Has the US become fascist?

Gavik

Registered Member
#1
You've probably seen this before, but let's take a serious look at it. This topic is not going to be a flame war, nor a Bush bashing thread. So leave out your terrorist sympathizer and dumb bush comments. I want this to be a debate over the validity of how these 14 signs of fascism apply to the US.

http://www.rense.com/general37/char.htm

Sign 1 said:
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
We definately see this is the US, but this sign alone doesn't point to fascism, as many non-fascist states have this, but it does work to drum up support for the government.

Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

I don't think there's a question here. The Geneva convention has been violated many times with things like Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and the CIA torture prisons around Europe.

[SIZE=+1]Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.[/SIZE]
No question here either for me. Terrorists are indeed a real threat, but they're a threat to every country, and Bush uses the threat of terrorism to scare the population into following his policies (isn't that itself terrorism?).

Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
The US definitely has domestic issues, and definitely gives more money to the military than anything else. In fact, over half the budget goes towards the war budget while only 7% is used for education.

Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
While job discrimination in the administration based on gender isn't present, everything else on that list is.

Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
This one's questionable. I don't think you can specifically apply it to the US and keep a strong case.

Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
If you disagree with this one, I'd like to have some of whatever you're smoking.

Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
While the US is still technically secular, saying that religion doesn't play a major role for the Bush regime would be like saying Starbucks isn't a coffee shop. Bush is very religious, and so are his followers. An army officer even called Tillman's family "unchristian" for mourning the death of their son.

Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
Every government has some level of corruption, and that will never be solved completely, but that doesn't mean the rampant corruption that we see today is acceptable. I think you can find a lot of examples of this happening today.

Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
Again, you can finds lots of examples of this.

Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
Dixie Chicks anyone? This isn't really a big thing yet though...

Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
No contest here. See Patriot Act, Patriot Act II, illegal phone taps, Habeas Corpus and the reading of people's mail without a warrant of any kind.

Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
Yes, this also applies to Bush. If you want an example, just look at Gonzales' testimony, where he said 'no hablo ingles' over and over. He embarrassed himself and the administration, but Bush just told him he was doing heck of a job.

Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
This one can be proved to a conpiracy theory at best, but the people who accuse Bush of stealing the elections arn't few in number.

So, how do you think they apply to the US? Discuss!
 
L

LS1nut

Guest
#2
You've probably seen this before, but let's take a serious look at it. This topic is not going to be a flame war, nor a Bush bashing thread. So leave out your terrorist sympathizer and dumb bush comments. I want this to be a debate over the validity of how these 14 signs of fascism apply to the Bush administration.
there, I fixed your opening statement for you.

if you truly wanted intelligent debate and not a Bush bashing fest, you would have included an administration OTHER THAN THE BUSH administration in some of your questions.

unless of course you are so partisan and naive in your thinking as to belive Bush is the only president to ever do some of the things you are discussing.
 

Gavik

Registered Member
#3
there, I fixed your opening statement for you.

if you truly wanted intelligent debate and not a Bush bashing fest, you would have included an administration OTHER THAN THE BUSH administration in some of your questions.

unless of course you are so partisan and naive in your thinking as to belive Bush is the only president to ever do some of the things you are discussing.
No, you broke it. Want to go jump off a bridge together? Just because I only talked about Bush doesn't mean you have to stick with him if you believe other administrations have had fascist qualities.

You could talk about the other administrations if you have good evidence, but Bush has been the focus of this for the most part, so that's why I wrote it that way.
 
L

LS1nut

Guest
#4
Just because I only talked about Bush doesn't mean you have to stick with him if you believe other administrations have had fascist qualities.
its pretty clear why you "only" talked about bush.

You could talk about the other administrations if you have good evidence,
I didnt see you post any "good evidence"

why is my burden of proof greater than yours? ahh yes, partisan politics....thats why.

but Bush has been the focus of this for the most part
its your ONLY focus in this thread.......and just after you made an attempt to look bi partisan and failed misserably at it.

I will leave your thread be now.

sorry for derailing it, but I cant pass up a good opportunity to point out blind partisanship!!!!
 

Gavik

Registered Member
#5
its pretty clear why you "only" talked about bush.



