June 26, 2006

Who You Callin' A Fascist?

There has recently been a discussion here at intrepid Flame about Fascism. A reader said, We're not quite at a fascist state yet. Actually you're misusing the term fascist. Too often liberals like to evoke the word as a sort of political curse word. I thought I would add this:

Here are fourteen typical traits of a Fascist regime:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

For examples in the US see: local news anchor person who should be an objective journalist, every street corner, and sporting event.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

For examples in the US see: Guantanamo Bay, Abu Graib, Iraq.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

For examples in the US see: War on terror, Islam, liberals, and list above

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

For examples in the US see: Spends more on military spending than all other nations in the world combined. Also see New Orleans and crumbling domestic infrastructure ie education and health care

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

For examples in the US see: right wing assault on issues started above.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

For examples in the US see: FCC, Fox news, huge media conglomerates.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

For examples in the US see: everything around you

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

For examples in the US see: God told W to invade Iraq. W loves Jesus!

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

For examples in the US see: The major corporations actual run the US government!

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

For examples in the US see: Labor Power what is that?

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

For examples in the US see: Middle Eastern study programs at major universities.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

For examples in the US see: Patriot Act. America incarcerates more people than any other developed country in the world, with an incrassated population in the millions.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

For examples in the US see: Washington DC.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

For examples in the US see: Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, ? 2008

19 comments:

  1. From Herman Goering: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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  2. This is a very well-written post. I definitely liked how you gave us some kind of real life example to go with each condition. I'm curious, how did you come up with the 14 points? I really like the system and I think it covers much of, if not all of the aspects of fascism.

    My only problem with calling the U.S. a fascist state is that the government doesn't yet control every aspect of our lives. We're getting close with all of this domestic surveillance and internal spying going on (most recently the government reading bank records of people). However the fact that we not only still have a right to vote but that governmental powers are distributed among three branches kind of prevents us from fitting the fascist title, at least under the conditions of Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany.

    In many ways I agree with you and I've actually written about this very topic before but remember that according to Trotsky, fascism is the total denial of the prolitariet, the complete domination of the worker by governmental bodies and corporate heads. Fascism is the merging of the corporate witht he government (devoid of any democracy) and given we still are allowed labor unions (getting more and more scarce; a scary topic for another time) and that we have programs like worker's comp, etc., well, the U.S. just isn't fascist yet.

    -ComradeDave
    http://theredmantis.blogspot.com

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  3. Hi, BZ. Great post - I did a similar one months back and this reminds me to repost. I like to repeat this info often because people need to hear it. I believe, ComradeDave, this list is from The Council For Secular Humanism by Lawrence Britt.

    I like how you added the current examples as well, BZ.

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  4. BZ, I think I ought to let you know I thought about this post all day at work. This is an extremely concerning topic but even so it's rare that a blog post leaves me thinking for so long after reading it. Definitely keep up the good work.

    -Comrade Dave
    http://theredmantis.blogspot.com/

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  5. I think Helen is right, I got this list Britt. I am glad this got you thinking.

    As for you comment:
    Fascism is the merging of the corporate witht he government (devoid of any democracy) and given we still are allowed labor unions (getting more and more scarce; a scary topic for another time) and that we have programs like worker's comp, etc., well, the U.S. just isn't fascist yet.

    Just give it time. If we do nothing...?
    I am sure the people in Germany didn't see it coming either.

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  6. Your posts are a pleasure to read, always thoughtful and without intemperate language. So I repaid the favour and put some thought into what you wrote here.

    I can agree with some of it, such as points 1, 2, and 3. There are some other characteristics of Fascism that you did not touch upon. I will mention of few of these briefly, using letters instead of numbers to avoid confusion with your points.

    A. Fascism exalts war, but also struggle in general. People are called upon to make sacrifices and take up struggle in every walk of life, and social condemnation is called down upon those who do not sacrifice sufficiently.

