|10 Nov 2004 @ 03:22, by D|
Photo: Laura Bush (Republican Convention, 2004). "Even as her husband courted social conservatives, Laura Bush lulled moderate voters into believing that the White House is not really in the clutches of the extreme right. The First Lady, as well as the women appointed to the inner circle of the President's Cabinet and sub-Cabinet, provide an alternative facade. They are cast as harmless, moderate, irrelevant or benign, and their well-spun image taps into familiar stereotypes."
Right wing political ideologies, including some of the most extreme or unfamous ones, like Mussolini's Italy or Franco’s Spain, have all always been keen on including "family values," (the gentle face of fascism) in their political programs.
During World War II German occupation of France, the moto of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" was replaced on the Nazzi’s puppet Vichy regime's new coins with the phrase, "Work, Family, Fatherland."
Today, these lightweight aluminum coins are fascinating reminders that the ideal right wing ideological family structure for breeding "values" and "traditions" is a strictly authoritarian family, in which children are brought up with a "natural" respect for the father and, as they grow older, unquestioningly extend their respect and obedience to other authorities in society as well as pass the ideology on to their children.
In "Fascism and Reality, a Reprise"—an analysis of fascism, directly inspired by Wilhelm Reich's "Mass Psychology of Fascism"—Gregory Wonderwheel suggests that:
"Fascism is a mental orientation to the world that has its roots in the mind, not in economics. The power that fascists seek is both economic and raw physical control, but the need for that power is based in the emotional disease of the fascist who has been taught to have a truly twisted relationship with his or her own being in the world."
This is Gregory Wonderwheel’s check list for Fascism — simply ask these questions, he says, and, according to him if your society (in any place or time) answers 7 or more "yes", then your society has a critical mass of individual fascists to have become a fascist society:
1) Does the "Masculine" principle dominate?
2) Is the Feminine principle only sentimentally revered without true equality?
3) Are "Family values" used as a propaganda tool to reinforce absolute hierarchy within the society?
4) Is there a class structure that dehumanizes the servant and subservient classes or deifies the ruling class?
5) Is a military or a warrior class in top control in society with militarism used as a paradigm for problem-solving?
6) Is nature viewed as an enemy or commodity with natural sexuality viewed as sinful?
7) Does "salvation" (the answers to ultimate questions) come from outside rather than from within, from the group rather than the individual?
8) Is form preferred over substance, slogan over content, symbol or sign over acts expressing the values the symbol represents?
9) Is "patriotism" to one's race or nation used to cement class structure and power within the lower classes subjected to that power?
10) Is religion used as a tool of the State to homogenize and control opposition?
Gregory Wonderwheel submits that the answers are "yes" to all 10 questions when looking at the United States of America. What is confusing, he claims, is that the USA is apparently a pluralist society, which doesn't have the expected uniformity of fascism.
According to him, the pluralism of the USA is tolerated in the lower (both middle and poverty) classes only so long as they do not challenge the overall class in control of the political-economic power system. He suggests that one needs only to look at the make up of the Congress of the USA to see the expected uniformity of the ruling class.
Here is the author's take on the questions above with regard to the USA:
1) Dominance of the Masculine principle in obedience to "the Father." Read: either the Fuhrer or God-the-father. The USA has never had a female president. The Senate is overwhelmingly male dominated. There is dominance of males as CEOs of the major corporations. The dominance of the masculine principle is really too obvious to deny.
2) Sentimental (i.e., pseudo) reverences for "Mother." I.e., Mom and apple pie and "don't insult my mother," but we refuse to help homeless mothers in any dignified way. Keep mother's restricted to the home and kitchen while idealizing them on unreachable pedestals, while exploiting other "women" as whores or servants (i.e., class "trailer trash."). While there are women in the Senate, they are usually masculinized. Feminization of poverty is no joke.
3) "Family values" are used as a propaganda and brainwashing devise to reinforce absolute Hierarchy within the society.
Within the family father is boss, within the society the father of the State is boss, within the universe God-the-father is boss. Society and its sub-groups are "family" to its members and this is used to oppress criticism of "the family."
Good children don't criticize their parents in time of family crisis so family crises are created when criticism gets too loud. This is clearly seen when the President starts a military action and it is a taboo to criticize the President's actions or motivations.
