[Paleopsych] Justin Raimondo: A Fascist America: How Close Are We?

Premise Checker checker at panix.com
Sat Apr 9 17:54:15 UTC 2005

Justin Raimondo: A Fascist America: How Close Are We?

[The problem with this article is that it could have been written any time 
since FDR was elected.]

    Total war is no longer war waged by all members of one national
    community against all those of another. It is total...because it may
    well involve the whole world.
    - Jean-Paul Sartre

    The idea that America is turning [23]fascist has been [24]popular on
    [25]the Left for as long as I can remember: in [26]the 1960s, when
    antiwar radicals [27]raged against the Machine, this kind of hyperbole
    dominated [28]campus political discourse and even made its way into
    [29]the mainstream. When the radical [30]Symbionese Liberation Army
    went into ultra-Left meltdown and began issuing incoherent
    "[31]communiqués" to an indifferent American public, they invariably
    signed off [32]by declaring: "Death to the fascist insect pig that
    preys on the life of the people!"

    Such rhetoric, too overheated for American tastes, was quite obviously
    an exaggeration: America in the 1960s was no more "fascistic" than
    [33]miniskirts, [34]Hula Hoops, and the rhyming [35]demagoguery of
    Spiro T. Agnew. Furthermore, we weren't even close to fascism, as the
    downfall of Richard M. Nixon made all too clear to whatever
    [36]incipient authoritarians were nurtured at the breast of the GOP.

    Back in those halcyon days, America was, in effect, practically immune
    from the fascist virus that had wreaked such havoc in Europe and Asia
    in previous decades: there was a kind of innocence, back then, that
    acted as a vaccine against this dreaded affliction. Fascism [37]the
    demonic offspring of war was practically a stranger to American soil.
    After all, it had been a century since America had been a
    battleground, and the sense of invulnerability that is the hallmark of
    youth permeated our politics and culture. Nothing could hurt us: we
    were forever young. But as we moved into the new millennium, Americans
    [38]acquired a sense of their own mortality: an acute awareness that
    we could be hurt, and badly. That is the legacy of 9/11.

    Blessed with a [39]double bulwark against foreign invasion the
    Atlantic and Pacific oceans America hasn't experienced the atomizing
    effects of large-scale military conflict on its soil since [40]the
    Civil War. On that occasion, you'll remember, Lincoln, the "Great
    Emancipator," nearly emancipated the U.S. government from [41]the
    chains of the Constitution by [42]shutting down newspapers,
    [43]jailing his political opponents, and cutting a [44]swathe of
    destruction through the South, which was occupied and treated like a
    conquered province [45]years after Lee surrendered. He was the
    [46]closest to a dictator that any American president has come but
    George W. Bush may well surpass him, given [47]the possibilities that
    now present themselves.

    From the moment the twin towers were hit, the fascist seed began to
    germinate, to [48]take root and [49]grow. As the first shots of what
    the neocons call "[50]World War IV" rang out, piercing the post-Cold
    War calm like a [51]shriek straight out of Hell, the political and
    cultural climate underwent a huge shift: the country became, for the
    first time in the modern era, a hothouse conducive to the growth of a
    genuinely [52]totalitarian tendency in American politics.

    The events of 9/11 were an enormous defeat for the U.S., and it is
    precisely in these circumstances the traumatic humbling of a power
    once considered mighty that the [53]fascist impulse begins to find its
    first expression. That, at any rate, is the historical experience of
    Germany, for example, where a defeated military machine regenerated
    itself on the strength of German resentment and [54]lashed out at
    Europe once again. The terrible defeat of World War I, and the
    injustice of the peace, created in Weimar Germany the cradle of
    [55]National Socialism: but in our own age, where everything is
    speeded up by the Internet and the sheer momentum of the knowledge
    explosion a single battle, and a single defeat, can have the same
    Weimarizing effect.