    B. Following from A, civic virtues are relentlessly promoted, chief of these being courage and stoicism. Especial attention is paid to inculcating schoolchildren with examples of those who sacrifice for "Fatherland" or "Motherland."

    C. Related to the above, the concept of "blood and soil" is advanced. The people of the nation are exhorted to think of themselves as organically rooted in, and really one with, the land. To back this up, traditional agrarian virtues are encouraged, and movements in which urban folk are meant to re-connect with the land by being sent out to work on farms are sponsored.

    D. Family values are sponsored and praised by the government; traditional marriage and the production of many children is encouraged and even awarded with subsidies and government honours. Hand-in-hand with this, abortion is outlawed, or severely restricted (to "degenerates").

    E. Religion is indeed extolled, as you observe. In Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other Fascist regimes, it was brought into the school systems and was taught by mandate. "We wish to see religion everywhere in the country ... let us teach the children their catechism ... however young they may be," declared Mussolini in June 1931. A portion of public tax revenues was always dedicated to ensuring this. Germany was somewhat different, reflecting Hitler's personal atheism, but even there tax money continued to support the churches which went along with the regime.

    F. The military in these regimes was explicitly subordinated to the leaders, and soldiers were required to swear a personal oath of allegiance to the Leader; those who did not were summarily removed.

    Your post implies that the United States is a fascistic country. Yet the five traits I have outlined above are anathema to most Americans, and Federal and State laws and policies stand against them. Furthermore, several of your points I find to be rather weak in America.

    Your Point 5, for example actually agrees with what I have pointed out here. Divorce, abortion, and gay rights are all legally protected, and receive (or are allowed to receive) huge subsidies, if not from the government, then by unfunded mandates laid down by government. Divorce rates, once at 50% or so, have recently fallen slightly, but this is because increasing numbers of couples are forgoing marriage alotgether. The right-wingers you cite are actually exercising dissent against government-mandated policies. You are correct that the State is represented as the ultimate guarantor of the family institution, but in the US this is achieved at the cost of the disintegration of traditional families, rather than by support of them. No Fascist leadership would tolerate this for an instant.

    Point 6 implies that the US Government exercises control of media content. Since the vast majority of corporate media daily prints and broadcasts news which presents the current Administration as an unrelieved disaster, and often "leaks" stories which outrage Administration officials, this implication is simply amusing. If this Administration does really control the media, it must be possessed of an uncommonly strong death-wish. Goebbels, where art thou? Bush hath need of thee!

    Point 8 is another source of amusement, with the banning of religion public squares (literally), to the point where even non-sectarian prayers are forbidden at school games. The recent ordering of the removal of the war memorial cross at Soledad Mountain, over the opposition of veterans' groups, would be literally inconceivable under a really Fascist regime. A real Fascist leader would be erecting huge Iraq war crosses with tax dollars, and dedicating them in mass ceremonies with religious leaders at his side.

    Point 10 speaks to the outlawing of independent labour unions. In fact, under real Fascist regimes, workers are compelled to unionize--or else. Of course, these are government-sponsored labour unions, like the NEA and AFT. OOPS! I guess we really do have that element of fascism in America. But it is confined to the education sector, and will not catch on in the private sector.

    And, speaking of the education sector, point 11 is again, more a source of amusement than anything else. Federal and State governments spend billions subsidizing higher education, and many States have gone to the length of allowing even illegal immigrants free or reduced tuition at State universities, where they can listen to the likes of Ward Churchill call the dead of 9-11 "little Eichmanns;" and I don't think he meant that as a compliment. Nowhere in society is opposition to the Administration more firmly entrenched than in that sector which relies on it for its funding more than any other, except defense.

    While we're on defense; it is true that the US outspends all other nations on military spending, to the tune of $400 odd billion a year. While this sounds like a lot--and is a lot--it is a rather small percentage of our GDP, which well exceeds $12 trillion a year, that is, twelve thousand billion a year. Considered as a percentage of GDP (which is an unpopular way to consider it, I admit) this puts our spending at four-and-a-bit percent, 16th in the world, in the same league as Greece, well behind China, and very far behind Fascist regimes such as Germany, which in the late 1930s was devoting in excess of 20% to its military budget. And not all of this goes toward the US military alone; fair slabs of that are sent to foreign governments such as our friends in Egypt.

