So anarcho-capitalist Lew Rockwell’s a “neo-fascist,” according to a Marxist hate group? Why’s that the 20th century’s most potent political cussword anyway? Why’s that term the standard of political opprobrium?

Beats the hell outta me. Luigi Barzini mentions a fascinating datum in O America! that few seemed to have noticed. After living in New York for two years he returned to Italy in 1926. This wasn’t unusual, he writes. Indeed, one-third to one-half of the Italian immigrants to the US in that period returned to Italy

Hey, wasn’t that Il Duce’s Italy?! Fascist Italy? No system so oppressed and brutalized its citizens, right?

Try “Communist?” Nah. Doesn’t carry any punch. Indeed it backfires. It reflects on the accuser, not the accused. Call someone a “Fascist” like fashionable types call Pat Buchanan or Lew Rockwell and dark hints start surfacing throughout the Hive to substantiate it. Call someone a Communist and you’re in trouble. Why you’re a yahoo, a paranoic, a zealot, a hysteric, a hard-liner….probably even – YIKES! – a resident of Little Havana! Get the pepper spray! The tanks! The machine guns! These crackpots are capable of anything!

Yeah, there’s nothing like having lived under them to turn you into a “crackpot,” believe me.

Anyway, imagine half of Miami returning to live under Fidel. (Don’t get excited, you Palm Springs and Broward residents. This is hyperbole.) Yet tens of thousands of Italians returned voluntarily. to Fascist Italy. Thousands of Spaniards returned to Franco’s “Fascist” Spain after their Civil War. Seen any rafts heading south from the Keys lately? Who returns to Communist Cuba? – voluntarily that is?

Half the Red Chinese and Korean POWs during the Korean war resisted return to the very regimes they were supposedly fighting for. The Red Army pushed a bigger tide of refugees on its way west while “liberating” than the Werhmacht pushed heading east, while conquering. Millions of these refugees turned themselves in to the Allied authorities. Seemed to make sense, at the time. Weren’t the Allies fighting a holy crusade for the Four Freedoms and all?

The Bolsheviks and Partisans didn’t fret. They simply notified their allies that they wanted some errant subjects returned. Then they sharpened their knives, snapped in fresh clips, and fashioned more hangman’s nooses, snickering away.

Sure enough. “Democracy’s soldiers” (Steve Ambrose’s term) prodding with bayonets, herded the terrified refugees into the cattle cars for transport to the Communist slaughter pens – those who didn’t commit suicide that is.

Not the soldiers’ fault, actually. Orders were orders. To their credit, many GIs disobeyed. Others fudged, turned their heads and allowed some refugees to keep fleeing west. Operation Keelhaul details it for anyone with a strong stomach. I recommended the book to scores of compatriots during the Elian circus, to put it into proper perspective.

Even some neocons, if they really get their dander up, if they really, really want to insult a Commie, call him a “Red Fascist.” And moderate liberals might agree that, yes, Commies are “just as bad as Fascists.”

But that’s crazy. People could come and go from the premier Fascist nation freely. No walls festooned with barbed wire, jagged glass, and machine-guns incarcerated them against their will. No minefields blocked their way. No menacing dogs ripped apart any youth with wanderlust. No patrol boats rammed escapee craft then machine-gun women and children clutching floating debris. Even stranger, many waved to the Statue of Liberty on the way out, en route to live under Fascism voluntarily.

Imagine a Pinko who regards Castro or Uncle Ho as more oppressive then Il Duce. Hell, find me one who considers them as oppressive at all! To equate Castro with the likes of Benito Mussolini is blasphemy in Pinko eyes. As well as in mine. At one point in 1961 one of every 17 Cubans was a political prisoner. That’s about ten times the rate of political incarceration in Fascist Italy in the 1930s. Stalin and Uncle Ho incarcerated as many but slaughtered far more.

Mussolini’s goons used Castor oil and intimidation to silence his political enemies – a relative handful, as it was, mainly Reds. This earned his political movement the top spot in contemporary political demonology. (The Left didn’t mind his central planning of the economy or welfare policies!) Castro’s tens of thousands of ideological enemies found themselves against the blood-splattered paredon with a gag and a blindfold, or rotting in dungeons a decade longer than Nelson Mandela. This earned him a warm abrazo from Ted Turner, George Mc Govern, Jesse Jackson, Robert Redford, Jack Nicholson, Leo Di Caprio, Naomi “I’d rather go nude than wear fur” Campbell, Chevy Chase –I could continue but observe the timekeeper reaching for her gong. Plus he gets a tumultuous standing ovation at any international gathering….

September 27, 2000

Humberto Fontova’s book entitled Helldiving – about cajun-style undersea lunacy – will be out this winter.