Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

July 10, 2013

I wasn’t raised to tolerate fascists.

Filed under: Uncategorized — paragardener @ 6:49 pm

I was raised to tolerate other people’s ways and beliefs. Gay? Four wives? Believe that the mountains and lakes were created by the prankish adventures of a primal coyote? No problem.
Some people hold some pretty destructive beliefs, such as the world’s genital mutilators. Assuming that Americans were able to quit slicing on baby boys and take the moral high ground, I suppose we could send our armed forces around Africa and Arabia and lock up all of the older women who perpetuate the tradition, and shoot all the imams who preach nonsense about the clitoris, and impose new laws on all the nations. That would be a stunningly arrogant and costly approach. It’s better to extend a limited, first-do-no-harm form of tolerance.
One thing I was taught never to tolerate is fascism. Fascists are people turned monstrous, who take over governments and turn them to evil purposes, such as exterminating the Jews. They must be stopped, absolutely and in all circumstances.
Identifying fascists is like diagnosing a mental illness. The patient must be over the age of 14 and display four or more of the following symptoms:

-loyalty to nation placed above all other duties
-champions a rising elite
-believes in using brute force to crush opponents (of various ethnic, denominational, and ideological categories)
-overt favoritism for the Military-Industrial Complex and belligerent militarism.
-accepts or perpetrates fabricated threats from weaker nations
-accepts the curtailment of civil rights

This definition of “fascist” was derived from Michael Newton’s “Encyclopedia of Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories,” but you can craft your own list of identifiers from the many definitions offered on Wikipedia or elsewhere. I might add “support for corporate-government joint management of the economy” to the list. Whichever symptoms are core to your idea of fascism, compare them to the behavior of the American-Anglo “globalist” leadership.
Point by point: Since the nation is supposedly global, it represents all of humanity, and nothing could be more important than loyalty to it. “We Are the World.” On the other hand, old-fashioned jingoist flag-bumper-sticker nationalism is still appropriate during start-of-a-war pep rally time. I find our leadership confused on this point, so I will score them “negative” on this point.
The next question is, does the leadership support a rising elite? The answer is a clear “yes,” with a rising inequality of wealth even amongst the wealthiest 1%, the stocking of the White House with financiers, and the imposition of financier “technocrats” on peripheral nations.
The question of brute force can be answered with a resounding “yes.” Every police department in the USA seems to be purchasing a tank and military-style armor for their troops, and I understand that the UK is under some harsh riot-control tactics itself. They are being trained that “extremists” are enemies, but extremists are sometimes construed to include groups as broad as the militia and patriot movements, anarchists, even Catholics and Ultra-Orthodox Jews. I can tell you with 100% confidence, as an occasional demonstater and protestor, when the police are treating you as the one they’re serving and protecting, they can be really friendly and helpful. But when they see you as the enemy, they are motherfuckers, and as a group they are willing to bully, beat and torture. We need to focus on people’s actions and real violence, and not frame Islam or redneck culture or what-have-you as the enemy… that way is sure to erupt into serious violence.
Belligerent militarism, Military-Industrial Complex? Check that box for the reason of your choice — sporadic robotic missile attacks on friendly nations, rattling sabres at Iran, the scale of the military in proportion to all other government projects combined…
The US and UK (and NATO, and…) most clearly accepted a fabricated threat by going to war over an alleged Osams bin Laden – Iraq connection and Saddam Hussein’s magical disappearing Weapons of Mass Destruction. As for false flag attacks, I can do no justice here to any particular case, but submit to you that in general the terrorists seem to come from within allied nations or the ranks of last decade’s beloved freedom fighters.
This brings us to the next point of our diagnosis, the curtailment of civil rights. Civil rights are regularly being rolled back to make way for the War on Drugs. Privacy has not been protected through the transition into a Digital Age. My city is holding an election for its formal government while it is actually being run by a dictator appointed by the State, so where does that leave my right to vote?
Finally, we come to the matter of the corporatist economy… intellectual property rights extended to seed and perpetual copyright? Loans of free money to too-big-to-prosecute banks? Modernized food safety standards in the face of trans fat and GMO? Check.
Our shitty globalist empire thus displays 6 of 7 fascist symptoms, or thereabouts, subject to your own definition of fascism and your own analysis. This means that the Tories and Labour and Fox News and CNN and MSNBC and Jon Stewart are basically all upholding fascism, or they would lose their mainstream credentials and access. It is everywhere, in every person who takes on a mainstream stance. And it is the one thing I was not raised to tolerate.
I cannot unsee the fascism all around me. Now I am in a position a bit like the hardcore Christian who sees wicked Hellbound sinners everywhere. How can I learn to tolerate fascists without accomadating fascism?



  1. You should definitely read Robert O. Paxton’s The Anatomy of Fascism. You will be even more convinced that that’s where we are today.

