Sunday, February 26, 2006

In my latest post I talked a bit about fascism and the rather creepy similarities between it and out current state of affairs. Now I’m going to comment about the 14 characteristics common to fascist states. In the interest of full disclosure I am going to use the list of Laurence Britt. There are other lists, which vary slightly. But more or less they all state the same thing. I will however pull two things off of another list because I think they bear some discussion.

The Laurence Britt list and some fairly extensive documentation can be found here.

All three lists and very good essay on the subject are here.

Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: When does patriotism go too far? I tend to regard it in a similar vane to how I regard faith. Faith is in and of itself a fine thing. But when someone has blind faith is when things start going bad in a hurry.

It’s perfectly fine to love one’s country. But when that love becomes spite for other nations is when trouble starts. When there is no respect for other cultures or ideologies and there is assumed superiority is when patriotism morphs into nationalism or jingoism or even worse xenophobia. It’s fine to love one’s country but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily superior to the rest of the world.

Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Let’s see where ever do I start? Let’s just list some. Guantanamo, the black ops prisons in Eastern Europe, warrantless wire-tapping, Abu Ghraib, consistently stonewalling investigations, leaking a CIA covert operatives name and leaving tens of thousands of people to suffer in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina while the President played guitar and ate cake with John McCain. Do I need to mention any more?

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The United States has always had a bit of a superhero complex. In that, we have always needed a villain to fight. We’ve always had communists, terrorists, blacks, gays, Indians and liberals to lay the blame on. It seems as if America isn’t happy unless it has someone to fight or at least blame for its problems. The problem here is that a doctrine based solely on fear. Fear is no way to run a country or a religion or a family.

Supremacy of the Military: Our military budget is sacred. Any attempt of slash military spending is seen as an attempt to make America less safe. Even attempts to cut programs that are largely money pits like the F-22 fighter are met with much resistance. The United States spends over four times as much on its defense as the next two closest nations, China and Russia. Since I doubt we’ll be at war with either China or Russia any time soon this is borderline criminal.

Rampant Sexism: Gender roles aren’t as rigid as in past times. But then again that’s mostly because most families need two incomes to survive. Prejudice against gays remains high however. The whole non-issue of gay marriage from the 2004 elections still sits wrong with me. Not only because it took time away from real issues like poverty but also because gays were portrayed as less than human.

Controlled Mass Media: Voltaire has a great quote, “God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh.” If you substitute “The Media” for “God” in that quote and you have my feelings on most media. Hours spent on non-issues (e.g. Natalee Holloway or Terri Shiavo) and celebrity gossip makes it seem as important as real news. This is complete violation of the trust they should have with the public to keep them informed and aware. The government still doesn’t have the media in its death grip yet. But its odd they go ballistic with Cheney accidentally shoots a guy but stay quiet when it was revealed Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. That’s a little suspicious.

Obsession with National Security: Do you want to be a speechwriter for George Bush? Here’s all you have to do. When you write a speech just mention 9/11 and terrorism every other word. Also feel free to throw in how you’re working to keep them safe and sound. Remember there are enemies everywhere and your rights are meaningless. So just let big brother wiretap whomever he wants and all will go well.
“Mother America is brandishing her weapons.
She keeps me safe and warm by threats and misconceptions.”
“Fly Me Courageous”
Drivin’ n Cryin’

Religion and Government are Intertwined: I remember during his acceptance speech at the RNC, George Bush said he was on a mission from beyond the stars. At first I was nervous because I thought aliens might have abducted him. But then I realized that this was just more of Curious George’s brand of Jesus juice. I know all politicians throw Jesus’ name around so much He should get an endorsement fee. That’s kind of ironic because Jesus’ teachings and our current state of affairs are almost completely contradictory. Go forth and read the Sermon on the Mount people. Anyway, remember one of my previous rants. Religion is based on faith, which is fine. Politics however should be based on facts. You should never have faith in a politician. You should always demand facts. So keeping the two separated is only logical.

Corporate Power is Protected: I just want you to remember one thing I picked up from my time in business classes. Corporations are imaginary. They aren’t real like say people. So you should always support people over corporations. It’s only logical.

Labor Power is Suppressed: Unions have been largely neutered in the USA. The NY transit workers go on strike and all I hear is how it’s illegal. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers that went on strike. People actually believe it’s the union’s fault that jobs don’t stay in America. Remember that last point I made about corporate power? It applies here as well.

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: George Washington once said, “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis on public happiness.” Ronald Reagan said’ “Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?” Need I go on?

Obsession with Crime and Punishment: We are a country of zero tolerance and the guilty must be punished. What does this solve? Is there any research that shows punishment deters crime? I’d love to see it.

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: This is book waiting to be written. Do the names Michael Brown and Jack Abramoff ring any bells?

Fraudulent Elections: There’s nothing quite like disenfranchising and entire block of voters to make an election look bad. The lines to vote in Ohio in 2004 were heart breaking. The hanging chad nonsense in Florida was pathetic. Of course there have been other elections that have stunk to high Heaven, such as the 1960 Presidential race. Until there are national standards and transparency in our elections they will probably always stink.

OK that’s all for Laurence Britt’s list here’s some more things from the other lists.

Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak: All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. I substitute taught for over a year. In the school district I was in not every child had a book for the class they were in. The budget was blamed. Most kids want job training and not an education. If our schools are not giving the children the skills necessary to make decisions based on reasoned thinking. Then what shall they do when the democracy is theirs?

Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake: Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. We now have laws in Colorado and Florida that allow people whom feel threatened to use lethal force. There is some lobbying being done to see these laws instituted in other states. My state of Ohio has a concealed weapons law. As Benjamin Franklin rather succinctly put it once, “Force shites upon the back of reason.”


Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

We all have heard of Organized Crime, but Mr Cunningham took that to a whole new level during his stint as BribeMeister of the Congress.

He actually had a Menu which showed ala carte prices for different kinds of bribes!

You gotta love such effrontery.

Combined, of course, with such incredible stupidity. Do these people really think that they are entitled to go to Washington to pillage and plunder? That they are above the law?

Brian Ross of ABC News reported on February 27, 2006:

“The sentencing memorandum includes the California Republican's "bribery menu" on one of his congressional note cards, "starkly framed" under the seal of the United States Congress. The card shows an escalating scale for bribes, starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value required a $50,000 bribe. The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million.”

Can’t wait for more Entitled Politicians to get their dues!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Thanks for the great post!

I always appreciate input and that was some very good stuff that I had missed. Thank you!

10:17 PM  

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