Politics/Law/Government

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

If by “there” you mean … the “F” word, well, we’re probably closer than we’d like to be, aren’t we? Thoughtful and unsettling take on Fascism in America by Sara Robinson, dead ahead…

14 replies »

  1. This post seems to point the finger at the GOP while the other party should be looking in its own backyard….Intolerance the creation of enemies is a key ingredient of fascism, and the majority party has exhibited this behavior in spades. Having private citizens spy on others for the benefit of the government is step down the slippery path of fascism and sites like flag@whitehouse.gov remind me of something Stalin and Castro would do. This is just the first step. I do agree with the author that we are probably headed towards fascism, but it will be a fascist regime with the liberals firmly in charge.

    Jeff

  2. Another crappy Sara Robinson article…what a terrible way to start my day. S&R dies a little bit with each of her articles. Paxton’s definition of Fascism isn’t the definition I grew up with btw.

  3. Brandon: any chance you could provide something more substantive than “I don’t like it”? Your comment here couldn’t be much emptier. I’m sure there are REASONS you feel the way you do, right?

  4. Come on, Jeff. You’re being intentionally lazy here.

    Intolerance the creation of enemies is a key ingredient of fascism, and the majority party has exhibited this behavior in spades.

    Let’s make sure we know what the word “enemies” means. And let’s draw a line. And let’s make that line “agitation for violence.” How about showing me the “other party’s” equivalents for Limbaugh, Beck, etc. Sara does a pretty thorough job of evidencing her argument, and your toss-off line here is not a rebuttal.

    Having private citizens spy on others for the benefit of the government is step down the slippery path of fascism…

    You mean like Bush’s little arrangement with the telecoms?

    You do have a good comeback here, so let me make it for you: “The Dems seem to have supported that effort.” Yes they did, and may those who did pay for it with their careers.

    My position here isn’t that the Dems are all lily-white virgins, and I’m sure you’ve read enough of my commentary here to know that. And while Robinson is flogging the GOP (for damned good reason), I assure you that she’s far from letting all Dems off the hook, either. Collaboration is collaboration.

    I do agree with the author that we are probably headed towards fascism, but it will be a fascist regime with the liberals firmly in charge.

    All this line does is demonstrate that you’re not paying very close attention to your own language. Liberals will never be in charge of fascism because the word “liberal” has a meaning, and that meaning is pretty close to the opposite of “fascist.” By definition, if it’s fascist, it is not liberal, because liberal is a set of philosophies that are counter to authoritarianism.

    If you meant to say Democrat, well, Democrat is a political party, not a philosophy. And parties are subject to change. The GOP ain’t what it once was and it’s entirely possible that the Dems will, in a generation, be something pretty reprehensible. Who can say? However, if we DO get to fascism and it happens on the Dem watch, it will be despite the party’s liberal wing. Instead, you’ll find your culprits emerging from the Blue Dog/New Dem wing, which frankly has a lot more in common with the main body of the current GOP than it does the Progressive Caucus.

  5. I think she’s stretching to the point of conspiracy theory/foil hat/they’re out to get us. The Republican Party is having problems with a lack of leadership which is allowing the extremist whiny factions to get airtime. As far as I can tell the only leadership the party has right now also sits in the pundit seat, so whatever gets ratings goes before what’s best for the party, the county, and the next election cycle. Most Republicans are nice people, they aren’t “racist, sexist, repressed, exclusionary, and permanently addicted to the politics of fear and rage.” (Nice way to shut down any discourse with anyone across the aisle by the way, way to go Sara! -sound of head hitting desk).
    Are we in danger of a fascist Republican Party overrunning our government and taking control? No. So much no it’s laughable to even consider.
    Is the Republican Party in danger of losing the next election cycle and possibly splintering? Oh hell yes. They’ve take a hard hit and right now they’re letting the extremists determine their public image. The social moderates and fiscal conservatives in the Republican party need to either wrest back control, or change names.

