Sunday, January 23, 2005

Fascism References in NY Times, Fox News, Church Sermon

Exposing America's descent into fascism has been a core part of the GuvWurld mission since day one. The collection of articles in the Fascism section of the GuvWurld News Archive is at 130 and growing. And the GuvWurld blog has devoted several entries to comparing the current reality of America with the definitions of fascism and democracy.

It is imperative that we accurately identify our condition if we are to successfully address it. To that end, observe how the concept of fascism is misapplied by those who otherwise should be fairly labeled as part of the Americorporate regime. Media Matters quotes Fox News propagandist Bill O'Reilly as he lashes out at the ACLU for opposing teaching intelligent design in high school biology:
O'Reilly: "They won't even tell you in the statement what intelligent design entails. They won't mention a creator, a deity, a God. You know why? Because the ACLU then can haul them into court and cost them $100,000 to defend themselves. Fascism, fascism, fascism. Okay? Ah, drive me nuts! Hitler would be a card-carrying ACLU member. So would Stalin. Castro probably is. And so would Mao Zedong."
O'Reilly's assertion is ludicrous on it's face. Fascism is not a practice for an individual or even a single large organization. Fascism requires a consolidation of political power through a merger of corporate interests, military aggressiveness at home and abroad, and restrictive media control of propaganda, just for starters.

As a manipulative method, religion is also invoked, often in ways transparently opposite to the spirit of the teachings. On 11/7/04, Davidson Loehr gave a sermon to the Universal Unitarians in Austin, TX entitled "Living Under Fascism." Like GuvWurld, Loehr concerns himself with definitions so that his audience might then recognize their reality in more accurate terms. His intro:
"You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word "fascism" in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don't mean it as name-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying."
It really is a worthwhile read, if only to experience another's thoughtful approach to laying out the case many of us may need to make many more times and with a greater deftness of persuasion. One other quote from Loehr deserves special attention:
"It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism."
Today's NYTimes also contains several mentions of fascism in this opinion column by Thomas Friedman:
"Either Iraqis turn out in large numbers to take control of their own future and write their own constitution - and I think they will - or the fascist insurgents there prevent them from doing so, in which case the Bush team will have to move to Plan B."


"This war also can't be won with troops - only with turnout. This is a war between Iraqi voters and insurgents - ballots versus bullets. And the people who understand that best are the fascist insurgents."


""The most important threat [to the West] is Islamic terrorism," said Bernard Kouchner, the founder of Doctors Without Borders, and one of the few French intellectuals to support the ouster of Saddam. This is not a war with the Muslim religion, he stressed, but with a violent "fascist" Muslim minority. "We [in the West] have always been allied against fascism since the Second World War," he said. "We have to be together, America and Europe, because our enemies are the same, Muslim extremism and fascism," but right now, unlike in Bosnia, "we are apart.""
Friedman is only slightly less disingenuous than O'Reilly here. "Insurgents," by definition a minority group of rebels, cannot accurately be assigned the label "fascist," which implies empowerment and control the group simply doesn't have. It is somewhat of a classic technique of the powerful to project onto others the same negative attributes that would rightly explain the power's corruption. GuvWurld has honored this tactic with a section of the news archive called Black Kettles. The quintessential example may be George W. Bush saying "they hate our freedom." Who really hates our freedom?



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