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Arts and Culture

Zombie Politics: Dangerous Authoritarianism or Shrinking Democracy - Part II

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Posted on May 4, 2012
Peter Lang Publishing

By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

(Page 5)

This book is an attempt to understand critically both the political and pedagogical conditions that have produced this culture of sadism and death, attempting to mark and chart its visible registers, including the emergence of right-wing teaching machines, a growing politics of disposability, the emergence of a culture of cruelty, the ongoing war being waged on young people, and especially on youth of color. The book begins and ends with an analysis of authoritarianism and the ways it reworks itself, mutates, and attacks parasitically the desiccated shell of democracy, sucking out its life-blood. The focus on authoritarianism serves as both a warning as well as a call to critical engagement in the interest of hope—not as a political rhetoric emptied of context and commitment but one that seeks to resuscitate a democratic imaginary and energized social movements that is the one antidote to the zombification of politics.

In the first section of the book, elements of the new authoritarianism are analyzed as a death-dealing politics that works its way through a culture of deceit, fear, humiliation, torture, and market-driven desire for their ever more “extreme” expressions. Next it focuses on challenging the rise of a politics of illiteracy and the ongoing destruction of democratic public spheres, stressing how the values of casino capitalism are mobilized through the emergence of market-driven commercial spheres and public institutions such as schools. The third section of the book focuses on the figure of youth as a register of the crisis of public values, signaling the impending crisis of a democratic future. The merging of zombie politics and the increasing scale of suffering and hardship that young people have to endure in the United States points to the serious political and ethical consequences of a society mobilized and controlled by casino capitalism—a capitalism that in its arrogance and greed takes the side of death and destruction rather than siding with democracy and public life. The figure of the zombie signifies not just a crisis of consciousness but a new type of political power and “mad agency,” visible in the rituals of economic Darwinism that rule not just reality TV but everyday life. But such a politics is far from undefeatable, and surely it is not without the continued presence and possibility of individual and collective resistance. My hope is that this book will break through a diseased common sense that often masks zombie politicians, anti-public intellectuals, politics, institutions, and social relations and bring into focus the need for a new language, pedagogy, and politics in which the living dead will be moved decisively to the margins rather than occupying the very center of politics and everyday life.

NOTES

39. Robert Reich, “Our Incredible Shrinking Democracy,” AlterNet (February 2, 2010).
40. Ibid.
41. Wolin, Democracy Incorporated, pp. 259–260.
42. Heather Maher, “Majority of Americans Think Torture ‘Sometimes’ Justified,” Common Dreams (December 4, 2009).
43. See, for example, Kevin Passmore, Fascism (London: Oxford University Press, 2002); and Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (New York: Knopf, 2004).
44. Alexander Stille, “The Latest Obscenity Has Seven Letters, ”The New York Times(September13, 2003), p. 19.
45. Judith Butler, “Uncritical Exuberance?” IndyBay.org (November 5, 2008).
46. For an excellent analysis of the current status of the Patriot Act, see William Fisher, “Patriot Act—Eight Years Later,” Truthout (February 3, 2010).
47. Glenn Greenwald has taken up many of these issues in a critical and thoughtful fashion. See his blog at Salon.
48. Noam Chomsky, “Anti-Democratic Nature of US Capitalism Is Being Exposed,”The Irish Times (October 10, 2008).
49. Roger D. Hodge, “The Mendacity of Hope,” Harper’s Magazine (February 2010), pp. 7–8.
50. Chris Hedges, “Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction,” TruthDig (January 24, 2010).
51. Naomi Klein, “How Corporate Branding Has Taken over America,”The Guardian/UK (January 16, 2010).
52. Wolin, Democracy Incorporated, p. 259.
53. Stuart Hall and Les Back, “In Conversation: At Home and Not at Home,” Cultural Studies 23:4 ( July 2009), pp. 664–665.
54. Klein, “How Corporate Branding.”
55. Wolin, Democracy Incorporated, p. 287.
56. Cornelius Castoriadis, “Democracy as Procedure and Democracy as Regime,” Constellations 4:1 (1997), p. 4.
57. This quote comes from my colleague David L. Clark in a personal email correspondence.
58. Achille Mbembe, “Necropolitics,” Public Culture 15:1 (2003), p. 39.

This article may not be republished or reproduced without specific permission from Peter Lang Publishers.


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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, May 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa said:

The problem has been stated over and over and over again. Our country has been hijacked by the power/elite. I refer you to my May 11 8:43 p.m. post, starting with the second paragraph.

So here is elisalouisa’s May 11th post from the beginning. i am going to work through it line by line.

Thanks for caring Troy Davis and please cool off…

A person has to ‘care’ just a little more than Troy Davis and they will be bombing buildings.

I would like to know how you will feel when it turns out that your overheated emotional rhetoric here is writ large as the rationale for their real fire bombs?

The guilt-by-association game that you played against me ought to to be applied to yourself too. So do it now. I want you to respond to that. If not, its your hypocrisy game and i wont go along. Not for you. Not for anybody.

... one here is still battling Chris Hedges’ “Fascist Christians.” Let’s cut to the chase.

The “one here is still battling”... are you referring to me?  And if so, your line “Let’s cut to the chase” implies that my battle against the concept of “Fascist Christians” is a smokescreen or a distraction or just a waste of time, while you need to get to truly important matters with people in the know, such as Troy.

Except for one problem. I didnt invent the phrase “Fascist Christians”. Hedges did. More importantly, I didnt support the phrase “Fascist Christians”. You did. And if Hedges writes it again you will cheer it again. Although right now you want to talk about something else, yes you need to “Cut to the chase”.

What are you doing with just one sentence?

In just one sentence you praise Troy as if he has a good heart even though anyone can see hate is right there on his sleave. Troy is not too far from where you are. Really?

Not to mention the fact he is one almond short of being a total nut-job. And in your same single sentence you also brush my concern aside as if I am the crazy one who made it all up about “Fascist Christian”.

That would be a fine thing, it would make me happy to just let “Fascist Christians” drop as if its a crazy idea. Nothing would please me more.

Again, there is one problem. In future you will support Hedges when he brings up “Fascist Christians” again. Right? And then if i complain about it you will brush it off so you can “cut to the chase” again.

elisalouisa, you are doing a hit and run job on me, except its in slow motion and you will keep doing it over and over. Meanwhile, you were agreeing with and approving of Mr Nut-Job-Minus-One-Almond.

You really want to “Cut to the chase” and get on level ground with Troy? Almost there already?
Danger!
Halt!
Stop!

Please give your proximity to Troy’s outlook some thought. What does it say about you?

This is a good place to stop and allow you to comment.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, May 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Om I did not follow up on your Fascism comments on an other thread, because I have changed my webby experience and am now just gathering my webby wind. OM what was your point by posting my comments on Fascism, was this another OM attempt at humor?


Leefeller, I have to ask, what is your motive for bringing up a vague reference to another thread so i cant tell what you are talking about? You will need to be specific. I dont know which post of mine you are referring to. I dont know which thread you refer to.

Why are you bringing this up here and why now? It seems to be related to my apology to elisaluoisa, as if maybe I should apologize to you too? I am puzzled. I dont recall anything to apologize for.

If you didnt understand what was going on there, ask, and I will explain my side of it. Sure, that is always possible. Maybe we didnt understand each other.

But you know, you could just write a post on that old thread and I will read it and chat with you there instead of here. Everything we need is there: the article, our posts, the evidence of what we were arguing about, and maybe something bad that i said(?) but I dont know what.

Whatever bad thing happened there, it just sits there, and its buried there like a dead thing. You seem to want me to dig it up but I dont know where to look or what to look for. If you want to me to fix or apologize here for something I wrote someplace else you will have to find whatever it is and bring it here.

But listen, Leefeller, thats a bit risky. I know you have a friendly crowd here but nobody likes to get involved in other people’s fights.

My recommendation: Just go back and pick up where we left off on that other thread. i will answer. I will even be nice if i said something bad.

So… see you there and you will have my full and undivided attention.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, May 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Stumbling onto zombie politics back in 2010, I am glad to see TD addressing it. Authoritarian seems to come more from the right then the left and it is obvious to me, Fascism seems to be a right leaning lamp post, shedding the light for the few and ignoring the many.

Mannie, called my attention to Britts 14 points of Fascism about the same time I read ‘zombie politics’ and then I was referred to the Encyclopedia of Britannica 1946 Class Room film on despotism by another poster. (Check it out on Utube)  If capable and inclined some of us may learn from each other as well as the articles.

After reviewing several other opinions on Fascism, I find connecting the dots seems so damn obvious.

Om I did not follow up on your Fascism comments on an other thread, because I have changed my webby experience and am now just gathering my webby wind.
OM what was your point by posting my comments on Fascism, was this another OM attempt at humor?

This article by Henry A. Giroux by all accounting’s, seems to review and address the potential of Fascism, just like all the others I have read on the subject. 

Seems to me being aware is the first step towards ringing the bell before history repeats itself.

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By Maani, May 17, 2012 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

She:

Re your excellent two-part post - which which I whole-heartedly agree - and at the risk of agreeing with Troy (Heaven forbid!...LOL), I guess there are two parts to what is occurring here.  One is the “cerebrating” we do here, online at TD, and the other is what we do in the “bricks and mortar world” to apply what we discuss here.  Troy seemed to want the latter almost to the complete exclusion of the former, and seemed to think that we (the “fascist enablers”...LOL) were engaging in, or wanted, the former to the exclusion of the latter.

I know YOU pretty well, and know OM and EL slightly less so.  But I get the sense that all of us are actually applying ourselves in the “real” world in whatever small (and large) ways we can with respect to the things we discuss and debate here.  THAT is what makes me, personally, feel good about the time we DO spend here.