    The Republican Party's response to 9/11 was to push through the most
    repressive series of laws since the [56]Alien and Sedition Acts,
    starting with the "[57]PATRIOT Act" and [58]its successors [59]making
    it possible for American citizens to be held without charges, without
    public evidence, without trial, and giving the federal government
    unprecedented powers to conduct surveillance of its own citizens.
    Secondly, Republicans began to typify all opposition to their
    warmaking and anti-civil liberties agenda as practically
    [60]tantamount to treason. Congress, thoroughly intimidated, was
    silent: they supinely voted to give the president [61]a blank check,
    and he is [62]still filling in the amount

    The intellectual voices of American fascism began to be heard in the
    land before the first smoke had cleared from the stricken isle of
    Manhattan, as even some alleged "libertarians" began to advocate
    giving up traditional civil liberties all Americans once took for
    granted. "It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes,"
    [63]wrote "libertarian" columnist and Reason magazine contributing
    editor Cathy Young, "perhaps there are no true libertarians in times
    of terrorist attacks," she noted, as she defended government spying on
    Americans and denounced computer encryption technology as "scary." As
    much as Young's self-conception as a libertarian is the result of a
    misunderstanding, that infamous "anti-government" sentiment that used
    to permeate the GOP evaporated overnight. [64]Lew Rockwell trenchantly
    labeled this phenomenon "red-state fascism," writing:

    "The most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone
    almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic
    shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism,
    manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost
    totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle
    class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it
    now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its
    military wing."

    This worrisome shift in the ideology and tone of the conservative
    movement has also been noted by the economist and writer [65]Paul
    Craig Roberts, a former assistant secretary of the Treasury, who
    points to the "brownshirting" of the American Right as a harbinger of
    the fascist mentality. I raised the same point in [66]a column, and
    the discussion was [67]taken up by Scott McConnell, editor of The
    American Conservative, in a thoughtful essay that appeared in the Feb.
    14 issue of that magazine. My good friend Scott sounds a skeptical

    "It is difficult to imagine any scenario, after 9/11, that would not
    lead to some expansion of federal power. The United States was
    suddenly at war, mobilizing to strike at a Taliban government on the
    other side of the world. The emergence of terrorism as the central
    security issue had to lead, at the very least, to increased domestic
    surveillance of Muslim immigrants especially. War is the health of the
    state, as the libertarians helpfully remind us, but it doesn't mean
    that war leads to fascism."

    All this is certainly true, as far as it goes: but what if the war
    takes place, not in distant Afghanistan, but on American soil? That, I
    contend, is the crucial circumstance that makes the present situation
    unique. [68]Yes, war is the health of the State but a war fought down
    the block, instead of on the other side of the world, means the total
    victory of State power over individual liberty as an imminent
    possibility. To paraphrase McConnell, it is difficult to imagine any
    scenario, after another 9/11, that would not lead to what we might
    call fascism.

    [69]William Lind, director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at
    the Free Congress Foundation and a prominent writer on military
    strategy, argues that what he calls "cultural Marxism" is a much
    greater and more immediate danger than militaristic fascism, and that,
    in any case, the real problem is "abstract nationalism," the concept
    of "the state as an ideal." This ideal, however, died amid the
    destruction wrought by World War I, and is not about to be
    resurrected. And yet

    Lind raises the possibility, at the end of his piece, that his
    argument is highly conditional:

    "There is one not unlikely event that could bring, if not fascism,
    then a nationalist statism that would destroy American liberty: a
    terrorist event that caused mass casualties, not the 3,000 dead of
    9/11, but 30,000 dead or 300,000 dead. We will devote some thought to
    that possibility in a future column."

    I was going to wait for Mr. Lind to come up with that promised column,
    but felt that the matter might be pressing enough to broach the
    subject anyway. Especially in view of [70]this, not to mention

    If "everything changed" on the foreign policy front in the wake of
    9/11, then the domestic consequences of 9/11 II are bound to have a
    similarly transformative effect. If our response to the attacks on the
    World Trade Center and the Pentagon was to launch a [72]decades-long
    war to [73]implant democracy throughout the Middle East and the rest
    of the world, [74]what will we do when the battlefield shifts back to
    the continental U.S.? I shudder to think about it.

