Fascist regimes require the creation of a national identity and legitimacy through mass popular support, and religion is one pathway toward achieving these goals. Fascist Italy, Francoist Spain, the Dollfuss/Schuschnigg Austrian state, and the Nacionalistas in Argentina all supported the Catholic Church and Catholic thinkers for the purpose of creating a national identity and developing legitimacy. Though the Church was not always fully committed to the political aspirations of fascist regimes, the Church supported these regimes across both time and space. The reactionary politics of the Church often matched those of the fascists: they both opposed liberal democracy, socialism, and capitalism. Furthermore, fascist positions on public morality and the place of religion in national life mirrored those of the Church as well. In Austria, the Catholic identity fostered by the fascist regime stood in direct opposition to Protestant German identity, and thus against Nazism as well. Through allying themselves with the Church, these fascist regimes were able to legitimize themselves as preservers of a traditional Catholic culture and a unique identity. Through allying with the fascist regimes, the Church was able to gain political power as well as avoid oppression. Fascism is linked with Catholicism from the beginning in Italy, and understanding this relationship is paramount to understanding fascism as a serious political force.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” – William Blake
“It seems that nothing exists for modern men beyond what can be seen and touched; or at least, even if they admit theoretically that something more may exist, they immediately declare it not merely unknown but “unknowable”, which absolves them from having to think about it.” – René Guénon
Religion is far too personal of a thing to be reduced to a precise academic definition. And yet, this ineffability is exactly what separates religion from everything else in the world. Religion works to externalize the innermost personal feelings of the religious. In a way, it represents an attempt to codify all things that one does not understand, that one does not know, and that one can never find out. Thus, religious belief and practice is a quest for truth that somewhat paradoxically supposes that an objective, ultimate truth exists, but that such truth is beyond human understanding, and thus, is obscured by human limitations. In this sense religion deals not only with a search for truth, but also has an understanding that such truth will never be satisfactorily revealed in the mundane world. If the truth is revealed, according to religious tradition, it will manifest in either a revelationary act that brings about the end of human misunderstanding, or it will manifest in a personal revelation that takes the human beyond the mundane world. In any case, religion supposes that man in and of himself is not fit to understand all things, and this is where religion can help him. It reveals truth beyond the scope of the human intellect, it reveals what cannot be expressed in language, and it reveals those things within every man that he cannot externalize otherwise.
I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed yesterday, and I saw a post by the SETI Institute. As an avid fan of both science fiction and astronomy (science fact, I suppose), I almost always read what they write.
What I see is “Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read”. Now, I’m no fan of the new atheist crowd, but I read a lot, so I was curious. First of all, while his quips about the Bible, The Prince, and The Age of Reason are obviously problematic, his thoughts on the Art of War aren’t just “problematic”, they’re just plain wrong.