I didnt see you post any "good evidence"

why is my burden of proof greater than yours? ahh yes, partisan politics....thats why.



its your ONLY focus in this thread.......and just after you made an attempt to look bi partisan and failed misserably at it.

I will leave your thread be now.

sorry for derailing it, but I cant pass up a good opportunity to point out blind partisanship!!!!
Oh yea, not that YOU, in all your bi-partisan infallibility, could be ever be biased. I pertained my posts to bush because I thought they applied to him. I didn't include others because it's my opinion that those 14 signs don't apply to others. If you think they do, then post!
 

CMK_Eagle

Registered Member
#6
I want this to be a debate over the validity of how these 14 signs of fascism apply to the US.
Well, aside from most of them not applying to the US, many don't even have anything to do with fascism. For example, fascists do not support liberal economics, and thus are not interested in protecting private corporations. Furthermore, there's one glaring omission among the criteria listed, namely totalitarianism. It almost seems to be a set of definitions designed to provoke an emotional reaction to make people think that the US is becoming fascist.

As for his points:
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Sure, no argument here. The US has always been very strongly nationalistic.


Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Even if everything the Bush Administration has been accused of thus far were to be true, only an incredibly twisted view of history could make it seem that the US or the Bush Administration actually has disdain for human rights.


The abuse at Abu Ghirab was the actions of a few individuals. There was no order for prisoners to be abused, and when the military discovered what had happened, it investigated the allegations, and prosecuted those it found to be responsible. Nor does Gitmo clearly violate the Geneva Conventions, as they explicitly deny protections to those who violate the rules of war (this includes guerrillas by definition).

Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
Well, the key word here in the description is perceived or imaginary enemies. Since militant Islamic Fundamentalism is clearly a real enemy of liberalism, much as communism was in the 20th century, this doesn't apply.


Supremacy of the Military
Not exactly as much a sign of fascism as it is a sign of a superpower.


Rampant Sexism
With more women graduating from college than men, I don't think this is any longer a significant problem, and institutionalized sexism hasn't existed in the US for decades.


Controlled Mass Media
I always thought that Dan Rather guy was a bit of a sycophant for the Bush Administration...


Obsession with National Security
Sure, since 9/11, but traumatic experiences tend to do that to a nation's psyche.


Religion and Government are Intertwined
Religion's always been an important part of public life in the US. For example, "God save the United States and this Honorable Court" is said before each session of the Supreme Court, yet I doubt John Jay was a fascist.


Corporate Power is Protected
The fact that the US protects private enterprise is in fact an argument against it being fascist.


Labor Power is Suppressed
Sure, labor unions have grown less powerful, but this is a direct result of losses in blue collar jobs, not because of government attacks on them.


Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
I can't remember too many academics being censored or imprisoned for criticizing the government...


Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Sure, this fits, though any objective analysis would conclude that any infringements upon liberties have been minor and fairly unharmful. Certainly they've been no worse than anything done when the nation was under similar stress under Lincoln and FDR, and neither of them was particularly fascist.


Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
While Bush clearly demands public unanimity from his Administration, and rewards this with firm support, I'm not sure it quite qualifies as rampant cronyism. And as for corruption, I think the last election showed the patience of the American people for parties which ignore corruption.


Fraudulent Elections
While gerrymandering is a serious problem in the US, it'd be one hell of a stretch to say its elections are fraudulent.
 
B

blenderboy55

Guest
#7
As long as "unpatriotic" liberals and the mass media exist, we won't be fascist.

We will become the North American Union though, and quickly.
 
#8
(...)This one can be proved to a conpiracy theory at best, but the people who accuse Bush of stealing the elections arn't few in number.
Well, the problem with the elections in the US is the lack of will, at least among the majority, to actually look at the problems. Unless it's somehow a campaign issue ahead of the elections, of course, when it's too late to actually enact a bill anyway. So noone really minds if there won't be any change.

In other words, the problem is how there is no way to see the extent to which the elections may be fraudulent, through both lack of interest and sloppy legislative work. There are also a number of legal ways to affect the elections through government channels, and they are used as if that is largely unproblematic.

