Friday, January 20, 2006

Are They Really Fascists?

As I read through the daily opinion and colorful ranting about impeachment and America becoming a dictatorship and a fascist police state, the thought that always goes through my mind is, yes, there are parallels, but how could it be? Even if I believe what I am reading—and I mostly do—what possibly could be the motivation of Bush & Co.? What are they really after that they would deliberately destroy 220 years of democracy? Aren't the alarmists overstating their fears? Isn't this scare-mongering just "politics as usual" with sour grapes added because of losing two elections in a row?

First and above all you have to distinguish who "they" are. They are Republicans, but not all Republicans. They are the radical right, not the traditional GOP conservative, William Allen White variety of Republicans. Also they are not, generally, single-issue Republicans like the Anti-Choice group, nor are they the people who strongly believe in separation of church and state. The radicals are often called "neocons," but they are not the only element that makes up "they." They are also former Dixiecrats whose racism is worn in white sheets with pointy hoods ... and their friends in and outside of Dixie. They are jingo nationalists. They are misogynists. They are homophobes. They are, as George Lakoff says, believers that children are born bad and must be whipped into shape to be acceptable adults.

First I think we need to consider what they are after. On the negative side, the things they are trying to eliminate are Liberals. These neocons literally bear a totally unChristian hatred for Liberals and Liberalism. For some like Limbaugh and Colter and Cheney, it's a purple passion. They see Liberals as traitors to the human race, to the white race. They see Liberalism as a form of treason because Liberals understand socialists and share some ideals. Liberalism is "Red Scare" stuff for the right—godless communism in sheep's clothing.

They also think Liberals are pantywaist crybabies who would sell their sisters for virtually any program of social or economic justice for down-trodden people. They don't see down-trodden; they see lazy, stupid, inept, cowardly, unmotivated, inferior people. They see humanity as part of the animal world where survival of the fittest is not a theory, it's fact. Fair play and consideration for the points of view of others is a airy-fairy fantasy idea in this "natural world" system, red in tooth and claw.

To start out with, then, Bush and, particularly Cheney, in this new group of neocon radicals believe their idea about life and government is so much better and realistic than the obviously false and criminally defective views of Liberals that they do not have to be fair with Liberals. They only have to eliminate them or go around or over them wherever they are. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and thousands like them believe that it is not their job to carry anyone along in life, and that the country should not be asked to do that either. This notion strikes a very telling resonance within the rest of the Republican Party.

The Republicans, after all, are the party that most closely subscribes to the notion of "social Darwinism," the idea that those who find themselves at the economic and social top of society are the fittest, and that the less-fit, defective, inferior people settle to the bottom—even children ... in both cases. Most of the normal Republicans take this view so automatically that they do not see the fierce hatred practiced by the radicals in their midst against the less fortunate. They see it as good ol' "politics as usual." They know the radicals as strong-willed and noisey people, but there has always been this kind, hasn't there? And, anyway, isn't there a germ of truth in what they say? And, too, it's much better "to go along to get along," isn't it?

Also on the "negative" side, the side of things that the neocons are against, is pure democracy. The political right all believe that the problem with pure democracy is that the lazy, stupid, defective, inferior people will vote themselves a free-lunch using the national credit card. Many Republicans are so incensed by the implications of this theory that they refuse to call the United States a democracy at all and, instead, use the term "republic." At least this terminology gives them a moment of peace until people realize that a republic is defined as a "representative democracy." So, Republicans will take "representative" as long as the people being represented are not the inferior ones.

But what are these radical rightwingers actually in favor of; what are they FOR? First, they are in favor of any system that tells them their presuppositions are correct. After all, who would want a government that from time to time told you you are all wet and need re-education? They require constant reinforcement of their believe system and find it frequently in church and from rightwing pundits and columnists.

They want a system that provides opportunity to everyone with the ability to recognize a profit opportunity and work within the business system for it. Somehow they presume that inferior and defective people do not want opportunity and would not know what to do about it, if they did.

They want a system where business is the business of the country and where it is respected for the good it does, namely, create jobs, create wealth, create products and services, and where the environmental disturbance and human costs are ignored. Highest on the food chain and totem pole is the corporation, with the multinational corporation being the very top elite. The reason is, of course, that corporations are "people" with civil rights too, and are in fact the meta-citizens of our country. Corporations are the essential engines of progress, they say. Corporations can be invested in and fortunes made when corporations are very successful. It is a complete package, a closed universe.

The right wing believes in genetic breeding and wants to accumulate wealth in the hands of the families of their kind so that their sons and (sometimes) the daughters have a head-start on taking up life's opportunities, thus insuring (as much as these things can be predicted, of course) that high productivity and wealth accumulation will continue, genetically, thus (of course) providing lots of jobs for those who are not as "enterprising."

The right believes that as people come to understand that government is for the nurture of the productive class of people that government programs and baseline government services—like national defense, national science, national health care, the national budget in factetc.—all should be designed to feed directly back into the constituency, namely, the corporations which in turn nurture the superior class.

Accordingly, the right believes that in a relatively short time the government should be dominated by people who, coming from the superior class, see eye-to-eye on the purpose of government and the things it should avoid—like supporting people, who have been disadvantaged by government and corporate and other policies and opinions or other circumstances beyond their control. Such a government is not to be feared, they say; it is the government of the best, for the best, defined and carried out by the best.

Well, what about terrorism and national defense? Two things: first, the Republicans are very much afraid there will be another terrorist event in America on their watch. They are paranoid about it, in fact, and have believed almost all of their own rhetoric on the subject. Like sports teams they have psyched themselves up on fear and made a habit of it. Second, everything they do in terms of anti-terrorism feeds either to the corporations or to the party apparatus. Contracts to Halliburton, contracts to anti-influenza drug manufacturers, and illegal electronic intelligence goes straight through to the politicos in the Executive and then to the Party. Bin Laden's latest announcement will surely play to their illegal surveillance of domestic Americans.

Well, is this fascism? Yes; pure and simple, yes. It is a system built on intolerance of other ideas. It is a system of belief in "superior" "self-made" people who we all know are no more self-made than all of us who stand on the shoulders (or heads) of those who precede, those who teach, those who nurture, families, neighborhoods, and nations. It is a system of systematic greed and hubris not unrelated to the avarice and dogmatism of the "predestined elect." It survives on the premise that man is an animal for whom honor, care, ethical behavior, a belief in equality before the law are irrelevant window trimmings and facetious slogans of a by-gone year, spoken now and again to deceive the guileless defectives and inferiors in society. It is a system staked out on the notion of a master class and an under class. It is a system of systemic tyranny and oppression. It starts out with "innocent-looking" premises, but in its full flower and gradiosity is a negation of the human spirit and the tradition of enlightenment upon which this country was founded. It is from start to finish an abomination! And yes, it is fascism!

James Richard Brett