Monday, March 07, 2005

Fascism in America: Even the Conservatives are Catching on

From Daily kos

Conservatives Scream Warning of Fascist America!
by mitch2k2
Fri Mar 4th, 2005 at 22:00:50 PST

We used to cringe at the hyperbole of the word. Fascist. Now we see the road we're on, and where it leads taken to its logical progression. A growing number of conservative thinkers are now also speaking the word clearly and frequently with none of the hesitation we might use. With, I should add, a palpable sense of alarm.
Justin Raimondo's well-sourced essay on the heels of several startling articles; Hunger for Dicatatorship by Scott McConnell, The Brownshirting of America by Paul Craig Roberts, and Lew Rockwell's musings on The Reality of Red-State Fascism, all lead me to one conclusion: They see it coming. Consider the following from Raimondo's piece today:

From the moment the twin towers were hit, the fascist seed began to germinate, to take root and grow. As the first shots of what the neocons call "World War IV" rang out, piercing the post-Cold War calm like a 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 totalitarian tendency in American politics.
There's more.

Diaries :: mitch2k2's diary ::
I've long worked myself into frothing anger and migraines both by wondering how on earth intelligent conservatives could stand by while this administration dismantled all that America stood for (once upon a time). Surely they saw it too. Surely not every one of them had been snowed or so blinded by partisanship that they could not see the effects and ramifications of the steps the Bush folks were taking.

By and large they all remained silent, however. The fact that there is a growing chorus of conservative thinkers is only reassuring for the briefest moment before the stakes become clear once again. This is a very precarious moment in American history, and as Raimondo argues, one more terrorist attack on our soil could be all it takes to tip the balance.

This worrisome shift in the ideology and tone of the conservative movement has also been noted by the economist and writer 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 a column, and the discussion was 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 note:

"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. 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.

William Lind, director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation and a prominent writer on military strategy[...]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 this, not to mention this.

With that utterly chilling thought in mind, I'd like to step in here for a moment and remind y'all of Tommy Franks' comments to Cigar Aficionado early last year.

In the magazine's December edition, the former commander of the military's Central Command warned that if terrorists succeeded in using a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) against the U.S. or one of our allies, it would likely have catastrophic consequences for our cherished republican form of government.
Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the U.S. in the wake of Sept. 11, Franks said that "the worst thing that could happen" is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties.

If that happens, Franks said, "... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we've seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy."

Franks then offered "in a practical sense" what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

"It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important."

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Raimondo:

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 decades-long war to implant democracy throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world, what will we do when the battlefield shifts back to the continental U.S.? I shudder to think about it.

The legal, ideological, and political elements that go into the making of a genuinely fascist regime in America are already in place: all that is required issome 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 commit torture and other war crimes, under the "constitutional" aegis of the chief executive's wartime powers. In time of war, 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 the Constitution, there is no power the president may not assume in wartime, because his decisions are "unreviewable." On account of military necessity, according to this doctrine, we have to admit the possibility that the Constitution might itself be suspended and martial law declared the minute war touches American soil.

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

So, calling fascists for what they are is no longer the jurisdiction of the "loony left" alone. I'd encourage you all to share these stories with any of the conservative type folks you may have contact with. Aside from that I'd say we all need to stay on our toes.

God forbid these people are given the cataclysmic catalyst event they're waiting for. What happens then?

For what it's worth, Raimondo concludes this way:

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, 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.

Indeed. The clicking noise you're hearing is the sound of all the pieces falling snugly into place. How and when it comes, we can't know. But here's less doubt in my mind every day that this is where we're going.

Posted by crimnos @ 12:53 PM