Whatever disagreements each of us may have with various positions of another of us, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of you for that reason.  So keep the “cerebration” coming, because it helps us to fine-tune what we do in the “real” world.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, May 17, 2012 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

About Truthdig, it is my view that we are guests and they set the rules. Grateful for this site, I would never denigrate it.
Michael, there is no need for a “secret” weapon in dealing with you although the gesture is appreciated as is your apology. Let’s just say I got a good laugh or two from the SNL skits on youtube that you were referring to.
Will have a response to your excellent essay on a most important subject, “educating the people,” in a day or two Shenon.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 16, 2012 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

A contrite conservative is rare… and refreshing.

1.
I can’t speak for the all, elisalouisa but I suspect in moments of self-
reflection, people search for the meaning of their own lives.  It is
impossible to say what kind of dialogue people have with themselves.
Using ourselves as a measure is not an impartial way to go.  Having
philosophized about it unendingly at times, I’ve only been connected
with a very few with whom I’ve ever had conversation about how we see
our own existence in a personal way, and our place in the world.  Taking
it at the private level, it has been more of an internal dialogue.  It might
accomplish something more purposeful to question oneself in an open
discussion.  In terms of cause and effect, I think how and what one
thinks about oneself is what causes all of the world’s problems and the
actions engendered by those thoughts becomes the effects.  That is a
wholly inclusive statement, I know.  But troubled egos get in the way of
humans relating in honorable, or noble ways.  I’ve always called having
true respect for others as having absolute personal regard.  With that as
a mantra tattooed on the inside of one’s forehead, I think the world
would progress along with nature instead of against it.  We would be a
happier race.  But that is just my opinion. 

I don’t know if bloggers can ever hope, realistically, to affect the way the
world goes.  It seems to me, as individuals, we can only affect what is in
close proximity.  If we combine our thoughts and resources, then the
united energy can influence larger venues.  But not the entire population. 
It would take a massive effort to inform “the public” of what is perceived
to be social ailments.  A prescription of what will bring it to health is the
master plan.  We live in such a pluralistic society that only some
generalizing idea that appeals to basic human nature (whatever that
could be) will have the capacity to change enough minds to actually
change society.  Fear is one strategy that has been tried, often by those
who intend to control the public.  Fear is something I think everyone has
felt in their lifetime and they don’t hesitate to raise up their guard when
it is felt.  Fear is a basic reaction.  But it cannot be the only useful
emotional tool for social change, though we know from our psychology
classes that the emotions are the portal to physical action.

It is not so easy to move the miscellaneous minds that show up on blogs
to action as there is too much that is opaque about us.  I never expect
solutions to be spoken by the faceless, and sometimes who also seem
mindless, commenters who pulse through these forums egotistically with
how to repair what seems a decaying society or expecting others to
provide pearls of wisdom on command.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment

2.
Evolutionary psychologists Gaulin and McBurney say that emotion is
associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and
motivation.  Besides fear, I was surprised to learn there are quite a
number of emotions.  Did you know there were 70 in all?!

In alph order they are: Affection, Anger, Angst, Anguish, Annoyance,
Anxiety, Apathy, Arousal, Awe, Boldness, Boredom, Contempt, Con-
tentment, Curiosity, Depression, Desire, Despair, Disappointment,
Disgust, Distrust, Dread, Ecstasy, Embarrassment, Envy, Euphoria,
Excitement, Fear, Fearlessness, Frustration, Gratitude, Grief, Guilt,
Happiness, Hatred, Hope, Horror, Hostility, Hurt, Hysteria, Indifference,
Interest, Jealousy, Joy, Loathing, Loneliness, Love, Lust, Misery, Panic,
Passion, Pity, Pleasure, Pride, Rage, Regret, Remorse, Sadness, Satis-
faction, Shame, Shock, Shyness, Sorrow, Suffering, Surprise, Terror,
Trust, Wonder, Worry, Zeal, Zest.  Since these all are “abstractions,” we
can only know these responses when we experience them in ourselves
or, empathetically, as expressed in others.

I, mistakenly, thought empathy was missing from this classical clinical
psychology list.  But on looking it up, I found that empathy is not itself
an emotion but is, from the Merriam-Webster entry, “the ability to
imagine oneself in another’s place and understand the other’s feelings,
desires, emotions, ideas, and actions.

So if any change of the public’s mind is to be achieved, these emotional
responses will have to be employed, since it is only through emotion that
action is set in motion. For instance, if fascism is considered a repugnant
form of government, understanding how a mass of people fall into being
so controlled is a necessary first step.  It would seem then that we should
have to understand which of the emotions are working that allows indivi-
duals in a collection to live in a controlled physical state and act, to
behave in accordance to the dictates of a fascist leader or leaders.  Once
that is understood, then knowing what it is that will counteract the emo-
tional stimuli, some crafting to whittle away or to replace entirely the
controlling emotion will have to happen.  It is easy to see that this all
would not be an easy project.  It will take much skill and knowledge
of psychology and propaganda, don’t you think?  And a great deal of
time! 

This is really just a skeleton synopsis, a terse construction, but isn’t it
logically the only way to begin to understand how to get millions of
people in a pluralistic society to start thinking about what is possibly
subconsciously working on them that has put them into the slavish
condition that is the cause of their emotional anguish and physical
misery?  So onward to Giroux’s empathetic description and his advice.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, May 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

I really should have linked a SNL skit so that you wouldnt miss the joke.

Joke or not, the ‘s’ word really is offensive. Again, my apologies.

oh, in case you didnt know, not only didnt I mean a single word of that insult (Maani is right. It was actually a parody of something an idiotic conservative said to an intelligent liberal) but it wasnt just to make a joke. I also had a hidden agenda. I was trying to see if even a parody of cursing would get deleted, and i found out that yes it would.

Also note that i couldnt quite manage the insult, couldnt bring myself to spell out the curse word because i dont talk or even think that way. Since i was never deleted before(at least I think i wasnt) i wanted to see if I had some sort of free pass over the rest who had been deleted before. Turns out Truthdig deletes no matter who it is that says what-ever it is. 

As Shenonynous found, you cant even quote someone else’s rudeness without getting your own entire post deleted.  It doesnt matter who says it or if its a parody, or if you merely quote someone else, the Truthdig censors are at 0 tolerance for rudeness. Thats not really a bad thing. So if a censor is reading this, its cool. Any rule that applies to everyone evenly is alright with me.

Finally, elisalouisa, to make it up to you, from now on when you take umbrage with something I say, please start your post with:  “O.M. you P.A.!”

It will pass by the censors, and it will be your secret weapon.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, May 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

Hey, i managed to join the club of folks who get their posts banned by Truthdig!

elisalouisa, caps or otherwise… you know I didnt mean a word of it, and i expected you to say this to me.. “Ozarkmichael, you pompass ass” becasue that is what Jane Curtain always said back to Dan Ackroyd.

Anyway, i am sorry about what i said and i take it all back.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

Maani, I guess you are right to some measure.  I don’t watch
SNL. I don’t have an appreciation for its muscular style of humor. 
Meatheadism is how I see it.  I only know that the term slut was
used invectively by the loathsome Rush Limbaugh to denigrate a
young woman who was to testify before the Congress on contracep-
tion. 

I was not aware OM’s comment was removed from the forum!  I just
now checked and sure enough it is gone. I am surprised.  Truthdig is
being somewhat aggressive these days in removing what seems to be
abusive language.  I did not know it, but they actually have a webcensor
programmed into the website.  There are some words that are red-
flagged.  If tried to be used, a message Page Not Found comes up when
comment is submitted!  But it seems not to work sometimes as the
malicious comments of Troy Davis was able to be posted until I
complained about them.  My comment about the condition of his brain
and elisalouisa’s embellishment comment were also removed.  And two
responses that took to task the nastiness of Troy Davis and I used some
strong language but did not achieve any where near the level of his
profanity, that I included in a couple of longer comments that were on
the topic of the article, were also removed.  I wrote a complaint to TD
and received an invitation to repost them sans the more than mild
language I used.  I may just do that, later when I am of the mind to do
so.  But my sentiments still stand.

While some humor, ironic or not, is often an ice breaker, it would depend
on the context for sure.  I’ve never been known not to have a good sense
of humor, but I think the word slut ought to be erased from human lang-
uage.  It is a disparagement of women, used intentionally to degrade
them.  I think the proximity to the fecal Limbaugh comment was possibly
the catalyst for elisalouisa’s and my posted response.  In retrospect, even
with your explanation, I still see it as an inappropriate comment directed
toward elisalouisa.  The name-calling phrase “A pompous ass” could
apply not only to men but could to women as well, whereas slut is
definitely an insult only to women.  I guess it too is a matter of degree. 
If directed to me, I personally would resent it.  Its application to a really
gentlewoman was offensive apparently to her as well as me.  Moreover,
he asterisked out the “u” in the word, if I recall correctly so OM must also
have thought it was a denigrating word and censored it himself!  But as
you see from your and my using it, it wasn’t really the word but how it
was applied that I think Truthdig removed the post.  I don’t know, guess
we have to be more respectful these days.  Is that overreacting? 

Hopefully we can get back to the topic if this forum is to continue?

Giroux has written an extraordinary treatise in a most dramatic style,
presented in two parts giving a complete description of a serious pre-
dicament he reckons is a contamination and infecting the American
people with a disease of exploitation and miserable life conditions. 
There were some questions that arose as I read through his excellently
articulated essays, which I hope to present in a later post.

