Did Lawrence Dennis consider himself a fascist?  Self described?  Yes, I know he was tagged with the label at the time, and at the outset of the war was charged with sedition charges alongside co-defendants he had that “one of these things is not like the other” quality against.  And I guess his uber objective uber cool rational “analysis” would make more effective axis powers propaganda than the German Bundhists and Silver Shirts that mostly embarrassed the Germans.

Between Deecember 1935 and February 1939, he contributed 14 articles to the American Mercury — then in its second (or perhaps third) editorial iteration, starting with excerpts from his book “The Coming American Fascism”.  Ostensibly simply commenting on trend-lines and not advocating the trend-lines, laying out the perimeters from a peculiarly elitist “masses corralled this way or that” perspectus.  The magazine then changed editors, and it’s not hard to imagine that the new editor had the sensation “the mask was slipping”, and at a time public opinion had shifted to make irrespectable his defeatest unconcerns over the fate of Europe.  (Interestingly he does proclaim America will be the pre-eminent power, with a German Europe second, and way in the back after Muich — Britain.  What America looks like is another question.)

The dark missives from Lawrence Dennis aren’t all that bad, except for the feeling I’d get reading them that Dennis doesn’t consider them “dark” at all.

Interestingly, a few editorial shifts down the line, the American Mercury would become forth-rightly fascist — Russell Maguire getting it close — or, best to say a mix with the “conservative”; it appears National Review came out to shephard a “respectable right” and when poaching talent let the magazine with its anti-semites and Birchers… (also Ralph Nader had an article published in it, somewhere at the same time as “a forum on the money changers” with prominent pull quote from Reverand Coughlin)  before selling it to the “Defenders of the Christian Faith”, Gerald Winrod’s old unit… and onto Willis Carto.  And here Lawrence Dennis would look out of place.  I suppose the difference striking between a latter year neo-nazi sympathizer and a one time real time fascist theorizer.

I’ve seen few excerpts from his “on set of cold war” writing, though not much.  He seems to take a libertarian position of sorts against the burgeoning cold war security and military and welfare apparatus… almost rectifying it into his “fascist” paradigm.  More dark meanderings, I suppose… appealed to his old time isolationists of Hoover and Joseph Kennedy, wikipedia suggests… which figures.


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