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View Diary: Bush Authoritarianism: Blackwater+Amway=GOP, Pt. 2 (295 comments)

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  •  Great piece. And I agree 100% with your (20+ / 0-)

    caution toward the use of the word fascism to describe Republican authoritarianism.

    "My candidate is going to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD with his fart-powered car!" --Plutonium Page

    by Joelarama on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 06:53:14 PM PDT

    •  I actually dunno (11+ / 0-)

      Certainly I wouldn't call them Nazis. But historians tend to think of fascism as the joining of big corporations with the state. That's not exactly what we have, but the differences are subtle.

      •  Crime family is right description (10+ / 0-)

        The Bush/Cheney crime family engineered the largest heist in the history of the world. No wonder he wants to raid the Social Security trust fund so bad - he has to pay all his buddies with someone's money.

      •  Not so sure they're subtle (6+ / 0-)

        If I read DH correctly, the difference is that BushCo sought to replace the state with big corporations, rather than join state with corporations. It's a fairly sizeable difference, no?

        It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks. ~ Helen Keller

        by twilight falling on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:14:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if that really is the goal, yes (10+ / 0-)

          that would be a rather large difference. But how do we then understand the imperial Presidency?

          •  A very interesting question, andgarden (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            andgarden, Naniboujou

            I will have to ponder that one.

            It is for us to pray not for tasks equal to our powers, but for powers equal to our tasks. ~ Helen Keller

            by twilight falling on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:18:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The imperial presidency is in place ... (23+ / 0-)

            ... not to gather power and functionality to itself, but only to gather power, ie, the power to decide.

            That power is then used to bypass all checks and balances on it in order to dismantle the rest of the state.

            Bruce in Louisville
            And the blog is Eclectic Thinker

            by bmaples on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:32:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Damn Good Description (6+ / 0-)

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:48:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You should check out The State of Exception (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                shaharazade, christiana

                From a diary I did a while ago:

                Italian academic Georgio Agamben has produced such an explanation.  His 2005 book State of Exception describes a rational, deliberate process for the executive to usurp all power to strip citizens of their status.

                The state of exception starts with a military or security threat, expands through economic dislocation, and ends with an executive able to act against citizens without the constraints of legislative check or judicial review.  The State of Exception explains how it is that a modern society can rapidly transform from one where government owes protection of life and rights to its citizens, to one where citizens can be threatened, abused or killed at the whim of an unaccountable executive.

                "It ain't what people don't know that hurts `em - it's what they do know that ain't true." - Will Rogers

                by LondonYank on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:47:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Very true - but what about DHS? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              On the surface, the integration of a host of formerly separate government agencies into DHS creates whole news layers of bureaucracy. So it seems to be a manifestation of classic conservative statism (the one service paleocons want the government to extend - "law and order"). But perhaps from the perspective of the Bushists it is really the intention behind these new layers of bureaucracy that they render the combined work formerly done by all those individual agencies more inefficient? Which could be seen as a detour of sorts en route to dismantling them...

              Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

              by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:59:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Proves the rule (6+ / 0-)

                Recall that Bush initially opposed DHS but was forced into accepting it. They only accepted it after insisting on a ban on unionization.

                When Katrina came around, there was plenty of Federal money to dispense to contractors and cronies (including Blackwater), but no actual performance of DHS/FEMA responsibilities - beyond dispensing money, of course.

                Recall also that Bush fought (and lost) to have TSA duties handled by private contractors, The border fence is another boondoggle. And all the millions spent on hi-tech drug interdiction stuff - I'm so glad that heroin, crack and marijuana are no longer available on our streets at affordable prices.

                And of course DHS has been so-o-o effective with their color-coded alert system and advisements about plastic sheets and duct tape, but how's that port inspection stuff going?

                There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

                by badger on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:11:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The state will not be dismantled. (6+ / 0-)

              It will be repurposed.

              Dismantling the social safety nets is not dismantling the state.  The military, police, courts and prisons aren't going away.

            •  Excellent. But then this is the contradiction ... (0+ / 0-)

              Of Bush Authoritarian, because eventually the emperor and the warlords are going to fight it out.

              In fact, for all of Bush's abuses of executive power he has weakened the presidency rather than strengthened it, because he has brought it into such disrepute.

              The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

              by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:36:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, That's Why I Wrote This: (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                al Fubar, vivacia, G2geek, dehrha02, WSComn

                what have been the intended and unintended consequences of their actions

                Almost everything Cheney has done has turned out wrong.  Or, another way of looking at it, as I've pointed out before: everything Bush has ever touched he's screwed up.  Why shouldn't we think he'll eventually screw up the Republican party?

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:41:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  uh..."eventually?" more like "already" (0+ / 0-)

                  The GOP is at high risk of melting down as we speak.  Only Democratic inaction can forestall that inevitability.

                  "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

                  by nailbender on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:00:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  "Privatization" was AOK for historical fascism. (0+ / 0-)

              What is the boundary that separates a Halliburton or Blackwater or any other kickback-contractor from the government ???

              This is similar to the phenomenon of Interlocking Directorates, back when the railroad and coal Trusts ruled America.

              Also, it is similar to historical fascism.

              Fascism represents fusion of State and corporation.

              For example: Pinochet and Juan Peron were certainly fascists. They "public-ized" nothing. Same for Mussolini. Apart from broadcast media, you could say pretty much the same about Hitler.

              Their big money sponsors -- heavily banks -- were a all in favor of BushCo-style "Privatization."

              I do not understand the argument presented in the piece.

              Dixie Chicks and Amy Winehouse. Imus and Lenny Bruce. Overcome evil with good.

              by vets74 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:24:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Its a shift in decision making. (0+ / 0-)

            What makes it an imperial presidency is that the money and what it buys is increasingly decided at the executive level, not the legislative level.

            What is done is now at the sole discretion of the President.  Protected by Executive Privilege these actions and the costs of private contractors become opaque.

            The only power remaining with Congress is how much money the President can spend.  What it is spent on is no longer any of their business.

        •  Correct (16+ / 0-)

          It's the looting and pillaging of the state.  That is NOT fascism, which is state above everything, or a merging of the state.  It's the destruction of the state and the public sector.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:17:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then why, as I ask above (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, myrealname

            is there a need for such a powerful executive? Is it all just about rewarding the various Brownies with plum jobs? It seems to me that Cheney has a different motivation--one that I don't entirely understand.

            •  Hence the Amway connection with religion (7+ / 0-)

              . . . as some divine right or provenance. Used or abused, for some -- as Blackwater -- the connection has proven astronomically beneficial. I felt chilled reading Prince's history in the religious right and  his company's unprecedented rise to power on little provenance.

              It's the divine presidency. And that scares the hell out of me.

            •  the hidden agenda (6+ / 0-)

              I always call it money laundering, but it's terribly confusing to people.   In order to understand, you have to be aware of this hidden privatizing agenda. You might say it's corrupt, but it's all LEGAL.

              They increase the revenue and lower taxes on corporations, and the corporations in turn pay their legislators and their president via campaign contributions.  Of course more and more go to their pet corporations such as Halliburton etal.

              The long term plan is of course that the legislators and the govt. officials can all go to work with their pet corporations after they finish their low paid govt. service positions.

          •  From where do you get this definition? (9+ / 0-)

            Just curious... the fasces was a symbol of the power of unity.  I always think about that when I see one of those "United We Stand" things.

            I disagree that it's necessary to place the state as central in fascism -- it could be any unitary uniter.  In fact, I would argue that fascism tends to use the (cultural) nation rather than the (political) state as a rallying point.

            Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Pinochet, and most of the acknowledged fascists were not communists -- private companies made great fortunes under their rule.

            It's all semantics, anyway.  Whatever you call Bushism, it's bad.  

            Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes! - Bill and Ted

            by CharlieHipHop on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:38:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You write as if "fascism" is a stable term of art (24+ / 0-)

            which it is not, despite the claims of small pockets of academics that they own the rights to demarcate the bounds of term.  Yes, I can show you differences between what Bush evidently wants and (let's say Italian or Spanish to remove the "Nazi" baggage) Fascism.  I can also show you differences between what Chavez or Morales or AMLO or countless other people want and socialism.  This is not definitive and much wisdom resides in recognizing that these categories are not Aristotelian but family-resemblance based, and there is a family resemblence between what Bush wants and "fascism."  Surely enough of one to temper your criticism above.

