Saturday, May 01, 2010

Now this is "fascism with a happy face"

While the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh - the uneducated anti-intellectual champions of a populist movement which believes in the primacy of "the gut" and "common sense" and believes it is fighting a nationalist war to save and rebirth the country from a subversive, alien, atheistic anti-American menace - concern themselves that environmental regulations or raising the top marginal tax rate a few percentage points are evidence of incipient fascism, a never ending stream of "conservative" pundits promote a bigotry and a prejudice which appeals to the sentiments and emotions that actual scholars of fascism have long recognized to have been at the core of fascist movements. For instance, here is the smiling face of one S.E. Cupp expressing her desire to see supposed atheist liberals eliminated - entirely - from the media

Glenn Beck has himself taken to promoting the pseudo-history of Christian Nationalist David Barton who revises history in an Orwellian effort to lay the ideological groundwork to establish a Christian theocracy. He was on Beck's tv show the other day, with Beck absolutely glowing over the idea of the Massachussets Constitution saying that it is a duty of citizens to worship God. Now, for someone who supposedly hates "big government" I would have to ask this: is there any government "bigger" or more intrusive than one that attempts to command the minds and free conscience of its citizens? There is no greater tyranny than of that which attempts to dictate what a person must think and believe.

Yet Beck, the supposed enemy of "fascism", is busy telling his audience the "progressive" elites are part of a 100 year conspiracy to destory America in order to install a global, atheistic and communist new world order.

Beck and Cupp and the rest of their ilk might do well to listen to a man who actually experienced fascism first hand:

Let’s consider not the banality of evil but its triumph in a deeply civilized country. After the Great War and Germany’s defeat, conditions were harsh and Germans were deeply divided between moderates and democrats on the one hand and fanatic extremists of the right and the left on the other. National Socialists portrayed Germany as a nation that had been betrayed or stabbed in the back by socialists and Jews; they portrayed Weimar Germany as a moral-political swamp; they seized on the Bolshevik-Marxist danger, painted it in lurid colors and stoked people’s fear in order to pose as saviors of the nation. In the late ’20s a group of intellectuals known as conservative revolutionaries demanded a new volkish authoritarianism, a Third Reich. Richly financed by corporate interests, they denounced liberalism as the greatest, most invidious threat, and attacked it for its tolerance, rationality and cosmopolitan culture. These conservative revolutionaries were proud of being prophets of the Third Reich—at least until some of them were exiled or murdered by the Nazis when the latter came to power. Throughout, the Nazis vilified liberalism as a semi-Marxist-Jewish conspiracy and, with Germany in the midst of unprecedented depression and immiseration, they promised a national rebirth.

Twenty years ago, I wrote about “National Socialism as Temptation,” about what it was that induced so many Germans to embrace the terrifying specter. There were many reasons, but at the top ranks Hitler himself, a brilliant populist manipulator who insisted and probably believed that Providence had chosen him as Germany’s savior, that he was the instrument of Providence, a leader who was charged with executing a divine mission.

God had been drafted into national politics before, but Hitler’s success in fusing racial dogma with a Germanic Christianity was an immensely powerful element in his electoral campaigns. Some people recognized the moral perils of mixing religion and politics, but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo-religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured his success, notably in Protestant areas, where clergy shared Hitler’s hostility to the liberal-secular state and its defenders, and were filled with anti-Semitic doctrine.

German moderates and German elites underestimated Hitler, assuming that most people would not succumb to his Manichean unreason; they didn’t think that his hatred and mendacity could be taken seriously. They were proven wrong. People were enthralled by the Nazis’ cunning transposition of politics into carefully staged pageantry, into flag-waving martial mass. At solemn moments the National Socialists would shift from the pseudo-religious invocation of Providence to traditional Christian forms: In his first radio address to the German people, 24 hours after coming to power, Hitler declared, “The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life.”
Just like Glenn Beck, king of the spurious guilty by association linkage, and man who also claims to be God's messenger.

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