    The [75]legal, [76]ideological, and [77]political elements that go
    into the making of a genuinely fascist regime in America are already
    in place: all that is required is [78]some catalytic event, one that
    needn't even be on the scale of 9/11, but still dramatic enough to
    give real impetus to the creation of a police state in this country.

    The legal foundation is already to be found in the arguments made by
    the president's lawyers in asserting their "right" to [79]commit
    torture and other war crimes, under the "constitutional" aegis of the
    chief executive's [80]wartime powers. In time of war, [81]the
    president's lawyers argue, our commander-in-chief has the power to
    immunize himself and his underlings against legal prosecution: they
    transcend the law, and are put beyond the judgement of the people's
    representatives by presidential edict. Theoretically, according to the
    militarist interpretation of [82]the Constitution, there is no power
    the president may not assume in wartime, because his decisions are
    "[83]unreviewable." On account of military necessity, according to
    this doctrine, we have to admit the possibility that the Constitution
    [84]might itself be suspended and [85]martial law declared the minute
    war touches American soil.

    It wouldn't take much. There already exists, in the [86]neoconized
    Republican Party, a mass-based movement that [87]fervently believes in
    a [88]strong central State and a [89]foreign policy of [90]perpetual
    war. The brownshirting of the American conservative movement, as Paul
    Craig Roberts [91]stingingly characterized the ugly transformation of
    the American Right, is so far along that the president can propose the
    [92]biggest expansion of federal power and spending since the
    [93]Great Society with nary a peep from the [94]former enthusiasts of
    "smaller government."

    While the Newt Gingrich Republicans of the early 1990s were never
    really libertarians in any but a rhetorical sense [95]Newt himself has
    always been a hopelessly statist neocon the great difference today is
    that the neocons are coming out with an openly authoritarian program.
    David Frum and Richard Perle, in their book [96]An End to Evil,
    advocate establishing an [97]Orwellian government database and
    comprehensive electronic surveillance system that not only keeps
    constant track of the whereabouts of everyone in the country, but also
    stores a dossier, complete with their religious and political
    affiliations. If anyone had brought such a proposal to the table in
    the pre-9/11 era, they would have been laughed out of town and
    mercilessly ridiculed for the rest of their lives. But today, the
    neocon tag-team of Frum and Perle not only gets away with it, but
    these strutting martinets are lauded by [98]the same "conservatives"
    who used to rail against "Big Government."

    The label "[99]neoconservative" has always been unsatisfactory, in
    part because the neocon ideology of rampant militarism,
    super-centralism, and unrestrained statism is necessarily at war with
    the libertarian aspects of authentic conservatism (the sort of
    conservatism that, say, [100]Frank S. Meyer or [101]Russell Kirk would
    find recognizable). Let's start calling things by their right names:
    these aren't neoconservatives. What we are witnessing is the rebirth
    of fascism in 21st century America, a movement motivated by the three
    principles of classical fascist ideology:

    1) The idealization of the State as the embodiment of an all-powerful
    national will or spirit;

    2) The leader principle, which personifies the national will in the
    holder of a political office (whether democratically elected or
    otherwise is largely a matter of style), and

    3) The doctrine of [102]militarism, which bases an entire legal and
    economic system on war and preparations for war.

    Of these three, militarism really is the fountainhead, the first
    principle and necessary precondition that gives rise to the others.
    The militarist [103]openly declares that life is conflict, and that
    the doctrine of [104]economic and political liberalism which holds
    that there is no necessary conflict of interests among men is wrong.
    Peace is cowardice, and the values of prosperity, pleasure, and living
    life for its own sake are evidence of mindless hedonism and even
    decadence. Life is not to be lived for its own sake: it must be risked
    to have meaning, and, if necessary, [105]sacrificed in the name of a
    "higher" (i.e., abstract) value. That "higher" value is not only
    defined by the State, it is the State: in war, the [106]soldier's life
    is risked on behalf of government interests, by government personnel,
    on behalf of expanding government power.

