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Fascism Grows in USA by the Minute

"You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word "fascism" in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don't mean it as name-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying."
Darwin thought Jesus would evlove - Now Its too late
Darwin thought Jesus would evlove - Now Its too late
Fascism Grows in USA by the Minute

Posted by: anonymous, USA





A sermon against the present and coming fascism.

You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word "fascism" in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don't mean it as name-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying. That's what I am about here. And even if I don't persuade you, I hope to raise the level of your thinking about who and where we are now, to add some nuance and perhaps some useful insights...


This is not America's first encounter with fascism. In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"


Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan. See how much you think his statements apply to our society today.


"The really dangerous American fascist," Wallace wrote, "is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."


In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism he saw rising in America, Wallace added, "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection." By these standards, a few of today's weapons for keeping the common people in eternal subjection include NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, union-busting, cutting worker benefits while increasing CEO pay, elimination of worker benefits, security and pensions, rapacious credit card interest, and outsourcing of jobs - not to mention the largest prison system in the world...


In the meantime, is there any hope, or do we just band together like lemmings and dive off a cliff? Yes, there is always hope, though at times it is more hidden, as it is now. As some critics are now saying, and as I have been preaching and writing for almost twenty years, America's liberals need to grow beyond political liberalism, with its often self-absorbed focus on individual rights to the exclusion of individual responsibilities to the larger society. Liberals will have to construct a more complete vision with moral and religious grounding. That does not mean confessional Christianity. It means the legitimate heir to Christianity. Such a legitimate heir need not be a religion, though it must have clear moral power, and be able to attract the minds and hearts of a voting majority of Americans. And the new liberal vision must be larger than that of the conservative religious vision that will be appointing judges, writing laws and bending the cultural norms toward hatred and exclusion for the foreseeable future.


The conservatives deserve a lot of admiration. They have spent the last thirty years studying American politics, forming their vision and learning how to gain control in the political system. And it worked; they have won.


Even if liberals can develop a bigger vision, they still have all that time-consuming work to do. It won't be fast. It isn't even clear that liberals will be willing to do it; they may instead prefer to go down with the ship they're used to. Read more...
Mussolini, who helped create modern fascism, viewed liberal ideas as the enemy. "The Fascist Conception of life," he wrote, "stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State. It is opposed to classical liberalism [which] denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as expressing the real essence of the individual." (In 1932 Mussolini wrote, with the help of Giovanni Gentile, an entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism. You can read the whole entry at  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.html)


Mussolini thought it was unnatural for a government to protect individual rights: The essence of fascism, he believed, is that government should be the master, not the servant, of the people.


Still, fascism is a word that is completely foreign to most of us. We need to know what it is, and how we can know it when we see it.


In an essay coyly titled "Fascism Anyone?," Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies social and political agendas common to fascist regimes. His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 "identifying characteristics of fascism." (The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.( http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm)) See how familiar they sound.


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, etc.


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, etc.


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 almost always are 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.

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, Rumsfeld, 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 or "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 Franklin Delano
Roosevelt and establish General Smedley Butler as a fascist dictator in 1934.

Fortunately, they 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.

What's coming
When all fascisms exhibit the same social and political agendas (the 14 points listed by Britt), then it is not hard to predict where a new fascist
uprising will lead. And it is not hard. The actions of fascists and the social and political effects of fascism and fundamentalism are clear and sobering. Here is
some of what's coming, what will be happening in our country in the next few years:

The theft of all social security funds, to be transferred to those who control money, and the increasing destitution of all those dependent on social security and social welfare programs.
Rising numbers of uninsured people in this country that already has the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance in the developed world.
Increased loss of funding for public education combined with increased support for vouchers, urging Americans to entrust their children's education
to Christian schools.
More restrictions on civil liberties as America is turned into the police state necessary for fascism to work.
Withdrawal of virtually all funding for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. At their best, these media sometimes encourage critical questioning, so they are correctly seen as enemies
of the state's official stories.
The reinstatement of a draft, from which the children of privileged parents will again be mostly exempt, leaving our poorest children to fight and die in wars of imperialism and greed that could never benefit them anyway. (That was my one-sentence Veterans' Day sermon for this year.)
More imperialistic invasions: of Iran and others, and the construction of a huge permanent embassy in Iraq.
More restrictions on speech, under the flag of national security.
Control of the internet to remove or cripple it as an instrument of free communication that is exempt from government control. This will be presented as a necessary anti-terrorist measure.
Efforts to remove the tax-exempt status of churches like this one, and to characterize them as anti-American.
Tighter control of the editorial bias of almost all media, and demonization of the few media they are unable to control - the New York Times, for instance.
Continued outsourcing of jobs, including more white-collar jobs, to produce greater profits for those who control the money and direct the society, while simultaneously reducing America's workers to a more desperate and powerless status.
Moves in the banking industry to make it impossible for an increasing number of Americans to own their homes. As they did in the 1930s, those who control the money know that it is to their advantage and profit to keep others renting rather than owning.
Criminalization of those who protest, as un-American, with arrests, detentions and harassment increasing. We already have a higher percentage of our citizens in prison than any other country in the world. That percentage will increase.
In the near future, it will be illegal or at least dangerous to say the things I have said here this morning. In the fascist story, these things are
un-American. In the real history of a democratic America, they were seen as profoundly patriotic, as the kind of critical questions that kept the American spirit alive - the kind of questions, incidentally, that our media were supposed to be pressing.
Can these schemes work? I don't think so. I think they are murderous, rapacious and insane. But I don't
know. Maybe they can. Similar schemes have worked in countries like Chile, where a democracy in which over 90% voted has been reduced to one in which
only about 20% vote because they say, as Americans are learning to say, that it no longer matters who you vote for.

Hope
In the meantime, is there any hope, or do we just band together like lemmings and dive off a cliff? Yes, there is always hope, though at times it is more hidden, as it is now.

As some critics are now saying, and as I have been preaching and writing for almost twenty years, America's liberals need to grow beyond political
liberalism, with its often self-absorbed focus on individual rights to the exclusion of individual responsibilities to the larger society. Liberals will have to construct a more complete vision with moral and religious grounding. That does not mean confessional Christianity. It means the legitimate heir to Christianity. Such a legitimate heir need not be a religion, though it must have clear moral power, and be able to attract the minds and hearts of a voting majority of Americans.

And the new liberal vision must be larger than that of the conservative religious vision that will be appointing judges, writing laws and bending the cultural norms toward hatred and exclusion for the foreseeable future. The conservatives deserve a lot
of admiration. They have spent the last thirty years studying American politics, forming their vision and learning how to gain control in the political system. And it worked; they have won.

Even if liberals can develop a bigger vision, they still have all that time-consuming work to do. It won't be fast. It isn't even clear that liberals will be willing to do it; they may instead prefer to go down with the ship they're used to.

One man who has been tireless in his investigations and critiques of America's slide into fascism is Michael C. Ruppert, whose postings usually read as though he is wound way too tight. ( http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110504_snap_out.shtml)

Another bit of advice comes from sixty years ago, from Roosevelt's Vice President, Henry Wallace. Wallace said, "Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."

Still another way to understand fascism is as a kind of colonization. A simple definition of "colonization" is that it takes people's stories away, and assigns them supportive roles in stories that empower others at their expense. When you are taxed to support a government that uses you as a means to serve the ends of others, you are - ironically - in a state of taxation without representation. That's where this country started, and it's where we are now.

I don't know the next step. I'm not a political activist; I'm only a preacher. But whatever you do, whatever we do, I hope that we can remember some very basic things that I think of as eternally true.