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By elisalouisa, May 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

This must be what you mean Maani when you continually tell us how very busy you are. Michael also. Next time I won’t flub my line.  Link provided has SNL skits.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k80nW6AOhTs

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By Maani, May 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa and She:

To misparaphrase Shakespeare, “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

Did either of you actually watch SNL, and are either of you familiar with where OM took the phrase that included the word “slut?”  It seems that neither of you are aware of the context.  Here it is:

“In a parody of the ‘Point-Counterpoint’ segment of the news program 60 Minutes, Curtin portrayed a controlled liberal viewpoint (referencing Shana Alexander) vs. Dan Aykroyd, who (referencing James J. Kilpatrick) prototyped the right-wing view, albeit with an over-the-top ‘attack’ journalist slant. Curtin presented the liberal ‘Point’ portion first. Then Aykroyd presented the ‘Counterpoint’ portion, sometimes beginning with the statement, ‘Jane, you ignorant slut,’ to which she replied, ‘Dan, you pompous ass.’”

Thus, the context is one of consciously ironic humor, and is deliberately poking fun at those types of labels, particularly from “extremists” on BOTH sides of the aisle.

OM’s intention - as I read and understood it right away, given his post - was not to insult, but to convey sardonic humor.  If he failed, it would seem to be because neither of you understood what the reference was.

In this regard, I am actually outraged that TD would remove that post, since, clearly, THEY didn’t get the reference either, and thus their removal of the post was a tad overzealous.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, May 16, 2012 at 6:50 am Link to this comment

Wise words Shenon and I say that in a concise manner. 

In a sense we are all searching and that includes Michael. How to educate “the public” who you so admirably defend in the second part of your post, if I read you correctly, that is the real question.

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By Troy Davis, May 16, 2012 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Well, well, well, I see the same tiresome fascist enablers continue to comment on this thread with their oh so very polite, and “civilized” comments that offer no solutions and provide to insight into the problem of fascsim.

Not really too surprising since, as fascist enablers, none of them have any real solutions or even want to resolve the issue of global fascism.

Enablers one and all. Pathetic!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, May 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Indeed elisalouisa.  Edmund Burke once wrote, “Abstract liberty,
like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.”  An elegantly
simple insight, but not unqualified as I dare to argue that anything
and everything abstract is not to be found in reality except in hazy
intuitive experience only.  Meaning only emerges in existential
circumstances.

Leftist, fascist, space, time, liberal, conservative, even the stupid,
insulting, and tasteless word ‘slut’ are all imprecise abstract ideas
that have the residual potential to become instantiated in a person,
place, or thing, and until an abstraction is instantiated, it acts as a
referent and remains ambiguous.  However, oafish allusions can
intentionally be created using abstractions.  Abstractions are pressed
into service, that is, are twisted into instances, sometimes even covered
with a camouflage of assumed humor, to place the user of such words in
an elevated, uh…constructed superior position, for the purpose of a
dialectical ambience, regardless whether that ambience is intended to,
for instance, have the appearance of an acquiescence, the simulation of
a concession, however cowardly, a sleight of hand, in a feeble attempt to
give a qualifying referent definition to persons, things, places, or events
that do not exist at any particular place or time but has the possibility to
exist in many places at many particular times.  Abstract things exist only
conceptually, but how they are used can have consequences.

It is not expected that the concrete meaning of what was just written
is accessible by just any ordinary mind.  There was no humor in the
comment recently made to elisalouisa.  It was aggressively concrete and
denigrating.  It is supremely and unbecomingly fraudulent of one who
claims to be religious.  But perhaps it is only a convenience to be
religious these days???

Was there ever a time when the public was sovereign and not herded,
as is often claimed of the ever-belittled public these days?  A website
search on Truthdig alone yields over 17,000 comments that the public
is stupid!  Public in this case is an abstraction representing millions of
individuals who apparently are considered to be mindless dimwits.  The
whine often written or spoken by those who attempt to discuss political
issues is that the public is being escorted to accept whatever the
corporatocrats want and have been cultivated into submissive and
“unquestioned faith in the virtues of free market capitalism.”  It is said,
but is it true?  Does the lack of knowledge or information, that is,
ignorance, mean being herded like hoofed animals is the public’s mental
condition?  If the individuals of the body politic, i.e., the public, were
interviewed, each and every one of them, ignorance would not, in my
opinion, be an accurate assessment.  And as little information as I have
about this, that is, I have no facts to back me up, there is just as little
information to the opposite.  So there is a stalemate and in such a case
nothing intelligent can be said about the mental acuity of “the public”
and both those who vilify the public, and myself who would champion
them as essentially an intelligent pack of animals, ought to shut up.  The
utter fallacy is to take a few instances and apply the results to a whole
group. 

Some humans too frequently get very sloppy in their thinking which just
as often ends up in consequences of foolish babble and actions based on
their malfunctioning thinking habits.

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By elisalouisa, May 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

Crude late night humor is not your style Michael. The last sentence in your post lacks humor and also lacks truth. Also, kindly notice that there are no capital letters in my name, they are all equal, elisalouisa, something the far right would probably not understand.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, May 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

How is it possible to know that the approach to the problem would have to be completely different while at the same time admitting that one does not comprehend what the problem is?

I do give little signals that I allow that my opposition could be right, even when i think they are wrong. They are human beings after all, so their opinion has value. But enough conservatism, I will try not to let that sort of thing slip out again. Lets keep this discussion on the higher plane that we are used to here on Truthdig.

To get back on track, I will use the words of wisdom that Dan Ackroyd used to say to Jane Curtain on the SNL news show ‘Point Counterpoint’:

“Elisalouisa, you ignorant slu_!”

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By Shenonymous, May 15, 2012 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Your earlier reckoning was a rich laugh riot, elisalouisa.  Thank you
for the embellished correction, it was a most insightful observation. 
As we can plainly see your and my comment about the size of some-
one’s brain, heart, and balls have been removed as having violated
some TD comment policy, no doubt due to a thug’s complaint, which
is also a laugh riot!  But were our comments of the caliber of the
one to whom we were referring which is no laughing matter? 

Subsequently I made a formal complaint to Truthdig for all the posts
where he used fetid and hateful language and they were removed as
well. But two of my posts, one at Shenonymous, May 11 at 6:48
pm and the other at Shenonymous, May 12 at 5:57 am that used
no foul language in the least but did take issue with “his” comments
were removed.  So it looks as if no liberty for appraisal or assessment
of or a rebuttal to the abhorrent content of another’s remarks is now
permitted on Truthdig, but the community of the forum must simply
tolerate the vituperations that issue forth from that obvious crass
mindless one who posts here.  It is a matter of degree. I agree to having
imbibed in a modicum of jerkness myself, but at the risk of being
banned, I must take it and say that the jerkness displayed by Troy Davis
is off the charts.  With the sophomoric attitude seemingly to have
evolved here and the adults taking their sentiments elsewhere, it might
be the best for me as well.

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By Troy Davis, May 14, 2012 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

@Ozark:

Iam notone bit surprised that a fascist enabler like yourself would choose “poetic” references to a feudal society. How capitalistic of you, too. Pathetic.

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By OzarkMichael, May 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

My post about the Siege Perilous was meant poetically.

I will read your post from May 11th again and I hope to respond to it tomorrow

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By elisalouisa, May 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

“The “Siege Perilious is reserved for the knight (Percival or Galahad) who would one day be successful in the quest for the Holy Grail. So it is. Let no impostor be seated in that chair.”
Wikipedia

How is it possible to know that the approach to the problem would have to be completely different while at the same time admitting that one does not comprehend what the problem is?

The problem has been stated over and over and over again. Our country has been hijacked by the power/elite. I refer you to my May 11 8:43 p.m. post, starting with the second paragraph.

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By OzarkMichael, May 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Oh, yes, and the elimination of “fascist enablers” like Ozark, She, etc. who troll these threads and do everything possible to thwart discussion of genuine solutions to the problem of America’s devolution from a constitutional democracy into a corporate [fascist] state.

It would please Shenonymous to discuss solutions to the problem. You do not need to eliminate her.

The only one you need to eliminate is me. You are correct about me. I am one who seeks to do “everything possible to thwart genuine solutions”. Why? Because I think the real problem is quite different from fascism, and I think the approach to the problem(whatever it really is) would have to be completely different anyway.

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By OzarkMichael, May 13, 2012 at 8:26 am Link to this comment

The following quote was advice offered as the best first step to find a cure for “fascism”. That cure is is the Leftist version of the quest for the Holy Grail:

Looking at the nature of mass beliefs is one way I suggest we start.

As I listen through my humble window I hear the clatter of procession as the Knights once again take up their quest for the Holy Grail, but like Sir Erec I refrain from joining them. You will recall that Sir Erec did not join the Quest outside but stayed home, and apparently he found the whole world inside his own house, so that for some long time he remained there. So it is with me.

For I do not think to look outside or elsewhere when I wish to understand human beliefs, human nature, human good, and human evil. If I wish to understand those things, then I ought to sieze upon, capture, bind, and interrogate that specimen of human nature that I know best. That person is myself. It is not pleasant to discover that the line between good and evil runs right through my own heart. What a strange and wretched mixture of strength and weakness i am. Ah, but now I begin to human nature better!

Meanwhile, how goes it for the Knights of the Holy Grail?  Those who begin the quest by looking outside and elsewhere will by necessity come to difficulties, not the least of which is a deep chasm, uncrossable but for a high and narrow bridge. 

Let that chasm teach a lesson, Let it be a reminder of the vast respectful distance which ought to exist between yourself and the Other. The chasm teaches the Knights that they would do better to start their search for weakness in themselves instead of others.

Another difficulty for the Knights is that the road bewitches them, and somehow separates them, so that each one finds themself alone. That too is a lesson.