            Fascism is sometimes theorized as hypertrophic right-wing populism (think of Pat Buchanan as a good exemplar) coupled with a melding of state and corporate interests.  You say that fascism means exaltation of the state above all, which strikes me as, at a minimum, idiosyncratic and also applicable to many non- and pre-fascist states; I say that that is one feature to consider among many, and when one considers it one should (as usual) take a functional view of critical terms like "state."

            Whether the state per se is all-powerful -- or whether corporate interests dominate the state and share in the monopoly on the legitimate use of force that is usually considered the sine qua non of statehood, rendering it a duopoly of aligned interests -- probably doesn't matter much.  Fascism in Spain, Italy, and Germany involved a power-sharing arrangement where state actors control the culture and foreign policy and the business interests work to the benefit of corporations, especially when they support, and unless they oppose, the state security apparatus.

            That sounds familiar to me.

            Your saying that Bush doesn't want to build up the state and it therefore can't be fascist misses the point.  It is no longer necessary to draft a massive army as it was in Germany.  Times have changed; proto-fascism has changed with them.  All that is necessary now is to keep the public scared, hating the right people, unwilling to accept leadership that doesn't take the right terrorizing tone, and willing to keep paying what they have to pay (one way or another) to keep the enterprise going.  We don't need a million troops; we have Blackwater and bombs.  And we have a huge state -- which you argue is not "built up" because it doesn't have the social welfare aspects of fascism, I suppose, and is therefore not fascist -- these days, if you haven't noticed; check out the budget deficits.

            A primary indicator of fascism (though not only fascism, admittedly) is control over and perversion of the electoral process.  Again: check.

            Should we hesitate to call Bushism part of the family of fascist ideologies?  Sure we should.  And we did.  But having done so should not leave us paralyzed.  Increasingly, as the party has moved to the point where it cannot be extricated from power other than through violence (and probably external violence at that), I think that the shoe fits and your disdain doesn't sway me.

            The more interesting question these days are the extent to which Russia and China show evidence of fascism.  To a sad degree, both do.  We may yet miss communism, which at least had the advantage of being unlikely to work in practice.

            Anyway, this story would have been more effective and worthwhile without the shot across the bow above the fold.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:44:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't Say You CAN Show Me (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Show me.

              And if you don't think building up or tearing down the state is essential to understanding what is and isn't fascism, then maybe you need to read more.  

              Sorry, come with examples, or look like you just want to hold on to a word because of it's emotional content instead of its historical, theoretical or analytical  utility.  

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:54:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Facism and the state? (11+ / 0-)

                It would have been kind of you DHinMI, to cite the source of the definition of fascism you chose to use in this piece since, after-all, you're making an argument that's fundamentally about definitions.

                Personally, I must say that the definition you use here does seem quite narrow, and perhaps a bit off.  After-all, as Major D. points out, there have been many political ideologies that emphasized state power, that aren't usually labeled "fascist."

                More importantly though, the claim that Bush's drive to privatization marks his administration as non-fascist is hugely mistaken.  Bush's privatization doesn't shrink the size of government; rather it removes control of government functions from democratic oversight, and gives control of security, education, infrastructure, and the rest to a small group of wealthy government loyalists.  What you describe as a "privatization" would more accurately be characterized as a transfer of government functions to a small cadre of unaccountable functionaries, who don't count as government employees only because they operate under no requirements to be transparent or accountable to the public.

                Bush is engaged in a nationalistic, militarist, authoritarian project, aimed at shifting control of  government away from the voting public.  

                •  Look... (0+ / 0-)

         for one.  Or read about Nazi interference in production and agriculture.  Private "enterprise" was allowed to remain private, but the state could do just about anything it wanted, and usually did.  That they didn't appropriate private property or put commissars in charge of production doesn't mean that business was unfettered, and it certainly doesn't mean that business elites were calling the shots.  After the mid-30's in Germany, the business elites were mostly along for the ride and the party elites were in charge.

                  The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                  by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:34:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And here, the business elites (10+ / 0-)

                    are the party elites.  Doesn't that change things?

                    Beyond that: so?  You seem to see early-mid-20th century fascism as sui generis rather than a particular example of a philosophy that fits into general political frameworks.  Should I ask you for "an example" of that?  It's an unnecessary limitation on political theory.

                    Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                    by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:38:41 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Name a Fascist State Since the 1940's... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...other than the ones whose roots are in that era (eg Spain, Portugal, maybe Argentina under Peron).  

                      While you're at it, tell me if there have been any Greek Polis states recently.  Or if we've had a recent version of the Hanseatic league.  Or a Holy Roman Empire principality.  

                      Maybe the issue isn't that the term is too narrowly being used to apply to only one era, but that it's essentially a historical term that doesn't apply outside that era.  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:44:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I can name you fascist *tendencies* (8+ / 0-)

                        which ought to be enough in a discussion of ideology.  I can't name you a communist state either -- or, perhaps, ever, at all, in history, depending on how one looks at it -- but that does not obviate the existence of communist ideology.

                        Most of what would come close to qualifying as fascist is rooted in tribal authoritarianism -- lots of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America would qualify.  It's the establishment of a strong anti-civil liberties domestic apparatus, aggressive foreign policy, whipping up hatred, and merger of state and domestic corporate interests that, to my mind, starts to verge on fascism.  Not many states are wealthy enough to do all of that, but there are tendencies towards valuing such an end in many states.

                        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                        by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:00:41 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We're Not Discussing Just an Ideology (0+ / 0-)

                          We're discussing the practice of exercising power when in control of the apparatus of the state.  Since nobody can name me a single fascist state that gave away power to the private sector, I stick by my contention.  

                          You can find communist tendencies in BushCo.  Nobody bothers to call them communist, because they don't get the same emotional satisfaction from tossing that epiteth that they get from tossing fascist.

                          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                          by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:27:28 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You apparently still don't understand the concept (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Inky, vets74

                            of merger of private and governmental interests.  If the private sector takes over the government and implements a program that otherwise looks like fascism, is it not fascism because the private sector is calling the shots, and does so with the power of the state apparatus which is has captured?  Ridiculous.

                            Beyond that, whether there has been a "fascist state" or not is irrelevant to the question of whether fascist ideology exists (and thrives.)  Prior to the October Revolution in Russia, there had never been a socialist/communist state.  By your reckoning, in 1916 you could squelch any discussion of communist ideology by asking "show me a communist state!"  We're not talking about instantiation of ideology here, we're talking about ideology itself.

                            Talking about instantiations of ideology invites quibbling.  If I bring up Paraguay under Stroessner, you can say "oh, but the security apparatus didn't reach all the way into the hinterlands" or some such twaddle.  That doesn't really matter.  What matters in a discussion of whether an ideological epithet or appellation is appropriation is the ideology itself: what are the goals, what is the philosophy, of the one accused?

                            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                            by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 12:03:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Mussolini made no such claim. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Major Danby

                            He and his brother-in-law defined fascism and he founded the first fascist party.

                            Saying that "the State" has to act in and of itself, without private impulse, makes little sense.

                            That would require a political movement similar to Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Or Mao and his inner clique.

                            Fascism has never worked like this. Even with Hitler.

                            Fascism has combined power holders with private interest groups everywhere, every time out.

                            Dixie Chicks and Amy Winehouse. Imus and Lenny Bruce. Overcome evil with good.

                            by vets74 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:30:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think that you mean to address that to DH (0+ / 0-)

                            You may want to repost it as a reply to one of his comments so that he sees it.

                            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                            by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 01:32:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  As a guess, DH's mind is made up. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Inky, Major Danby

                            He caught hold of a distinction -- The State as core of everythng -- and ain'tgonna give it up.

                            Copying a favorite pit bull.

                            BTW: Wiki on fascism.

                            "Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State."


                            Sounds like the play list guy at Clear Channel. They'll tell us what to think, you betcha....

                            Dixie Chicks and Amy Winehouse. Imus and Lenny Bruce. Overcome evil with good.

                            by vets74 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 02:37:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  The problem with your argument (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        over definitions is that it doesn't take into account the fact that societies have all evolved since the 1940s.  Technology is different, the reach of corporations is greater, the relationships between states and corporations and free trade areas is different.