    Lara Amber

  6. Sam, Other party’s equivalents of Limbaugh, et al??? Randi Rhodes, Olbermann, Maher, just off the top of my head. We find them as offensive as you do with Limbaugh and Beck, etc..

    As for intentionally lazy……you got me there, as I have many more pressing issues……such as how to make as much money as possible, finish my book on deadline, and keep my kid’s tuition paid.
    (Off topic, I’m bragging…..but my kid got accepted to Trinity College, Cambridge Univ to finish his final two years of classics study).

    Liberal does have a meaning, and fascism can still occur on it’s watch.
    The liberal mindset of today certainly bears no resemblance to the description of Burke, Hume, Hobbes, Locke et al. I know you are all well meaning…after all your group did produce political correctness. It’s just that the liberals don’t have the monopoly on compassion and niceness, although that’s what you think. Very little thought dissent is tolerated within the liberal ranks, and that single mindedness can lead to fascism, think Orwell. Hell, I’ve been personally stalked and threatened with violence due to my comments over here on this blog. If my moderate ideas can cause such outrage, that does not bode well for the left.

    Jeff

  7. Sam, Other party’s equivalents of Limbaugh, et al??? Randi Rhodes, Olbermann, Maher, just off the top of my head. We find them as offensive as you do with Limbaugh and Beck, etc..

    BAck up, Jeff. I frankly couldn’t care less about “offended,” regardless of which “side” we’re talking about. I set forth a standard for a reason, and the fact that you duck it is illustrative. So let’s try again. If you would, point me to where Rhodes, Olbermann, et al advocate, incite or justify violence against those they disagree with.

    As for intentionally lazy……you got me there, as I have many more pressing issues……such as how to make as much money as possible, finish my book on deadline, and keep my kid’s tuition paid. (Off topic, I’m bragging…..but my kid got accepted to Trinity College, Cambridge Univ to finish his final two years of classics study).

    Congrats to the kid, who sounds like the sort of model student I wish I’d had more of when I was trying to be a professor. Also, thanks for reminding us that your primary directive is to get yours.

    Liberal does have a meaning, and fascism can still occur on it’s watch.
    The liberal mindset of today certainly bears no resemblance to the description of Burke, Hume, Hobbes, Locke et al. I know you are all well meaning…after all your group did produce political correctness. It’s just that the liberals don’t have the monopoly on compassion and niceness, although that’s what you think. Very little thought dissent is tolerated within the liberal ranks, and that single mindedness can lead to fascism, think Orwell. Hell, I’ve been personally stalked and threatened with violence due to my comments over here on this blog. If my moderate ideas can cause such outrage, that does not bode well for the left.

    Again, you can dance all you like, but you’re wrong. “Liberalism” is the philosophy that brought us democracy and free enterprise, and the fact that you don’t like the tactics of some people who you define as liberals doesn’t mean the word has changed. It can mean a number of other things – that the person calling him/herself a “liberal” is misguided (although these days damned near nobody calls themselves “liberal”; the ones who do tend to be the furthest things imaginable from what you’re describing; I have literally never heard a single case of someone calling themselves a liberal espousing anything remotely like what you’re describing except in the occasional blog comment thread, and honestly, I think most of those people are trolls). Or it can mean that you’re mischaracterizing Democrats, most of who are anything but “liberal” in the sense you’re using the word. Most are “centrist” and corporatist, but in using the word “centirst” let’s understand that by today’s standards feckin’ NIXON would be a progressive on every issue except that inconvenient “Southern strategy” thing that nobody likes to talk about. Hell, even on race issues his policies (if not his prejudices) were comparatively progressive by 2009 metrics.

    As for the idea that thought dissent isn’t tolerated, that’s iffy. There are dogmatic elements toward the left side of the spectrum that attempt to whip consensus. However, there are a number of these groups and they often disagree directly. So the interesting word becomes “tolerate.” Do they like the fact that there are so many other viewpoints that diverge from theirs? No. Can they do anything about it? Again, no. So the upshot is that on the left side of the aisle there is DRAMATIC “thought dissent,” while the GOP has been far more successful precisely because of its “toe the line or you’re gone” rigidity. Surely you noticed this during the Rove years. If the Dems were as you describe, they’d have been FAR more successful than they have been.

