From Fascism to Buddhism and on to Militant Christianity

Anatomy Of FascismI had some trouble trying to figure out what to read this week. I'd been slogging through The Anatomy of Fascism for about a half-day until I realized it just wasn't illuminating the point I bought it for. Mussolini said "Fascism should rather be called corporatism, as it is the merging of government and corporate power". This has always been my definition of Fascism and I expect its also an insight into how that form of totalitarian government can take root.

Now, of course, my interest in Fascism has to do with current politics in America (go figure). John Ralston Saul (among others) have been arguing that the U.S. and other Western countries are becoming corporatist states because they're basically run by a small group of professional politicians, interest-groups, and corporate influencers, which has the effect of removing political power and participation from the citizens. He also points out the use of propaganda and rhetoric to obscure facts and deter communication among citizens. The only reason I wasn't reading this instead was because my local bookstore didn't have it on hand.

Unfortunately, Anatomy of Fascism didn't address the historical marriage of government and corporations or theorize on it's involvement in today's politics. The author takes a different approach, analyzing Fascism from it's history and what Fascist governments have done rather than theory. It seems like a good approach and looks to be full of interesting history, but since it didn't directly address what I was interested in, I put this back on the shelf for later.

City DharmaFascism's ultimately a depressing subject, and I was already feeling a little depressed. Gravitating towards something lighter, I decided on City Dharma: Keeping Your Cool in the Chaos.

It's not as corney as the book title sounds. Though some people I know find Buddhist wisdom a bit on the shallow side, it really depends on the books you pick up. For some awful reason, there are more candy coated new-agey books that have a Buddhist flavor to them than any religion should be afflicted with. That's too bad. Buddhism is full of good practical advice and wisdom.

This book fits well in that "practical advice" category. So far, the stories are light, mildly amusing, and to the point. Now that I've found something to occupy my head for the next couple of days, I'm satisfied for the rest of the week.

Next on the reading list is: The Life of Pi, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, and finishing The First Crusade: A New History. Why the theme of the Crusades, you ask? Well, the Crusades came out in a discussion with a friend of mine. He pointed me to this article written by a Professor Madden called "The Real History of the Crusades", which portrays the Crusades as mere defensive wars and tries to wipe the blood off the hands of medieval Crusaders. I read the article with the dim memory of having read several books on this long ago. Mind you, when I say "long ago", I really mean it; I put down those library books almost fifteen years ago and I don't trust my memory with facts and details for a quarter that long. After reading that article, I strongly suspect that Professor Thomas Madden is being misleading, perhaps worse. I'll probably have to digest more than the two works on my reading list to have the tools for adequate investigation, but that article has been sitting on my mind since I read it and the longer it sits there, the more it makes me curious. I'll eventually have to resolve the issue for myself.

Posted on July 5, 2005 in books . | 109 Trackbacks, 0 Comments

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