                        If I followed your rules of definition, a cell-phone could not be called a telephone.  After all, it has no hand-crank on the side nor any wires connecting it to other telephones.  It's wireless, therefore it cannot be a phone. It must be some sort of radio.

                        I could apply the same logic to your description of fascism and would arrive at the conclusion that no regime in the present era could arrive at a point of being described as "fascist".  

                        Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

                        by Mad Kossack on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:45:14 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The HEART of My Argument... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          vets74, Neon Vincent

                          ...includes the notion that fascism is primarily a historical term, and relates to dynamics that are no longer relevant to modern society, economics, politics and government.  As pointed out downthread, we're not transitioning from an agrarian to an industrial society.  We're not dealing with a massive influx of labor from the countryside in to the major cities.  We're also not reacting to the threat of communism.  All of those dynamics were crucial in the rise of fascism, especially the last one.  And again, there isn't a single fascist state that ever gave up state power, they all increased it, and this administration is doing the opposite in most areas.

                          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                          by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:53:58 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Transfer of power (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Inky, Neon Vincent

                            What Bush and his ilk are actually doing is transferring power from democratically-controlled institutions to those that are controlled by their cronies.  This is not "decreasing" state power, but moving that power to a place of safety where it cannot be challenged.   For example: BushCo relied upon corporations to do the  dirty work of providing phone taps and internet monitoring. Hence his insistence on blanket immunity for the corporations that did his bidding.  

                            This whole discussion (not your fault, btw) is suffering from a modern world view of what
                            constitutes "government". In pre-modern Europe, the view of what constituted government was fuzzier than it is now. The Church, local barons, monarchs, etc. all competed for power.  The modern nation-state eventually emerged and has been seen as the model in the West for hundreds of years. Much of what is happening now is a symptom of the decline of the nation-state as the most important actor.

                            I tend to view all actors with an ability to operate independently and to enforce their will upon others as a form of "government".  By my definition, a Walmart or a homeowners' association could be called a "government".  Many will probably quibble with this, but that is fine.

                            The problem I have with conservatism's alleged desire for "less government" is that I don't see there being any such thing as "less government".  To them, "less government" just means turning areas of life that require rules over to institutions that are unaccountable to the public.  Decisions affecting people's lives are going to be made by someone, they just don't want it to be a democratic institution.  This is not in conflict with your arguments at all.

                            I think this is an excellent diary and I agree with your analysis completely, except for your insistence that Bushism is not fascism. I would argue, if I were going to spend the rest of the day on the computer rather than getting any work done, that comparing Bushism to previous failed experiments in fascism is not useful. A maltese and a Rottweiler are both dogs , though they have little resemblence to one another.

                            I think you are making very good arguments, as are Major Danby and some other commenters. A lot of this discussion resembles arguments over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. So, I shall take my leave and get some work done.

                            Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

                            by Mad Kossack on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 06:47:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I Don't Judge Governmental Systems... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Neon Vincent

                            ...on whether they succeeded or failed.  I view them in how they acted.  Communism isn't just Marx and Lenin, it's 70 plus years of communist control of numerous countries.  I'm taking a descriptive approach, not one of platonic forms.  As I wrote in the first part, there wasn't really a coherent theory of fascism, so more so than almost any other system, you have to look at not what Alfred Rosenberg wrote and nobody read, or the contradictory pronouncements of Mussolini (although they're far more consistent with what I've argued than with almost everyone who's mentioned him).  No, you have to look at how they ruled, and what Bush is doing is not much like how the fascists ruled.  The below-the-surface appeal to rightwing voters shares some affinities, absolutely, but so do most far-right political movements.  

                            So, I'm judging them against everything that we've seen, not some ideal form, which for fascism never really existed anyway.  

                            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                            by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 06:58:17 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Excellent (11+ / 0-)

                  One good definition of "the state" is the entity that holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.  If that becomes a duopoly due to the actions of the state, and if the state can retract or reshape that duopoly (especially to promote the ruling party or officials), functionally it's all "the state" no matter who signs the paychecks.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:36:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  K Street is one example... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Corporations who hired the right kind of people and payed to play reaped the benefits.

                I hated george bush before it was cool.

                by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:22:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Oh great, I can post here again -- here we go: (12+ / 0-)

                What I think is that:

                (1) definitions of most phenomental are not Aristotelian (with checklists of necessary and sufficient and forbidden features), but prototypical and following a "family resemblence" model, making most arguments of the sort "(A) is a type of (B)" "Is not!  It lacks characteristic (Z)!" fruitless and pointless.  But also:

                (2) to the extent that "building up the state uber alles" is truly a defining feature of fascism, it must be considered functionally.  Note the continued predominance of the Church within Franco's Spain: "not fascist," therefore?  Or was there simply a merger of interests to the point where the church did not pose a competing font of power to the state, such that building up the church did not degrade from (and indeed facilitated) building up the state?  One can raise a similar functional argument about the relationship between corporations and the state in the modern U.S.  (And one should really consider the new realities of multinational commerce, which weren't around to the same degree in 1933-45, and as whether a national state is what is truly being "built" anymore.)

                (3) I believe that your response overlooks most of the content of my previous comment, which I incorporate here by reference.  It would be appropriate to a comment that said "Bush iz BAD there4 FASCIST" or some such.  But I raised some substantive arguments there which shame or protocol ought to impel you to address before dismissing this as agitprop silliness on my part.  We need a term for hypertrophic right-wing cultural and social policy combined with merger of corporate and state interests, and "fascism" seems like a pretty damn promising one, even if not every box on the checklist -- as if 1930s-40s fascism is eternally the only kind possible -- is ticked.

                (4) I believe that saying "Show me examples" -- really? what examples could one theoretically bring to bear that would settle this sort of definitional argument? -- is sophistry, and doing so in an insulting way, as a power holder on the site, comes awfully close to thuggery.  I gave you arguments, which is appropriate to an argument about definitions.  I suggest you chew on them.

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:33:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  then consider Bushism a new development (4+ / 0-)

                  So far we're debating whether Bushism fits within the existing definitions of fascism, which originated in far different times.  

                  Notably, in the 1930s,  economies were moving from agrarian to industrial, and mineral resource extraction was still growing in a meaningful way.  Today, economies have apparently moved from industrial to informational and even financial ("financialization" as per one of the critiques of the Bush era).  

                  Notably, the means of mass communication have changed: radio has been supplanted with TV (not replaced by, given the strength of rightie-radio); and on the other hand we now have a huge new grassroots media via the internet.  

                  Right-wing ideologies in general seem to have these things in common: state power is centralized in the executive; culture of "national identity" based on racial, ethnic, religious, or other demarcations that are largely inherited rather than individually chosen; close connections between elites in public and private sectors; strong puritanical element re. sexuality and bodily pleasure in general; very often a strong religious element or direct alliance with religious forces (which may become part of the state apparatus, as per the Middle Ages and also the Middle East); megalomaniacal or messianic beliefs about the role of the leadership in national and world affairs; politicization of science and disdain for objective science; authoritarian about personal liberties; elitist orientation (the masses cannot be trusted to govern themselves); and the willingness to use violence, both domestically and internationally, both as a means and as an end in itself.

                  Bushism includes all of the above, plus:  

                  Promoting mediocrity as virtue, to support a culture of mediocrity.   Claiming the legitimacy of the pre-existing institutions rather than claiming to be an agent of revolutionary change.  These appear to be the only truly new elements in the mix.  Bush's handlers promote the idea that he was chosen by God to lead, but most extreme right ideologies promote the idea of their leader as anointed by God.  

                  Perhaps the most unprecedented thing about Bushism in terms of recent US history, is its degree of success in the key area of harvesting public resources for the benefit of its cronies, and in the area of curtailment of Constitutional rights, and in the centralization of executive authority.  

                  So what else, if anything, is truly new about Bushism?  It feels as if it's a new form of rightist ideology, but that may only be in comparison to previous rightist ideologies in the US e.g. Reaganism and Nixonism.  

              •  Besides, "Authoritarian" works perfectly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neon Vincent

                for all the reasons you have detailed, and has the bonus of emotional bite too.