Yet another difficulty befalls the strongest Knight, alone in an desolate cobwebbed castle he is challenged by an unknown foe who is able to match his every move. The Knight delivers his best and most cruel blow to gain the upper hand, but lo! He finds himself as grievously wounded as his unknown opponent. And so it goes all night, as the combatants flail the armor off each other.

By the light of dawn the Knight sees that his opponent is none other than himself. This too we can use as a lesson, for the Knight’s concept of the Other will eventually become a definition of the self. We exist in our definition of the Other. Dehumanize the Other and your own humanity is lessened. Strike a blow at the Other and you too are wounded. Why? Because there is only one human nature. 

For example, when we opine that “the masses are easily decieved because they act on emotions” we must come to a stop. Unfortunately we are human beings too, so we must acknowledge that we are easily decieved as well. We must recieve the same deep wound, namely, that we too are acting on emotions.

What futility to foist the faults of human nature upon the Other! Are you something different from other human beings? No, and neither am I. We recieve our most cruel blow upon our self.

Where then, should we start the Quest? Well, King Arthur and all his Knights knew how to begin the quest for the Holy Grail but none dared it until everything else failed. The Quest for the Holy Grail properly begins with only one event that had the horrific name Siege Perilous, which is a chair where there is no past or future, and it is almost certain death to sit in that chair.

It has always been tempting to place the Other under the Siege Perilous but as we have seen, it never works. Who shall you place in the Siege Perilous, the most dangerous place known to man? When is the proper time?

The legend says that there is only you. The legend says there is only now.

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By OzarkMichael, May 13, 2012 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

Another thing, not all here lean to the left, Centrists are part of this website and I would dare to say variations of the Right so please be careful as to using one word “Leftist” to describe all who frequent here.

The one word “Leftist” is no less precise as the one word “fascist”.

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By OzarkMichael, May 12, 2012 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Just so we understand what hell is, Troy Davis explains to us:

I want you to fully imagine your fate. Cast into a living hell for all eternity with someone like me who will torment you endlessly with my uncivilized “depravity” and YOU will discover that as an enabler of fascism you fully deserve the hellish fate that awaits you.

Creative authors have devised the circles of hell before. They have reserved the lowest levels of hell for the worst criminals, so we find at the lowest level of hell there is especially bad punishment. For example, at an upper level of hell you are thirsty and the water is out of reach eternally. At a deeper level of hell your body is cast about by the winds along with other sinners, but you can never quite get your balance or gain a foothold. At a deeper level you are continually being roasted alive. Each level gets worse and worse as you go deeper and deeper down.

Never before in the history of literature has an author created a deeper level of hell than what Troy has envisaged. Troy has pictured for us what the ultimate punishment is.

There at the lowest circle of hell is the worst possible torture. As Troy says, “I want you to fully imagine your fate”. For at the bottom of hell the ultimate punishment is… an eternal thirst? No. Satan waiting with a fire to roast you? No.

All there is at the bottom of hell is a little bench, and so far that isnt bad at all… but wait! there upon that bench sits the ultimate tormentor! Yes, it is Troy who waits on the little bench. He waits for you. Is he going to rip out your fingernails? No. Is he going to eat your spleen? No.

Here is your how your punishment begins: Troy is going to start talking.

Here is how your eternal punishment will progress: Troy will keep talking. He wont need to stop for sleep, or even for a little breather. It will be like a buzzing chainsaw that never stops. Imagine it! The lowest level of hell isnt for mass murderers or rapists. No, its for for Leftists who didnt listen to Troy.

Here is how it will be for you forever: Troy wont ever stop talking. You will want to get away from him but all there is down at the bottom of hell is a cozy park bench with Troy on it and you are stuck right there next to him on that bench. He will nag you about political stuff. He wont talk about anything else. 

Yes the First Circle of Hell is a park bench with Troy on it. The punishment is that you will be stuck sitting there, and you will be made to understand every word he says. Having his words in your head so much that you cant have your own thoughts. The ultimate punishment will be that you will understand Troy so well that you might as well be Troy.

O sinner! Consider the danger that you are in! Change your ways while you still can! Arrange your thoughts to be more like Troy now! Thats the only way you can avoid the unending torment of thinking just like Troy for ever and ever.

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By elisalouisa, May 12, 2012 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

“Is that the soft patter of rain upon your paper plates? But never mind that since you are just beginning to unpack. Uncork the Umberto Eco #7 and pass it around. Its like you never tasted it before.

Sounds great Michael. Almost makes me want to order up some rain(pitter-patter variation) with puddles on the side(splash-splash) and go on a picnic.

As to the double stands you mention, it is the Evangelicals that have a double standard as dissension is not allowed on such websites. Could I post my views on the likes of your favorite Evangelical haunt? I don’t think so. Another thing, not all here lean to the left, Centrists are part of this website and I would dare to say variations of the Right so please be careful as to using one word “Leftist” to describe all who frequent here.

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By Maani, May 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Troy:

Okay.  You are the only one who “gets it,” who knows about history, who knows what’s going on in the present, who seems to know what will happen in the future.  Let me congratulate you and ask: why are YOU not offering any solutions?  After all, it was your post requesting that one or another of US offer solutions - a post that didn’t include any - that led us down the road to your unnecessary and unproductive vulgarity and name-calling.

You seem to want to be a leader of sorts, given your greater knowledge and expertise.  So I say…lead us!  Tell us what YOUR ideas for “action” are with regard to the inevitably encroaching Fascist States of America!  Tell me what to do, and I will follow faithfully!

Otherwise, don’t demand answers and “action items” from others.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, May 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for caring Troy Davis and please cool off, one here is still battling Chris Hedges’ “Fascist Christians.” Let’s cut to the chase. Our government is ruled by of an oligarchy consisting of ruling elites, corporations and different segments of the military and national security state. That is what Mr. Giroux tells us, I agree. A small, ruthless, power hungary group used every trick in the book to achieve that end. Mr. Giroux does give us an out - education in the way of informing “the people,” a pedagogical project so to speak.

“If it is true that a new form of authoritarianism is developing in the United States, undercutting any vestige of a democratic society, then it is equally true that there is nothing inevitable about this growing threat. The long and tightening grip of authoritarianism in American political culture can be resisted and transformed. This dystopic future will not happen if intellectuals, workers, young people, diverse social movements unite to create the public spaces and unsettling formative educational cultures necessary for reimagining the meaning of radical democracy. In part, this is a pedagogical project, one that recognizes consciousness, agency, and education as central to any viable notion of politics. It is also a project designed to address, critique, and make visible the common sense ideologies that enable neoliberal capitalism and other elements of an emergent authoritarianism to function alongside a kind of moral coma and political amnesia at the level of everyday life. But such a project will not take place if the American public cannot recognize how the mechanisms of authoritarianism have had an impact on their lives, restructured negatively the notion of freedom, and corrupted power by placing it largely in the hands of ruling elites, corporations, and different segments of the military and national security state.”

Mr. Giroux in discussing a new form of authoritarianism that is developing in the United States, avoids any specific term such as fascism. Educating the people as to what is taking place is crucial. Do our Zombies want to be educated? Are they willing to put forth the effort? I am not as hopeful as Mr. Giroux.

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By OzarkMichael, May 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

I wonder if the people who discuss lists which describe aspects of fascism, as they compare the 5th and 6th aspect of “fascism” on this or that list(and there are several different lists to peruse), arent somehow responsible for people like Troy Davis, who get excited and exclaim, “to hell with all these different lists, and talk-talk-talking about fascism! What are we going to do about it?”

And furthermore, I wonder if the creative list-makers and sophisticated list-discussers bear any responsibility for the action that a more excitable radical anti-fascist might take, such as blowing up a building or hurting someone.

It is a strange and unheard of question, I know. It is like rain falling upon the ground when there isnt a cloud in the sunny blue Leftist sky. I hesitate to suggest present responsibility for some unforeseen distant violent action, its like mentioning rain at the happiest picnic I ever saw, one that is held almost every day on Truthdig, and yet each day it feels as if you are only beginning to have your picnic. “We never had a real picnic before!” “Today we truly begin!” the revelers exclaim to each other as they unpack the feast.

But i cant help it, i wonder.

Where did I learn to wonder like that? Where did I learn that we should trace guilt from the actor who commits the crime back to distant like-minded people? Where did I learn that beliefs kill, even from 2,000 miles away?

Frankly such a thought never would have occured to me on my own. So where did i learn it? Answer: Right here on Truthdig for 4 years, and it was most clearly expressed in Chris Hedges “Fundamentalism Kills”. Of course in that case the distant blood guilt was applied to me and it made pretty good sense to several here and it certainly had to be discussed for a long time.

So i wonder. I wonder if “guilt-via-shared-concerns” and “guilt-from-a-great-distance” can find its way from a disgruntled or crazy Troy Davis type all the way back to the Leftists happily comparing the 5th and 6th mark of fascism as if they were taste-testing fine wines on a sunny day. I wonder if these happy picnickers are aware of the possible precipitation headed their way?

Imagine if some Leftist crazier than Troy killed somebody. I wonder if that distant blood guilt would shame the picnic into silence, and the fine points of ‘fascism’ would be packed away like fine wine bottles at a picnic when the rain starts to fall.

At the very least, would it dampen Leftists from so freely and frequently voicing their concerns about fascism?

If it wouldnt, I wonder… why not?

If it wouldnt, why all the hand-wringing about “Fundamentalism Kills” and the insistance that Breivik’s blood guilt be tied to people 2000 miles away?  What happened to that hot demand for guilt-by-association? It evaporated?

In that case, wouldnt it be best for you to admit that you have a double standard? You apply a strict guilt-via-shared-concerns to me, but keep your own beliefs in up in the clouds with the angels, up in the realm of idealized reality ,so that nothing that happens here on earth could ever stain them. I admit that your ideals are a wonderful thing. Are you aware that other people have ideals too?