4) The class structure of the USA dehumanizes the servant and subservient classes. Americans of non-European ancestry are ghettoized with every well known dehumanizing epithet and those of European ancestry are "trailer trash." The ruling class is deified, perhaps not as literally as a "chosen people" or "master race" but in the vestiges of "manifest destiny" used to justify their actions as God-given and pre-ordained. God is definitely on the side of the ruling class in the USA and the powerful are not embarrassed to let others know it. Pandering to the Christian Right by George W. Bush is only the most recent example.
5) Militarism is the dominant theme and a warrior class is in top control in the USA. We have our Military-industrial complex both psychologically and economically. Does anyone believe that the military solution is not preferred when we can get away with it?
6) Anti-sexuality prevails in the USA. Sex in its natural settings and expressions in love are taboo, but exploitation of sexuality in its commercial settings from pornography to advertising are rampant—e.g., sell anything and everything with sex but lose your job as the country's chief doctor for daring to mention natural masturbation. Our dominant religion, Christianity in its dominant forms, is anti-nature and sees the natural world as dominated by the Devil, and to be exploited and transcended.
7) The Aztecs had their externalization of "Salvation" to come from a "feathered serpent from across the waters." Christianity in the USA has its "savior or messiah from the clouds" and denigrates the notion that "heaven is within" and salvation comes from being one with the earth, nature, and the universe. Mass religion and group doctrine prevail over spirituality and individual inspiration.
8) The USA has made the exaltation of form over substance into a fine art and ultimate religion. Symbols are given supremacy over ideas. Words and speech that challenge the ruling polarities are condemned and driven out. Example: John McCain is endorsed by people who haven't a clue what he stands for because of a media-created "perception" that he is a man of "integrity", while what he does stand for is a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning and holds it is better to pledge allegiance to a flag than to defend the meaning of the constitution for which the flag stands. The powerful give the masses jingles and slogans in elections and advertising rather than actual ideas, commitment, or consideration of the complexities of reality.
9) Racism is used in the USA to cement class structure within the "nation" State. A hierarchy of races is created in the "family of man" like the hierarchy of the family: the ignorant children races, the weak feminine races ["girly men"], and the wise strong masculine master race. Thus even the females of the master race can metaphorically participate in the mythic masculinity of the master race and look down on the lower races and their feminine weaknesses. Of course racism is always a sham used for control. A perfect example was shown in the photos of the short, slightly built, and dark-haired Hitler standing next to the great Aryan sculptures of muscled blond Nordic heroes.
In the USA we have a converse example: civil rights "leaders" like Mary F. Berry who advocate only for "equal opportunity" that does not upset the class structure. These "civil rights" leaders are assimilated into the system of "equal opportunity..." They "make it" in the system as reflected by their government appointments and endorsements of the status quo. However, Martin Luther King Jr., the true paradigm of an honest civil rights leader, became a dangerous radical and was assassinated when he changed the focus of his orientation from a narrowly defined "equal opportunity" to the broad goals of ending poverty, ending the Vietnam War, and ending exploitation of all peoples regardless of their color.
Malcolm X is another example of a civil rights leader who changed his orientation from race separatism to universal humanity and was shortly thereafter eliminated.
10) Religion in the USA is used as a tool of the State to homogenize and control. Tribal nature religion, which recognizes people's diversity in their totem identities, is not fascist; while our "civilized" religions, which condemn heathens, infidels, and heretics to eternal damnation, is fascistic. Historically, from witch-hunts to the communist red scare, we have used pseudo-religious crusades to focus on the "enemy" both outside the boundaries and within the society and cement the ruling class in power. Such holy war is used to create societal unanimity in times of relative peace, which would otherwise breed acceptance of diversity. Religion is used in the war on human rights of homosexuals, when it is indisputable that homosexuality is natural in a certain minority percentage of any mammalian population. Religion is used in conjunction with militarism and each of the other symptoms of fascism.
Hmmm... a lot of interesting points here. I don't agree 100% with all of it, and unlike the author I do not want to believe that the US is ripe for fascism just as yet, but certainly some of the arguments bear close scrutiny. To be sure, a great deal of disturbing trends over the past few years and the dynamic of the 2000 and 2004 presidential election have been providing a growing ground for concern. On the "plus" side, I want to see the recent decision of District Judge James Robertson, on Monday, who just ruled that Guantanamo Pentagon tribunals are unlawful under US and international law, as a victory for Due Process and a sign that hopefully some things are still working in the fragile balance of powers set in place by the Founding Fathers.
