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The Right Wing and Facism
seeker
Since Kowboy demonstrated he is not all that familiar with fascism I thought I'd use the opportunity to put out some definitions and set the record straight as to exactly what we are really talking about when we use the term fascism.

The Political Research Associates defines fascism in the following way:

Roger Griffin, an influential scholar of generic fascism, argues that "fascism is best defined as a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the `people' into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence."4

There are other common components of fascism, including an exclusionary form of ethnonationalism that narrowly defines who the real "people" or Volk are; the idea of the primary importance of the homogenous whole (Integralism); and the diminution of the importance of the individual in a society ruled by leaders who metaphysically represent the will of the people (Organicism). These factors create a drive for totalitarian control in fascist movements and states. Totalitarian movements and governments insist on intruding into and controlling every aspect of a person's life-public or private-political, social, or cultural. Totalitarianism is a term that still has analytical value despite its frequent misuse to bash the Left. Most notorious was Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 1981-1985, who promulgated a theory that communist governments were totalitarian and could never be reformed, but brutal right-wing dictatorships were merely authoritarian and thus could be reformed through alliances with the United States. While this misrepresented the work of Hannah Arendt in her definitive book The Origins of Totalitarianism, it also suffered from a certain lack of historical accuracy when communism collapsed in Europe.5


All one need do is think about Sarah Palin's bizarre references to the 'real' America or conservatism's slavish devotion to small business owners as the 'elite group who will save the country by creating jobs' to see the obvious direction conservatism in the US is going. The right-wing emphasis on 'family values' along with their demonization of homosexuality, abortion, liberalism, atheism etc are clearly the sort of attempts to define a mythical 'real America' that one would expect from a proto-totalitarian regime along with the promotion of Christian Nationalism.

Mathew Lyons of Political Research Associates notes the following:

Fascism's approach to politics is both populist--in that it seeks to activate "the people" as a whole against perceived oppressors or enemies--and elitist--in that it treats the people's will as embodied in a select group, or often one supreme leader, from whom authority proceeds downward. Fascism seeks to organize a cadre-led mass movement in a drive to seize state power. It seeks to forcibly subordinate all spheres of society to its ideological vision of organic community, usually through a totalitarian state. Both as a movement and a regime, fascism uses mass organizations as a system of integration and control, and uses organized violence to suppress opposition, although the scale of violence varies widely.

Fascism is hostile to Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism, yet it borrows concepts and practices from all three. Fascism rejects the principles of class struggle and workers' internationalism as threats to national or racial unity, yet it often exploits real grievances against capitalists and landowners through ethnic scapegoating or radical-sounding conspiracy theories. Fascism rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights, political pluralism, and representative government, yet it advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use parliamentary channels in its drive to power. Its vision of a "new order" clashes with the conservative attachment to tradition-based institutions and hierarchies, yet fascism often romanticizes the past as inspiration for national rebirth.


The Republican attempts to paint the Federal Government as an oppressor, its outright hostility to any but its own ideology and its setting up of a cultural elite as a mythical savior for the country is as pure a demonstration of Mr Lyon's points as one could want.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
catman
A truly excellent exposition, seeker. Kudos!
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
seeker
Thanks catman, there is more to come. If you are interested here is a great article about the relationship between the corporatism Republicans are pushing these days and fascism.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Doubting Thomas
I would say that an alternative definition of fascism which pertains to most fundamentalist Christians (read right-wing Republicans) is an adherence to a certain set of ideals, fanatical defense of such ideals, total aversion and hatred of any ideals in opposition to their own, and belief that everyone should totally subscribe to and blindly follow their ideals while abhorring those who do not.

What gets me about the whole Tea Party movement is that they claim they want to "take back America," which basically means a retrogression to a 1950's-style conservative utopia where everyone goes to church on Sunday mornings, nobody is gay, nobody has premarital sex, and each family consists of a father, mother, and a couple dozen kids. The problem is that they want to "take back" what never belonged to them in the first place since the country has never really been like that. But I have no doubt that if they really were able to take power and establish their theocracy, they'd need fascism to do it.
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
 
catman
seeker: I read the link. Interesting material, if a bit dry in places. I had to smile a little when I saw the phrase "interest group liberalism"! The old labor unions are left completely powerless under such arrangements. In times of crisis, workers will put up with more simply in order to be employed.

