Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Have Fascists Done Anything Right Regularly?

Build lots of infrastructure.   This is especially the case if we include the proto-fascist Bonapartes on the list, who really built a lot of it and did a pretty good job of it, sewers and good streets in Paris especially.  Mussolini built lots of railway stations and also railroads. After all, he was famous for supposedly making the trains run on time.  And Hitler invented the freeway with his autobahn system that inspired Eisenhower to build the interstate highway system. 

Why have so many of them done this?  A major reason, certainly relevant for both Napoleon I and Mussolini, was a fascination with Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar, and building lots of quality infrastructure was one of the things the Romans did well in their republic and early empire heyday, roads, aqueducts, and sewers.  The cloaca maxima sewer line in central Rome is still functioning more than 2000 years after it was built.

Now sometimes fascists have not done such a good job of it and some of it has been overdone and monumental, with Mussolini in particular guilty of this with his brutalist massive buildings.  And some have simply not done much of it all, such as the milder fascists of the Franco variety in Spain and parts of Latin America.  And there was also the absurd proto-fascist Cola di Rienzo in Rome in the mid-1300s, who one would think would have imitated the ancient Romans, he claimed to be reviving their republic, but spent too much time fighting dumb wars, having massive parades, and triggering famines to get around to building any updated aqueducts or sewer lines.

Now we have a president in the US who has talked a lot  about building infrastrure, throwing around some large numbers of spending that might happen.  However, the only specific plan he has put forward has been a plan to cut taxes for  private companies that build infrastructure, with the likely outcome of this effectively a privatization of the infrastructure with the companies collecting tolls, although this is likely not to lead to infrastructure improvements the US needs such as fixing potholes. But then, he has yet to make an actual proposal along these lines, much less along more conventional just up the highway budget and fix the darned potholes sort of thing.  So, it looks like he might not even be any good at the one maybe good thing that many fascists have actually done.

Barkley Rosser

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