Thursday, March 10, 2005

You've probably heard someone or other refer to the Bushies as fascists. But if I were to claim that on this blog, no armed troops would burst into my house, smashing furniture and dragging me off to prison. Nope. My comfortable existence would continue. We do not live in pre-war Germany.
Still, although the Bush administration does not resort to domestic violence, it has troubling tendencies.
David Neiwert, on his website, Orcinus, defines fascism and analyzes the elements of it in today's neocon movement. The particular beliefs, he says, vary from one culture to another, but the component that always predominates is the will for absolute power--a power that is achieved by fostering passions and ignoring thought. Indeed, fascist leaders typically rely on gut instinct rather than reason. Neiwert lists the elements of fascism that he sees today:
These "mobilizing passions," mostly taken for granted and not always overtly argued as intellectual propositions, form the emotional lava that set fascism's foundations:
-- a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
-- the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual, and the subordination of the individual to it;
-- the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against the group's enemies, both internal and external;
-- dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effect of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
-- the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
-- the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny;
-- the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason;
-- the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success;
-- the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess in a Darwinian struggle.
If these "mobilizing passions" seem familiar, they should: They have been adopted, as I described in Part 1, by the American conservative movement -- embodied by the Republican Party -- as the very architecture of its agenda since the advent of the invasion of Iraq, and particularly as the core of its 2004 campaign for the presidency.
This is not a mere coincidence, and the danger it represents -- obviously -- is profound.


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