Over at NRO, Victor Davis Hanson once again indulges in the neocon obsession over the 1930’s, in a column titled “The Brink of Madness.” (Hanson may want to save that title for the next collection of his columns.) But this time, he also swings at some targets that no one at National Review would have attacked in the magazine’s heyday. He compares the “rise of fascism” in Spain to the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, ignoring the fact that Franco fought to save Catholic Spain from Communist butchery, kept Spain neutral in World War II, and was later an American ally in the Cold War, facts well known to an earlier generation of National Review writers. Indeed, James Burnham’s successor as NR’s foreign affairs columnist was Brian Crozier, a biographer of Franco and an unabashed admirer.
Even more amazingly, he criticizes the “fantasies” of “Pope Pius,” writing that it is “baffling to consider that such men ever had any influence.” The great historian does not tell us which Pope Pius he is criticizing, Pius XI, who authored the anti-Nazi encyclical “Mit Brennender Sorge” and told Belgian pilgrims in 1938 that “it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism,” or Pius XII, who saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust and who so enraged the Nazis that there were plans to kidnap him. In any event, either Pius is a giant in comparison to all the neocon pygmies such as Hanson, and the truly baffling thing is why anyone listens to the counsel of those who thought that Iraq would be a “cakewalk,” that American troops there would be welcomed as liberators, and that the example of Iraq would create a pro-American democratic movement throughout the Middle East. ~Tom Piatak, Cultural Revolutions Online (Chronicles)
Tom might also add that any real student of 20th century history would know that Franco’s regime had only a smattering of the syndicalist Falangists and that Franco consistently limited their influence and power in the regime. Besides the Falangists, there were no fascist elements worth mentioning in the Franco regime, which was distinctly Catholic, conservative and authoritarian in nature, as Stanley Payne has set down in great detail in his History of Fascism and The Franco Regime. Proper students of fascism are aware of the significant difference between conservative authoritarian regimes and genuine fascist regimes. Inded, the careless, flippant (dare we say ignorant?) use of the term fascist by those on the neocon “right” not only betrays their debt to the tired harangues of Marxists but also their inability to categorise any political system they reject in terms that do not refer to 1930s-40s Germany and Italy. Once again the sadly limited historical perspective of the neocons is on display.