11 Nov 2004 @ 01:09 by : Family Values
Saw this article over at the SmirkingChimp Evangelicals are crediting God with securing re-election victory for Bush and yes it is as scary as it sounds.
Check out Family Research Council and www.family.org both of which are up in arms because Senator Spector, the Republican Pennsylvania senator said last week that judicial nominees who oppose abortion would face difficulty getting Senate confirmation.
Damn, about the only the only thing worse than a bully, is a whole mob of them.
15 Nov 2004 @ 19:24 by : Checklist for Fascism
Thank you for your thoughtful article on Fascism and how "family values" has been used throughout history to promote their sick ideologies. It is frightening for me to see and experience how the right wing zealots have taken over our country and while using family values to promote their candidates. Seems religious values work very well for those who are not aware of themselves or depend upon their religious and political leaders to define their life and relationships. We are certainly living in a sick society.
16 Nov 2004 @ 03:40 by Faith @188.8.131.52 : The hand that rocks the cradle...
While there has been much talk and justified concern (by the Media's own admission) about the influence of the Media as a gullible or complicit carrier of government political propaganda, little has been said about the influence of Pastors and Sunday School teachers.
Together all over the nation, and under the influence of the Christian Coalition, they have been preaching a same heavily slanted message that is a strange mix of religion and politics which violates the very scriptural truths that they claim to espouse.
Like the Evangelist of our times, the Pharisees of Jesus' day had a handle on family life, spiritual life, tithing etc. Yet they were the most violent accusers of Christ. Those that often speak of family and moral values, have now seized the reigns of this new political constituency, and are playing the same hardball tactics that they denounce in seasoned worldly politicians (the one they disagree with politically only) and have become intoxicated with their own self importance and power. They are demanding "purity", but their brand of purity excuses actions and motives that are impure and deceitful in nature.
Have churches (mostly white churches) around the country and their brand of morality which winks at the politically favorable lie become a political propaganda arm of the GOP? Churches that preach to despises those who don't support their core agenda? Churches that proclaim that the GOP alone carries the banner of "righteousness"?
"But so and so is a Pastor or a Sunday School teacher," people say, "certainly he would not have politics as his motivation!"
I ask the question, then:
When do Pastors and Sunday School teachers betray Christianity and become a vehicle for right-wing political propaganda? When does one use and abuse one's spiritual office or position to politically brainwash families who trust them, children who are thought to go to church on Sunday and look up to them?
- When one overlooks or excuses lies in a friendly political icon, but carries a microscope in search of inconsistency in a political foe.
- When one hides behind the word "Christian" to justify a stone throwing indignation and acts from a heart bent on character assassination and political innuendo.
- When one throws stones from a glass house, and has no problem with doing so, because "the end justifies the means."
- When one calls for a Christian nation to emerge and expects that this "kingdom" WILL be of this world, "a Christian Nation," in structure or nature rather than of the spirit and through the spirit.
- When one seeks to establish that "Christian nation" through law rather than through love.
- When one mindlessly follows Christian media moguls and the conservative right's, highly slanted, voting guides without examining the record with honesty and caution.
- When one pays lip service to the biblical command to pray for the political icons they support in high office, while spending at the same time far more energy in personal attacks and insinuations against those they demonize.
This is inherently dishonest, and furthermore it creates a false role model for Christians all over to follow.
Rather than giving Christ and his ideals of grace and forgiveness the proper reverance most Christians give him, the Christian Coalition has chosen instead to make an idol of its personal ideologies and double-standard political agenda and holds it up for all to follow.
They ask Christian believers to accept their positions on issues ranging from women's rights to abortion (which is not mentioned in the Bible) to homosexuality as being directly from God even though many Bible scholars and many Christians do not agree. They have been using those issues to conquer and divide rather than hold up the life of Christ as the Christian model of good.
Rather than present themselves as FELLOW TRAVELERS who also struggle and fight and interpret their way through the Faith, they instead present themselves, and their one-sided personal biblical interpretations, as the model of true faith.
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