I am not saying that guilt should be tied to you, but if Leftists have their way with me and with my ideals, successfully applying the strictest standard on Christians and conservatives in public discourse, life has a way of changing up, and the shoe will be on the other foot some day. It wont be me speaking theoretically, it will be the uncontrollable surge of public opinion rebounding back upon you. The chains you forge for me will not be mine alone.

Thats what I mean when I say: “We will all be equals whether you like it or not.”

Is that the soft patter of rain upon your paper plates? But never mind that since you are just beginning to unpack. Uncork the Umberto Eco #7 and pass it around. Its like you never tasted it before.

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By Maani, May 11, 2012 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Troy:

I am not opposed to “action,” nor am I attempting to “diffuse” anything.  I am simply pointing out that, contrary to your claims, the “people” as a whole have not acquiesced to most of the items you list.  Indeed, you may remember that the run-up to the invasion of Iraq - even before it began - invoked the largest global protest in the history of the world: over 30 million people in 60 cities in 20 countries - including millions in the U.S.

As for your other items:

-“The election fraud of 2000 with the illegal appointment of Bush II, the war criminal, to office by our SCOTUS.”  There was plenty of popular outrage over this - including in some of the “corporate-controlled media” you speak of.

“Expanded militarization of America.”  In this case, it is actually the media - including some MSM - who are LEADING the outrage.

-“Domestic survelliance of the populace.”  And again, not only popular outrage, but much of the MSM took this on in a major way.

-“The assassination of American citizens abroad accused of being ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorists sympathizers.’  This, too, is being reported - and questioned - even in the MSM, though I would agree there seems to be too little outrage on the part of the general populace.

-“The enactment of the NDAA which empowers the our POTUS with life or death power over any citizen without due process of law.”  Although I am as mortally opposed to the NDAA as anyone, it really doesn’t change anything that was in the AUMF of 2001, or the prior NDAAs.  Still, you are right in this case that there has been precious little outrage re this.

-The enactment of the US Patriot Act that effectively shredded the US Constitution.”  Actually, while the Patriot Act (and Patriot Act II) did indeed do damage to the Constitution, I would argue that the Military Commissions Act did far more, as it all but eviscerated both habeas corpus and posse comitatus, two of the most sacred and critical provisions.  But there was, in fact, quite some backlash over the original Patriot Act.

In most of these cases, there was in fact been outrage, including in some, if not much, of the MSM (to say nothing of the AM).  And the rise of the TP and OWS (and particularly the national, even global, conversation about income inequality that OWS has generated (among other things)) are further proof that there is active - and effective, particularly vis-a-vis the “public eye” (media) - protest against some or many of the things that are occurring.

When I talk of “acquiescence,” I am talking about WHOLESALE acquiescence; i.e., at very least a majority of the populace simply (as elisalouisa and SHE suggest) “surrendering” or “submitting” to a fascist State.  However, although both of us may be frustrated by the fact that MORE people are not actively involved in protest, etc. - though, to be fair, even many of those who are not actively involved nevertheless support those who are, whether on the left or the right - I would still suggest that this country is nowhere NEAR becoming a fascist state, despite your punch-list items, and despite some of the seeming attempts by our plutocracy to fashion itself as a proto-fascist or fascist State.

Again, this is by no means a call to simply sit on our hands and do nothing.  And despite your frustration-derived claims about me, I have and will continue to quite actively protest both your punch-list items and many other things, and encourage others to do the same.

However, they should do it because the things we are discussing are wrong and dangerous - NOT because the “sum” of those things somehow “add up” to fascism.  They do not.

Peace.

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By Troy Davis, May 11, 2012 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

@Maani:

“As I have posited before, the primary zeitgeist that must occur before a fascist government can truly take power - no matter what “aspects” of that power they are attempting to or actually do create - is the acquiescence of the people”.


Perhaps you missed something. So far, the people have “acquiesed” to two illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [with the concomittant death of perhaps 1 million Iraqi citizens, The election fraud of 2000 with the illegal appointment of Bush II, the war criminal, to office by our SCOTUS, expanded militarization of America, domestic survelliance of the populace; the assassination of American citizens abroad accused of being “terrorists” or “terrorists sympathizers”, the enact of the NDAA which empowers the our POTUS with life or death power over any citizen without due process of law; the enactment of the US Patriot Act that effectively shredded the US Constitution, and oh so many,many more things.

Just how much acquiesence does there have to be before there is an acknowledgement that for all practical purposes and effect we are living in a fascist state?

Did I leave out corporate ownership of the mass media? Did I forget to mention the financial fraud that occured?

Either you are in complete denial; extraordinarily naive, or you support the devolution of America and world into fascism.

As I said before, while you seek to diffuse genuine, active opposition to fascism, those in power, working secretly are diligently working day and night to implement the fascist state.

You seek to placate the masses and diffuse any real proactive efforts to halt the march towards fascism by insisting that the “populace must acquiesce to their own enslavement” but you see no evidence of that fact. Or, you see so little evidence of it, that it is of no concern to you,[more accurately you hope to convince others to ignore it so that when the time comes for full and unfettered implementation of the fascist mechanism, it will be too late to do anything meaningful about it.

Once again, I state that we are engaging in a futile process of talking the issue to death, while those seeking to implement their fascist utopia are working 24/7 to achieve their goal.

Either provide solutions or admit that you support and defend fascism. At the very least you seek to diffuse genuine opposition to it. You pooh, pooh, the concerns of those enlightened enough to see the “handwriting on the wall” inferring that our lack of sophistication and comprehension of fascism has led us to a misguided conclusion about the nature and extent to which fascism has already been established.

In a word, one singular word, my answer to you is , POPPYCOCK!

Further discussion with you on this issue is futile and even though it achieves your desired goal of thwarting genuine discussions that involve real solutions, I capitulate to you on this issue.  I have better things to do than piss in the wind, and sword fight with zorro.

Good day to you, good luck to you, and when you remove your rose colored glasses may you not be blinded by the light of truth, living as you clearly do in a fanciful world of darkness and denial.

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By Maani, May 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Troy:

Yes, all of the facts you state are true.  But I think you still miss the point.

I was among the first to post Dr. Lawrence Britt’s 14 Characteristics of Fascism on this site.  And I would agree that the U.S. exhibits (to varying degrees) a majority of those characteristics.  But there is a huge difference between exhibiting characteristics and the actual implementation and imposition of a fascist government.  One of (if not THE) most important missing ingredients is acceptance by the populace of the “State.”  A country could exhibit all 14 of Britt’s characteristics and STILL not be any closer to being under the jackboot of a fascist government than they were before those characteristics were achieved.  This is historical fact.

You take a number of “true” things and, by making a list, believe that it “means” something that it does not.  However, with respect to Britt’s Characteristics, what we actually see is an ebb and flow of some (if not many) of those Characteristics; i.e., one can certainly “list” specific things that support the existence of one Characteristic or another, but those things might (and often are) “in the moment” rather than signs of “absoluteness” of that Characteristic in toto.

For example, Britt’s 5th Characteristic is:

“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.”

In this regard, we certainly see a “war on women” from the right.  But no such war is being waged on the left.  And indeed, whether it was genuine or just a political move, the president of the United States has just come out in open support of gay marriage.  So, while one could “list” some of the anti-choice and homophobic legislation and other actions of the right - and that list would certainly seem to support Britt’s 5th Characteristic - that would be “out of context” with the larger picture (to say nothing of not representative of the general populace).

As I have posited before, the primary zeitgeist that must occur before a fascist government can truly take power - no matter what “aspects” of that power they are attempting to or actually do create - is the acquiescence of the people.  This, too, is a historical reality in virtually every case in which a fascist - or even proto-fascist or quasi-fascist - government has taken power.  Yet as I noted, what we actually see is a populace that rejects this, from both the left AND the right.  And indeed, if the TP and the OWS movement understood that is a “common cause” for them, and they united behind it, that would create an even more powerful bulwark against the actual imposition of an fascistic-type government in the U.S.

Peace.

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By OzarkMichael, May 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

We have the illegal appointment of Bush II, the war criminal, to office in 2000, [this is when the American peopel needed to take to the street in non-stop protests over such an egregious act of extrajudicial authority], overruling the Florida State Supreme Court and effectively appointing Bush II, to the office of POTUS.

If a conservative wrote the quote above(albeit in a slightly different context), and recommended such a course of action, everyone here would immediately spot it as a big step towards fascism and the conservative person would be shunned. But here on Truthdig an approach to fascism can be cheerfully discussed as long as the approach is made from the Left. The people who propose such actions are ‘appreciated’ by Truthdiggers for their point of view.

Actions which Leftists kick around as a “remedy” to “fascism” are often the very actions what would lead to real fascism. That Leftists would dream of such actions while decrying the Right is hard to understand. It is a double standard.

It may be that Troy Davis is merely young or a bit brash. Sometimes it is just a matter of rightious anger that hasnt thought things through to the bottom line. Such thoughts ought not be censored, but they should be firmly corrected, and if the person doesnt learn, perhaps they are a far Left extremist and not merely an ‘interesting’ fellow traveller.

Now i stop for a moment. I try to recall if you(Leftists) have ever excused a conservative who made a proposal that you considered “fascist” in the way that i just excused Troy Davis(and I have done like that before). I allowed him space to exist as a human being by admitting that he might have rightious anger, not merely “hate”.

Am I difficult to listen to? Am I sometimes unfair? Am I often too harsh and narrow-minded? Perhaps so, but for all that, you give far less room to your opponents than I give to mine. Although I have found over time that the only way to teach is to give it back, to throw the chains back in your face. There should be only one rule for everyone, and it ridiculous that the rule is strict for my side and quite lenient for yours. That inequality cannot last.