DT: Right you are. The old 1950s utopia only existed for a quite small percentage of the population. The Tea Party movement scares me, as it should any nonconformist and true lover of pluralism. The over-the-top rowdiness of these allegedly "spontaneous" demonstrators bring to mind the SA (Sturmabteilung) "Brownshirts". If you ain't with us, you're agin us.
Edited by catman on 11/21/2010 02:03
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
JohnH
I was born in 1946 so obviously I was a child in the 50's. My family and most of my neighbors did not go to church with any regularity. I will admit I was sent to sunday school, at my mothers insistence, until I rebelled vehemently circa 1960. My mother who rarely attended church was, I think, somewhat compromised by her own lack of attendance. The 50's may have been the heyday of european america but they were not the christian utopia sometimes alluded to.

The currently ascendant right wing of the american body politic does bear some relationship to the fascist movements of the 30's. I understand that, but I do not think that it will happen. I am among other things thinking of buying a rifle. I am prepared and, may as Bob of OF suggests, expect to be armed.

Americans know so little about their actual history it is disgusting.
Edited by JohnH on 11/21/2010 05:47
 
seeker
DT - That is very much the point in the first article I quoted. The whole point of republicans creating this mythological 'America of the 50's' is to ignore reality and replace it with the ideals they want to push. While, as John has pointed out, the 50's were actually one of the most secular and liberal eras in the history of the US, conservative mythology sells them as more deeply religious and more conservative.

To me the most ominous part of Fascism is corporatism. One way to think of it is by comparing Fascism to Feudalism. In Feudal societies the hierarchy descended from the Church through various Kings to a series of wealthy landowners, thus the various Earls, Barons Counts etc. Fascism replaces Church and King with Dictator and replaces the landed gentry with corporations. In both cases the hierarchy is built around the people who control resources and production of vital goods.

Per the article I quoted earlier to catman:
One who looks for information about corporatism is
frequently referred to fascism. (In the International Encyclopedia
of the Social Sciences, for example, the entry for
corporatism reads simply, “See Fascism.”) Indeed, the
corporatist ideal achieved its fullest historical expression
in Italy under Mussolini’s regime. There, workers and
employers were organized into syndicates based on local
trades and occupations. Local syndicates joined in
national federations, which were grouped into worker
and employer confederations for broad economic sectors,
such as industry, agriculture, commerce, banking,
and insurance. In 1934 the government made peak associations
part of the apparatus of state, with one corporation
for each of 22 economic sectors.The corporations
received authority to regulate economic activities, to fix
the prices of goods and services, and to mediate labor
disputes.


Now think about it. If corporations have the ultimate authority to negotiate their own labor contracts why should they bother to negotiate in any way that is fair to labor? In fact the labor force becomes very much like the peasantry in feudal societies, unable to risk losing their means of livelihood and so enslaved to their employer.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
JohnH
I think that a good case can be made for the republican party wanting a fascist/corporatist state by the way that they have tightly controlled legislative voting patterns. My youth included such legislators as Jacob Javits of New York and Mark Hatfield of Oregon. Both men defied the republican party with some regularity, Hatfield being a very consistent opponent of the Vietnam war for example. This sort of person is no longer allowed in the republican party.

Currently if one does not vote consistently as the republican party leaders dictate as many forces as possible will be brought against one. Control appears much more important than any ideological/political result.

I have to remain confident, for my own sanity, that 2 more years of simple obstructionism with out positive result will cause a similar reaction to that of the republican revolution of 1994.

None of the above should be construed to mean I support the democratic party. It is only the difference between being killed by a firing squad or being offered some valium beforehand.
Edited by JohnH on 11/22/2010 05:33
 
seeker
LOL John.

I agree that right now the choices are between a group of idiots who want to take advantage of us quickly and a group who want to do so slowly.

“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” -- Edmund Burke

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Kowboy
seeker wrote:outright hostility to any but its own ideology and its setting up of a cultural elite as a mythical savior for the country is as pure a demonstration of Mr Lyon's points as one could want.


Good one seeker, you almost had me there. When I caught the above quote "hostility to any but its own ideology" and "setting up of a cultural elite as a mythical savior" I knew you could only be talking about Democrats.

P.S.:
What specific post of mine indicated an ignorance of the definition of "fascist"? Please.
 
seeker
Really kowboy, show me where democrats have been as viciously dismissive of conservatives as republicans have been of democrats. Certainly you aren't trying to compare the very apt complaints that Bush was incompetent, which he obviously was, and the conservative charges that Obama isn't even American or that he's a terrorist.