    These beliefs are at the core of the fascist mentality, but there are
    other aspects of this question too many to go into here. Since fascism
    is a form of extreme nationalism, every country has its own unique
    variety, with idiosyncrasies that could only have arisen in a
    particular locality. In one country, [107]religion will play a
    prominent role, in others a more secular strategy is pursued: but the
    question of imminent danger, and the seizure of power as an
    "[108]emergency" measure to prevent some larger catastrophe, is a
    common theme of fascist coups everywhere, and in America it is playing
    out no differently.

    While [109]Pinochet pointed to the imminent danger of a Communist
    revolution as did Hitler the neo-fascists of our time and place cite
    the [110]omnipresent threat of a terrorist attack in the U.S. This is
    a permanent rationale for an ever escalating series of draconian
    measures fated to go far beyond the "PATRIOT Act" or anything yet

    Already the intellectual and political ground [111]is being prepared
    for censorship. The conservative campaign to discredit the
    "mainstream" media, and challenge its status as a watchdog over
    government actions, could easily go in an unfortunate direction if Bin
    Laden succeeds in his vow to take the fight to American shores. Well,
    since they're lying, anyway, why not shut them down? After all, this
    is a "national emergency," and "[112]they're not antiwar, they're on
    the other side."

    The neoconservative movement represents the quintessence of fascism,
    as expressed by some of its intellectual spokesmen, such as
    [113]Christopher Hitchens, who infamously hailed the Afghan war as
    having succeeded in "bombing a country back out of the Stone Age."
    This belief in [114]the purifying power of violence its magical,
    transformative quality is the real emotional axis of evil that
    motivates the War Party. This is especially true when it comes to
    those thuggish ex-leftists of [115]Hitchens' ilk who found shelter in
    the neoconservatives' many mansions when the roof fell in on their old
    Marxist digs. Neocon ideologue [116]Stephen Schwartz defends a regime
    notorious for torturing dissidents, shutting out all political
    opposition, and arresting thousands on account of their political and
    religious convictions [117]in Uzbekistan. How far are such people from
    rationalizing the same sort of regime in the U.S.?

    At least one prominent neocon has made [118]the case for censorship,
    in the name of maintaining "morality" but now, it seems to me, the
    "national security" rationalization will do just as well, if not

    McConnell is right that we are not yet in the grip of a fully
    developed fascist system, and the conservative movement is far from
    thoroughly neoconized. But we are a single terrorist incident away
    from all that: a bomb placed in a mall or on the Golden Gate Bridge,
    or a biological attack of some kind, could sweep away the
    Constitution, [119]the Bill of Rights, and two centuries of legal,
    political, and cultural traditions all of it wiped out in a single
    instant, by means of a single act that would tip the balance and push
    us into the abyss of post-Constitutional history.

    The trap is readied, baited, and waiting to be sprung. Whether the
    American people will fall into it when the time comes: that is the
    nightmare that haunts the dreams of patriots.

    Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is the
    author of [192]An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard
    (Prometheus Books, 2000). He is also the author of [193]Reclaiming the
    American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an
    Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (Center for Libertarian Studies,
    1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S.
    Intervention in the Balkans (1996).

    He is a contributing editor for [194]The American Conservativ[195]e, a
    Senior Fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute, and an Adjunct Scholar
    with the [196]Ludwig von Mises Institute, and writes frequently for
    [197]Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.