                It is time to offer the world a message of hope to counter the prophets of hate. Barack Obama.

                by vivacia on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:42:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I would rather confine fascism ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              To systems that actually drew inspiration from Fascist Italy - Germany, more superficially Spain, and in various lesser degree various midcentury regimes that went in for torchlight parades and fetish uniforms.

              When you draw the definition of fascism much wider than that, you end up using it for almost any thuggish regime, and good old Sulla was a fascist. (Maybe I shouldn't go there - Mussolini might have agreed, and I'd be in a jam. :)

              But more consequentially, defining fascism broadly opens the door to bullshit like "Islamofascism." Like jeez, we have to call Osama a fascist to know he's a bad guy?"

              The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

              by al Fubar on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:42:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, Almost Every Argument Here... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                al Fubar, Alfred E Newman, badger

                ...against saying that Bush isn't fascist appears to be predicted on a desire to not give up a loaded word that some people seem to find emotionally satisfying to use.  

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:47:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wouldn't it be easy for you (8+ / 0-)

                  if we were all just wild-eyed self-indulgent hooligans.  No, the reason many of us don't want to give up the word is that it is meaningful, but simply not as narrow as you would have it be.  You treat it as a fashion, something that came into style around the 1940s -- like women drawing lines down the back of their legs to make it look like they were wearing nylons.  I treat it -- and taught it, using a well-established textbook that took the trouble to situate it within an ideological 2x2 dimension -- as a radical version of political ideologies that exist in our normal environment.

                  For you and for al Fubar, with whom I generally agree on most matters, Fascism is something that existed for a brief period and then went away, leaving us without a term for an ideology that opposed civil liberties at home, whipped up and focused public rage on external enemies and those who would support them at home, bolstered the power and just role of the state in national security and imposition into personal morality, and largely joined ruling party and corporate interests.  Surely this is not so unusual a constellation of characteristics as to not need a label.

                  It has elements of both conservatism (economically, although it is compatible with a Bismarckian social service regime) and right-wing populism, with which it tends to be more closely identified.  It did not stop in 1945 or even 1975 with the death of Franco.  You would call it what, exactly?  "Authoritarinism"?  Thin gruel, that, if so -- and far overinclusive besides, as it might apply to communism, socialism, left-wing populism, tribal cultures, and anyone other than libertarians (according to them.)

                  There's no "right answer" to this question, DH, which is why it is supposed to be open to temperate and open discussion.  As is usual whenever we categorize anything, there are dangers to both overinclusiveness and underinclusiveness, some of the former of which al Fubar points out.  (N.b.: I wouldn't have much problem calling Sulla a fascist if the shoe seemed to fit -- the fasces were a Roman symbol, after all -- but I think that fascism implies something other than a tribally oriented authoritarianism alone.  Nor would I have had trouble calling Saddam a fascist if that shoe seemed to fit.  (I think he was a very bad authoritarian tribalist with some socialistic leanings, not nearly fascist by most definitions, but I'd be willing to argue it out on the merits.)

                  What does not make sense is the pejorative assertion that those of us who are trying to have a political discussion are just barking and honking for our own gratification.  It's insulting dismissiveness that is both wrong and, in your case, unearned.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:54:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Making Yourself a Victim... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...of being a "wild eyed holligan" has nothing to do with the accuracy of the term. So don't try to be a martyr.

                    The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                    by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:30:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That doesn't even make sense (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      You are not discussing this issue with academic detachment and are instead questioning the motives of those who disagree with you.  I'm challenging you on it.  I'm not trying to claim martyrdom -- frankly, I don't even feel wounded by your insults here -- but am simply responding to your criticisms of a position.  You've largely ignored the substance of those responses.

                      We disagree on the propriety of the deployment of the term "fascism" out of a limited context.  I could be wrong about that (though I don't think I am), if this is the kind of thing one can be "wrong" about, which I've argued it may not be.  But you've staked out a stronger claim than that, which is that I am people like me are simply using this term because it feels good, not because we think it is meaningful and justified.  I don't think you can defend that.  And, I note, you are not doing so here.

                      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                      by Major Danby on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 11:53:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  I can accept that to be useful and meaningful (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Inky, nancelot, Naniboujou, Neon Vincent

                the concept of fascism may have to be extended with some care in order to fit on the standard 2x2 ideological grid based on regulation of economic and social behavior.  But I do think that that grid is a pretty decent start to an analysis of ideology, and that it doesn't make sense to say that fascism somehow doesn't fit on the grid.  While there are dangers of overinclusiveness, there are also dangers of underinclusiveness.

                So far as I can tell the alternatives to deeming the constellation of ideological characteristics I've mentioned several times here now as "fascism" is to say that it's just "authoritarianism," which I find pallid and useless, or to assert that it's not ideological at all (so there's no problem to it being on the grid) and the people in charge are just self-serving non-ideological criminals.

                Taking those in order:

                What I've described as "fascism" is not just any authoritarianism; it's not "nanny state"ism, for example.  It imposes a particular view on a society that I believe (though a libertarian would not, and perhaps DH -- who is who knows what ideologically -- would not as well) is different from, say, Castro's Cuba.  I think that we need a term for ideological tendencies that would merge corporate power and a monopoly of force.

                Nor do I think it's non-ideological.  There is an ideology there: a conservative, authoritarian, paranoid, bellicose one.  These people may be as much looters and leeches as Tony Soprano, but they sell it to others (and probably justify it to themselves) using ideas that are quite well reflected in the political culture of Nazi Germany -- from anti-egalitarianism to corrupt art to ginning up threats from within and without and beyond.  This ideology may not have its Karl Marx or Adam Smith -- though I'd say Adolf Hitler enunciated one example of it pretty damn well -- but it's still an ideology.

                Anyway, I appreciate the constructive and polite argument on your part.

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:37:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  We agree on one thing (8+ / 0-)

              This whole debate of whether BushCo is or is not fascist really distracts from what seems to be the main point of this diary series - to understand the Bushists' philosophy of government. I think DH will be served best by just leaving the fascism issue alone and focusing on his analysis of how Bushist government works - whether it's fascist or not.

              Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

              by brainwave on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:49:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah -- had the part of the story below the fold (6+ / 0-)

                been above the fold and vice versa, I doubt I'd have found my way into this discussion.  The proper definition of "fascism" is not written somewhere in stone; reasonable people can disagree about it.  (So can unreasonable people.)

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:40:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  you are wrong... (10+ / 0-)

            ...the result is exactly the same.

            whether the state prviatizes the public sector prior to encompassing it in the state first is inconsequential.  it is capture either way.  perhaps the bush crime family is doing it this way rather than the alternative in order to make it more appealing to those who benefit most from the project?  gee... that would make sense, no?

            the end result is a fascist state, where the corporations and the state are a single entity...  

            you have defined a distinction without a difference.

          •  They're destroying the public sectors..... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DHinMI, Neon Vincent

            that act as a check on their power....
            Ex.  The independence of the DoJ.

            I hated george bush before it was cool.

            by dehrha02 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 08:52:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  atomization (10+ / 0-)

 a logical outcome of an economy that depends on constant growth.

          The oldstyle extended family under one roof had one house, one car, one of each of the usual appliances.

          The nuclear family of the post-WW2 era split off the grandparents' generation from the parents' generation: more houses, cars, appliances, etc.

          The trend toward single-parent households started in the early 1980s, and at that point I noticed a pattern: the breakdown of household units into smaller and smaller sizes was good for the economy because it sold more stuff.  

          Divorce is good for the economy because every divorce spawns a new set of transactions: a new home or apartment, a new set of appliances, another car (if there wasn't already one before), and the travel costs for kids who are ping-ponged back and forth between two parents' places,  neither of which is truly "home" because it's not stable.  

          The ideal case from an economic standpoint is one person per household plus dependent children, and then split off the kids as quickly as possible.  (As it turns out, this has hit its own limit: young adults burdened with college debt and trying to save for their own house, are living with their parents for longer and longer: in Italy the average young adult male lives with his parents up to about age 36.)

          But one you hit the single-person household, that becomes a limit: there is no more splitting off, unless a way can be found to take the kids away at an earlier age and monetize the transaction.  This is possible for those who can afford private boarding schools but otherwise not.  

          The inexorable logic of growth-based economies is that they must continue to gobble up and monetize more and more of what was previously not monetized.  

          (And of course it's also killing the planet...)