Digression aside, I want to propose a new law of political physics: To whatever extent a person accuses that we “talk fascism to death”, there is a proportionate increase in the chance that they will propose the most precipitous ‘solutions’ which promote ... fascism.

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By Troy Davis, May 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Well, since 9/11, America has established the offoce of “Homeland Security”, consolidated all of the power into that agency and increased the secret powers of the FBI, and CIA to investigate/monitor US Citizens.

The US congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA], signed into law by the US President which allows the current and all future Presidents to order the killing of US citizens anywhere in the world including America, without due process of law [I think this singular act justifies the belief that America is now effectively a fascist state].

I assert that any state in which the leader has the power of life and death over its citizens without due process of law, establishes such a state as being fascist!

We have coporate[fascist] media in control of virtually all information distributed to the populace acting in concert with the government to promote the “war on terrorism” a very nondescript and deliberately nebulous “war” established to undermine the constitutional integrity of the democracy.

The Supreme Court acting in concert with corporate power is undermining the rule of law, replacing it with corporate orwellian “doublespeak”.

We have the illegal appointment of Bush II, the war criminal, to office in 2000, [this is when the American peopel needed to take to the street in non-stop protests over such an egregious act of extrajudicial authority], overruling the Florida State Supreme Court and effectively appointing Bush II, to the office of POTUS.

We have seen illegal wiretapping [which has allegedly stopped, if you believe that, I have some land in Arizona I want to sell you] authorized by the government and engaged in by corporate structures.

We have seen the reation to the OWS. A clearly reactionary response demonstrative of a fascist state expressed as a militarization of the civilian police forces working synergisically with the the government and corpoations to undermine the constitutional rights of the citizens.

We have witnessed GOP [Greed Overwhelming Principle] governors and GOP state legislatures engaging in the enactment of laws to crush unionism [the most democratic of entities], and we have seen effort to increase military spending at the expense of social safety net programs [including an effort to destroy Social Security and Medicare].

What more “proof” to do require? Or, do you still maintain that anyone warning of the creation of a fascist state is just “chicken little” in a panic?

By the time “we” collectively talk this issue to death, the fascist state will be a fait accompli and then strategies to prevent this march to fascism will be “too little, too late”.

The time for discussion is over. While you and so many others “discuss” the issue, those in power are slowly, methodically implementing the fascist state, bringing it into reality.

Enough superfluous talk. I want to hear solution on this site. If you have no solutions or you do not care about the transformation of America and the world into a fascist state, just say so, but please enough of the tiresome and useless rhetoric. Offer solutions or just accept the inevitable result.

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By Maani, May 10, 2012 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Troy:

At the risk of putting words in She’s mouth, I think what she was suggesting (and which I agree with) is that it seems a bit “premature” to look for “solutions” if there is no “problem” to be addressed.  That is, if, as She and I posit, the U.S. is not nearly as close to fascism as some of the hyperbole by others here suggests, then we our need for a solution is not immediate.  If that is the case, then, as we both posit, the answer is not to simply “not worry,” but to learn everything we can from both the past and present - from “both sides” - so that we have better “grounding” on which to create the strategy that has the best possibility of success when the U.S. really IS moving inexorably toward fascism.

As She points out, this does not mean we sit on our hands and do nothing, or even just “read and learn.” But even if the U.S. IS moving inexorably toward fascism, creating potentially successful strategies for holding it off (if not curtailing it) cannot be done in what seems to remain (among the general populace, and even among some here on TD) something of an educational vacuum re history about fascism itself, its root causes, and how it actually develops.  In this regard (and this is not aimed at you), simply having knowledge of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (which is all most people know about fascism) is not enough, since (i) most people do not know or understand HOW fascism rose in those instances, and (ii) they were neither the first examples of fascism, nor were they the last.

Peace.

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By Troy Davis, May 10, 2012 at 6:26 am Link to this comment

@ Shenonymous:

I believe my post was very specific. There was nothing estoric about my post. I clearly stated that I wanted to hear “solutions” not more empty rhetoric that merely “talks the issue to death” rather than offfering specific solutions.

Your post does not meet that criteria. Clearly, either you have no solutions and/or you are not interested with exploring potential solutions.

Merely regurgitating more empty rhetoric about how we need to “identify the problem” and ascribe the proper terminology to it does not offer any solutions.

If you have no solutions then just say so and stop wasting everyone else’s time reading your lengthy and empty posts.

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By Shenonymous, May 10, 2012 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

Quite right Troy Davis, and couldn’t we say the same of you?  Do
you think there is an approaching problem of fascism?  What would
be your solutions if there was?  It is not unusual that identifying a
problem is not too difficult, but coming up with answers to how to
stop it, reverse it, or neutralize it, may not be so easy.  While there
has been some talk of authoritarianism, we are just getting started
here, again, to discuss on this forum the topic of fascism. 

First, I would think, it must be ascertained that there really is such a
problem as is feared.  Describing how it is actually being manifested,
giving the concept sharp definition are the first steps to solving it if it
is a problem.  For if it that is neglected or given slushy attention, we
might miss the mark.  And that is much what we have been doing,
trying to give some clear representation so it becomes a target we can
address.  Trying to see this problem of human behavior.  I agree with
Maani, it’s only irrational fear and not a reality.  He gave excellent
reasons why it isn’t.

But say we are wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be unreasonable to give
consideration to what if it were true, the scout principle is Be Prepared,
is always a wise rule to follow.  Having asked in a recent post, how
shall we start?  I offered that understanding a general fear of freedom
might be one place since a thesis and counterthesis are ways to cover
all the bases.  Maani replied that it seemed like the flip side of wanting
an authority.  It does look like there’s a correlation. The motivations,
however, are opposingly different.  Asking questions found on flip sides
gets different kinds of thinking going, and the likelihood of seeing it
more fully gets better.  Then the probability of eradicating it gets a whole
lot better.  It’s elementary my dear Watson.

Oh yeah…as it turned out, a Roman Emperor, aka Caesar, Constantine, a
kind of fascist in his own perceived self-righteousness, ended the failing
Roman power by adopting Christianity, for a variety of reasons not the
least of which was political.

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By John Poole, May 9, 2012 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Troy Davis:
I’ll speak only for myself. I sense a repeat of the decline of Rome with me being a
Christian with the difference that what is “falling” now is Romanesque Christianity.
The early Christians probably decided getting an audience with Caesar or to get a
few of their kind into the palace to internally reform the empire was pointless.
They also eventually realized overthrowing the juggernaut was suicidal. Maybe an
emperor will “convert” eventually but in the mean time I believe it is best to
uncouple from empire any way one can muster.  All I can personally do is
decouple and try to live an alternative lifestyle. Hand wringing does have some
usefulness. It’s the first stage of washing one’s hands of an empire’s tempting
lures but hollow rewards.

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By Troy Davis, May 8, 2012 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

What I find most intriguing about the comments on this issue is the determination to “talk the issue to death” without ever providing any substantive or meaningful solutions.

Everyone who has addressed the issue of globalized fascism on this site, with particular emphasis on the Americas spiral into fascism, offers considerable commentary on the alleged root causes of the phenomenon with expressions of dire concern over the devolution of democracy into fascism.

However, after perusing the comments over and over, I find no real solutions offered on this site.

Lots of explanations of how fascism came into being but nothing of real substance to offer to anyone genuinely interested in actually doing something proactive about the devolution of America into a fascist state.

Handwringing is all well and good, it alerts everyone to the reality that presents itself to us. However, there need to be substantive solutions offered to overcome the slow, irrevocable march into global fascism.

To date, I have seen none offered by any commentor on this site. Are there any real solutions? Does anyone have any ideas about how to halt the march of America into a fascist state that will lead us into global fascism?

If anyone has any genuine ideas that can provide meaningful actions, as opposed to endless rhetoric, I would love to hear them.

Instead of lamenting our collective plight at the hands of the wealthy elite, how about offering some solutions that involve a proactive approach to overcomeing Americas and the worlds march towards globla fascism manifested as multinational corporatism.

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By Maani, May 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

She:

Re your comment on fascism, I obviously agree.  But I would suggest that your earlier post provides a partial answer to your comments re “fear of freedom.”  Is this not the “flip side” of wanting an “authority” to “guide” or “save” those for whom “submission” is an ingrained “need?”

As well, if it is “fear of freedom” that helps lead to fascism, is not the American “love” of freedom - and particularly its (often jingoistic) “exceptionalism” - the strongest possible bulwark against fascism?

Just a thought.

Peace.

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By Maani, May 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

She:

Thank you for your kind words.  I agree with both you and elisalouisa is almost every regard.

I particularly want to respond to your most recent comment re economics, not just “casino capitalism,” but the bigger picture, both domestic and global.

As you well know, I have been a member of the 9/11 Truth movement for many years.  And it is clear that 9/11 (the infamous “catastrophic and catalzying event” of PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”) was the catalyst for all sorts of mischief (I’m being polite…LOL) re war, torture, control by fear, militarization of law enforcement, diminishment (if not outright evisceration) of various freedoms and civil liberties in the name of “security and safety,” etc., etc., etc.

However, I also believe that the economic meltdown of 2008 (predicted not only by some economists, but also by Elliot Spitzer in his testimony to Congress just a few months prior) was perhaps an even greater and more dangerous catalyst of sorts with respect to the “billions of dollars that has been transferred and is continuing to transfer the nation’s wealth to big business and to pay a particular class of workers extremely high wages” (among other things).