    The fact is that--measured any way you like--the USA is an enormous country which is home to partisans of almost every stripe. There are some people of genuinely Fascist opinions here, as well as many of genuinely Socialist opinions, and everything in between. Fourteen points which demonstrate that the US is a socialist country could be as easily, or more easily, made up than these.

    Since you are a reader and a thoughtful person, I recommend the following reading about Fascism to you. The full text of the devisor of Fascism, Mussolini's "Doctrine of Fascism" (1932) is available at:
    http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Germany/mussolini.htm. Please continue to read, think, and be well, and best wishes for your impending parenthood.

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  7. One of THE defining traits of a fascist State e.g. Hitler's or Mussolini's, is the force grouping of employees with employers. These are sanctioned in the name of political unity and cultural priviege. In reality, they are just another means for the ruling class to exert power OVER the slaving classes.

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  8. Podvizhnik, you bring up some great points, and I want to comment, but I need a few days. Life is crazy right now!

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  9. This post is woefully incorrect. Fascism is more than a reactionary state. It is more than a military dictatorship. Fascism stands for the total annihilation of the progressive movement.

    See: http://www.marx.org/archive/trotsky/works/1944/1944-fas.htm

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  10. If the Neo-Cons had their way, isn't that the direction we would be heading?

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  11. I suppose, but like I pointed out earlier, that would be "if they had their way", inferring that we're not there yet.

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  12. There's a lot of blather about neocons these days. Before I talk about neocons, I'd like to hear what you think neocons are.

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  13. In short: Hawkish conservatives who love big government. Of course this is far over-simplified.

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  14. Podvizhnik,

    Sorry it has been so long before Could get back to you and your comments, but I have been moving, blah, blah, blah you don’t need to hear all that.
    First let me start by thanking you for your kind words about my thoughtful pieces and secondly for your insightful and well-thought-out response.

    You mentioned several lettered examples of fascism, and I wasn’t sure if these were in addition to the list I posted or if you were using these latter points as proof of how far the US is from some kind of pseudo fascist state. However, after reading your points, I still feel that the US exhibits the kind of behavior you described. Let’s look at them one by one:

    A. Fascism exalts war, but also struggle in general. People are called upon to make sacrifices and take up struggle in every walk of life, and social condemnation is called down upon those who do not sacrifice sufficiently.

    I have not lived in the US for two years now, but I seem to remember this mentality running rampant throughout the media and small town America.

    B. Following from A, civic virtues are relentlessly promoted, chief of these being courage and stoicism. Especial attention is paid to inculcating schoolchildren with examples of those who sacrifice for "Fatherland" or "Motherland.

    How many times have we heard about the wonderful brave men and women sacrificing their lives so we could live in freedom in the “greatest “ country on earth?


    D. Family values are sponsored and praised by the government; traditional marriage and the production of many children is encouraged and even awarded with subsidies and government honours. Hand-in-hand with this, abortion is outlawed, or severely restricted (to "degenerates").

    The whole gay marriage debacle of the 2004 elections, the weakening of abortion laws etc…

    E. Religion is indeed extolled, as you observe. In Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other Fascist regimes, it was brought into the school systems and was taught by mandate. "We wish to see religion everywhere in the country ... let us teach the children their catechism ... however young they may be," declared Mussolini in June 1931. A portion of public tax revenues was always dedicated to ensuring this. Germany was somewhat different, reflecting Hitler's personal atheism, but even there tax money continued to support the churches which went along with the regime.

    The teaching of creationism, the posting of the ten commandments…..

    F. The military in these regimes was explicitly subordinated to the leaders, and soldiers were required to swear a personal oath of allegiance to the Leader; those who did not were summarily removed.

