chapter  1
16 Pages

The ‘Holy Storm’: ‘Clerical Fascism’ through the Lens of Modernism Roger Griffin

It is nearly 30 years since, wielding the Occham principle more like a machete than a razor, the American historian Gilbert Allardyce set himself the task, in his article “What Fascism is Not: Thoughts on the Devaluation of a Concept”,2 of rooting out the unsightly weed of ‘fascism’ as a generic term from the manicured garden of the Human Sciences. The argument he marshalled on that occasion seems curiously passé now that comparative fascist studies are thriving with a luxuriance and degree of scholarly consensus unimaginable at the time.3

Undaunted by Allardyce’s failure to place an embargo on the term’s usage, this article sets out to perform a similar operation – one that will hopefully prove to be more of a surgical intervention than a hatchet job – on a closely related political concept whose heuristic value threatens to evaporate altogether under hyperinflationary pressures; namely, ‘clerical fascism’.