          What's next?

          •  Best comment of the week! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, G2geek

            Thank you -- a profound revelation.  Should be a complete diary if not book!

            •  thanks, and in fact... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Neon Vincent

              I'm working on getting my own site up to publish my stuff.  

              My point would seem to be terribly obvious; I'm surprised you find it a "profound revelation" unless you're engaging in snark (my snarkmeter isn't working at the moment).  

              But here's another example of where this goes:  All social problems are good for the economy.  Even street crime, as it feeds the desire for home alarm systems and parents driving (consuming fuel) their kids to & from school, and of course the private prison complex.  Even commuter traffic jams, which produce higher advertising revenues for radio broadcasters during "rush hour" (as well as selling more gas and more cars that resemble living rooms on wheels).  

              Every place there is an entropy flow, a parasitic social ecosystem will arise consisting of those who will eagerly exploit it for their own gain.  In fact all of biology works this way: living organisms exploit entropy factors around them, ultimately leading right back to the entropy of the sun itself.  The apparent difference is that these social parasites can willfully act to maintain and increase entropy where it suits them, whereas life on Earth can't do squat to increase the entropy of the sun.  

              If you start looking at things this way, a whole bunch of other analyses suggest themselves.  

              •  No Snark Intended (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Neon Vincent

                This is very incisive work that deserves a large audience.  The more you say the more fascinating it is.  Good luck with your new site -- I for one will be an avid reader!

                All signs point toward sustainability for me at the moment.  "Waste not want not" was a way of life for my grandparents in the Depression, and I still remember being taught by my grandmother how to make soap from frying oil and coal ash lye -- we always had a container on the stove to save grease, which we reused.

                One of the original solar theorists, Steve Baer, wrote a book called Sunspots many years ago.  One chapter was about how drying clothes on a clothesline has no economic standing, but using an appliance does.  We need a new calculus for conservation.

                Buckminster Fuller thought the purpose of humans was to oppose the force of entropy and coined the term syntropy.  As an idealistic 20 something i actually started a business called "Syntropics" having to do with energy conserving design.  Still working on it 40 years later!

                More power to you.  I hope there will be a way for the rest of us to help.  

          •  What's the alternative to growth-based economies? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Neon Vincent

            What would the economy be based on?  It seems it would be necessary to do as you suggest or we will kill the planet.  

            I am no economist.  What would this look like?  This probably would need to be a diary, I guess.

            It is time to offer the world a message of hope to counter the prophets of hate. Barack Obama.

            by vivacia on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 10:50:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  in fact it's going to become a website (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              vivacia, Naniboujou, Neon Vincent

              ...and I'm going to publish at length about these topics.  

              First of all, a steady-state economy is not optional, it is essential in order to prevent us trashing the planet to the point where we extinct ourselves (for example in a +5 degrees Celsius climate scenario, we come damn close to extincting the human race).  

              Given that we're dealing with a necessity, the only question is "how?"

              A steady state of energy & resource extraction, combined with an increasing population, leads inexorably to a lower standard of living for all (except possibly an elite that can manage to hoard resources).  

              A steady state of energy & resource extraction, combined with a decreasing population, leads inexorably to a higher standard of living for all.  This is true whether the population decline comes peacefully as through better family planning & voluntary measures, or comes with much violence as through plagues and wars.  

              So in order to improve the standard of living, we have to combine a steady or decreasing level of resource & energy consumption, with a decreasing level of population.  That's the first essential.

              The second essential of a steady state economy is that a gain anywhere translates to a loss elsewhere.  One of the great miracles of capitalism is the fractional-reserve lending system whereby banks can create investment that in turn creates an increase in material wealth.  This depends on interest being paid on loans, which in turn depends on the profits of business and investment activity.  However in a steady state system, this can't be taken for granted, and as I said, gain in one place is loss in another.  

              In a growth-based economy we can say (even if in practice it never works out this way) that a rising tide lifts all boats, so growth is good for the middle class and working people generally.  In a steady-state economy this is very obviously no longer true, and all questions of the improvement of the lot of the proverbial masses, come down to questions of distributional equity: "who gets how much of the pie?"  For every winner there is also one or more partial or complete losers.  

              So in order for this to work without leading to some kind of social explosion, there has to be a) a rule-system in place to manage the scope of social competitive forces to prevent them going out of control and becoming violent (overtly or subtly: starving poor people is a violent policy even if the results are out of sight for the most part), and b) an effectively level playing field where each sector of society has equal representation and control over the means by which rules are made and conflicts adjudicated.  

              Anyway this is just scratching the surface; there's far more to be written on this subject.  

              •  Thanks for your response. (0+ / 0-)

                Please keep us posted when the site goes up.  I would like to contribute my (however unformed) thoughts.

                It is time to offer the world a message of hope to counter the prophets of hate. Barack Obama.

                by vivacia on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 07:46:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Bush Fascism : State Serving Corporations (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, bmaples, CharlieHipHop, james risser

        It is fascism.

        historians tend to think of fascism as the joining of big corporations with the state.

        The difference from the 1930's being the tremendous power of the transnational corporation in our era.

        The horizonatal and vertical reach of todays mega corporation dwarfs that of the 1930's Germany & Italy.

        'It's deja vu all over again'-Yogi Berra

        by frandor55 on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:24:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but that doesn't really address (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the question of whether or not Bush and friends are fascists.

        •  and actually, that's not exactly right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          there have been serious multinationals since at least the 19th century.

          •  East India Company (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, vivacia, Neon Vincent

            Thom Hartmann in Unequal Protection makes a good case for the idea that the East India Company ( formed in 1600) was the first multinational corporation, and that the American Revolution had a great deal to do with preventing its domination of the colonies.  Buckminster Fuller felt that pirate fleets actually bankrolled many royal families and were de facto multinational military/trading/financial empires in the 1500's, with corporate entities like East India simply formalizing their approach.  Others make a strong case that the Knights Templar in the 13th century set the model.  Seaborn trade between China, India, and the Arabian peninsula was quite multinational as a system, as was the entire land-based Silk Route, dating to prehistory.

            We could as easily set aside the whole subject of fascism and talk about piracy instead, which might be just as productive and a lot more fun.  Bush would love to play Johnny Depp.  

            As Major Danby rightly says, belaboring definitions smacks of sophistry.  I would prefer to see some charts and graphs pretty soon, real data.  Where's the powerpoint?

      •  take Musolini's state for example: (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, vivacia, xaxado, Neon Vincent

        there are many similarities, and many places where they break down, as well.

        But there are some striking similarities between Mussonlini's fascist rise and the Bushist era we are in the throes of right here, right now (from Wiki, emphases mine):

        The assassination of the socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti, who had requested the annulment of the elections because of the irregularities committed, provoked a momentary crisis of the Mussolini government. The murderer, a squadrista named Amerigo Dumini, reported to Mussolini soon after the murder. Mussolini ordered a cover-up, but witnesses saw the car used to transport Matteotti's body parked outside Matteotti's residence, which linked Dumini to the murder. The Matteotti crisis provoked cries for justice against the murder of an outspoken critic of Fascist violence. The government was shocked into paralysis for a few days, and Mussolini later confessed that a few resolute men could have alerted public opinion and started a coup that would have swept fascism away. Dumini was imprisoned for 2 years. On release he told others that Mussolini was responsible, for which he served further prison time. For the next 15 years, Dumini received an income from Mussolini, the Fascist Party, and other sources. This was clearly hush money, for he left a dossier full of incriminating evidence to a Texas lawyer in case of his own death.

        The opposition parties responded weakly or were generally unresponsive. Many of the socialists, liberals and moderates boycotted Parliament in the Aventine Secession, hoping to force Victor Emmanuel to dismiss Mussolini. But despite the leadership of communists such as Antonio Gramsci, socialists such as Pietro Nenni and liberals such as Piero Gobetti and Giovanni Amendola, they were incapable of transforming their posturing into a mass antifascist action. The king, fearful of violence from the Fascist squadristi, kept Mussolini in office. Because of the boycott of Parliament, Mussolini could pass any legislation unopposed. The political violence of the squadristi had worked only too well, for there was no popular demonstration against the murder of Matteotti.

        So, the dictator's ascendancy can be directly attributed to the weak-kneed response of the opposition to electoral fraud and other criminality, even when they held the cards necessary to bring him down.  

