Domnu' Schiau: ia saliveaza un pic peste articolul asta! Este sau nu
adevarat ca Bush-Impostorul reprezinta fatza fascismului american?
Stiu... chestia asta nu te face decat sa juisezi! Vestea proasta pt
tine e ca nu aveti nici o sansa! America adevarata incepe incet-incet
sa se trezeasca din cosmarul asta odios si va ia deja vartos la palme
si scuipati.

American Nascent Fascism: Are We in Stage One?

As we ponder the realities of the recent election and attempt to make
sense of all the implications of the results, one can't help but
wonder about the true goals and objectives of those who drive the Bush
Administration's agenda.  Candidly, I'm worried and have been
struggling with trying to reconcile everything that has happened.  
I'd like to offer the following for   consideration as I believe we've
reached a point in our political evolution, both as a nation and as an
international neighbor, that demands real clinical scrutiny.

My gut tells me that the country I carried in my heart (thank you,
Bruce) no longer exists, that the core founding ideals no longer
resonate for a large percentage of our population.  That so many
people can overlook a bungled war effort, a tanking economy, and a
health care crisis of supernova proportions in order to cast a vote
based on religious and wholly emotional values is staggering.  
Clearly the neoconservative Republicans are at the top of their game.
  Their skillful and successful use of Orwellian language, lies, and
smear techniques indicate that we have seen only the beginning of what
they have in store.

That said, Robert O. Paxton, Mellon Professor of Social Sciences
emeritus at Columbia, has written extensively about fascism in ways
that reclaim the term from the hyperbolic misuse we've come to know,
ridicule, and reject.  On careful examination, however, and with a
more scholarly definition in mind, there may be cause for concern as
we move forward as a nation.

First, yes, the days of raging Nazi stridence and Wagnerian theatrics
are relics of the past.  We're too smart for that particular brand as
the lessons of Orwell and Hitler are firmly implanted in the
contemporary democratic consciousness.  But because we have these
outsized examples as reference points, incipient fascism is not
terribly easy to diagnose as each society has constantly shifting
values, paradigms, and emotions.  Since movements, by their nature,
have a somewhat discreet quality with each exhibiting its own
particular identity, it is helpful to look at Paxton's "mobilizing
passions," which identify in broadest terms the foundational appeals
found in nascent fascism:

   1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior
to every right, whether universal or individual.
   2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which
justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as
   3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of
individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
   4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood
(fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if
possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
   5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the
grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
   6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society,
culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of
incarnating the group's destiny.
   7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the
group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

"The Five Stages of Fascism,"The Journal of Modern History, March 1998

Even the most cursory reading of these points should sound an alarm
bell in anyone paying close attention to our own political and social
climate.  Indeed, Paxton continues: ...each national variant of
fascism draws its legitimacy, as we shall see, not from some universal
scripture but from what it considers the most authentic elements of
its own community identity. Religion, for example, would certainly
play a much larger role in an authentic fascism in the United States
than in the first European fascisms....

The larger question, of course, is whether fascism is possible in
contemporary America?   Paxton offers this rather cautionary

Fascism can appear wherever democracy is sufficiently implanted to
have aroused disillusion. That suggests its spatial and temporal
limits: no authentic fascism before the emergence of a massively
enfranchised and politically active citizenry. In order to give birth
to fascism, a society must have known political liberty -- for better
or for worse.

Social scientists point historically to the KKK as the quintessential
fascist movement in the U.S. (one that Hitler admired tremendously),
but, fortunately, there seems to be little resemblance between the
Klan and our currently political climate.   Still, though, when we
consider the foundational elements listed above, we should all be a
little uneasy with their disturbing relevance.  Who can say with any
certainty after this week's election that the core ideals of American
society are intact?  

Once, however, the seven mobilizing passions are established and an
incipient fascism begins to emerge, Paxton claims movements typically
follow five stages.  These stages are:

*    The initial creation of fascist movements
*    Their rooting as parties in a political system
*    The acquisition of power
*    The exercise of power
*    Radicalization or entropy

If we accept the staging offered by Paxton, then things aren't as dire
as they may seem because fascist movements typically fail, he asserts,
in the second stage given that the rooting process requires nearly
perfect conditions.  

Nevertheless,  I'm worried about the direction our nation is taking,
I'm worried about the skillful propagandists at high levels in the
Administration, and I'm worried about the fifty-one percent of voters
who endorsed the presidency of George Bush.   The Bush Administration
is shrewd and astoundingly manipulative--and people seem to love what
they stand for.  Are they good enough at shaping the national
consciousness to move this country to stage two?

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