    I am no expert on this, but I do not force see a military coup anytime soon.

    You said:

    Your post implies that the United States is a fascistic country. Yet the five traits I have outlined above are anathema to most Americans, and Federal and State laws and policies stand against them. Furthermore, several of your points I find to be rather weak in America.

    My post implies, or meant to imply that we are headed to a near fascist state not that we are there yet. You are right; on paper we have safeguards to protect us from getting there, but these safeguards are being stripped down everyday.

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  15. Podvizhnik,

    Again you are right; terms, like neo-con when not defined will become useless. Language is something that should be specific and definitions should be universally defined in any discussion.

    I was going to simply cut and paste the Wikipedia definition of neo-con, but I though that could be considered a cop out. So here is what I meant when I said, If the Neo-Cons had their way, isn't that the direction we would be heading?


    Neo-conservatives: I see these men and woman, as the authors of the Bush Doctrine. They are ideologues that believe that American interests, economic and military, trump all other global concerns. They are members of think tanks like Project for The New American Century. They promote fear, by creating security issues to stifle dissent at home and perpetuate never-ending war abroad. They are favor big business over people, and help subsidize these massive corporations through tax-cuts and business friendly legislation.

    I think you are right that neo-conservative I not the correct term to define this group. While this current administration is much more overt, American politics has been infested with this type of thinking since the birth of the Military Industrial Complex and before. I think most American are not aware that the goal of their government, whether a Democrat or Republican is in office, is to not only promote, but to enforce the will of American big-business on the rest of the world. Usually, by austere economic policies or war, or both.

    When I said Neo-Con earlier, I meant: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfwitz, Pearle, and the granddaddy of them all Reagan.

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  16. Thanks for giving this matter your attention. I'll make one more reply; I don't debate matters to death, but I like a good conversation, (which I think you do too) and two complete exchanges makes a conversation. While I agree that the US has influences in it that push it in a fascist direction, it has other influences that push it in other directions as well. It is good to note that both Germany and Italy became fascist States in the 20th century only after very nearly becoming Communist ones. I will put my original comments in italic, then your replies in quotes, and then my comments on your replies.

    A. Fascism exalts war, but also struggle in general. People are called upon to make sacrifices and take up struggle in every walk of life, and social condemnation is called down upon those who do not sacrifice sufficiently.

    "I have not lived in the US for two years now, but I seem to remember this mentality running rampant throughout the media and small town America."

    B. Following from A, civic virtues are relentlessly promoted, chief of these being courage and stoicism. Especial attention is paid to inculcating schoolchildren with examples of those who sacrifice for "Fatherland" or "Motherland."

    "How many times have we heard about the wonderful brave men and women sacrificing their lives so we could live in freedom in the “greatest “ country on earth?"

    It is true that we in the US hear a fair amount of tribute to people who serve in the forces. On the other hand, we are not (at least in the area where I live, which isn't Texas or Tennessee) subject to systematic bombardment with it. Howver, children are not given a steady diet of it in school. (I know this because I have children in school.) This is very different from the real fascist states, where children were formed into brigades for the purpose. Finally, and most telling, in the US today people are not subjected to social disgrace for failing to serve the Father/Motherland. People who oppose the war do not suffer any penalties such as loss of employment for their opinions.

    D. Family values are sponsored and praised by the government; traditional marriage and the production of many children is encouraged and even awarded with subsidies and government honours. Hand-in-hand with this, abortion is outlawed, or severely restricted (to "degenerates").

    "The whole gay marriage debacle of the 2004 elections, the weakening of abortion laws etc…"

    It's true that gay marriage was a subject of some hot air in the 2004 elections. However, there has been no weakening of abortion laws as far as I can tell. Some States have passed laws restricting abortion, but they are ALL on hold pending court challenges, which they are VERY unlikely to survive in Federal courts. Furthermore, gay marriage has advanced; it is now legal in Massachusetts. All this is still very far from the government actually subsidizing and rewarding traditional marriages that produce many children, such as awarding medals to mothers of four children, etc., which happened in really Fascist countries. That will never happen here.

