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Ignorance. Fear.  Greed.  Selfishness.  In that order, those are the reasons that explain the phenomena of creeping fascism.  And this of course applies to the nascent fascism in the United States today.

The vast majority of the population in every society strives to be safe, to have a "normal" life, to count on certain basic things like employment, family ties, entertainment, friendship.  So people go about their daily lives influenced by what they see around them.  Which shops they use to buy things, who they talk to, the house of worship they attend, or not, a gathering, a party, a funeral, a baby shower, etc.

The conditions that lead to creeping fascism and its eventual establishment are pretty much invisible for a very large segment of the population (until its too late).  For those who are unaware of it, their sin is mainly ignorance, so they are less culpable.  If you happen to be in this category, read no further in order to avoid becoming fully aware of it, because when you do, and decide to do nothing, then the level of culpability goes up...

The biggest threat to the establishment of fascism is an educated populace with a collective high intellect.  One of the tell-tale signs of creeping fascism is the rise of anti-intellectualism, such as the one we have in the U.S. today.

Ignorance

The sure way to prevent the populace from developing their collective intellect is by discouraging people engaging in deep thinking and analysis about the world around them, their government and its institutions, and issues related to power, income disparity, etc.

The best way to do this is to create a situation where people are made to work at a subsistence level (hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck), to put up roadblocks to attaining a proper education, and to bombard people with, as in Roman times, "bread-and-circuses," which in today's environment happens with the bombardment of the human mind with an incredibly effective propaganda machine in the form of the corporate-owned U.S. media.  So that explains (in a way) all the reality shows, and the fantasy of an obscure and unknown person making it big by winning in American Idol, or any of the other reality shows...

In the ignorance category we can also include the religious Right, the nationalists, and the racists.

Fear

Another classic way is by manipulating the population with fear.  Michael Moore and other contemporary thinkers have touched on this issue extensively.

When it comes to the middle class, you have a combination of factors, including ignorance and fear (to a greater extent), and selfishness (to a lesser extent).

The Middle Class

So the first priority of the middle class is to keep what they have, and possibly keep up with the Joneses.  That explains why when fascism and oppression creeps in, the middle class remains mainly dormant and docile through most of the process.  Usually during the first stages of fascism, it affects certain maligned groups such as the poor (the most maligned and defenseless group), and certain minority groups, such as its happening with the current detention of tens of thousands of alleged illegal immigrants into for-profit detention camps.

It's almost as if the nascent "baby" fascist state needs this practice with those minority groups in order to perfect the system, so it can then consolidate their power.  As its happening in today in the United States.

The Establishment

And now we move to my favorite group: The establishment.  Here we find the politicians, business people, the leaders of most liberal and progressive groups, and unions.

At this stage the acquiescence to creeping fascism is mainly the result of pure greed and selfishness.  It's akin to willful blindness.

At this stage the afflicted has the intellectual capacity to understand what's going on, but chooses to do nothing (or to do minimalist, non-rock-the-boat ineffectual stuff) out of pure short-term self interest.

Like the middle class, they are more interested in keeping what they have, and possibly having more, in cushy jobs and positions, in grants and money from donors, corporations, employers, in being connected to the power structure, and benefiting from it.

If you ever wonder about the dismal lack of leadership from most of the top ranks in unions, and liberal and progressive organizations, that's your answer.  So wonder no more.

At this level, these so-called leaders share more culpability and responsibility for allowing fascism to creep in because at an intellectual level they know it's happening, but they are choosing to look the other way for purely greedy and selfish reasons.

Leader

In moments like this the type of leader you need is someone who is totally, one hundred percent driven by duty, by love of humanity, by the concept of justice, and not by self interest or greed.  A good contemporary example is the anti-corruption campaign of activist Anna Hazare who is single-handedly bringing the entire Indian government to its knees with the force of his conviction.

There are leaders (in wait) like that in the U.S., but the manipulation and influence of the corporate-owned media is so total, that at this point its almost impossible for them to get any traction.  They are vilified, ridiculed, demonized, attacked, spied on, etc.

Those leaders will emerge once there is a significant number of people who are able to break through the mental shackles imposed by the nascent fascist regime.

There are signs that a large enough number of people are "waking up" from their stupor and realizing what's happening, as exemplified by the upcoming massive protests in Wall Street on September 17th, and Washington, D.C. on October 6th, and many other organized protests across the country.

If you read this far, you can't claim ignorance any more.  Do something.  If not now, when?

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Are you finally ready?

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| 35 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  I felt much the same during the 80s in college in (6+ / 0-)

      New York.

      I think it is mostly the media. The dumbing down had started back then and I guess it has gotten much worse.

      The other thing that is completely off the charts these days is inequality and the concentration of more and more wealth and power into the hands of fewer and fewer people. I'm reminded of the old joke that the real problem with the rat race is that the rats keep on winning.

      It may need to get much worse before people wake up. The problem is that for various reasons, not least climate change, we're running out of time.

      Thanks for this, though people are probably not paying too much attention, what with the hurricane and all. I'm still amazed (despite everything we've said) that a good proportion of the population would even consider a Republican for president a few short years after Bush, particularly when most of those on offer would make W look like a brilliant statesman.

      Cheers

      We spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about. Tim Jackson

      by Athenian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:14:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Athenian, Louisiana 1976, m16eib

        The income inequality and the dumbing down, and the media manipulation are all related.