Pointing out that some ideas simply don't work and backing that up with evidence is not hostility. Calling people 'socialist' is.

As to mythology show me where lies in the democratic party. The Republicans rely heavily on the fictional past they have made up. Once again that is not the same thing as using facts and evidence to back claims.

You're attempts to paint an equivalence between the current Republicans and Democrats is clear evidence that you don't really have a handle on the term fascist.
Edited by seeker on 11/23/2010 18:00
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Kowboy
Doubting Thomas wrote:

What gets me about the whole Tea Party movement is that they claim they want to "take back America," which basically means a retrogression to a 1950's-style conservative utopia where everyone goes to church on Sunday mornings, nobody is gay, nobody has premarital sex, and each family consists of a father, mother, and a couple dozen kids. The problem is that they want to "take back" what never belonged to them in the first place since the country has never really been like that. But I have no doubt that if they really were able to take power and establish their theocracy, they'd need fascism to do it.


Doubting Thomas:

Respectfully, you have no clue as to what the Tea Party is about. The Tea Party is about limited government. Limited government would mean minimal taxes and minimal government intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

The Tea Party movement has specificaly avoided social issues to avoid fracturing the movement. They are smart enough to realize that the only way to fight the behemoth that is now the federal government is to place divisive social issues on the back burner until we get the government down to a manageable size. My wife and I are childless by choice, I support premarital sex, support my gay friends and relatives and the Tea Party.

http://www.michig...ea-party-0

http://www.newswe...tform.html
 
Kowboy
seeker wrote:
Really kowboy, show me where democrats have been as viciously dismissive of conservatives as republicans have been of democrats. Certainly you aren't trying to compare the very apt complaints that Bush was incompetent, which he obviously was, and the conservative charges that Obama isn't even American or that he's a terrorist.

Pointing out that some ideas simply don't work and backing that up with evidence is not hostility. Calling people 'socialist' is.

As to mythology show me where lies in the democratic party. The Republicans rely heavily on the fictional past they have made up. Once again that is not the same thing as using facts and evidence to back claims.

You're attempts to paint an equivalence between the current Republicans and Democrats is clear evidence that you don't really have a handle on the term fascist.


seeker:

You offered Sarah Palin's "real America" as an example of Republicans being "viciously dismissive", but you conveniently forgot John Cheater Boy Edwards "Two Americas" speech when he was running for president in '04.

Bush was compared to Hitler by some, but unlike you I'm not going to paint my rational opponents with the words and actions of a few unrelated nut cases.

To start this thread you stated: "Since Kowboy demonstrated he is not all that familiar with fascism.." I asked you to substantiate your claim. That would mean you would have to demonstrate my lack of familiarity with Fascism BEFORE this thread began. You do not. You state that my equivalence between Republicans and Democrats, mentioned in this thread only, proves I don't have a handle on Fascism.

You can dig through the archives or you can man-up and admit that you had no basis for accusing me of being unfamiliar with Fascism.

If you are so careless with your allegations against fellow posters, are you that careless with the other claims you make?
Edited by Kowboy on 11/24/2010 11:27
 
Bob of QF
Kowboy wrote:
Respectfully, you have no clue as to what the Tea Party is about. The Tea Party is about limited government. Limited government would mean minimal taxes and minimal government intrusion into the private lives of citizens.


If only reality matched the idealistic words on their website....

... polling typical teabaggers, and you get a preponderance of racists, misogynists and christian fungelicals.

The party is too willing to overlook the more negative and loud members of the group, which spoil the whole-- at least for me, it does.

The original libertarian party was also apathetic towards religion, if not downright atheistic about it. And my favorite libertarian author L. Neil Smith is clearly an atheist, judging by his website and his many novels.

But I did not see him coming out in support of the teabaggers... that alone makes me suspicious of it.
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
Kowboy
Bob of QF wrote:

... polling typical teabaggers, and you get a preponderance of racists, misogynists and christian fungelicals.



Bob of QF:

Can you substantiate this or is this just a theory of yours we're just supposed to believe because you said so? It should be really easy to do if it were true.
 
Bob of QF
Kowboy wrote:
Bob of QF wrote:

... polling typical teabaggers, and you get a preponderance of racists, misogynists and christian fungelicals.



Bob of QF:

Can you substantiate this or is this just a theory of yours we're just supposed to believe because you said so? It should be really easy to do if it were true.


Yes.

But it's clear, since the sources are not Faux News sanctioned, you'd just deny them anyhow.

