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Taking fascism seriously


The liberal legal blog Balkinization, run by Jack Balkin of the Yale Law School, is holding a symposium on Adrian Vermeule’s new book.

Vermeule is a radical reactionary theocrat of the Catholic integralist variety, who is working to transform the US government into a radical reactionary theocracy of the Catholic integralist variety, because Vermeule, unlike apparently a lot of liberal legal bloggers, considers politics to be an exercise in practical power as opposed to say some sort of amusing intellectual game.

I’ve written about Vermeule here and here, and won’t repeat those critiques.

What interests me about all this is that in July of the Year of Our Lord 2022 a lot of liberal elites are still behaving as if a call to resist the rise of fascism in the United States is some sort of hysterical over-reaction by people who don’t understand that a tenured Harvard Law Professor who has been to The Best Schools and publishes articles in The Atlantic etc. must be treated as a serious and most of all respectable intellectual, whose ideas therefore deserve a respectful and prominent hearing. Failing to do so would apparently violate some sort of basic neutrality principle of academic life . . . OK I just can’t do this any longer.

What is wrong with these people? Look I get that firing Vermeule from his sinecure because he’s at best a fascist fellow traveler would be a tricky thing to do for all sorts of reasons. But you don’t have to give him and his ideas a megaphone!

In the end I don’t think Jack Balkin et. al. take the idea that this country is rapidly going fascist at all seriously, which means that on some level they don’t take ideas seriously, which on another level means they don’t take their jobs seriously.

At least Adrian Vermeule doesn’t make that particular mistake.

. . . Nobdy in comments gets at the heart of the shall we say sociology of knowledge at work here:

If you’re a hyper-elite law professor one of your most deeply held beliefs is that hyper-elite law professors should NEVER be ignored. After all if people start to question Vermuele’s intellectual credentials despite his position just because he’s a raving lunatic and theocrat why they might start to judge you on your ideas rather than position, and that’s surely a more horrible possibility than a little light fascism and a few gentle purges of undesirables.

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