    (E.) "The teaching of creationism, the posting of the ten commandments….."

    This is extremely far from official government sponsorship of religion. For one thing "creationism," (which is quite different from 'intelligent design theory') is nowhere taught in public schools. Even 'intelligent design theory,' which was tried in a Pennsylvania district, was prohibited there. Again, any examples of the Decalogue which are posted were done a very long time ago; they were forcibly removed in Georgia a few years ago, and the judge (Roy Moore) who tried to retain them was removed from office, and when he tried to run again for office, was defeated (and this in one of the most religious areas of the country.) Yet again, in another example, the Mount Soledad war cross in California (built fifty years ago) just lost its final cours hearing and has been removed. Not only is government not sponsoring religion, but government removal of religion is proceeding ahead. If religion is indeed more visible in the US than formerly, it is due to privately-funded efforts, not the government.

    (F.) "I am no expert on this, but I do not force see a military coup anytime soon." I am not sure what you mean by this, but all soldiers swear allegiance to the Constitution, and not to any personal leader; in fact, soldiers have mitigation penalties for disobeying orders that originate from a leader's intention to subvert the laws(which include signed treaties; as an ex-soldier, I know this too). This is completely different fron Fascism, where a Leader can declare a law or treaty to be "a scrap of paper" (Hitler) and order the troops in.

    All this being said, you are quite correct to say that our society is evolving, and evolving in a direction that heads away from the rule of law. Fascism is one direction away from the rule of law, but there are other directions that lead away fromt he rule of law as well.

    A final remark upon "neocons;" the term was coined to describe liberal Democrats who broke with the Democratic party in the wake of George McGovern's pacifist platform in 1972; example of these neocons include Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. In the wider term, it has come to be accepted as any former liberal (especially Socialist or Communist) who has recanted his former ways and signed on to a more traditionally American way of thinking. As it is, "neocon," as it has been thrown around, has come to start losing that meaning, and acquire no other meaning except for a distinct savour of anti-Semitism, as well as applicability to any conservative the speaker just doesn't happen to like. (another example of this is: "liberal" compared to "progressive.")

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  17. Thanks for giving this matter your attention. I'll make one more reply; I don't debate matters to death, but I like a good conversation, (which I think you do too) and two complete exchanges makes a conversation. While I agree that the US has influences in it that push it in a fascist direction, it has other influences that push it in other directions as well. It is good to note that both Germany and Italy became fascist States in the 20th century only after very nearly becoming Communist ones. I will put my original comments in italic, then your replies in quotes, and then my comments on your replies.

    A. Fascism exalts war, but also struggle in general. People are called upon to make sacrifices and take up struggle in every walk of life, and social condemnation is called down upon those who do not sacrifice sufficiently.

    "I have not lived in the US for two years now, but I seem to remember this mentality running rampant throughout the media and small town America."

    B. Following from A, civic virtues are relentlessly promoted, chief of these being courage and stoicism. Especial attention is paid to inculcating schoolchildren with examples of those who sacrifice for "Fatherland" or "Motherland."

    "How many times have we heard about the wonderful brave men and women sacrificing their lives so we could live in freedom in the “greatest “ country on earth?"

    It is true that we in the US hear a fair amount of tribute to people who serve in the forces. On the other hand, we are not (at least in the area where I live, which isn't Texas or Tennessee) subject to systematic bombardment with it. Howver, children are not given a steady diet of it in school. (I know this because I have children in school.) This is very different from the real fascist states, where children were formed into brigades for the purpose. Finally, and most telling, in the US today people are not subjected to social disgrace for failing to serve the Father/Motherland. People who oppose the war do not suffer any penalties such as loss of employment for their opinions.

    D. Family values are sponsored and praised by the government; traditional marriage and the production of many children is encouraged and even awarded with subsidies and government honours. Hand-in-hand with this, abortion is outlawed, or severely restricted (to "degenerates").

