Throughout the last decade of the twentieth century and into the first years of the twenty-first, a curious disposition manifested itself – particularly among Anglophone thinkers. They have attempted to address the issues of political violence, racial hatred, hostility to immigrants, the invocation of “Nazi-Maoist” strategies, mayhem at soccer games, and stupidities of sundry sorts – by conceiving them all as expressions of “neofascism.” Instances of “conservative,” “neoconservative,” “right-wing,” and “radical right-wing” political behavior were all equally imagined to be similarly neofascistic. What makes that exceedingly odd is the realization that it is very unlikely that all of it might plausibly be associated with historic Fascism. It would seem that we might expect better of serious scholarship.
Somehow or other, several lifetimes after Mussolini's Fascism disappeared into history, its specter still troubles the research of some of our most industrious social scientists. They seem to find evidence of Fascism everywhere. Some find Fascism in the neofascism of the French “New Right.” Some find it in the American “Radical Right,” Reagan Republicans, and militia irregulars. Some find it in the neofascism of the “Stalinofascists” of Eastern Europe. Others seem to trace Fascism, as neofascism, to the “pathologically contorted idealism of religious fundamentalism.”
Other than all that, we are told that contemporary Fascism, as neofascism, is to be found in the guise of racism, sexism, sadomasochism, terrorism, and anti-Semitism, as well as among aficionados of heavy metal bands and proletarian rock.