Something the struck me, as I watched those assembled at the Franco rally in Spain, was the remark by Tom, the man who appears to have dedicated his life to the Spanish dictator, declaring to reporter Carla Parmenter that he did not like democracy. Perhaps this was a juvenile assumption, but I had always assumed that the vast majority of people – everyone aside from those with despotic ambitions, really – believed democracy to be the ultimate goal. Even the American far-right declared that the armed insurrection against the seat of government was in pursuit of the protection of the democratic process. This is of course untrue, but it served as the rallying cry nonetheless. And yet here were veritable hordes of people declaring democracy to be corrupting and sinfully indulgent.
However, in reading Baranowski and Crumbaugh, it began to make more sense. As both authors outline, entities such as Strength through Joy pedaled the notion in fascist European nation states that short-term sacrifices must be made in exchange for an overall improved standard of living in the long-term, a standard of living which would provide creaturely comforts in moderation to those worthy, those deemed racially pure. This appears to tie into the points Miller-Idriss made in her presentation, describing the myth of sacred origin, in which a marker of the far right is an inherent aspirational quality which harkens back to some long-gone golden age, in which morality and rule of law prevailed above all. This imagery and iconography also invokes strong Nordic, mythic figures in this sacred origin, appealing to desires for strongman leadership and the valorization of violence. Circling back to the Franquistas in Spain, it becomes clearer where the desire to abandon democracy has its roots.