The Rise of Fascism

Many thanks to Sheila for providing‘s very first guest column. Hopefully, many more will follow. Sheila also sends us today’s first random link: Death by Caffeine. It seems it would take 3120 cups of my beloved morning decaf to kill me.

So Pat Robertson now says he was misinterpreted in his “alleged” call for the assassination of Hugo Chavez: “I said our special forces should ‘take him out.’ And ‘take him out’ can be a number of things…” Yeah, like maybe to the movies or a prayer meeting. Keeerist.

As puts it, the Blob has attacked Canada! That’s right, my droogies. A mysterious slithering creature is terrorizing fish stocks near Nova Scotia, leaving a trail of slime in its wake. Oh, Steve McQueen, how we need ye!

Readers O Mine, you’re gonna LOVE this. These people are complaining about the increasing numbers of non-white contestants in major beauty pageants. On the surface, they have an interesting point: the face of Nordic beauty is now African? But they have to understand that the world is changing. Miss Ethiopia may one day be White. Miss India may one day be Chinese. Miss America may one day be literate. (Baaad Ray!) More likely, we’ll all be the same colour in 300 years and we’ll be fighting wars over hair length or toe width.

You really need to see this. It’s a video of the Smurfs from The Family Guy TV show.

Nojjy Boy sends us this NY Times article on the meeting of biotechnology with Hindu morality in India. Makes me a little uncomfortable, really.

Brother Bhash sends us a history of Guyanese “chutney music.” I hate it, myself, but I’m sure somebody out there is interested. To kill the bad taste of chutney music, Brother Bhash sends us two more interesting links about Indian music. This one lists Indian songs which resemble Western songs, and this one is on a similar theme.

Now on to the real topic for today: the signs of fascism. Very often we critics of the American Right sink to using the word “fascism” to describe our neighbours to the South. Despite its recent failings, the Americans still enjoy a functioning Republic. But there’s no denying that the signs of fascism are on the rise. This website has listed 14 signs of fascism. Let’s go through each one in turn and see how it applies to Bush’s America…

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Without a doubt, in the wake of 9/11, the USA fell under the sway of mindless knee-jerk patriotism. It’s recovered somewhat since, but it’s still there.
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – As we see with the Abu Ghraib abuses, secret trials, detention without charge or representation, the growth of the Patriot Act and every ounce of drivel that slipped from the crevice that is John Ashcroft’s mouth, human rights have no place in the new America.
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The Bush apologists will rail against me for this one. But there’s a strong argument to be had that the villifcation of the “Muslim world” as a whole (rather than the minor criminal conspiracy that defines Al Qaeda) achieves a state of endless near-martial vigilance. It’s a strategy worthy of Goebbels and described by Orwell.
  4. Supremacy of the Military – the near worship of “the troops” is indicative of this trend. It’s on the wane, I think, but it’s there. You can’t be anyone in the USA unless you mindlessly “support the troops.”
  5. Rampant Sexism – Well, I can’t fully blame Bush for this, since the degree of sexism hasn’t changed that much since he came to office. But many of his policies have been regarded as tantamount to declaring war against women; his anti-abortion stance, for example. I welcome more examples or refutations.
  6. Controlled Mass Media – Again, the apologists will whine about the supremacy of the so-called Liberal media. But Faux News dominates the landscape, and it’s pretty obvious to anyone with a brain that they get their marching orders directly from the Republican spin office. The prosecution of the war, with its media filtering and exclusion of indepedent media, is a sign of attempted media control. We’re not quite there yet, though, thankfully, and I think that’s due to the rise of the Internet. Yay us!
  7. Obsession with National Security – Well this one is obvious. Expanded military, new nuclear weapons, new army bases, de facto draft, airport paranoia, fear of Mexican labourers —all signs of this obsession.
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – I love this one. An evangelican president, the return of Creatonism to the schools, the hiding of breasts of naked statues at the Department of Justice, policy driven by the dictates of a “higher father” —the threat of theocracy is real, people. When joined with a true kakistocracy, this spells trouble on a Biblical scale. Pun intended.
  9. Corporate Power is Protected – Um, Halliburton anyone?
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed – I’m not up on any examples of this. Anyone care to pipe in?
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Oh this one is so common it’s funny. If a Hollywood star disagrees with the president, there’s an instant chorus of, “get the hell out of politics, you idiot actor!” If he agrees with the president… silence. As for intellectuals, like Paul Krugman, the fastest way to lose your intellectual status is to criticize the administration. And the fastest way to gain such status, however undeserved, is to support it. Calling Christopher Hitchens…
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Well, this has always been a staple of the American Right.
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Corruption is a standard in any government, Left/Right, Canadian/American/French/Indian/whatever. Cronyism, though, is all too transparent among this batch of Republicans. Utter incompetence is routinely rewarded, so long as the perpetrators toe the party line.
  14. Fraudulent Elections – Ha! Insert your own commentary here, please.

Here’s a test for you, kids. Shaila –from all the way in Rochester– sends us this story about police thugs intimidating kids at Rick Santorum’s book signing. Which sign of fascism does this correspond with?