        That is a similarity that really cuts to the bone, right here, right now.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

        by nailbender on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:26:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Much more insidious (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DHinMI, sofia, Neon Vincent

        Max Weber defined the State as the entity with a monopoly on force.  What Bush authoritarianism does is to privatize not only governmental functions like disaster cleanup and feeding/supplying the military, but force itself.  Thus, the State no longer has a monopoly on force.  

        This is true in Iraq, but also in private prisons in the US and perhaps one day we will see private police forces that also operate outside the law.  Thhese private armies and police forces are set up to protect private individuals and private property, something a strong State can do but a weak State can't.

        What Bush authoritarianism is about is giving power to private entities and then enabling them to hold onto what they've got and amass more through gov't contracts and giveaways and scams that are beyond prosecution.  It is really an undoing of the State as we have known it.  It is a kind of post-industrial feudalism, which is why it is so fitting that Blackwater hires through a form of indentured servitude.

        "Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure." ---The White Rose, 1942

        by Mimikatz on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 09:47:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh they are Facists but not Nazis...yet! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Neon Vincent

        There is a textbook case to be made for Facism in the Bush43 government and on the hill as well. It has been an ongoing rot since the days of Reagan.

        These Fascists have not destroyed government but rather changed the locus of who it represents while increasing it's physical size, indebtedness, and even it's acts of omission are acts in service to the corporations who day by day take more power over from this official this government as the control said government. Privatization is not taking power away from government it is merely changing who government serves as the taxpayers still pay for the misnamed privatization that is going on.

        Is what is going on Fascist or not? How about Homeland security, do they have to use the word Fatherland before one recognizes what it represents? How about the generation of fear of an outside enemy of the Homeland? (classic Fascism.) Or what about the phony patriotic jargon...freedom fries, Patriot Acts, etc; or the usurping of personal freedoms (wrecking of the Bill of Rights) in the name of national security; attacking political enemies as enemies of the state or its branches like the military; flag waving, lapel fag pins, on and on, all the earmarks of a Fascist state are there.

        Just because Blackwater is supposedly a private corporation doesn’t stop it from being an arm of the government who pays its bills. The corporate servants who run this government really direct Blackwater’s activities.  Blackwater is as much a state organ as the Brown Shirt/ SS divisions were. The corporate Socialists (Fascists by definition) have bought our government with legalized bribery and they also use their monopolized corporate press to project their Fascist propaganda.

        The problem is Capitalism and free markets?  Hardly, Adam Smith good liberal that he was would blanch at what passes for free markets in our system. He would hardly call Freedman's pure Capitalism anything more than a glorified state Socialism and since the state is run by the corporations corporate socialism, AKA, Fascism.

        Do you really think the corporate friendly trade agreements rammed through our government by corporate America are free or fair trade? The reality of how they are realized in the real world is little better than the 18th century imperialism of the East Indian Trading Company sort with consensus generated frosting on them to simulate progress and liberalism.

        We are not dealing with anything new to Bush43 or 20th century history it is nothing but a growing Fascism that is and has been hiding in a plain Republican coat since Reagan. This Fascism is not unique to Bush43 or just the Republican Party. Corporate American plans to put a Democrat happy face on this mess and continue with buisness as usual and that busines, make no mistake about it Fascist in Nature.

        Socialism to some degree is inevitable and necessary in a modern state the important question is will it be Democratically controlled or controlled by a Communist or Fascist elite who will rip off the lion’s share of the cultures assets for themselves. The effects of a totalitarian state be it Communist, Facist, or Royalist are much the same for the majority of the people who labor under its weight. It is however important to name the disease when treating it and the disease afflicting our country to day is Fascism or corporate Socialism.

        The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

        by Bobjack23 on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 10:04:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Blackwater is the smaller part of the problem. (7+ / 0-)

      Blackwater must be addressed, I agree.

      But, the US military is vastly bigger than Blackwater and it has much larger ordinance. To put it mildly.

      I have mixed feelings about the current vogue re Blackwater.

      It is good, yes, that some are noticing.

      However, the promotion of apocalyptic premillennial dispensationalism within the US military has reached a fever pitch.

      Blackwater is the little game, I'm sorry to say. For the wider problem, see:

      The Military Religious Freedom Foundation

    •  You Guys are Daft. bushism = fascism (10+ / 0-)
      1. How do you have Authoritarianism without the state? Authoritarism IS a mega state substituting for the rule of law and overwhelming lall of a nations resources into militarism.
      1. How do you merge the state and corporations without a state?

      The cult of republicanism, of which bush is a great purveyor IS fascism. Not only does it take public wealth and distribute it to private enterprise (the very definition of merging the state and corporations), but:

      1. the state also controls the media - a key point of fascism you conveniently ignore and which in the US has been the key enabler of the cult of republicanism destruction of US constitutional governance and;
      1. fascism invests in a leader as a personality cult IN LIEU OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. Bush as big daddy knows best Dear Leader has been the defining characteristic of bushism.
      •  And You Think the State Controls Our Media??????? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Yeah, that's why the major corporate media did such of good job of reporting during the Clinton administration...

        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

        by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:55:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dr. Laurence Britt's 14 points (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, nancelot, james risser, Neon Vincent

        Read them and I'm sure you and I would find every point realized in some way by this administration.

        1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

        2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

        3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

        4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

        5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

        6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

        7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting "national security," and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

        8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless." A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

        9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of "have-not" citizens.

        10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

        11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

        12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

        13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

        14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

        As for DHinMI's point about media: think only about who now owns the media as compared to media ownership during Watergate and Vietnam.  Media has been consolidated very tightly in the last decade and a half so that a mere 10 companies own most of it, and those owners have a vested interest in the success of one political party.  Think again about the success of Fux News, its reliance on talking points issued by the ruling party in the White House, the chase by the remaining cable companies in emulating Fux for the last 7+ years.  This is a controlled media; it's just not state-owned, it's party-controlled.

        •  Forgot this: "pseudo-fascism" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, nancelot, Neon Vincent

          Dave Neiwert and I had an exchange about this term after his 6-part series on fascism in America.  He referred to the Bush Administration as pseudo-fascist at the time, when I felt it was clearly fascist.

          But that was several years ago, at a time when he felt that the nature of our government was just shy of fascism, not quite fascist in actuality.

          I haven't bothered to go back and ask him if he's changed his mind.  I know mine hasn't.

        •  Does "Lawrence Britt" Even Exist? (0+ / 0-)

          I looked that person up a twice (under multiple spellings), and found no such person listed anywhere.  I wonder if there even is such a person.  

          I'd like to see who he is, what he's a doctor of, where he got his doctorate, if he has any academic credentials or affiliations, etc.  

          The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

          by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:50:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  For Instance, What Authors Don't Have... (0+ / 0-)

            ...a wikipedia entry?  Don't show up on Amazon?  Don't show up on a university website?  Have no links to known publications?  Don't appear to have ever been interviewed?  

            I wonder if "Dr Lawrence Britt" once woke up in a bathtub of ice missing a kidney.

            The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

            by Dana Houle on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 09:55:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Where do you get this stuff? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Busted Flat in Baton Rouge

            Of course Laurence (with a U) Britt exists. If you want, you can read an interview that contains a short biography here. You can even check out his novel on

            He's not very hard to Google. I'm surprised at you--that's one talent I always thought you had down pat.

            I'm sure you'll try to figure out some way to discredit him. I can hardly wait to see what it is.

            •  Ok, I googled. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DHinMI, vivacia

              There are a lot of hits on that name, but none that confirm his authority as a source. Basically, they all use the same couple of descriptions of him, which is sort of a classic sign of something that's circulated the internet rapidly without having been followed up on very much if at all.

              A few sites state definitively that he is neither a "doctor" nor a political scientist, but without any more evidence than the ones that say he is a doctor and a political science. Lacking real evidence in either direction I'll restrict myself to noting that while the article you link identifies him as having studied business at Northwestern, it nowhere says he got a PhD or studied political science. Nor have I found him in searches of 3 major academic article databases - if he was a political science who'd published in academic journals, I would probably have found him in one of them.

