Why no scare of becoming fascist?

Wing nuts root for the Detroit Red Wings. Fascists root for the neo con wing of the Repub party. The wing that has ascended to the controlling faction for the last 8 years. Fascism used to have 2 prongs. Controlling the government through military adventures and blending the government and corporations. They have added control of the media to the mix. I worry about our future. War profiteers have won the day . Even though the majority want us out of Iraq ,we stay. The will of the people is being thwarted by the powerful.

Lewis shout out! Yay!

Possibility of It Happening Here! Boo!

Actually, I think John Oliver on The Daily Show last night had a better take on it: “They tell you everybody can be famous for 15 minutes. What they don’t tell you is that 12 of those minutes are a rectal exam. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some garbage to rummage through.”

Thanks! I needed a laugh! :smiley:

Every day I see fundamental liberties losing traction. Laws have been passed which give the executive branch rather sweeping power. We increase law enforcement presence everywhere. What separates America from a fascist state is, ultimately, will to not be a fascist state. All the tools are in place, right now, for it to happen, under the guise of fighting moonshine production, stopping people from hoarding too many weapons, the war on drugs, and terrorism. I’m not saying society has no interest in these things, in whole or in part, I’m just saying: the tools are already in place.

Incidentally, some fellow wingnuts and I are quite concerned about it. But, we’re nuts. So it doesn’t matter that when the computers run the show, you’ll have lost the Fourth Amendment (Kyllo v US), that dogs don’t search (Illinois v Caballes), that the government can violate the Fourth Amendment as long as it was the courts that made the error (US v Leon), that the First Amendment applies so long as you’re not criticizing the president where he doesn’t want you to be (free speech zones), that giving the police your name isn’t protected, that you have no expectation of privacy on telephones, that the police can ask for a non-seizure, delayed-notification warrant just to get evidence to get a regular warrant, that we track immigrant movement for decades… none of it matters, because we’re nuts.

Also, we don’t have to quarter troops in our homes. That one is still strong. Don’t worry.

Elaborate, please.

The point is that claiming the Dixie Chicks were victims of fascism is absurdly overblown rhetoric.

By the standards of Robert Paxton’s definition quoted in post #9 (which, BTW, having read this book, I find doubtful in some respects, or at least highly incomplete), what happened to the Dixie Chicks was at least the result of widespread attitudes with fascist tendencies.

Whereas, and OTOH, the piranha-like media dissection of Joe the Plumber’s life now ongoing has nothing whatsoever to do with widespread attitudes with Stalinist tendencies.

Can we get one thing straight?

Socialism is not Communism,not even the slippery slope to Communism.

Britain has universal health care and an extensive state welfare system.
But it also has a multi party,liberal democracy with a universal secret ballot,guaranteed freedom of speech and a MONARCH as head of state(Not many Communist countrys have that that I know of)

Also we have the I believe,fourth most powerful economy in the world,are one of the worlds major capitalist financial centres,is a leading member of N.AT.O. and one of Americas closest,if not THE closest ally.

The British armed forces were first in to fight alongside the U.S. in both Gulf wars and are even now fighting and dying alongside Americans in Iraq and Afghan.
At one time or other most of the countrys of Europe(who are also N.A.T.O. members) have been Socialist ,and I admit that I’m guesing here but I wouldn’t be stunned with amazement if Oz. and N.Z. have been and they too are American allies who haven’t slipped into communism.

So what is all this peurile scaremongering going on in the U.S. about?
It seems bizarre to say the least.

It’s a Cold War holdover. More ancient than the Cold War, actually. The paranoid irrationality and seething rage of the American far right goes back in a continuous lineage at least to the New Deal, if not to the 1920s Red Scare. In fact, you’ll find moral outrage at early small-c communist politics in some of the Gilded Age political cartoons of Thomas Nast. And a lot in the original Little Orphan Annie strips, where Daddy Warbucks referred to FDR only as “That man!”, and committed suicide (apparently) after FDR’s 1936 re-election. (Warbucks was brought back later.) Cartoonist Harold Gray portrayed even labor organizers as shaggy, skulking, foreign-born, opportunistic mountebanks and threats to society.