    A couple of comments: civil rights are not only be rolled back to make way for the War on Drugs, but also against voting rights (see: recent Supreme Court ruling re; Voting Rights Act). I am really frightened by the brute force thing as police departments use SWAT teams even to arrest kids for underage drinking. The cops now are a paramilitary arm of a no-tolerance government. This has been going on for a while but in the past few years has gotten deadly and is completely unlawful under the Constitution … which nobody in power pays any attention to any more.

    I’m aware of what your question alludes to: tolerating fascists means tolerating the likes of Obama and all the power elites. I must tell you that I am sickened by the shit he’s done. I had hoped he wouldn’t. What a naif! I don’t know how to escape the trap, exactly, and yet we have to work toward it.

    I know you are accusing your parents of the most odoriferous hypocrisy. I get that.

    I just don’t know what to do.

    Comment by estraven — July 10, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

    • At least you and Dad are unenthusiastic about fascism! But no more deluding ourselves that we will ever be allowed to vote in a different order.

      Comment by paragardener — July 12, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

      • That must be the most egregious example possible of the phrase “damning with faint praise”: “At least you and Dad are unenthusiastic about fascism.” To quote Shakespeare, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”


        And by the way, I don’t think fascism is “the one thing” you were raised not to tolerate. I think you were raised not to tolerate a lot of other morally objectionable things, too.

        Comment by estraven — July 13, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

  2. The movies, news media, rock music, even the school system trained me against fascism. Simultaneously they support it, exemplifying the Orwellian trait of blackwhite thinking. By never identifying with Democrats or Move On (or their conservative equivalents,) by never getting emotionally involved in electoral or lobbying contests between 2 fascists, you can stand apart from fascism. Or you could accept a version of reality thinner than the Buffyverse (with far less heart.) Pointing out how things stand is nothing I will feel guilty about — I never made anyone support a fascist.

    Comment by paragardener — July 16, 2013 @ 2:35 am

    • And I did?

      Comment by estraven — July 16, 2013 @ 4:12 pm

      • If you feel that I was accusing you of hypocrisy with this post, you would seem to identify as one of the upholders of fascism. That’s your issue… I was not pointing my finger at anybody except for the Empire itself (and for some reason Jon Stewart).

        Comment by paragardener — August 6, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

  3. Sorry, it’s not logical to equate my feeling that you accused me of hypocrisy with my identifying as one of the upholders of fascism. The one does not logically lead to the other. Besides, it was crystal clear what you were implying. Also, you know the history of my quoting that particular Shakespeare line–I’ve used it sardonically, humorously, over the years many times. But to say that we are at best “unenthusiastic” about fascism is really not fair to us. And to say you were not pointing the finger at us is disingenuous at best.

    Comment by estraven — August 6, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

  4. Wtf? Where is this accusation that is so blatantly obvious that I am a disingenuous fibber for missing it?

    Comment by paragardener — August 6, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

    • To say we are “unenthusiastic” about fascism is disingenuous. You know we are AGAINST fascism, not “unenthusiastic” about it. That implies we are apathetic and don’t give a damn. It implies we would be, like, “meh” about Hitler taking over. “Oh well, whatever. I’m not for it, really. I just can’t get all worked up about supporting it somehow, but I also can’t get enthusiastic about being against it.” You may interpret our politics as supporting fascism, but we’re a long way from that. You can be as ideologically pure as you want, that’s fine, but it’s not fair to call people who aren’t as “pure” as you merely unenthusiastic about fascism. I wrote blog posts about creeping fascism years ago. Think I like the police state we have now? I said earlier in these comments that I don’t know what to do. Not voting at all seems unfair to, say, people who will benefit from the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, Obama’s creepy surveillance state is unacceptable. Libertarians? PLEASE. In the real world you sometimes have to make a choice between a bad thing and a worse thing. And right now, I know the GOP is the worse thing. But I also know that the entire political establishment is dirty, greedy, corrupt, and despicable, and that they’ve been busy establishing a police state and slouching toward fascism. I’ve seen it coming for years. I am just not sure that completely dropping out is the way to go. But I don’t deserve to be called merely “unenthusiastic” about fascism because I still vote.

      Comment by estraven — August 6, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

      • I really just wanted to ask the question about getting along in a fascist habitat. Seems like you understand my quandary and have answered the question from the end of my post… but while I am willing to consider tolerating Fascists, I’m totally not willing to support their agenda as it runs for office or any other way.

        Comment by paragardener — August 29, 2013 @ 4:25 am

      • Possibly it comes down to defining “tolerate.” I think we need to resist whatever way our capacities allow us to and to speak out against it. I think I took what you said the wrong way.

        Comment by estraven — August 29, 2013 @ 9:35 am

      • Resisting as our capacities allow us — that’s what politics is all about, for the non-psychopath who knows what’s going on. Like, “how can I resist, given my capacities” would be the best question anyone could ask.

        Comment by paragardener — August 31, 2013 @ 5:40 am

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