              So at this point, I have no reason to believe he's anything other than some dude who wrote a thing that a lot of people like. It could well be really smart - I mean, that's the great thing about the blogosphere, right, that ideas are supposed to prevail over credentials? - but the fact that his supposed credentials are so frequently highlighted as validating the article means that those credentials are fair game.

              Anyway, this description seems about right to me:

              The Britt article started with what is happening in the U.S. and then crafted a description of fascism that only highlights those points that will support the thesis. This is a logical fallacy (the false notion that things that are similar in some aspects are identical in all aspects).

              •  Some Dude Who Wrote a Thing... (0+ / 0-)

                ...a lot of people like.

                That about sums it up.  He's self-published some novels that don't appear to be sold anywhere, and he wrote a list that got on to the internet.  That's it.  I'm not at all impressed.  Frankly, there are a lot of people whose comments on Daily Kos are far more insightful and historically informed than what I see in that list by some dude who wrote a thing a lot of people like.

                The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:36:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I'll hunt him down -- in the mean time (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, nancelot

            ...why don't you look at Dave Neiwert's 6-piece series on "pseudo-fascism" and see if you can agree with that?

            I expect you'll know how to find him, yes?  He might even have a Wikipedia entry, which as we all know is entirely accurate all the time.

            (The piece I quoted was published by Secular Humanism; I'll check with them to see if Britt left any contact info.)

          •  Did you time me? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inky, nancelot

            RadioFreeMaine offers a tape of a program with Laurence Britt dd. May 18,2003, part of a program called "Rethinking 9/11, Part 1 of 2" with Kyle Hence

            June 2004 was published in 1998 by Laurence W. Britt as a political thriller, and is available through Amazon

            Britt was interviewed and profiled by the Rochester city Newspaper in December of 2004; they have a number of other articles by him in their archives.

            Why don't you call him yourself next time?  He lives in Fairport NY.

            You might also want to ask yourself why anybody would want to bury his work.

            •  Look... (0+ / 0-)

      He's just "some dude who wrote a thing that a lot of people like."  I could come up with my own list, and it's no less authoritative based on my status than is his, because he appears to have no academic or scholarly standing.  He's just "some dude" who self-publishes novels.  He's not, in my mind, even as credible a source as bloggers.

              The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

              by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 05:56:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You could say the same thing about Marcy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Just some person who doesn't have academic or scholarly standing in political science, who's published by some tiny, squeaky new publisher.

                Just some chick.

                Since you don't think much of Britt, how about Charles M. Evans, who refers with appreciation to both Umberto Eco AND Laurence Britt?

                •  But Marcy's Written Probably Millions... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...of words on the subject, published a book on the subject, had her stuff published in newspapers, interviewed principals in the things she was covering, reported live from events, etc.  She also interacts with people via blogs.

                  This guy published a list of 1,080 words.  Period.  

                  No contest.

                  [BTW, Marcy's dissertation topic was actually quite relevant to some of what's she's written about, and absolutely relevant to the writing of politics, especially in venues such as blogs.]  

                  The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                  by Dana Houle on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 09:43:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And if I was asked who Marcy is, (0+ / 0-)

                    I could find out a lot by googling her - I could find out where she went to grad school, in what discipline, what her dissertation topic was on, how she got involved in political blogging, what other political stuff she's done. I can't find any of that stuff on Britt. All I can find is, repeated ad infinitum, that he's a doctor and a political scientist, with no evidence offered that he is either.

                    With Marcy, I can find places where she's engaged with criticism, entered into long discussions with people with different views than her, explained points that were unclear, gone into the background of the issues she was covering. Not so with Britt.

                    So by both regular-world credentialing standards and blog-world standards of explaining yourself and being accountable to your readers, she's far, far more reliable as a source.

                    •  Did you notice his age? (0+ / 0-)

                      Probably not.

                      He's not a blogosphere member, so he's not going to be  out here in forums.  He's likely not to be, given his age.

                      And he has been involved in exchanges regarding his written content.  I take it you didn't bother to check any of the material to which I linked.

                      And what do either you or DHinMI know about me, for that matter?  ever bother to check into why I would set store by Britt?  I'm just somebody you can shoot down with your own set of biases as you like, right?  Never mind that Fortune 50 companies have paid me to do research for them; because I'm just a nobody from your frame of reference, you can claim any opinion or position I take is without any basis.

                      •  I googled him four ways to sunday. (0+ / 0-)

                        I found the same information again and again, without verification of any kind.

                        My point about Britt's credentials was that the blogosphere is supposed to be and should be a forum in which formal credentials don't matter, that our ideas should be assessed on their quality and not on whether the person who they belong to is a doctor or a political scientist. As I judge you by what you write, and as I expect to be judged by what I write and not by my academic degrees.

                        So I don't give a damn if Fortune 50 companies have paid you to do research for them, not because I'm writing you off as a nobody but because I'm judging you on your writing and ideas at Daily Kos. I would rather have a conversation here with someone who didn't graduate from high school but was looking to have an honest exchange of ideas and was willing to question their preconceptions than with someone who was a world-renowned political scientist but wasn't open to other people's ideas.

                        But the constant identification of Laurence Britt as a doctor and a political scientist, especially in the absence of evidence that he is either, is a claim that authority on the subject of fascism, a claim that functionally seeks to evade questions about his writing. That is, his 14 points are presented as fact, verified by his supposed credentials. That's a problem, and it's what I was addressing.

                        You don't need my permission or approval to agree with Britt. But if you're going to introduce his points as fact, you have to be prepared to defend them against, say, charges that they involve a lot of cherry-picking and ignore a lot of counter-examples. And if you're going to point to him as an authority, you have to be prepared to defend that claim.

                        My view is, if we're going to play the "is the Bush administration fascist" game, I demand we start with a definition of fascism that predates the Bush administration, not one that was written explicitly to prove them fascist.

                        •  No (0+ / 0-)

                          I was just at a diary that said 51 comments and yet there are only 17 comments visible.

                          So when you say

                          blogosphere is supposed to be and should be a forum in which formal credentials don't matter, that our ideas should be assessed on their quality and not on whether the person who they belong to is a doctor or a political scientist

                          you are disingenuous. People have censored my ability to assess what was written. So there is a slanted forum on the internet -- even here.

                          •  Those comments are available (0+ / 0-)

                            to any trusted user of this site, which is a status that comes from other members of the community.  In that case, they decided that some of the comments were offensive or off topic or otherwise inappropriate and they hid them.

                          •  So your statement about the blogosphere . . . (0+ / 0-)

                            is incorrect. Kind of weird that the trusted users create their own reality. It's like they are sending words to Gitmo.

                            Honestly, I lurk a lot and at one point I had time to be a trusted user. FWIW, I've observed that TR is used more for revenge and conformity than anything else. I have watched as many people have piled on a user over rather beneign statements only to have the real reason for the pile on to emerge later in thread. Then I have watched the whole thread disappear. I've also watched as very offensive statements and off topic threads get no TR at all. Often the TR seemed to relate to "gangs" and "power" more than a statement.

                            Hell, after watching this behavior, I have to wonder about the integrity of a site that is so censored and controlled. Really have to wonder what is going on at a site that has 2/3 of a diary hidden. After observing all of this, I can only chuckle when I see people talk about reality and facts.

                            I'm sure you can handle the criticism having grown the thick skin that I always see people talk about.

                          •  I don't see a contradiction. (0+ / 0-)

                            I said that formal credentials shouldn't matter, that ideas should be assessed in themselves.  That doesn't mean that a bad idea will be given equal credence to a good one, just that it will have an equal chance coming from a janitor or a teacher.

                          •  That is a single point you made (0+ / 0-)

                            but you have opted to ignore the point I have made.

                            Let's look at the reality and facts that your "trusted users" have allowed me to have access to. That diary I cited before now has 3/4 of the diary hidden. But, this is part of the hidden discussion.

                            Of course others have observed this same abuse here, here and here. It's not the first time I have seen this going on. So your telling me that I'm suppose to find comfort that these "trusted users" are making decisions about what I can see is very disturbing. I'm an intellegent person and I really don't need others, who have too much time on their hands, to decide what I can evaluate on my own. They may be right but I will never be able to assess the situation because they have control over my reality. The one thing I did check (it is now hidden) she was right and the posse was wrong.

                          •  I refuted your willful misrepresentation (0+ / 0-)

                            of what I initially said.  That was my primary concern.  

