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  •  Have you ever read any of Sara Robinson's work? (4+ / 0-)
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    NY brit expat, papicek, dharmasyd, banger

    All through the dark years of the Bush Administration, progressives watched in horror as Constitutional protections vanished, nativist rhetoric ratcheted up, hate speech turned into intimidation and violence, and the president of the United States seized for himself powers only demanded by history's worst dictators. With each new outrage, the small handful of us who'd made ourselves experts on right-wing culture and politics would hear once again from worried readers: Is this it? Have we finally become a fascist state? Are we there yet?

    And every time this question got asked, people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert and Fred Clarkson and yours truly would look up from our maps like a parent on a long drive, and smile a wan smile of reassurance. "Wellll...we're on a bad road, and if we don't change course, we could end up there soon enough. But there's also still plenty of time and opportunity to turn back. Watch, but don't worry. As bad as this looks: no -- we are not there yet."

    In tracking the mileage on this trip to perdition, many of us relied on the work of historian Robert Paxton, who is probably the world's pre-eminent scholar on the subject of how countries turn fascist. In a 1998 paper published in The Journal of Modern History, Paxton argued that the best way to recognize emerging fascist movements isn't by their rhetoric, their politics, or their aesthetics. Rather, he said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together. According to our reading of Paxton's stages, we weren't there yet. There were certain signs -- one in particular -- we were keeping an eye out for, and we just weren't seeing it.

    And now we are. In fact, if you know what you're looking for, it's suddenly everywhere. It's odd that I haven't been asked for quite a while; but if you asked me today, I'd tell you that if we're not there right now, we've certainly taken that last turn into the parking lot and are now looking for a space.

    Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?
    Sara Robinson

    Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  no I haven't read... (1+ / 0-)
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      Edger

      either, though I was getting around to the Paxton, sometime. Thanks for the reminder.

      "The cure for bullshit is fieldwork."
      Robert H. Bates, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government, Harvard University.

      by papicek on Mon Apr 18, 2011 at 07:16:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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