It’s really hard for Americans younger than the Baby Boomers to understand how fierce the whole thing once was. Back in the '50s and '60s the John Birch Society (see this recent thread) was actually a significant political force in America; and these were people who thought Eisenhower was a crypto-Communist. It didn’t help that there actually were undergound Communists in the State Department, etc., not long before that. After WWII, many American Communists followed Stalin’s directive to hide their political identity and work their way into the system, in government and business and labor unions, where they were for the most part so successful that they got caught up in their careers and lost interest in being Communists entirely; in any case, practically all Communists in the federal government had been identified and purged by the Truman Administration long before McCarthy decided to make a political issue out of it. You can read much of the story in It Didn’t Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, by Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks. You can get some of the flavor of right-wing politics of the period from Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, by Rick Perlstein. And I think most of us are old enough to remember the Reagan years, when the idea that the Sandinistas of Nicaragua were a security threat to America actually seemed plausible to many who hailed, “Oliver North, American hero!”

I also recommend Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, also by Perlstein (interesting review here; The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge; and The World Turned Right Side Up: A History of the Conservative Ascendancy in America, by Godfrey Hodgson.

A good case can be made that the path to fascism goes through the left.

Read Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg


Most libertarian/conservatives will point out the extreme statist aspects of the worst regimes in history: Communist China, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, current North Korea, etc.

And the smaller government, more libertarian governments always seem to do better:


If you’re sincerely against fascism, at least consider glancing at the above links.

I want to second Plan B’s recommendations and also point out that plenty of people are scared of the U.S. becoming fascist. This very thread proves it. But you agree with them and not with the people calling Democrats socialist, so they don’t stick out as much.

Vox Imperatoris

This is not a serious work. It’s a piece of polemical popcorn, driven by a comic book hero version of intellectual history, as Scott Horton’s devastating review points out.

You have a point, but it doesn’t fully explain what the OP was asking about. Concerns about socialism in the US are much more widely and openly expressed, and conveyed in more mainstream media, than concerns about fascism. For example, McCain has openly called some of Obama’s proposed policies “socialist”, which factually speaking is nonsense. While they may be somewhat more socialist than current policies, they certainly aren’t about to turn the US into a genuinely socialist country.

The corresponding arguments on the other side would never be tolerated, even though they are true to the same extent. Obama would be just as justified in calling McCain’s military policy “fascist” as McCain is in calling Obama’s tax policy “socialist”. McCain’s “victory at any cost” rhetoric about Iraq, for example, being the textbook “nationalist militant” attitude described in the description of fascism, is certainly somewhat more fascist than Obama’s counterpart. But of course, it certainly isn’t about to turn the US into a genuinely fascist country.

The difference is that the word “socialism” has been severely “defined down” for rhetorical purposes, to the extent that a conservative can use it essentially to mean just “government program”. But “fascism” hasn’t been similarly defined down to mean just “aggressive nationalism”, which is why McCain can get away with calling Obama’s policies socialist but Obama couldn’t get away with calling McCain’s fascist.

Yeah, I would agree with that as a matter of the current state of US political discourse and in consideration of what you can get away with. But I’m also comfortable thinking, that going by Obama’s restraint on the campaign trail, and his tendency to be thoughtful, professorial and to show forbearance to his harshest critics, I think that he also refuses to use the term fascist because it is inflammatory and unhelpful, even if his opponents are prepared to lower themselves down to that level.

Personally, I think nomenclature in history, political economy and political philosophy is important enough to be worth preserving. This terminology isn’t just a matter of opinion, as we have an exhaustive array of rich literature concerning these subjects which we can consult in order to preserve some degree of precision and intellectual honesty. So, I think we really ought to do that – and especially because there are actually real regimes and periods in history which are associated with the terms, which have been tied to incredible amounts of human suffering and misery.

For that reason, using the terms carelessly and imprecisely shows a degree of immaturity which I find pretty unpersuasive and revealing.

