Brad Evans writes gently – maybe containedly describes his style better – about atrocity. He exhibits a measured accuracy about the world we inhabit: without standing apart, without standing indifferent, he makes a difference.
His writing is invective in its persistence, in its desire to be resilient, but – at the same time – resists the temptation to be resilient to no practical end.
Above all, he seems a practical thinker.
This article – which appeared on my Facebook timeline just now via my dissertation supervisor – and which argues the need for us all to take, once again, serious political lessons from “Alice in Wonderland” and its many revealingly nonsensical uni-verses, has this beautiful paragraph somewhere in the middle:
“So what can we do? Well for us adults we have a simple choice. And that choice can begin by asking the most basic question: what do you think ISIS and all the fascists of the world fear most, your hatred or your love?”
I commented briefly as I reposted, in the following way:
Yesterday, a fascist stopped me in Liverpool, and engaged me in engaging conversation. And at the time, I joined in. I didn’t realise he was what he was. That’s how fascists operate: with an engaging stealth.
And what they most fear is truly our love: for they have none to fight back with …
I realise now what we have ahead of us is something really rather akin to the conditions that surrounded the dreadfully corrosive times of the Cold War at its height. When every bed had its potential Red, and distrust became par for the course, and not even the intimacy of a person’s home guaranteed a minimal freedom from inspection and control, so equally to these days we are now living, with the casual – perhaps flocking – fascisms that invade politics on left and right of our weary spectrums.
There are good people everywhere, for sure. The police who struggle with the monumental task of serving as well as enforcing society’s freedom have the most difficult task of all. And the civilians in the security agencies, whilst less exposed to direct dangers, suffer their own traumas as the pressures of approaching disaster pursue they daily work.
But as Evans suggests, it is not our people who are broken; it is, rather, our politics. The poorest quality of professional behaviours gravitates to the evermore celebrity-sucking political classes; an indictment if there ever was one of the strained nature of our latterday – and merciless – Western democracies.
And when I say our politics, I mean those matters which leaders who more broadly determine, decide on and define policy in any organisational structure of societal weight and impact eventually will impose – either with or without explicit ownership – on the rest of us.
It is up to us all to fight this fascism in all its forms. To argue, as I now realise Evans consistently has been doing, that there are different types of fascism – all of which need rebuttal in the most vigorous sense – in no way diminishes the discrete battles against each and every one that must always run in parallel.
And to argue that we are unable to multitask the War Against Fascisms because we are Men capable only of singular action is utterly disingenuous.
It is also rudely false.
I am beginning to love Brad Evans’ careful and academic resilience. But what is even more heartening is that it is leading all of us who contemplate it – and allow it to influence us – towards a practical resistance that can only bode well for our democracies.
And, more significantly, more productively, a tremendous ill for our awfully, casually, spreadingly stealthy fascisms.