        •  You're welcome. On a more positive note somebody (4+ / 0-)

          around here used to have a sig line attributed to W J Clinton to the effect that there is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right about America.

          I fervently hope that is correct. The strongest disinfectants are sunlight and laughter. So long as we can talk about these things and laugh at the powers that be.

          Bill Hicks and George Carlin are sadly departed but so long as Stewart and Colbert are there, there is hope.

          Cheers

          We spend money we don't have on things we don't need to create impressions that won't last on people we don't care about. Tim Jackson

          by Athenian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:33:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loquatrix, JonBarleycorn

    Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hate, Hate leads to Suffering. Suffering leads to three gawd awful prequels that may have tarnished the series irreparably.

    This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

    by psilocynic on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:51:36 AM PDT

  •  That order sounds right. My 81 yr old dad always (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, NoMoreLies

    says 'sometimes you're better off knowing' especially when I start to talk about the Corporation stuff, politics etc.

    I always had the need to know and researched everything if no one answered my questions.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    by roseeriter on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:04:12 AM PDT

  •  Yes, because it was surely only the act of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcj98

    reading all the way to the end of your diary that brought me to this new-found enlightenment I'm suddenly enjoying!  Now that your worthy words have shattered the scales of my eyes, oh mighty Ray the Doomsayer, I feel my life can finally begin!  Thank you, thank you, oh thank you!

  •  The takeover is near completion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Louisiana 1976

    This month Michael Taylor became the senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. He is now America’s food safety czar.

    The Milk Man Cometh

    While Taylor was at the FDA in the early 90′s, he also oversaw the policy regarding Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH/rbST)—injected into cows to increase milk supply.

    The milk from injected cows has more pus, more antibiotics, more bovine growth hormone, and most importantly, more insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is a huge risk factor for common cancers and its high levels in this drugged milk is why so many medical organizations and hospitals have taken stands against rbGH. A former Monsanto scientist told me that when three of his Monsanto colleagues evaluated rbGH safety and discovered the elevated IGF-1 levels, even they refused to drink any more milk—unless it was organic and therefore untreated.

    Government scientists from Canada evaluated the FDA’s approval of rbGH and concluded that it was a dangerous facade. The drug was banned in Canada, as well as Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. But it was approved in the US while Michael Taylor was in charge. His drugged milk might have caused a significant rise in US cancer rates. Additional published evidence also implicates rbGH in the high rate of fraternal twins in the US.

    Taylor also determined that milk from injected cows did not require any special labeling. And as a gift to his future employer Monsanto, he wrote a white paper suggesting that if companies ever had the audacity to label their products as not using rbGH, they should also include a disclaimer stating that according to the FDA, there is no difference between milk from treated and untreated cows.

    Taylor’s disclaimer was also a lie. Monsanto’s own studies and FDA scientists officially acknowledged differences in the drugged milk. No matter. Monsanto used Taylor’s white paper as the basis to successfully sue dairies that labeled their products as rbGH-free.

    http://www.responsibletechnology.org/...

  •  It's just the wrong analysis. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    It's wrong empirically because it mistakenly views as new processes that have been ongoing for 150 years, and it's wrong politically because it's paralyzing for the large majority of the population that's not's prepared for semi-insurrectionary activities.  It conveys to that majority that prosaic stuff like working for progressive candidates is pointless.  

    Let us resolutely study and implement the resolutions of the 46th Convention of the Democratic Party!

    by Rich in PA on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:12:55 PM PDT

  •  Check out the Religious Right Writers on This Site (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, Athenian

    for details. But big conservative money was helping mobilize fundamentalists roughly a decade before they became visible to the mainstream with the Reagan campaign.

    That was the rightwing's original and initial campaign to advance ignorance, and deference to authority, since in those days the public schools (for middle class whites) were quite good and the media were still practicing journalism because of New Deal public service requirements and anti trust regs.

    Fear and jealousy were the rightwing's early motivators for the rest of the working class by the mid 70's. Remember the economy stalled; Nixon had multiple phases of economic programs including price fixing and so forth, and we had gas rationing for the first time since WW2 because of our economic problems.

    With blacks suddenly appearing in jobs they'd never held before, as working class whites were beginning to struggle, there was an obvious "incoming" population for a target of not only racism but economic fears and jealousies.

    The establishment began to move quite early. Although Reagan launched the wholesale attack on the New Deal, some important financial deregulation started under Carter in the mid 70's.

    Don't forget the media and commentators. The media campaign first to pressure it and later to corporatize it has been the single biggest element of the rightwing. Reagan's media deregulation was an essential start but I think Gingrich had a program of convincing media owners to start operating their properties to promote their interests. But it goes even as far back as LBJ, a broadcast owner who helped stop stronger public service requirements for TV licensing. I don't recall if he weakened existing requirements or torpedoed enhancements.

    The Democratic Party has been economically conservative --even thoughnot Republican-- ever since. Two conservative parties, and the people have been losing ground as the rich and business have gained, ever since.

    You're right about the various elements; what has driven many of us past madness is the refusal of anyone to have taken us seriously when we pointed to what was already happening, all these decades when it could have been reversed gracefully.

    Creeping indeed, this has been formally coordinated now for generations.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:26:06 PM PDT

  •  It's been in the works for over half a century. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    We are now ready to accept despotism in the U.S.

    We have reached the critical mass, enough of the population has reached the necessary levels of ignorance and selfishness to allow our version of a final solution to proceed.

    All in the name of security and self responsibility.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 06:53:10 PM PDT

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