Speaking to those on the left who unreflectively believe the specter of Facism has reared its head in the United States and elsewhere, Mark Lilla offers cautionary advice in response to a critique of a recent essay he wrote on the French Right.
For those concerned about the antiliberal forces gaining strength in world politics, the most important thing is to maintain one’s sangfroid. Before we judge we must be sure of exactly what we are judging. We need to take ideas seriously, make distinctions, and never assume the present is the past in disguise….Whatever we are facing, it is not twentieth century fascism. Hell keeps on disgorging new demons to beset us. And, as seasoned exorcists know, each must be called by its proper name before it can be cast out.
The Right should heed this advice as well.