Reagan, Bush and now Trump are “fascists.” This demeans and trivializes a term that actually means something.
According to The Oxford Guide to Philosophy, fascism is:
Political doctrine combining ethnic nationalism with the totalitarian view that the state should control all aspects of social life. Fascism is thus opposed both to liberalism—individual liberty and fulfillment being held to be relative to the nation’s, rather than vice versa—and to communism—class-identity and aspirations being held to threaten national unity.
If anything, the left has pushed an agenda through educational institutions, the State and corporations that has more to do with controlling all aspects of social life. Donald Trump is many things, but he is not a fascist. Like the boy who cried wolf, the left is weakening us against real fascism in the future by throwing the word around whenever they disagree with someone.
In his 1994 essay “Upon Nothing” Roger Scruton addresses Deconstruction. He takes Derrida apart, saying:
Deconstructive writing has a peculiar surface, in which technicalities float on the syntactic flood and vanish unexplained downstream…
The main subject matter of that sentence is itself: the words whirl around each other, and are eventually swept away without settling into a meaning. The Derridean style refrains from stating anything. It quickly withdraws from any proposition that it sets before us, and spirals off into questions – questions which are themselves so factitious and self-referential as to deny a foothold to the sceptical outsider….
Derrida’s style abounds in childish wordplay, in invented words and deformations of syntax, in a wild and seemingly pointless erudition. It is a delirious style…
Augustine refers to Cicero on the subject of Greek philosophers in the City of God:
But, as Cicero says, mere logomachy is the bane of these pitiful Greeks, who thirst for contention rather than for truth.
He is referring to De Oratore, where Cicero writes:
…what impressed me most deeply about Plato in that book was, that it was when making fun of orators that he himself seemed to me to be the consummate orator. In fact controversy about a word has long tormented those Greeklings, fonder as they are of argument than of truth…
Gary North writes:
From the point of view of the slaves, the Greeks’ defeat of Darius’ Persian army in 490 B.C. at the battle of Marathon was a disaster. So was the defeat of Xerxes’ fleet at the battle of Salamis in 480. Liberation from slavery had been imminent. The textbooks never consider this possibility. The Greeks are viewed as defenders of liberty and culture; the Persians are seen as barbarian tyrants. But Persia allowed the Israelites to return to their land and worship God openly (Ezra, Nehemiah). Christian students seldom connect the two accounts. It is as if the Persians were two different societies: one tolerant (the biblical account) and the other barbarian (the Greek version).
This strikes me right now because I am listening to the (awful) Republic of Plato and because I just saw the Cyrus cylinder. We do seem to stereotype the Greeks as freedom loving while the Persian barbarians were tyrants (Victor Davis Hanson and 300 come to mind), but Sparta was a horrible tyranny, and Plato’s Socrates seems to be in love with authoritarianism. I am starting to think that the love affair with Plato and Socrates is due to most people having never read them.