One is that the vast majority of people are good decent people who mean and do as well as they know how. Very few people are evil, though some are. But we all live in families where some of our blood relatives support things we hate. I believe they mean well, and the way to rebuild broken bridges is through greater understanding, compassion, and a
reality-based story that is more inclusive and empowering for the vast majority of us.

Those who want to live in a reality-based story rather than as serfs in an ideology designed to transfer power, possibility and hope to a small ruling
elite have much long and hard work to do, individually and collectively. It will not be either easy or quick.

But we will do it. We will go forward in hope and in courage. Let us seek that better path, and find the courage to take it - step, by step, by step.


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Legitimate Heir? 12.May.2005 11:54

Pilrim

>>That does not mean confessional Christianity. It means the legitimate heir to Christianity. Such a legitimate heir need not be a religion, though it must have clear moral power, and be able to attract the minds and hearts of a voting majority of Americans.<<

Legitimate heir to Christianity? Just what, pray tell, would constitute a "legitimate heir"? By what authority will be established the legitimate heir's moral power? Will it be a man, a group of men, a body politic? Or will it be a Divine authority? What does history tell us about the ability of humans to take on the responsibility of moral authority?

What do the Christian Dominionists have in comman with the Secular Humanists? Both are obsessed with legalism - rule of law. Both groups think all problems can be resolved through law and the body politic. The irony of it all, especially regarding the Christian Dominionists, once the toes of the Dominionists and Humanists are exposed, is that neither expresses faithful trust in the Divine. This was the hypocracy of the Pharisees so criticized by Jesus.

Viewing Divine Law as means of protecting society totally misses the point. The purpose of Divine Law is to inform the faithful of when they need to ask for the guidence of Divine Grace - mostly for the resolution of personal, moral issues. Yet the Dominionists would have Divine Law become secular law, and the Humanists would have secular law be raised to the status of Divine Law. Both are doomed to fail.

i can think of heir... 12.May.2005 15:22

this thing here

... but i'm not sure how "legitimate" it is.

it's called consumer capitalism, the way of life it entails. talk about a new religion slipping in under the radar...

The media 12.May.2005 20:00

They can't hear me

I used to get excited when I read an important story, thinking to myself that once a few read it, everyone would know. Now the important stories are all over the place, (air america, internet) even in other countries, but not in our MSM. (main stream media) MSM is what most people tune into. They even PAY for it.

if religion is the answer 12.May.2005 20:27

then i don't understand the question

> What does history tell us about the ability of humans
> to take on the responsibility of moral authority?

Every single statement of morality that's ever been made on Planet Earth came out of a human mouth. Morality is a human behavior. Whatever your religious trip is, most human beings think it's not only wrong but in unrepentant contradiction of divinely revealed truth -- some OTHER divinely revealed truth. No matter WHAT the truth is, AT LEAST a majority of the pious faithful religious moralists of the world MUST be completely wrong about where their philosophies come from.

The thought processes of religous moralism are fundamentally irrational. There is no appeal to human values possible. If God said stone the whore to death, and I've got a problem with it, don't complain to the moralist, my disagreement is with God. Well, God doesn't seem to be making himself available for any ongoing discussions on the subject. I could just pick a religious tendency with which I have fewer disagreements, and promote IT as the one revealed truth, but then we'd just be approximating the process of ordinary secular human politics -- BUT WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF RATIONAL DISCOURSE.

Look, the religious crazies are IN POWER in America, and America is running the world. The only credible opposition at this point is a DIFFERENT bunch of religious crazies. To say that religion is the solution is to say that we already live in the best of all possible worlds.

OK so this would be why 12.May.2005 21:46

David Sirota's blog would report this

ABC News: We're Not Interested in Covering the Iraq War
Why do Americans think journalism is a complete and total joke? Maybe because news organizations treat the most serious, somber news as a a complete and total joke. Just look at this from ABC News's "The Note" today:

"Brides gotta run, planes gotta stray, and cable news networks gotta find a way to fill a lot of programming hours as cheaply as possible...We say with all the genuine apolitical and non-partisan human concern that we can muster that the death and carnage in Iraq is truly staggering. And/but we are sort of resigned to the Notion that it simply isn't going to break through to American news organizations, or, for the most part, Americans...What is hands down the biggest story every day in the world will get almost no coverage."

