Saturday, January 28, 2006

What's in a Word?

There are a lot of people who are commenting on blogsites I read saying that the words "fascism" and "fascist" simply turn the average American completely and irrevocably OFF. I understand. How could it happen here? This is America, for crying out loud! We are not Nazis, even the KKK is not. The worst of us are better than fascists, they all say.

I would not use the word, in all likelihood, if it were not so incredibly clear that the nation is in the thrall of one of those strange events, a mass neurosis, if you will, that converts the essentials of the society from one thing to another without changing the general shape of things.

Katie Couric is no fascist, but she understands two things: money and the mood of our times. First, the money: GE/NBC is paying her a hell of a lot of money to carry their banner. It will, of course, soon become her banner, too. She will forget the little people and what it's really like. Second, she is playing the GE banner to the mood of the people which is that "it cannot possibly be that bad ... can it?" People just do not believe it can happen here. Bush is trying to protect us, they hope and believe with all their hearts, because ... because there does not seem to be an alternative? That's the truth for millions!

Germany of 1930 was poor and wondering where its next meal was coming from. It was experiencing the beginnings of a ruinous inflation. The great depression was already felt severely because of the also ruinous reparations that the French and British extracted at Versailles. Germany was angry and afraid. Here was a high culture with music, religion, arts, letters, science and being treated like ... well, like low class hooligans. Five years later, Hitler was pretty firmly in power and the great lie was taking hold of the imaginations of weary and frightened Germans. They were buying into the idea that Germany could change itself by being aggressive, by standing by the leader, right or wrong.

The two articles offered this morning are not about Germany.

  • Fascism Doesn't Always Roar
  • Dusting Off the Brown Shirt and Jackboots


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