In fact, it is entirely possible that the meltdown was as much a “false flag” attack as 9/11: not only did it follow - almost date for date - the important dates surrounding 9/11 (the meltdown began 9/9 with the Dow losing 300 points, continued on 9/10 with Lehman announcing a $3 billion loss, and came to a head between 9/11 and 9/13, as Lehman collapsed - and other significant things occurred on similar post-9/11 dates), but it created a “new normal” of high unemployment, union-busting, and increased income inequality (among other things).

Thus, between 9/11 (a “new normal” including the GWOT, Al-Qaeda-as-all-purpose-bogeyman, acceptance of torture, militarization of law enforcement, evisceration of habeas corpus and posse comitatus, etc.) and the economic meltdown (a “new normal” as noted above), the entire U.S. has “shifted” in a way that is rare, if not unique, in history.  And because the economy is now a “global” one, the economic meltdown in the U.S. (and its “sister” meltdown in Europe) is actually arguably more “dangerous” re elisalouisa’s concerns than the aftermath of 9/11 has been or is.

And yes, I fully agree that we must act, and that we must also learn.  I would simply add that while reading things that reinforce our own “confirmation bias” is important, we should, in the interest of the old adage to “keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” also be boning up on what “the other side” is writing and thinking.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, May 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

The idea of fascism has been vetted several times on Truthdig and
truthdippers seem to become heir to amnesia about it.  Perhaps its
specter is too haunting?  Except this generation, ours, does not really
know what it is like, fascism that is.  Unless we come from the middle
east or Africa where it more or less exists rampant today, none of us
has lived under it.  As Americans, we have never really known first
hand its menace, hence the fear borders on irrationality that comes
only from hearsay or cursory reading about it.  So before going on and
on about it here, it might be of large benefit to exorcise it by exploring
it again enough so as to purge it from our residual irrational fear?  How
shall we proceed?  Whatever is the path, it should be fact based and not
mere opinionated speculation.

Roman historian, Gaius Sallustius Crispus aka Sallust, 2,000 years ago
wrote, “Only a few prefer liberty, the majority seek nothing more than
fair masters.”  Is this true?  It seems to me that to understand fascism
and how it can commandeer a society, one has to understand the fear
of freedom.

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By Shenonymous, May 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

We do agree on much of what you’ve said, Maani. You’ve eloquently
written about the “unquestionably disturbing trends that make it
clear that the “powers that be” (political and corporate) are increasing
efforts to clamp down on dissent, protest and civil liberties.” 

We not only have to watch those powers but we must also act to stop
them.  elisalouisa has reason to be concerned but you have put it in
perspective.

As a newbie to thinking about economics and having to bone up on what
is casino capitalism, it is easy to see that the billions of dollars that has
been transferred and is continuing to transfer the nation’s wealth to big
business and to pay a particular class of workers extremely high wages,
i.e., financial mogols, whose labor simply is not nearly as productive as,
say, those engaged in fixing the nations roads and bridges, we see that
Casino Capitalism is appropriate as a metaphor because like legalized
gambling, by any stretch of the imagination, we usually don’t see risky
betting as a sound operating proposition for the entire economy of a
nation.  I guess some do, but most don’t.  Nevertheless, what can be
likened to casino gambling more or less illustrates a peculiar picture of
the US political economy.  In fact, the CEOs thrive while the rest of the
country suffers destructive economic misery.

The Republicans try to peddle the idea that casino-like capitalism is the
road to riches and would create jobs.  One of the problems is that weak-
minded Democrat politicians too often listen to the casino capitalism
kind of garbage thinking of the conservatives desperate to serve their
corporate masters.

All we can do is to become more informed and the way most of us can
do that is to read up the wazoo! Read and read and read, watch inter-
views or other informative media offerings, then think and think and
think, then discuss it with those who are also of a mind to discuss.

As is my habit to do, let me recommend another relevant document
available online.  A downloadable pdf on google: “Political Culture, Mass
Beliefs, and Value Change.” by Christian Welzel and Ronald Inglehart

Also Paul Krugman offers a brief NYT review of his new book, “How
to End This Depression:” http://tinyurl.com/c2jzjo8 and Rolling Stone
interviewed him the other day:  http://tinyurl.com/crbwrxp  both are
instructive as well as prescriptive:

“If you’ve been brought up to believe that capitalism is
wonderful and perfect then the notion that it could use
some help every now and then becomes alien to you, and
there are a lot of people who are so deep into that mindset
that it’s very hard for them to get out. And then, a lot of
conventional wisdom is shaped; it doesn’t just come from
nowhere. It comes from the long-term operation of a lavishly
funded propaganda operation. When you’ve had 40 years of
[right-wing mega-donor Richard Mellon] Scaife and the Koch
brothers and the Heritage Foundation and so on pushing a line
about the perfection of markets and the evil of doing anything
that encroaches upon the unfettered right of billionaires to do
what they like, that is coloring the way people think about
economics, even people who’ve never heard anything directly
from any of these think tanks.”

Could we rationally consider these wealthy propagandists zombie
makers?

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By Maani, May 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa:

Nah, I’m just a darn good sophist!  LOL.

Seriously, though, I don’t disagree with your premise that “there will be in the future a totalitarian type government that really doesn’t consider the needs of the people.”  As has been noted by me and others, we are already seeing “shades” of such a government - at least, attempts by the current political/corporate establishment to move toward such a state to the degree that they can without populist support.  But that government is unlikely to be “fascist” UNTIL they get at least reasonable popular support.  My point has really been that being deprived of the “oxygen” of popular support - and, indeed, finding a populace, on both the left and the right, that is (to varying degrees) actively depriving them of that oxygen - it will take them much longer to institute a blatantly totalitarian system, much less a fascist government.

Re TD increasing your doubts about the future, all I can say is: don’t let the bastards get you down.  LOL.  Seriously, though, TD is best taken in small doses so such things don’t happen.  This is why I disappear for weeks sometimes (though admittedly it also has to do with a very busy schedule..LOL).

As for how life is treating me, I’m above ground and breathing.  Everything else is icing on the cake!

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, May 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

You are too good a debater for me Maani. My fear is that there will be in the future a totalitarian type government that really doesn’t consider the needs of the people. Perhaps being a fan of Truthdig has made me more doubtful as to the future.

It’s always good to see your posts Maani. Hopefully, life is treating you well.

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By Maani, May 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa:

First, I never said that submission is the “all important issue concering fascism.”  I simply pointed out that quite the opposite has been occurring (overall), and that this creates a (temporary, admittedly fragile) bulwark against fascism.

As well, in some ways, you undermine your own position.  First, you basically admit that it would take a truly catastrophic event - complete collapse of currency, nuclear war - to cause the change in the “zeitgeist” that I mention.  But we have not been discussing such types of events.  If we were, I would agree that such an event would be far more likely to “push” the zeitgeist much closer, if not all the way, to the potential rise of a fascist leader.

However, even without that, you note that the types of teen and youth groups that appeared as fascist governments took control of Germany and Italy do not exist here, and that they are actually unlikely to, due to present circumstances.  This, too, falls under my comment about “reaction” rather than “surrender” (your word) or “submissiveness” (She’s word, which I borrowed).

No, “submission” is not the be-all and end-all re the rise of a fascist leader or government.  However, She is correct that such submission - particularly when it is “ingrained” in a majority of the populace, and then “activated” by a charismatic leader who promises to “take care of” those who submit - is certainly an important factor in the historic rise of fascist governments.

Peace.

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By elisalouisa, May 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Maani: “But, again, rather than accepting these developments - which would be an almost certain sign that “the people” as a whole were submissive enough for fascism - enough people (both left and right, even if for different reasons) are “reacting” to it that it is likely to be some time before we can honestly add
the “k” to “Amerika.”

The ineffectual attempts at protest are not enough Maani, at least considering what has taken place. The bail out of banks/Wall street with billions in taxpayer money, unemployment due to factory/job relocation in other countries, housing foreclosures, etc. merit more protest than the feeble Occupies that have taken place.

You speak of “submission” Maani as the all important issue concerning fascism.  Does fascism require a submissive people or does fascism enliven a sense of meaning as to life, enabling the zeitgeist spirit to direct the energy of the people. Youth organizations were alive and well both in Germany and Italy under fascism. There was a time when teens in the U.S. could get part-time jobs to pay for the extras that are so important to those on the threshold of becoming adults. That is no longer the case and much of our youth are unemployed. Should a charismatic leader come along and offer what appears to be more and our youth did respond would that be submission? I don’t think so.

A charismatic fascist leader, a shill of the oligarch, could emerge following the collapse of our economy or a similar shock such as nuclear war. This time the successful propaganda would center on the benefits of world government which would then most likely become a reality. Following this event much of the world
population would be disposed of (unnecessary you know) through deliberate famine, also drones in particularly resistant anarchistic pockets. Law and order would then prevail in all areas. The oligarchy would continue to rule from the shadows.

How’s that for a scenerio?

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By Maani, May 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa:

Your single sentence (” as the people become more disenchanted there seems to be a spirit of surrender rather than fervor for a symbol and/or leader”) and She’s post above yours are slightly different, but ultimately of a piece.

I agree with you that there is little “spirit of fervor for a symbol and/or leader,” and this is one reason why any “true” form of fascism is unlikely at this time.  However, I disagree somewhat that there is a “spirit of surrender.”

In this regard, She’s post is closer to my view, as it implies that, rather than “surrender,” there is an active “reaction” occurring vis-a-vis “authority” - and, imho, that reaction is coming in the form of a demonstrably increased “anti-authoritarianism,” whether it be from the left (OWS et al) or the right (TP et al).

Yes, there are still plenty of “sheeple” of the type She suggests would or do simply accept “authority” because they are comfortable with it, either because of a strong religious background or for more secular reasons.  But “the people” (at least, enough of them to be noticed, if not exactly to be a cohesive “movement” yet) are definitely reacting to “authority” - political, religious, economic, etc. - is a very direct and active way, which forms a bulwark (temporary, perhaps, and fragile as well) against any “true” form of fascism being applied in the U.S.