                            As it happens, I did implicitly address your completely off-topic other point: all ideas won't be given equal credence, but ideas from all people will be (at least until such time as they've proven themselves unreliable).

                            I get that you're upset about hidden comments, but they're part of how this site functions without being overrun by trolls.  But when you get to the point of complaining that trusted users "have control over my reality," you might think about whether you really want to be defining a website as your reality.

                  •  But you can ignore an academic now, right? (0+ / 0-)

                    Like Evans, who clearly appreciates both Eco and Britt.

                    •  What Evidence Do You Have That Evans... (0+ / 0-)

                      ..even knows who Britt is?

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 12:52:03 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  BTW, I Assume You Mean RICHARD Evans (0+ / 0-)

                      Evans is a legit historian, actually quite eminent.  I think he had an essay in a collection I read, but I haven't read The Third Reich In Power: 1933-1939.  But one of the great things about Amazon is that sometimes you can search sections of a book or look at the index.  And a search of the index shows that on page 905, the subjects go from British Petroleum to Brown Shirts Book of Terror; thus, RICHARD Evans has no entry for Britt.

                      Maybe you meant another Evans, but I can't think of any Evans working in the field of 20th century German or European history who would be put forth as much of an expert on the subject.  

                      I think Laura nailed it: this Britt character is just some dude who wrote something people liked.  Whether anyone who likes it is in a position to judge Britt's content or his qualifications for being proffered as an authority, that's another story.  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 08:51:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, The First Volume of Evans' Trilogy... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...The Coming of the Third Reich, on page 588, the index entries go from Britain to Brock, Werner; thus, again, no entry for Britt.

                      Now, one could argue that I'm not looking at the footnotes/endnotes, and that's a legitimate point.  But I will point out that on page 588, there are index entries for both Martin Broszat and Karl Dietrich Bracher, two very important historians of the Third Riech.  Bracher has also written much about fascism in general, such as his essay The Role of Hitler: Perspectives of Interpretation in Fascism: A Reader's Guide edited by Walter Laqueur, which I have read.  Obviously Evans must discuss Bracher and Broszat in his text, but apparently not Britt, at least not enough to warrant an index entry.  '

                      So, I think it's highly dubious that Evans ever mentions or discusses Britt, or views him as an important authority.

                      But all of this raises an interesting question:  have you read anything by Evans?  If not, why bring him in to the discussion, if, in fact, you're not able to discuss him?  Is he just a name that someone mentioned to you?  Or do you actually recall Evans discussing Britt, or advancing ideas that for you were mirrored in Britt's list?  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:08:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And FWIW (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm definitely in the functionalist-structuralist camp with Broszat, NOT in the intentionalist camp.  As this plays out with the specialists on the Holocaust, it's Raul Hilberg in the functionalist camp, and Lucy Dawidowicz in the intentionalist camp, such as it is.  By this point, the functionalists pretty much prevail, with few holdouts in the intentionalist camp, and those that have gotten a lot of attention--like Daniel Jonah Goldhagen--are pretty much disdained by serious historians as masters of schlock.  

                        Why is this relevant other than me appearing pedantic?  Well, there's a direct line from Max Weber through Franz Neumann--who's Behemoth I discussed in the opening essay--straight to Hilberg.  I generally take a much more functionalist approach to problems of this sort, and I suspect you'll see a more functionalist approach to how I discuss Bush and his cadre than a more intentionalist approach that you often see implied in comments at DKos...including many comments on this very thread.

                        So, Rayne, where do you fall on the functionalist v intentionalists debate?  

                        The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                        by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:24:46 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh, Wait, THIS Guy? (0+ / 0-)

                      Let me guess, you did a Google search of Eco, Evans and Britt, and you found this.

                      You do realize that's the website for the Muslim Brotherhood, right?  

                      I tend not to get my scholarly insights from works extolled by the followers of Sayyid Qutb.  

                      The revolution will not be televised, but we'll analyze it to death at The Next Hurrah.

                      by Dana Houle on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 09:37:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Who's Charles M. Evans? (0+ / 0-)

                  I just searched the catalogs of two Ivy League universities and one large state university, and the only Charles M. Evans I found wrote a book on ballooning during the Civil War. How does that specially qualify him to talk about fascism? Or are you citing a Charles M. Evans who hasn't published anything that's made it to those libraries?

              •  At least Britt's essay, (0+ / 0-)

                "Fascism, Anyone," was published in Free Inquiry Magazine. It was therefore reviewed and edited, making it suitable for discussion in a scholarly (or at least semi-scholarly) debate.

                Where, pray tell, aside from dKos's front page, have your essays on fascism, or the lack thereof, ever been published?

        •  This is a very popular checklist... (0+ / 0-)

          ...of Fascist traits, but it's not the one I prefer to use.  Instead, I cite the list of diagnostic features of Fascism formulated by Stanley Payne, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in his 1980 book "Fascism: Comparison and Definition":

          A. The Fascist Negations

           1. Antiliberalism (By "liberalism", this means free-market capitalism
              and representative democracy).

            2. Anticommunism.

            3. Anticonservatism (By "Conservatism" that means resistance to
               social change and allegience to traditional sources of
               authority, such as the church and, in Europe, the crown.
               Fascism considers itself a modernizing, revolutionary
               movement that will produce new sources of authority.
               See Ideology and Goals).

          B. Ideology and Goals

            1. Creation of a new nationalist authoritarian state based
               not merely on traditional principles or models.

            2. Organization of some new kind of regulated, multiclass,
               integrated national economic structure (national
               corporatist, national socialist, or national syndicalist).

            3. The goal of empire or a radical change in the nation's
               relationship with other powers.

            4. Specific espousal of an idealist, voluntarist creed,
               normally involving the attempt to realize a new form
               of modern, self-determined, secular culture.

          C. Style and Organization

            1. Emphasis on esthetic structure of meetings, symbols,
               and political choreography, stressing romantic and mystical

            2. Attempted mass mobilization with militarization of political
               relationships and style with the goal of a mass party militia.

            3. Positive evaluation of and willingness to use violence.

            4. Extreme stress on the masculine principle and male dominance,
               while espousing the organic view of society.

           5. Exaltation of youth above other phases of life, emphasizing the
              conflict of generations, at least in effecting the initial
              political transformation.

            6. Specific tendency toward an authoritarian, charismatic, personal
               style of command.

          I've applied these criteria to W's administration before and found that, while a case can be made for it meeting A1, A2, B1, B3, C1, and C6 (and, with Blackwater, the possibility that it is now starting to fulfill criteria C2 and C3), it fails all the other criteria, in particular those (A1, B2, B4, and C5) that are "anti-conservative" in nature. Therefore, I still would not call the current government Fascist according to Payne's diagnostic criteria. (In response to a previous analysis, the most alarmist poster on the site agreed with me, and snarkily remarked that W was more of a monarchist than anything else.)

          That said, the trend is that W's administration has been meeting more of Payne's criteria over time.  I find that to be cause for alarm.

    •  Many tactics are from the Fascist playbook (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      james risser

      along with an increasing amount of terminology ("Homeland Security," "enhanced interrogation"), but the end result more closely resembles feudalism, right down to the entrenchment of an international ruling class presiding over miserable individual nations. The use of mercenaries is pretty old school, too.

      The principle difference, as I see it, is that the ruling class are not necessarily heads of state this time around.

      No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

      by oldjohnbrown on Sun Oct 14, 2007 at 07:42:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not feudalism (0+ / 0-)

        Similar to the OP, I despise the casual use of the word feudalism. Until generations of families are forced to work for the same corporation their entire life, live under the rule of said corporation, and owe most of their earnings to the corporation, we don't have a medieval power structure.

        Granted, Walmart has the potential to go that direction, but it is so no where near there yet.

        The factory towns in Industrial America are a lot closer to feudalism/manorialism than anythin we have today.

    •  What about the focus on the state? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It seems to me that fascism is an accurate way to describe this administration/movement/whatever. While yes, Bush is trying to elevate the status and immunity of corporations, he is largely using them to put more emphasis on the state. Under Bush, we've lost the pre-eminence of individual rights, and instead are told we should sacrifice our civil liberties for the benefit of the state.

      If that's not the fundamental goal of fascism, I don't know what is.

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