Monday, October 16, 2006

Popular myths vs real history and what misconceptions can they bring about

Popular myths and legends are notoriously easy to create and spread but several times as hard to debunk. All to often no amount of facts can dissuade a person from a widely accepted "truths". There are numerous examples.

Try telling someone that Marlon Brando never says "I'll make him an offer he can not refuse" in "The Godfather".

I dare you to point out that Mel Gibson is not an Aussie but a bona fide American.

If you say that Beckham's free kick against Greece in 2001 at Old Trafford was not a winning goal but an equilizer, you'll raise many an eyebrow.

All these are quite harmless, but the problem starts when popular myths start reigning in areas of life where they absolutely shouldn't, such as history.

It's a well known joke that these days a fascist is a conservative winning an argument with a liberal. Throwing around that label by liberla leftists is their favourite last resort. But how much conservative were the fascists actually?

Let's start with some of the details from Mussolini's biography. He joined the socialist party, rose up the ranks, was editor-in-chief of the party newspaper "Avanti" but then split with the party over Italy's participation in WWI. After the war he founded the Fascist party and practically copied the socialist's economic and social programme. Many features of contemporary social policies considered sacrosant such as elementary schooling free of charge and compulsory for all, state pensions, welfare handouts for the unemployed, governement subsidies, first found implemantation in Mussolini's Italy.

What about everyone's favourite boogey-man, Hitler? Let's put aside for a moment the fact that his party had the word "socialist" in it. Hitler took many things from Mussolini, not the least his economic and social programme. But he went several steps further. Do you know which state first prohibited smoking in public places? Believe it or not, it was the Third Reich. Hitler himself was a fervent non-smoker and pressed all his associates to take up the same orientation. Also, in honour of the leader's habits, German publications of the time were full of articles celebrating the virtues of vegetarianism. All of those are standard liberal leftist features.

Then there is also a distaste towards traditiona religions. Hitler repeatedly spoke with contempt about the churches in Germany and christianity in general. Mussolini was very hostile towards the Vatican in his early years. He toned down the anti-church rhetoric after the Lateran agreement but his distrust towards it never diminished. The same hostility towards the Christian churches, regardless of denomination, is also displayed by the left of today.

What is a conservative, anyway? A person attached to the traditional values of his or her country and nation which he seeks to preserve and if possible, enrich. How do il Duce and der fuehrer fit the description?

"Fascism = conservative" is one of the greatest myths of the 20th century. In the immediate years following WWII fascism was not sufficiently studied from a scientific point of view because of a short historical distance. Once such a distance has been established the liberal left has all but taken over education and through it, the mass media and thus they were able to create that myth, so successfully that people have forgotten that the pioneer of the opposition to Hitler in Europe was an arch-conservative Winston Churchill.

Having created the myth, the left completely monopolised anti-nazism and from such a position hands out fascist labels at will, exactly like...Well, exactly like the fascists and the nazis used to label all their opponents "communists".

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