   23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism#Definition
   24. http://www.alternativeradio.org/programs/CHON076.shtml
   25. http://www.marxist.com/Asia/vietnam1945.html
   26. http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/Vietnam/riseandfall.html
   27. http://www.isreview.org/issues/31/sds.shtml
   28. http://www.harvardmagazine.com/issues/so99/conserv.html
   29. http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/editorial/6938076.htm
   30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbionese_Liberation_Army
   31. http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/12259/
   32. http://www.answers.com/topic/symbionese-liberation-army
   33. http://www.geocities.com/FashionAvenue/Catwalk/1038/miniskirt.html
   34. http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/hulahoop.html
   35. http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/usa/spiro-t-agnew/
   36. http://www.liddyshow.us/
   37. http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-18,GGLD:en&q=versailles+treaty+rise+fascism
   38. http://www.indystar.com/library/factfiles/crime/national/2001/sept11/
   39. http://www.vpa.org.vn/picture/map_North-America.jpg
   40. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0847697223/antiwarbookstore
   42. http://www.lewrockwell.com/dieteman/dieteman16.html
   43. http://www.fff.org/freedom/1100e.asp
   44. http://sciway3.net/clark/civilwar/march.html
   45. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h396.html
   46. http://www.lneilsmith.com/abelenin.html
   47. http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/search/article_display.jsp?schema=&vnu_content_id=1000819252
   48. http://www.nationalreview.com/coulter/coulter091301.shtml
   49. http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/007364.html
   50. http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts8.html
   51. http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2004-01-27-911-hearings_x.htm
   52. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D88IEJSO2.htm?campaign_id=apn_home_down
   53. http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2004-18,GGLD:en&q=hitler+avenge
   54. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/1/newsid_3506000/3506335.stm
   55. http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/history/A0834972.html
   56. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/alsedact.htm
   57. http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=12126&c=207%20
   58. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/11/20021125-6.html
   59. http://www.bobbarr.org/default.asp?pt=newsdescr&RI=554
   60. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/4/1/24950.shtml
   61. http://www.yourcongress.com/ViewArticle.asp?article_id=2686
   62. http://www.suntimes.com/output/iraq/cst-nws-iraq15.html
   63. http://reason.com/cy/cy092401.shtml
   64. http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/red-state-fascism.html
   65. http://www.antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=3798
   66. http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=4245
   67. http://www.amconmag.com/2005_02_14/article.html
   68. http://struggle.ws/hist_texts/warhealthstate1918.html
   69. http://www.antiwar.com/lind/?articleid=4677
   70. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=7799331
   71. http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/28/threat.info/
   72. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/10/25/national1257EDT0540.DTL&type=printable
   73. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2003/11/mil-031107-rferl-162305.htm
   74. http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/11/20/185048.shtml
   75. http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/09/11/ar911.government.continuity/
   76. http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=1736
   77. http://lieberman.senate.gov/
   79. http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=4286
   80. http://www.lewrockwell.com/stromberg/stromberg58.html
   81. http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=nd04paine
   82. http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html
   83. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/
   84. http://www.purewatergazette.net/policestate.htm
   85. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/27/1027497418339.html?oneclick=true
   86. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312341156/antiwarbookstore
   87. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/02/20040224-2.html
   88. http://maroon.uchicago.edu/viewpoints/articles/2003/12/02/patriot_act_a_necess.php
   89. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/0920-05.htm
   90. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0837121442/antiwarbookstore
   91. http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts10152004.html
   92. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/23/politics/main579645.shtml
   93. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Society
   94. http://www.house.gov/house/Contract/CONTRACT.html
   95. http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch66.html
   96. http://www.amconmag.com/3_1_04/cover.html
   97. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.418:
   98. http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/today.guest.html
   99. http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040223&c=1&s=lind
  100. http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard48.html
  101. http://www.townhall.com/hall_of_fame/kirk/kirk425.html
  102. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Militarism
  103. http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/hege.htm
  104. http://www.constitution.org/jl/2ndtreat.htm
  105. http://edition.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/11/11/bush.veterans.day.ap/
  106. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7043921/
  107. http://www.bushislord.com/index.php
  108. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire
  109. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusto_Pinochet
  110. http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/display?theme=29
  111. http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2005-01-30-students-press_x.htm
  113. http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20011217&s=hitchens
  114. http://www.nationalreview.com/contributors/ledeen092001.shtml
  115. http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j082602.html
  116. http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=3134
  117. http://justinlogan.typepad.com/justinlogancom/2004/12/our_man_in_uzbe.html
  118. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wbutler/kristol.html
  119. http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html
  192. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1573928097/antiwarbookstore/
  193. http://antiwar.com/raimondo/book1.html
  194. http://www.amconmag.com/
  195. http://www.amconmag.com/
  196. http://www.mises.org/
  197. http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/

More information about the paleopsych mailing list