From the November 2005 Idaho Observer:
Fascism, itís like so "in" now
The October edition of Harperís magazine features an article by Lewis H. Lapham entitled, "We Now Live in a Fascist State." His main point is that, though Americans are too ignorant of history to recognize their current form of government as "fascist," (a "democracy" is the preferred description), it is fascist and Americans are, themselves, fascists. Their fascist fascination is purely trendy and situational, like in the 1920s when it was "fashionable" to call oneself a socialist without understanding the deeper political implications of the term.
The article begins with a rather prescient quote from "New Deal" FDR, dated Nov. 4, 1938: "But I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, then Fascism and Communism, aided, unconsciously perhaps, by old-line Tory Republicanism, will grow in strength in our land."
And here we are. But the question, Lapham observes, is not whether or not we are a fascist (or communist/socialist/democratic or republican) state, but, "Can we make America the best damned fascist [or whatever] state the world has ever seen, an authoritarian paradise deserving the admiration of the international capital markets, worthy of Ďa decent respect to the opinions of mankind?í"
Throw in the spoiled-child thinking that guides modern American thoughts and actions and you have, by any other name, a brand of popularly accepted and approved fascism, the likes of which the world has never seen. "Weíre Americans; we have the money and the know-how to succeed where Hitler failed, and history has favored us with advantages not given to the early pioneers of [fascism]," Lapham explained.
Though we could refer to "our" fascism as some type of "hyper fascism," a few fascist traditions have been sewn into the fascist American fabric: "The truth is revealed once and only once; parliamentary democracy is by definition rotten because it doesnít represent the voice of the people, which is that of the sublime leader; doctrine out points reason, and science is always suspect; critical thought is the province of degenerate intellectuals who betray the culture and subvert traditional values; the national identity is provided by the nationís enemies; argument is tantamount to treason."
Perpetually at war, the state must govern with the instruments of fear. Citizens do not act; they play the supporting role of "the people" in the grand opera that is the state.
Lapham observes that American fascism, the merger of state and corporate interests on an economically and militarily global scale, does not require book burning, overt persecution of the "bourgeoisie", or state control of broadcast and print media because the roar of self-serving, mindless American consumers drowns the isolated voices of dissent that pop up here and there.
That America is now a fascist state is only bothersome to a few, isolated thinkers scattered throughout the great American wilderness; to the rest, officially-sanctioned torture, assassination, mass murder and criminal activity is permissible so long as their pleasure buttons keep getting pushed.
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