Monday, September 05, 2005

Fascism is dead? Think again, my fellow Americans...

Well, it seems to me that most Americans think that fascism is akin to baseball players shilling for tobacco cabals, the overwhelming majority of the populace being sexually repressed, and leaded gasoline.

But wait! You too can enjoy the unbridled shrieking and automatonic me-tooism of the fascist societies of yesteryear! Just run right down to your nearest evangelical dominionist church, military defense contractor, or neoconservative think tank and sign up! Don't be alarmed if they recoil in horror when you say you want fascism too; just tell them you like to follow, don't believe your own eyes and ears, and are so intellectually lazy that you have next to no real idea for whom you have voted, why you voted for them, or what they actually stood for when the votes came down, despite rhetorical sleight-of-hand. It's okay; many of them have no idea that they are enabling fascism either. Some of you may still have doubts. Never voted? Even better! Rather watch sports, listen to fake news and spew it out as if you had a thought in your own head, badmouth labor unions while making eight bucks an hour at WalMart, or make racist comments to your fellows while sharing neighboring and ever-more equivalent bits of squalor with those to whom you falsely believe you are superior based on an arbitrary and essentially accidental evolutionary roll of the dice? You're just the mindless tool they're looking for...and you can even continue not believing in evolutionary biology just because you don't understand it!

Okay, now that I got my giggles out...

The following list is originally from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2, and is attributable to the political scientist Lawrence Britt. It and the "Perfect Storm" bit that follows it are excerpted from "Living Under Fascism," a sermon by Davidson Loehr originally delivered November 7, 2004. Shame on me for not finding a way to share it sooner, but I think the powers that be will understand and forgive me in the long run.

In any event, it is a distillation of the agendas that fascist regimes have shared. Don't read it before you go to bed or it will give you nightmares and don't read it before, during, or after watching Fox "News," doing anything regarding Sean Hannity, or even thinking about Rush Limbaugh, as it makes clear that they are hardly idiosyncratic nobs; rather, they are the template for the future as some very wealthy, very powerful, very vocally Christian, very vocally patriotic people hope it is...

Remember what Orwell told us and the Roves, Limbaughs, and Luntzes of the world are trying to make new all over again:


WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


Common Facets of Fascist Regimes

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, and so on.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic, or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, and so forth.
4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
6. Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes are almost always governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

The Perfect Storm
Our current descent into fascism came about through a kind of "Perfect Storm," a confluence of three unrelated but mutually supportive schools of thought.
1. The first stream of thought was the imperialistic dream of the Project for the New American Century. I don't believe anyone can understand the past four years without reading the Project for the New American Century, published in September 2000 and authored by many who have been prominent players in the Bush administrations, including Cheney, Rumsfleid, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Donald Kagan to name only a few. This report saw the fall of Communism as a call for America to become the military rulers of the world, to establish a new worldwide empire. They spelled out the military enhancements we would need, then noted, sadly, that these wonderful plans would take a long time, unless there could be a catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor that would let the leaders turn America into a military and militarist country. There was no clear interest in religion in this report, and no clear concern with local economic policies.

2. A second powerful stream must be credited to Pat Robertson and his Christian Reconstructionists, or Dominionists. Long dismissed by most of us as a screwball, the Dominionist style of Christianity which he has been preaching since the early 1980s is now the most powerful religious voice in the Bush administration. Katherine Yurica, who transcribed over 1300 pages of interviews from Pat Robertson's "700 Club" shows in the 1980s, has shown how Robertson and his chosen guests consistently, openly and passionately argued that America must become a theocracy under the control of Christian Dominionists. Robertson is on record saying democracy is a terrible form of government unless it is run by his kind of Christians. He also rails constantly against taxing the rich, against public education, social programs and welfare - and prefers Deuteronomy 28 over the teachings of Jesus. He is clear that women must remain homebound as obedient servants of men, and that abortions, like homosexuals, should not be allowed. Robertson has also been clear that other kinds of Christians, including Episcopalians and Presbyterians, are enemies of Christ. (The Yurica Report. Search under this name, or for "Despoiling America" by Katherine Yurica on the Internet.)

3. The third major component of this Perfect Storm has been the desire of very wealthy Americans and corporate CEOs for a plutocracy that will favor profits by the very rich and disempowerment of the vast majority of American workers, the destruction of workers' unions, and the alliance of government to help achieve these greedy goals. It is a condition some have called socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor, and which others recognize as a reincarnation of Social Darwinism. This strain of thought has been present throughout American history. Seventy years ago, they tried to finance a military coup to replace Franlkin Delano Roosevelt and establish General Smedley Butler as a fascist dictator in 1934. Fortunately, the picked a general who really was a patriot; he refused, reported the scheme, and spoke and wrote about it. As Canadian law professor Joel Bakan wrote in the book and movie "The Corporation," they have now achieved their coup without firing a shot. Our plutocrats have had no particular interest in religion. Their global interests are with an imperialist empire, and their domestic goals are in undoing all the New Deal reforms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that enabled the rise of America's middle class after WWII. Another ill wind in this Perfect Storm is more important than its crudity might suggest: it was President Clinton's sleazy sex with a young but eager intern in the White House. This incident, and Clinton's equally sleazy lying about it, focused the certainties of conservatives on the fact that "liberals" had neither moral compass nor moral concern, and therefore represented a dangerous threat to the moral fiber of America. While the effects of this may be hard to quantify, I think they were profound. These "storm" components have no necessary connection, and come from different groups of thinkers, many of whom wouldn't even like one another. But together, they form a nearly complete web of command and control, which has finally gained control of America and, they hope, of the world.

1 Comments:

Blogger Chachi El Diablo said...

So what's wrong with a little fascism every now and then? Sheesh, you act like you're not enjoying your extra income from tax cuts, cheap gas, good jobs, and low, low prices. Do I really need to go on? You liberals just hate freedom.

PS I just got a job at the Heritage Foundation!It's great once the throbbing stops and the scars heal.

September 8, 2005 at 12:57 AM  

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