    "The whole gay marriage debacle of the 2004 elections, the weakening of abortion laws etc…"

    It's true that gay marriage was a subject of some hot air in the 2004 elections. However, there has been no weakening of abortion laws as far as I can tell. Some States have passed laws restricting abortion, but they are ALL on hold pending court challenges, which they are VERY unlikely to survive in Federal courts. Furthermore, gay marriage has advanced; it is now legal in Massachusetts. All this is still very far from the government actually subsidizing and rewarding traditional marriages that produce many children, such as awarding medals to mothers of four children, etc., which happened in really Fascist countries. That will never happen here.

    (E.) "The teaching of creationism, the posting of the ten commandments….."

    This is extremely far from official government sponsorship of religion. For one thing "creationism," (which is quite different from 'intelligent design theory') is nowhere taught in public schools. Even 'intelligent design theory,' which was tried in a Pennsylvania district, was prohibited there. Again, any examples of the Decalogue which are posted were done a very long time ago; they were forcibly removed in Georgia a few years ago, and the judge (Roy Moore) who tried to retain them was removed from office, and when he tried to run again for office, was defeated (and this in one of the most religious areas of the country.) Yet again, in another example, the Mount Soledad war cross in California (built fifty years ago) just lost its final cours hearing and has been removed. Not only is government not sponsoring religion, but government removal of religion is proceeding ahead. If religion is indeed more visible in the US than formerly, it is due to privately-funded efforts, not the government.

    (F.) "I am no expert on this, but I do not force see a military coup anytime soon." I am not sure what you mean by this, but all soldiers swear allegiance to the Constitution, and not to any personal leader; in fact, soldiers have mitigation penalties for disobeying orders that originate from a leader's intention to subvert the laws(which include signed treaties; as an ex-soldier, I know this too). This is completely different fron Fascism, where a Leader can declare a law or treaty to be "a scrap of paper" (Hitler) and order the troops in.

    All this being said, you are quite correct to say that our society is evolving, and evolving in a direction that heads away from the rule of law. Fascism is one direction away from the rule of law, but there are other directions that lead away fromt he rule of law as well.

    A final remark upon "neocons;" the term was coined to describe liberal Democrats who broke with the Democratic party in the wake of George McGovern's pacifist platform in 1972; example of these neocons include Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. In the wider term, it has come to be accepted as any former liberal (especially Socialist or Communist) who has recanted his former ways and signed on to a more traditionally American way of thinking. As it is, "neocon," as it has been thrown around, has come to start losing that meaning, and acquire no other meaning except for a distinct savour of anti-Semitism, as well as applicability to any conservative the speaker just doesn't happen to like. (another example of this is: "liberal" compared to "progressive.")

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  18. Permit me to add one more thought that I had forgotten about, which is on the question of race and ethnicity. Classic Fascist States (Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal) had high levels of ethnic and linguistic homogeneity; almost all Germans, for example, were ethinically and linguistically German with a sense of belonging to no other group. Another reason I don't think the USA will get to Fascism is that white European native English-speakers are no longer an operating majority in the US; if they are still 50% of the population it is not by much. Hispanics, Blacks, Asia-Pacific groups, and Native Americans make up nearly 50%, if not more. There are at least 40 million Hispanics in the USA, who comprise a huge voting bloc that all politicians court. No one speaks of Canadian Fascism being a danger, for example, because Quebec simply makes it impossible; Canada would no longer be Canada without it, and disunion is not the direction the classic Fascism moves in. The US is moving in the direction of Canada with its unassimilated Hispanic population. This, I think, constitutes another formidable barrier.

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  19. I agree with you about not beating debates to death, and I also agree that this was a very good conversation. And in closing let me say, that I hope you are right. Actually, I know you are right we are still far from a truly Authoritarian fascist states in the US, I was just throwing the idea out there, that without the diligence of the populace it could happen sooner than we think. All your points were well taken, an I look forward to butting heads with you again.

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