Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Is Fascism? Evangelical Fascism in the US

Some of my readers are still not convinced that the Tea Party represents one of the instances of the rise of American fascism. So here are the characteristics of fascism and the demonstrations of how they appear within this movement. The American branch of fascism shares a lot of characteristics with the Catholic fascism in Franco's Spain. It is deeply and fanatically religious in nature.

In my analysis, I will rely on the list of characteristics of fascism compiled by Dr. Lawrence Britt, just so that nobody can accuse me of defining fascism in some completely personal way.

1. "Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays." Obviously, the Tea Partiers are very nationalistic. The second they dislike somebody (such as, for example, President Obama), they start referring to them as un-American. Their constant flag waving is notorious. Remember how much song and dance Evangelicals created over whether Obama would wear an American flag in his lapel? That's part of this fanatical nationalism, without which fascism does not exist.

2. "Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc." Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Is that not the logic that led us right into the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, torture, Abu Ghraib, etc.?

3. "Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc." Have you noticed how often the Tea Partiers screech "Obama is a communist/socialist/Marxist/terrorist/Muslim!" Have you noticed how much they abhor immigrants or everybody "foreign-born"? If not, just read my recent posts on the subject.

4. "Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized." This was true under Hitler and Franco (Franco was a career soldier, and so was Millan Astray), and it is very true in the US today. Fascist regimes need to be involved in constant imperialist endeavors. For this reason, they need a lot of bodies to fight these endless wars. Consequently, military service is praised to the skies, and no criticism of soldiers or the army is allowed.

5. "Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution." What else is it if not the very agenda of Concerned Women for America and Sarah Palin, among others? Remember that these are the very people who pledged their support to the so-called Libertarian Rand Paul.

6. "Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common." We have all seen an incredible amount of censorship flourish under the Evangelical President Bush. Silencing dissent is a staple of a fascist regime.

7. "Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses." Tea Partiers and all other fundamentalists in this country are driven by fear. It consumes them to an extent where all rational thought is suspended and only raw terror of something undefined but vaguely threatening remains. As a result of this fear, they allow their authoritarian governments to push the Patriot Act down their throats and make fun of them through all those silly orange and red alerts.

8. "Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions." The Tea Party fundamentalists are plenty religious when it comes to abortions and homosexuality - two things that Jesus NEVER addressed specifically. They forget all about how Christian they are supposed to be, though, the second when somebody tries to provide the indigent with an acceptable standard of living - something that Jesus, incidentally, never tired of addressing.

9. "Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite." We have seen that in Franco's Spain and we are seeing it again behind every thing that Evangelicals do. Healthcare for the poor is for them a bad thing, while a huge tax break for Goldman Sachs evokes no protest from them.

10. "Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed." So let's see, how do the Tea Partiers and Republican fundamentalists feel about the unions? Seeing as they have done everything in their power to destroy the labor movement in this country, we can draw the conclusion that for these people the unions are the devil.

(To be continued...)


Anonymous said...

Most people are unable to recognize fascism when it's in their midst because they are inured to it.

However, you are correct, the characteristics of the Tea Party and its ancillary movements have a one-to-one correspondence with the dictionary definition of fascism.

That is not just an opinion. That is in the world of fact.


Clarissa said...

Mike, you are always the voice of reason.