Authoritarianism and Fascism: The Unholy Masculine on the Rise

How we understand masculinity has profound social as well as personal ramifications. 

Number of bills restricting ballot access introduced after the 2020 presidential election as of March 24, 2021. Source: Brennan Center for Justice; Image by Jaydavidmartin. Wikimedia Commons.

The rise of fascism and authoritarianism is a failure in masculinity with dire consequences. 

Susan Sontag offers a blunt and clear definition for fascism:  “Institutional Violence”  (IV). I think it checks a lot of boxes for what is happening in the world and certainly in the United States today.

Passing laws to prevent minorities and young people from voting is IV; as is gerrymandering and refusal to interfere with such, per the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is surely committing IV against women when it declares what women can and cannot do with their bodies and threatening to end fifty years and two Supreme Court decisions about protecting women who have abortions.  (No such order to men about their bodies.)

Setting vigilantes loose to chase after abortion providers or counselors is IV.

Newly renovated “baby bin” for institutional care after child abandonment: Door of Hope Children’s Mission, Johannesburg, South Africa. Wikimedia Commons.

When right wing religion (always loud and well financed) screams about having their religious rights questioned regarding birth control or making wedding cakes for gays, the Supreme Court jumps and tells us we cannot infringe upon religious beliefs.  YET, here we are. 

Many religions do NOT forbid abortion—and certainly not at 15 weeks—yet the “Supreme” Court is rushing to forbid abortion for all women—many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, non-religious citizens who, unlike the all-knowing one on the court do NOT have direct orders from God that babies should be carried to term and left on fire station steps per the sage advice of the newest court member—even if the mother has been raped or a victim of incest or may be only 12 years old. 

Why is this not also an infringement on religious rights therefore, Oh, all-knowing supreme court members who want us to believe you are not political hacks?

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 243-258.

Also see Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Quote by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Joe Pag’s conservative radio talk show on the January 6 insurrection. Art by outtacontext on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Where do you see “Institutional Violence” ( IV) playing out in soul and society and in relation to Mother Earth at this time in history?

Recommended Reading

The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine

To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature,  to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

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14 thoughts on “Authoritarianism and Fascism: The Unholy Masculine on the Rise”

  1. Avatar

    Also happy birthday to Matthew today. I don’t know if Matthew gets to read these comments, but if you do – I have recently discovered your work, and have been watching video conversations you’ve done regarding cosmology and mystics. I’ve had a long-standing interest in Christian mysticism but I am indebted to Matthew for introducing me to Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas and Hildegard of Bingen. I keep learning from you, and I have really appreciated the current series of posts about toxic masculinity – another issue I have a shared interest in. Best wishes, Michael from the UK.

  2. Avatar

    In all honesty, when one looks at most institutions established in this world, what one sees is alot of institutional violence, which has led to social violence… the ways in which humanity relates with not only the different aspects within oneself, but also one another another, as well as the all and the everything of creation. All of this violence has resulted in dysfunctionality within humanity on all levels of our beingness.

    We do indeed, need a new aesthetic, based on the value of healing, through the essential principles of love and justice as the guiding principles that holds the potential and possibility of transforming this institutional and social violence… into dignity and respect for all life, not only human life, but also our relationships with the all and the everything of creation.

    This is why grass roots movements are so important, such as Creation Centered Spirituality, or the Centre for Contemplation and Action and many other grass roots movements that are focused on healing, restoring and reconciling the reality of our interconnectedness, intereliability, and our interdependence with one another and the all and the everything of creation, which is founded and rooted in mutual and reciprocal love, dignity, respect, compassion, mercy and justice for and towards all life.

    Thank you Mathew, for daring to birth this new aesthetic, for birthing who God created you to be. It is this that we celebrate and honour today, the many unfolding birthings you have nurtured, protected and cared for as a prophet and a mystic and the inherent goodness and values essential to love and justice that has been the guiding principle throughout your life journey. May you continue to find yourself in good company, creatively celebrating your BIRTH days.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Thank you for your comment, and for putting this so well: “we celebrate and honor today, the many unfolding birthings you (Matthew) have nurtured, protected and cared for as a prophet and a mystic and the inherent goodness and values essential to love and justice that has been the guiding principle throughout your life journey. May you continue to find yourself in good company, creatively celebrating your BIRTH days.

  3. Avatar

    I wish you a beautiful, Happy Birthday Matthew. You are a treasure to me and to many others who read your daily meditations. You bring bright light and the fullness of God’s presence to every word. May God continue to inspire you to bring us “Good News” everyday of your life. Love, Patricia

  4. Avatar

    Happy Birthday, Matthew. What a wonderful day to be born – Winter Solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year because after you were born, Matthew, each day got brighter and brighter. And so ever since, your life and work has brightened our world. I thank you for all you have done and are doing to lift our hearts and teach wisdom. Thank you for the 4 Paths of Creation Spirituality which gives me, and I know countless others, a Spirituality to live by, a sense of hope and a desire to work for justice during these difficult times.
    I wish you peace and joy on this, your special day.

  5. Avatar

    We try not to believe that fascist authoritarianism has a deep foothold in this country, but this simple graphic (Brennan Center for Justice) is evidence of a sad and evil truth in these divided states of America. }:-(

    Hoofnote: And it is just one piece of an overwhelming amount of dark truth that engulfs our nation and its governmental institutions and churches. If you are a student of history, the parallels with 1930’s Germany are unsettling indeed.

    Hoofnote 2: Note the utter darkness of Texas, and Georgia/Arizona too! ☹️

  6. Avatar

    I saw a bumper sticker (I don’t know the source) that says “Feminism is the radical idea that women are people.” Sounds good to me.

  7. Avatar

    Happy Birthday Matthew! Thank you again for a creative lifetime of sharing and sensitizing us by reviving the deeply ecumenical tradition of Creation Spirituality on our spiritual journeys to serve one another, all creatures, nature, and Mother Earth with-in God’s Living, Ongoing, Oneness and co-Creative Spirit of Love~Light~Life….

  8. Avatar

    Dear Matthew,

    Thank you so very much for standing in your own, very authentic masculinity and BEING such a pillar of light and stability and centeredness in a violent and chaotic power over, power under, and power against world. We kind, loving, nurturing women need more men like you.

    We do not need, nor do we respect, the men who rape us, scream at us, whip us, disrespect us; the men who fear our autonomy, our brains, our integrity, our ability. We deserve so much better in our lives than these bullies/cowards.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Dr. Warfield, you are right–Matthew has been a light for sacred feminism for years–its one of the reasons he got in trouble with the Church. And as you say, “We deserve so much better in our lives than these bullies/cowards.”

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