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

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  •  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.  

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