Let me reiterate how unbelievable this actually is: A MAJOR AMERICAN MEDIA OUTLET HAS NOW DECLARED THAT THEY SIMPLY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN LETTING THE CARNAGE IN IRAQ "BREAK THROUGH" IN THEIR NEWS COVERAGE - AS IF IT IS SIMPLY NOT NEWSWORTHY. You can just imagine the pathetic newsroom attitude: we don't cover cats getting stuck in trees, we don't birthday parties at the local McDonalds, and we don't cover America's multi-billion dollar war in the Mideast.

Sorry America, the insulated, out-of-touch, Washington media is simply uninterested in providing any real coverage about the war. Because remember, the media has to be "very deferential" because "no one want[s] to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time."

Truly nauseating.

UPDATE: One thing to consider, in the interest of absolute fairness. ABC's The Note wasn't necessarily claiming THEY didn't take the Iraq War seriously "because it's hard." They were letting it be known that they thought the media as a whole won't take it seriously (which, granted, is still a troubling indictment coming from people in the media itself who do, in fact, know the thinking, and who do establish conventional wisdom for other reporters). That said, ABC itself has taken the war as seriously as the rest of them, and is, in general, no worse than the rest of them (in fact, in certain respects it has been better). But that doesn't undermine the overall point, which is not to target one network, but to try to let the media in general know that an attitude of complacency in the future toward the quagmire in Iraq is unacceptable. Let's hope they get the message that we are watching - and expecting more.

Re: if religion is the answer 13.May.2005 12:39

Pilgrim

>Every single statement of morality that's ever been made on Planet Earth came out of a human mouth<

The question is not so much about what moral utterances have come out of what human mouth. Rather, the question has to do with what happens when some group of humans tries to impose by force their moral values on other humans. Can you name a time in history when such imposition has NOT resulted in tyranny? How about the great communist revolutions that have taken place in the last hundred years? How about the great religious inquisitions of the middle ages? How about the communist witch hunts in the USA during the McCarthy period? How about the "clash of cultures" in the present day Middle East?

>a majority of the pious faithful religious moralists of the world MUST be completely wrong about where their philosophies come from<

Precisely the point! That is why the need for Divine Grace (trust in the Creator) to lead the way. As the apostle Paul said "The Laws are written in the hearts of men". The difficult thing: to obtain divine guidance one must first open up to Divine Grace, and that requires a bit of introspection, otherwise known as "conviction of sin". This has nothing to do with guilt or religion: it has everything to do with knowing who and what we really are as both individuals and as humanity - it is another meaning of the philosophical dictum: know thyself. But, to know ourselves we must know our individual strengths and weaknesses.

In a practical sense, it is very difficult to be effective in the world if you don't know who and what you are in an individual sense. This is what Trinity means when she tells Neo, in "The Matrix", that the Matrix cannot tell him who he is. This simply admits the obvious: the Matrix is a creation of the created (mankind), not a creation of the Creator. We cannot expect our own creations to tell us who we are in an existential sense. As Nietzsche said: if God did not exist, man would need to invent Him.

Thus, the mission of convicted Christians is not to impose their moral values on the rest of the world. The mission of convicted Christians is to help others, who so desire, to find their way to Divine Grace (paid for by the blood of Christ). It is this issue that is largely at the heart of the great schism that appears to be forming in contemporary Christianity, especially in America.

yeah, dude, 13.May.2005 16:34

whatever

Your religious trip is just another religious trip. It's just as nonsensical as any other. You're trying to sell it as the One True Way just like Pat Robertson does his. Selling decency and tolerance on a Christian website might be a worthy activity, but selling mysticism and Revealed Truth on this one is not.