    All of which adds up to no, you’ve got this one wrong.

  8. Sam, again I bow to your supreme intellect and you got me there.

    As far as being out for myself….at least I’m intellectually honest about it and don’t make any excuses.

    Jeff

  9. Lara,

    There’s a difference between the GOP leadership and the GOP membership. Party members are often nice, smart people. But when you’ve got people like Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey and organizations like the CEI and AFP organizing people with the explicit purpose of disrupting town hall meetings, that’s a serious concern.

    I don’t know Paxton, but I do remember some of my History of Fascism and Nazism class from college (and I may dig up “The Nazi Seizure of Power” to refresh my memory), and in both cases, the fascists came from a minority position and replaced the more liberal government in power. And they did it in a way that made it seem like they just popped up from out of nowhere. History showed that wasn’t the case, of course, but it seemed like that to the people living in Germany and Italy at the time.

    The biggest determining factor, IMO, about whether the U.S. could turn fascist (and I’ve been worrying about this some ever since taking that class, because some of the signs were showing up back in 1994) is how the police respond to cases of political thuggery. If the police reach a point where they’re no longer enforcing the laws against the thugs, then we’ve got a massive problem.

    To quote Mad Eye Moody, “Constant vigilance!”

  10. What Brian said.

    Lara, you don’t do the discussion any favors when you respond to arguments that were never made. Sara lays out a very detailed, evidenced case and is very clear in what she’s saying. What she ISN’T saying – and neither am I, and neither is anyone else – is that all Republicans are bad human beings. If you recall, I actually used to BE one, and as you’re also well aware, I have some good friends who are GOPpers.

    As Brian notes, though, there are certainly GOP leaders who are godawful people espousing terrible, anti-human policies. Robinson’s argument is fairly specific – it chronicles the ACTUAL actions of ACTUAL people. When she talks about “racist, sexist, repressed, exclusionary, and permanently addicted to the politics of fear and rage,” she is demonstrably describing something real. How MANY people it describes is a question we can explore, but at this moment it more than accurately describes a very powerful element in our “public” “debate.” Congress and the media are trying to craft policy in the face of some extremely anti-American activity (teabaggers invading townhalls, vandalizing the cars of those who appear at rallies with the wrong stickers on their cars, etc.) When you’re trying to influence policy through violence and intimidation, you’re certainly fair game for critiques like Sara’s.

    So she’s not doing a lot of straw man and ad hominem, and those of us evaluating her thesis shouldn’t, either.

  11. Sam,

    I disagree. I don’t think I responded to arguments that weren’t ever made. I read the entire article several times over before posting. If you think she didn’t says Republicans were bad human beings, you and I have different understandings of the sentence I directly quoted. I’ll quote again:

    “This vision has been so thoroughly embraced that the entire Republican party now openly defines itself along these lines. At this late stage, it’s blatantly racist, sexist, repressed, exclusionary, and permanently addicted to the politics of fear and rage. Worse: it doesn’t have a moment’s shame about any of it. No apologies, to anyone. These same narrative threads have woven their way through every fascist movement in history.”

    Explain to me how this can be taken as “well the leadership is bad, but most Republicans are really fuzzy bunnies”? Notice how she says “ENTIRE Republican party”?

    I didn’t put up any strawmen. I said I didn’t agree with her assessment and I said why. End of story.

    Lara Amber

  12. When she says “the entire Republican Party,” she’s not referring to each and every registered Republican. She’s talking about official apparatus and operatives. She’s talking about the organization.

    I know Sara. I assure you, she’s not besmirching all registered GOPpers. So maybe this is the disconnect. I tend to buy her take on the organization, but would not apply it to each individual member.

  13. It seems the left is busy telling us the right is hurtling us towards fascism while the right is busily telling us the left is hurtling us towards socialism.