We have been meditating on the union of Joy and Justice.
I offer the following question: Are fascists joyful? Is there joy in fascism?
Fascism or authoritarianism or “daddy knows best” or “institutional violence” or “power-over” dynamics or “let’s kill democracy in the name of our beloved leader” is very au courant around the world today.
And certainly in America, once considered a beacon for democracy but now a place where an entire political party and many so-called Christians (including an entire bishops’ conference) consider it their duty to control women’s bodies, disparage gay people, call political opponents “vermin” and honor those who ignore and dismember the rule of law.
“Hail to the Chief” rather than “everyone to the ballot box” seems to be a sign of our political times.
Rachel Maddow’s new book, Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism, tells an important story of the allure of fascism in pre-World War II America. She shares the story of the Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area, Father Coughlin, who had over 30 million devout followers listening to his weekly radio show that spewed hatred toward Jews and praised fascism.
She relays the story of how Henry Ford, a titan in business and industrial innovation, was so purely an admirer of fascism and hater of Jews that Hitler admired him and derived “inspiration” from him (his words), posting his photograph on his office wall.
Hitler and his cronies actually studied Jim Crow laws and anti-black ways of America to create their pogroms against Jews and other minorities. Hitler and Company financed many magazines, newspapers, intellectuals and congressmen in America spreading the word about fascism to the public.
To answer my initial question above, I don’t see or feel a lot of joy in today’s (or yesteryear’s) fascism. I feel a lot of hate, fear, projection, violence, anger, grievance and blame.
It seems that joy does not accompany injustice and its sundry incarnations.
See Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 118, 433, 116-118.
And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom For Hard Times, pp. 36-38.
Banner Image: Nazi march of the German American Bund on East 86th St., New York City, October 30, 1939. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection. Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you too hear little or no joy in the messages of today’s political voices of authoritarianism? What do you think is the origin of that silence?
Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality
Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him. He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French). He gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way.
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake
The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times
A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book! Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit