Crying Wolf about Fascism

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I was deeply impressed with an article I read earlier this week in the Guardian magazine section by Naomi Wolf.

I was impressed because while individually I think she had managed to point to a lot of worrying trends in terms of US policy, it actually left me less convinced that the US was on its way to becoming a fascist state than when I started. Remarkably, it is actually less than the sum of its parts.

Her overlying thesis was deeply flawed in that while all these trends are worrying, many of them appear to have already reached their nadir and are beginning to turn around. We’re already seeing US scepticism about the War on Terror, it is hard to conceive how a law tougher than the Patriot Act might be introduced given the current balance of power in Congress and there is absolutely no suggestion of locking US citizens up in Guantanamo – itself something which the courts are making hay over. One doesn’t need to be complacent, as she suggests, to believe that the US isn’t heading towards Fascism – one merely needs something vaguely resembling a balanced view.

Could a disaster tip the US over the edge? Maybe. But then, a disaster could tip any country over the edge. It is inherently unpredictable. Making such outlandish statements is not a call to arms, it is a cry of apathy.

3 thoughts on “Crying Wolf about Fascism

  1. And whilst the Federal government has a lot of influence over the economy, it would have a huge struggle getting the control needed for fascism to be feasible.

    Its not impossible, but I wouldn’t bet on it happening.

    And the other thing not likely to happen is very strict gun control – something which totalitarian states like for obvious reasons…

  2. The term “fascist” is bandied around too losely. The United States is one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world, and has one of the most respected and most liberal constitutions.

    The Presidency may be arrogating a few too many powers to itself at the moment; the pendulum will swing the other way soon enough.

    In fact, it is worth noting that it is Republicans who are more in favour of state rights and limited government than the Democrats. Like McCain or hate him, he’d reign back the power of the executive.

  3. Thinking that fascism, product of an industrial society devoted to encarceration, could be perfectly replicated in a post-industrial society functioning on mechanisms of control and policeing, is unlikely. But the masculinist values of militarism, the propagation of religious belief, rampant patriotism, the creation of a society ruled by fear and organized by ruthless capitalist and imperialist principles are a way to start.

    What the US is becoming is a Theocratic/Corporate Republic, a country where institutions are nothing more than an accessory to Religious and Capitalist powers. Sure, the Democrats will win the next election – not even the Republicans want to win it this time – but once they are either brought down by a scandal or simply out of there due to their typical incompetence, the country will get Republicanism again, and that will be the last necessary step into darkness…

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