I’ve provided a definition of fascism above which is a sound one. A careful review of the definition shows that even the most odious neo-conservatives are NOT fascists, though we may spot certain loose similarities about their pugnacious forms of nationalism, and certain forms of thinking, whatever. At the end of the day, it isn’t a fascist movement unbound by liberties, which “pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.” That is very important.

For me, the use of socialism is the same, if not more different. Speaking plainly, socialism means nothing less than the collectivisation of the means of the production by the government in the name of the working class. It means aggressive expropriation of foreign owned businesses and capital. It means totalitarian government. It means a command and control economy. Now we can quibble about self-identifying socialist movements which have moderated these positions to various degrees - but that is the kernel of what socialism is about. That is the tyranny as concerns individuals in non-free markets.

The point is, none of those things are even remotely part of the Obama’s policies or worldview, or that of the Democratic Party. People who can’t concede this point, at the end of the day, probably aren’t worth discussing with because they are inherently unserious commentators, just like those trying to tag Bush with the term fascism.

And why does what Bush has done and tried to do not qualify ?

As far as I can tell, Bush is indeed a fascist; just an incompetent one. He threw too much of his political capital into a disastrous war, and neglected the efforts at home to establish the “permanent Republican majority” that they intended to lock down. He and his friends merged government and corporations like the typical fascist ( IIRC, that was even pretty much Mussolini’s definition of the word ), concentrated more and more power in the executive, hacked away at civil rights, engaged in a war of conquest complete with torture, and in general did all the things you’d expect of a fascist. They just neglected the home front in favor of Iraq, and it all slipped away from them.

He and his people DID lay a lot of the groundwork for a future full up fascist state, however.

Fascism is a left-wing ideology. Just ask any right wing ideologue. :wink:

Sorry but thats total nonsense,Fascism comes about through extreme nationalism,often but not always accompanied by racism with the attitude of the "End justifies the means"ie. being prepared to drop certain basic human rights to further “The cause”.

The extreme left in the U.S.A. and other western countries(Often witting or unwitting agents of influence for the now defunct Soviet Union)DID help to smooth the road to Fascism by crying wolf too often about perfectly acceptable parts of the democratic institution.

Calling police officers,servicemen or politicians whos views are even slightly to the right of center Fascists, have often caused ordinary members of the electorate to turn a deaf ear when GENUINE fascists have been pointed out.

America does have a fair number of fascists amongst its population and I’m not talking about just the overt Hitler admirers and the people parading in uniforms but the militias,the so called survivalists and a large number of people who do not believe that they hold Fascist beliefs, who are in fact proud that family members fought Hitler and think of themselves as patriotic Americans but whos values when given close scrutiny are genuinlly extreme right wing.

People who strongly believe in American democracy and who would be prepared to take direct action outside of the law with their own privately held firearms to hold up that democracy against those groups ethnic or political whos views they believe to be unAmerican.

Dont get me wrong,I’m not including normal patriotic people here who love their country.
As to your point that small government is good government, I’m afraid that that to is specious.
By American standards Britain and all members of the European Union have extremly big government but I would defy you to say that the U.S.is more free then us or that we are more likely to slide into a totalatarian government.
In fact I would say very strongly that the reverse is true.

Freedom to starve is no freedom at all and leads to a much greater crime rate,add the "right"to own guns to that and it not only means a higher crime rate but a higher murder and serious injuries inclusive, crime rate.
The increased chances of being a victim of crime correspondingly restricts the average persons freedom of movement and actions and also places an increased financial burden on them.

ie.Its not a good idea to leave your house at this time of night because theres a good chance of being burgled…

Dont go into that area on your own for fear of mugging/sexual assault.

You cant leave your car unattended here,here or here.

Higher crime means higher cost of policing,insurance and physical protective equipment(Locks,Alarms,immobilisers etc.)

Small government is usually selfish government,also lazy and inefficient government.
The Third world has some of the smallest governing on Earth but I’ll bet you wouldn’t want to live in their countries.

Telling a poor man who you’ve deprived of nearly everything that he’s free doesn’t mean that he IS free,even if he believes you.