So when the Bush- administration now finds itself having endorsed filling the USDOJ with state attorneys who are political operatives, and then using their influence and legal power to indict and prosecute in order to help one party. While they have also been caught using government assets to plug one particular party. That is just a description of how far things have slipped.
So, how do you think they apply to the US? Discuss!
Imo, they apply in the way that if there truly were someone without restraint sitting on the top, they could successfully take over right now and install someone as emperor. The point is that it is not necessary for those in power to do, in order to advance their agenda.

And as we've seen, a democratically elected government, with full legal backing of it's counsel, as well as meager opposition, and with the blessing from Congress - in many ways. And at least there were no ultimatums made on the administration's interpretation of the authoritsation for use of force - unlawfully attacked a country that had not attacked the US. It was called the "Bush- doctrine", and was hailed and welcomed as a visionary plan to "remake the middle east" and spread democracy, in an effort to protect the United States from evil.

But how does this square with ordinary democratic theory? Does that authority come from an established platform that the party in power was elected on? As many republicans say themselves - Bush was elected, and now he's the decider. In other words, one suggests that if you win the election every four years, you are entitled to rule without restraint of any kind, if not in theory and apperance, then at least in practice. That's what their democratic theory dictates. Win the elections, by any means necessary - and then you're free to do what you want.

So it's true as it's said - if fascism comes to america, it will be draped in the american flag. But more to the point - it will not look like fascism in Germany, or in Chile, or in Spain, England, Italy or Greece. It will look like something that is original to the US.



----
(Nasty autoedit..)

... exibit A:
"
The Case for the Strong Executive
Under some circumstances, the rule of law must yield to the need for energy.

BY HARVEY C. MANSFIELD
Wednesday, May 2, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT"

http://opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110010014
[FONT=Verdana, Times](...)The American republic was the first to have a strong executive that was intended to be republican as well as strong, and the success, or long life, of America's Constitution qualifies it as a possible model for other countries. Modern political science beginning from Machiavelli abandoned the best regime featured by classical political science because the best regime was utopian or imaginary. Modern political scientists wanted a practical solution, and by the time of Locke, followed by Montesquieu, they learned to substitute a model regime for the best regime; and this was the government of England. The model regime would not be applicable everywhere, no doubt, because it was not intended to be a lowest common denominator. But it would show what could be done in the best circumstances.

[/FONT] [FONT=Verdana, Times]The American Founders had the ambition to make America the model regime, taking over from England. This is why they showed surprising respect for English government, the regime they had just rebelled against. America would not only make a republic for itself, but teach the world how to make a successful republic and thus improve republicanism and save the reputation of republics.[/FONT]
(...)

[FONT=Verdana, Times]Now the rule of law has two defects, each of which suggests the need for one-man rule. The first is that law is always imperfect by being universal, thus an average solution even in the best case, that is inferior to the living intelligence of a wise man on the spot, who can judge particular circumstances. This defect is discussed by Aristotle in the well-known passage in his "Politics" where he considers "whether it is more advantageous to be ruled by the best man or the best laws."
(...)

[/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Times]The other defect is that the law does not know how to make itself obeyed. Law assumes obedience, and as such seems oblivious to resistance to the law by the "governed," as if it were enough to require criminals to turn themselves in. No, the law must be "enforced," as we say. There must be police, and the rulers over the police must use energy (Alexander Hamilton's term) in addition to reason. It is a delusion to believe that governments can have energy without ever resorting to the use of force.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana, Times]

via Glenn Greenwald's blog. (..I really fear for the man's sanity sometimes, if he willingly exposes himself to this kind of thing on a regular basis...)
[/FONT]
 

Sim

Registered Member
#9
Nope, America has not become fascist. If it had, you wouldn't be able to ask this question without being punished by the state.

That said, I believe America's political culture has indeed derived into a most ugly form of populism, and Bush's policies and attitude is dangerous and shares some similarities with fascist forms of populism, fueling and appealing to "law-and-order" ideas, rah-rah patriotism and jingoism, and a division of the country (suggesting dissenters are no real patriots, but somehow supporting the enemy). All this conservative spin is very similar to the Nazi's propaganda points.

But America is still far from being a fascist country. There is still free media, free elections and most civil rights remain untouched.
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#10
The US has gotten noticably more authoritarian as of late. This, however, does not translate to the country becoming in any way facist. I am uncomfortable and often embarrased by some comments by leaders and people of esteem in America, however I find them to be more general bigots rather than calculated malicious facists.