<shrug>

More: looking at the sort of people the teabaggers sent as candidates? Again-- christian fungelicalals all. Not a single genuine libertarian candidate among the lot-- such would be either ambivalent or antagonistic towards religion.

Instead of avid promoters of their religions.

That alone is enough to put me off the teabaggers.
Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
 
seeker
Kowboy wrote:
Seeker:

You offered Sarah Palin's "real America" as an example of Republicans being "viciously dismissive", but you conveniently forgot John Cheater Boy Edwards "Two Americas" speech when he was running for president in '04.


Huge difference though. Edwards was talking about the very real difference between the experience wealthy Americans and poor Americans have in this country. That is a real phenomenon, where some people have far more than they need while others are homeless. Palin's 'real America' is pure mythmaking.

Bush was compared to Hitler by some, but unlike you I'm not going to paint my rational opponents with the words and actions of a few unrelated nut cases.


Bush was compared to Hitler by some, true, but not as a campaign strategy by the DNC. The difference is that the RNC routinely uses pejorative to describe democrats

To start this thread you stated: "Since Kowboy demonstrated he is not all that familiar with fascism.." I asked you to substantiate your claim. That would mean you would have to demonstrate my lack of familiarity with Fascism BEFORE this thread began. You do not. You state that my equivalence between Republicans and Democrats, mentioned in this thread only, proves I don't have a handle on Fascism.

You can dig through the archives or you can man-up and admit that you had no basis for accusing me of being unfamiliar with Fascism.

If you are so careless with your allegations against fellow posters, are you that careless with the other claims you make?


Not careless at all. Deny all you want, you are the one who continually derides the Fe3deral government while supporting people who want to turn this country into a fascist state. The true irony is that fascism results in more intrusive government, not less which is what you claim to want.
Edited by seeker on 11/25/2010 11:24
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
Kowboy
Bob of QF wrote:
Kowboy wrote:
Bob of QF wrote:

... polling typical teabaggers, and you get a preponderance of racists, misogynists and christian fungelicals.



Bob of QF:

Can you substantiate this or is this just a theory of yours we're just supposed to believe because you said so? It should be really easy to do if it were true.


Yes.

But it's clear, since the sources are not Faux News sanctioned, you'd just deny them anyhow.

<shrug>

More: looking at the sort of people the teabaggers sent as candidates? Again-- christian fungelicalals all. Not a single genuine libertarian candidate among the lot-- such would be either ambivalent or antagonistic towards religion.

Instead of avid promoters of their religions.

That alone is enough to put me off the teabaggers.


Bob of QF:

What is clear is that you can't substantiate what you've said.

Not a single genuine Libertarian among the lot? Here are two:

http://lpo.org/ne...ement.html

http://delawareli...arian.html

Bob, if you're going to run your mouth/fingers, you really have to know what you're talking about or you lose credibility.
 
Kowboy
seeker wrote:


To start this thread you stated: "Since Kowboy demonstrated he is not all that familiar with fascism.." I asked you to substantiate your claim. That would mean you would have to demonstrate my lack of familiarity with Fascism BEFORE this thread began. You do not. You state that my equivalence between Republicans and Democrats, mentioned in this thread only, proves I don't have a handle on Fascism.

You can dig through the archives or you can man-up and admit that you had no basis for accusing me of being unfamiliar with Fascism.

If you are so careless with your allegations against fellow posters, are you that careless with the other claims you make?


Not careless at all. Deny all you want, you are the one who continually derides the Fe3deral government while supporting people who want to turn this country into a fascist state. The true irony is that fascism results in more intrusive government, not less which is what you claim to want.


seeker:

First you charge me with being unfamiliar with Fascism. When I call you on it, you give a false explanation. Now you've changed your allegations to me continually deriding the federal government and supporting people who want to turn this country into a fascist state.

You have to substantiate what you say. You've made the allegations, let's see you back them up.
 
seeker
Kowboy wrote:


seeker:

First you charge me with being unfamiliar with Fascism. When I call you on it, you give a false explanation. Now you've changed your allegations to me continually deriding the federal government and supporting people who want to turn this country into a fascist state.

You have to substantiate what you say. You've made the allegations, let's see you back them up.


They are backed up by every post you've made in the last couple of days. Every time you deride the Federal government as you do and push for corporatism while ignoring the consequence you make the case that you don't understand the underlying fascism of your position. Your attempts to deny that are simply laughable.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
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