Flirting with Fascism

From what I can gather from my sources on Gov. Sarah Palin, it seems plain to me that she is a religious extremist, authoritarian, anti-intellectual, anti-rational yahoo. From a poll of those who self identify as Republican, half only became very motivated to vote for the McCain ticket after Palin became the Arizona Senator’s running mate (Prometheus Unbound blog). This means that Palin’s yokel hockey mom act has made her sort of Republican politician (in the mold of evangelical Christian authoritarian George W. Bush) seem more a lot more palatable to the American electorate than some might hope. In other words, G.W. Bush might not be merely a mistake of American history which the voters are rejecting, but the continuance of a trend for Republican presidential candidates, who are enjoying growing favor among Republicans. What, one might ponder, does this mean for the future of the Republican Party?

Over the last eight years, the Republican Party has become the party of loud-mouthed fanatical religion, rampant authoritarianism, cynical racism, proud anti-intellectualism, and baldfaced sexism. This means politicians like Palin and Bush will become the Republican archetypal candidates. It should be more than obvious that this represents the morphing of the Republican Party into the party of American-style fascism. (Yes, I dropped the f-word.)

Had I written what I just wrote a decade ago, one could assign me that dreaded title “wingnut.” However, I am not trying to be deliberately provocative. I am only worried about the facts that confront me, and it seems to me that the truth about the danger this country is facing is more disturbing than any fiction I can imagine. It is now unmistakable that the term “fascist” will no longer be the gross exaggeration but the grim reality of the Republican Party. This is my understanding if current trends of promoting people like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin to positions of authority continue. All of the pre-conditions for fascism are manifested in the ideology of Republican hardliners and (I cannot stress this enough) to the exclusion of self-identified libertarians, minarchists, or other moderate Republicans.

The hardliners today are the neo-conservatives – the intellectual descendants of Leo Strauss. In Leo Strauss and the American Right, Shadia B. Druryln exposed the following people as Strauss’ protégés: former Wold Bank leader Paul Wolfowitz; Supreme Court Justic Clarence Thomas; Judge Robert Bork; neo-con propagandist and former Dan Quayle chief of staff, William Kristol; former Secretary of Education William Bennett; National Review publisher William F. Buckley; former Reagan official Alan Keyes; current bio-ethics advisor Francis Fukuyama; former Attorney General John Ashcroft; and William Galston, former Clinton domestic policy advisor, and co-author of the Joe Lieberman-led Democratic Leadership Council’s policy blueprint (Project for the Old American Century).

The foundation of Strauss’ philosophy was his core belief in a totalitarian regime, that eliminated all principles of natural law. His was a system of absolute rulers, who were to deceive a foolish “populist” mass, and use both politics and religion as the means of creating trust and compliance to their policies. According to the P.O.A.C., “For Strauss and all of his protégés (Strauss personally had 100 Ph.D. students), the greatest object of hatred was the United States itself, which they viewed as nothing better than a weak, pathetic replay of “liberal democratic” Weimar Germany.

The Project for the New American Century is the think-tank that is to bring about these changes. This foundation has strong ties to weapons manufacturers, defense contractors, and energy companies. Many in its hierarchy have been C.E.O.’s or board members of these companies (e.g., Halliburton, Bechtel, and Trireme). The think-tank is connected to the American Heritage Foundation, and is an initiative of the New Citizen Project. The fifty-second page of the PNAC’s main policy document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, says, “The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” The eleventh of September, 2001, was the PNAC’s catalyzing “Pearl Harbor” that would galvanize the “sleeping” populace to embrace the schemes outlined in Rebuilding America’s Defenses in the name of patriotism. (This is not to say the administration orchestrated the attack.)

The think-tank’s plan for projecting power in the form of an American Empire involved: eliminating regimes resistant to its corporate interests; creating a string of military outposts across the Middle East and Central Asia; cyberspace control; and the militarization of space. President George W. Bush appointed many key members of the PNAC to high-level posts in the White House, Pentagon, and State Department (e.g., Cheney, Rumsfeld, Libby, Abrams, Gaffney, Zoelick, Dobriansky, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Bennett, Ikle, Feith, Friedberg, Cohen, Rowen, and Khalilzad) .

In domestic policy, the PNAC supports: an obsession with national security; mixing of church and state; unbounded patriotism; suppression of labor; hostility to intellectuals, science, and the arts; associating dissent with treason; secret laws, secret courts, secret jails, and secret arrests; fraudulent elections; widespread cronyism; protection of large corporations; dismantling social services such as welfare programs and public education; controls on mass media; supremacy of the military and war industry; police with almost limitless power; disregard of human rights; and the fabrication or exaggeration of national enemies as a unifying force. These characteristics can be found in numerous fascist regimes like Pinochet’s Chile, Suharto’s Indonesia, Mussolini’s Italy, and Franco’s Spain.

The increasing power of influences such as the PNAC and the neo-conservative movement (at the expense of Republican foreign policy “pragmatists,” among other groups) have pushed the Republican Party towards a predilection for authoritarianism. Even noted conservative George Will is becoming uncomfortable in this new G.O.P. atmosphere. He even suggested that Sen. John McCain is unfit to be president of the United States. Also, when former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani ran for president, the American Conservative printed a cover which depicted him dressed in Nazi garb with “9/11” in place of the S.S. symbol. In recent months, pragmatist Republican General Colin Powell, who broke off from more hawkish Republicans, has been “disturbed by some of the neoconservatives who have surrounded Mr. McCain as foreign policy advisers in his presidential campaign.” Powell also said on “Meet the Press” that “he was dismayed by the tenor of the [McCain] campaign, declared that [Palin] was not fit to be vice president,” and that “I have some concerns about the direction that the [Republican] Party has taken in recent years…It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it” (NYT, 10/20/08). I predict that all that the Republican Party needs to fully embrace fascism are: a dramatic economic emergency, or a catastrophic foreign crisis.

It is now clear that Gov. Sarah Palin currently represents the next manifestation of the God-drunk, religious authoritarian, corrupt, pseudo-populist, racist, sexist, and anti-intellectual elements of the fringe far right. The Republican Party is more closely associated now with followers of Dominionist Christianity than followers of Milton Friedman’s views, and more linked to John Hagee than Barry Goldwater. It is a disturbing turn of events for the American Republic. Let us hope the Party does not continue down this dangerous trajectory towards right-wing authoritarianism, and bring this country to suffer the fate of Weimar Germany. We must prevent its dreadful ascendancy, starting by warning others of this urgent problem.

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~ by jsacc001 on October 6, 2008.

One Response to “Flirting with Fascism”

  1. […] This is truly shocking and horrifying coming from a Congress member. This furthermore backs up the previous post about Sarah Palin representing the Republican Party’s “Flirting with Fasci… Any person who thinks authoritarianism cannot emerge in the United States should think […]

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