Still, there are unquestionably disturbingtrends that make it clear that the “powers that be” (political and corporate) are increasing efforts to clamp down on dissent, protest and civil liberties.  As noted, the corruption of elections (via Citizens United, SuperPACs, disenfranchising voter ID laws, and outright manipulation of electronic voting) is one.  Another is limiting freedom of assembly, both with respect to where people can assemble, and by denying permits for questionable reasons, particularly the bague notion of “security.”  A third (as has been discussed many times here) is the militarization of law enforcement, particularly in the wake of the evisceration of posse comitatus and habeas corpus.

But, again, rather than accepting these developments - which would be an almost certain sign that “the people” as a whole were submissive enough for fascism - enough people (both left and right, even if for different reasons) are “reacting” to it that it is likely to be some time before we can honestly add the “k” to “Amerika.”

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, May 7, 2012 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, you said on May 1 8:01 am, and I paraphrase, that those
who choose to submit to authoritarian domination are spread across
the nominal political spectrum, and you say you’ve given notice in
previous Truthdig forums, of progressives who are such personalities.
I am curious who these individuals are in the realms of undifferentiated
politics and where on Truthdig you said this so I may read for myself
what was said in context.

Psycholocially there is an authoritarian personality. They choose to
follow strict guidelines and rules for order and behavior, and even have
a desire to have their thinking and beliefs prescribed even dictated by a
perceived authority. People who volunteer for the military seem to have a
preference for authoritarian rule. The military behavior of some officers
at Abu Ghraib prison toward prisoners is an exact example of a real-life
reference.

An authoritarian personality has a confined mind, assimilates the
prejudices and opinions expressed by those who have provided their
needed structure and leadership.  Followers in an essential way, they
often are identifiable by a strong allegiance to religion and become
enraptured with a charismatic religious or in the case of politics a
demagogic, leader who provides psychic direction and orders that make
the person feel secure, confident, and comfortable.  From Wikipedia and
other references, the right-wing political disposition is indisputably
authoritarian and is derived from both personality and ideological
factors.  This personality type often berates and castigates others as the
cause of their problems as seen the last several years in American media.

Religions, by their very authoritarian nature, are also havens for those
who are prone to submit to authoritarianism.  When religions team up
with politics, the situation at least for a pluralistic society becomes a
tremendously dangerous and dramatic condition against living a
reasonable life.

Likewise, in an authoritarian state, the people are subject to state
authority in countless details and aspects of their lives.  Indeed, as you
mentioned, there has to be a distinction made between a state and a
government, which is food for another and separate post.

In his text The Authoritarians, psychologist Bob Altemeyer defines
authoritarianism as “something authoritarian followers and authoritarian
leaders cook up between themselves. It happens when the followers
submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them
too much leeway to do whatever they want, which often is quite undem-
ocratic, tyrannical, and brutal.”  His 2006 261-page text is available in
its entirety as a PDF document online at
http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf 
If there is any concern about what is going on politically in America, 
checking out his easy to read treatise might be worthwhile.

Do see if you, ‘you’ in the broad sense, fit the profile:  According to
Altemeyer, “Authoritarian followers usually support the established
authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional
religious leaders.  Such people have historically been the “proper”
authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders, and
that means a lot to most authoritarians. Psychologically these followers
have personalities featuring:
1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate
  authorities in their society;
2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and
3) a high level of conventionalism.”

Because submission yields to traditional authority, such followers,
Alte-meyer says with some qualification, are called right-wing
authoritarians.  In America, he asserts that people who submit to the
established authorities to extraordinary degrees often turn out to be
political conservatives.  This is a reasonable assessment, isn’t it?

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By elisalouisa, May 7, 2012 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Maani:“But as I have also noted, it takes more than simply having aspects of a fascist-type rule: there is a “line” that needs to be crossed - a “zeitgeist” of sorts - that we are simply not close to yet, for a number of reasons.”

You are may be correct Maani, as the people become more disenchanted there seems to be a spirit of surrender rather than fervor for a symbol and/or leader.

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By John Poole, May 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Greetings OzarkMichael.  I have tried regularly to register to no avail. I’ll keep
trying.
I expressed an opinion.  I have certain cherished convictions but they are all
tempered with the governing conviction that they may be flawed.  I mentioned
we need a new religion. I did not try to define it for I feel it isn’t on the horizon
yet. You listed the some current alternatives to your cherished Christianity
which you were certain I was promoting or practicing.  You aren’t even close.
Most who are outside organized religion today sense we need something
radically different now to assure we don’t self extinguish. The old battle
between the various single god tribes is fast approaching fatal toxicity.

Your hateful response seemed very unChristian so maybe I have
misunderstood your tone.  I don’t feel I need to be saved and I certainly wasn’t
born in sin.  I’m not even sure I’d want immortality if it were available or
“earnable”.  I’m not looking for a savior but if I did feel I needed one it wouldn’t
be a single guy who died young.  He’d have been married with children and be
fearful of losing a cherished mate to breast cancer and perhaps a young song
or daughter to brain cancer. He’d have to maybe have his parents have early
dementia. He’d have to be old and experienced a long life of great tribulation. 
Dying on a cross at 30 single with no torment about leaving a wife and children
bereft wouldn’t be suffering enough.  Every single day countless humans suffer
more monstrous early deaths after much worldly suffering. Finally- I didn’t offer
my opinion to induce “guilt”.  That emotion came from within you and not from
me.

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By Maani, May 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa:

Again, I think it all depends on how broadly one defines “fascism.”  Personally, as I stated, I think the word is STILL being applied too quickly and broadly, despite admittedly clear movement toward a sort of proto-totalitarianism in certain aspects of our lives.  As many here know, I was one of the first to post Lawrence Britt’s 14 Characteristics of Fascism, and it is clear that many of his points can be seen to varying degrees.  But as I have also noted, it takes more than simply having aspects of a fascist-type rule: there is a “line” that needs to be crossed - a “zeitgeist” of sorts - that we are simply not close to yet, for a number of reasons.

Peace.

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By OzarkMichael, May 6, 2012 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

As Leftists mull over our current problems and propose a way to achieve Progress, I cannot help but think about the past. That is what conservatives do best, we consider the past. Here is a Leftist mulling over our problems, the unregistered “John Poole”:

Our species needs a new “religion”. The current monotheistic ones are clearly toxic and doing more harm than the good they did long ago and if not abandoned may prove to be fatal for all civilization. The transition to a new one would of course be more destructive to the status quo than perhaps at any time in history.

You insist on tagging the monotheists as “toxic”, and thereby you try to assign massive guilt and even blood-guilt to us. Other Christians are silent. Some are chatting about theories of “fascism or proto-fascism” ,“to be or not to be” while you wrap chains around them. They worry about a theory of oppression while actual oppression is set up right in front of them. You are their fellow traveller so they dont notice it.

Unfortunately for you, i am not your fellow traveller, so I am not going to excuse your evil words. I will not stand idly by while you wrap chains around our ankles. I shall take those chains and throw them back in your face in front of everybody. Ready? here is your quote again:

Our species needs a new “religion”. The current monotheistic ones are clearly toxic and doing more harm than the good they did long ago and if not abandoned may prove to be fatal for all civilization. The transition to a new one would of course be more destructive to the status quo than perhaps at any time in history.

I hate to break this to you, but we are in that transition now. We are living with the results of your stupid idea already. There has been no religion in our public schools for a few generations. The strange result is the population is LESS literate, LESS informed about how American civics works, LESS moral(no surprise there), and they are LESS able to think scientifically(that is surprising to you but not to me).

To blame the Christian believers for this loss is the height of hypocrisy. This wasnt our idea.

Wasnt it the Leftist social planners who wanted it? Now everyone is stupider, more brutish, and more easy to manipulate than they were before.

To propose more of the same atheism or a new(?) “secular religion” to fix it doesnt seem like a great idea either.

Look it up. Look up John Dewey. “Secular Religion” is not a new idea, and it has already failed us, or to put it as kindly as possible, the transition from Christianity to “Secular Religion” is not going well. Put it however you want, at the very least… you will not blame ME(a Christian) for the results of a plan that YOU(the secularist) wanted and now want more of.

“Toxicity” indeed.

Oh, and “John Poole”: You need to register in order to deserve any further respose. Go on, register! Then try to defend your foolishness. I will only embarrass you again.

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By gerard, May 6, 2012 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Remember when, in his inauguration speech, Obama said (several times, I believe) “I want you to make me do it!” in regard to living up to promises he had made in the people’s interest.  Those words still echo prophetically in my ears, poignant, sometimes shouting inside my head, pressing for remembrance.
  Fact is, they now clearly appear as a sincere plea revealing repressed self-awareness that (without saying in so many words) he already felt the powerful forces in the wings, waiting to tell him what to do.  And to counteract those pushing voices, he was pleading (as nearly as he could without appearing to be weak) pleading for the massive and consistent voice of “the people”(which had elected him) almost begging them to literally speak up and continue to support and direct him, which would give him the counterforce to resist the overpowering voices he was already beginning to hear from corporate (neo-liberal) power—that is, the demand for militancy, for conquest, for business as usual, for resource exploitation—ultimately for war in order to assure that power.
  The key to the betrayal of the Democratic Party organization showed up immediately when they seemed to withdraw from any attempt to hold together the mass of voices of (mostly young) enthusiasts that had organized Obama’s campaign and done grassroots work.  As the party pulled away, I could hear the sucking sound.
  Nor is the party effectively active now in supporting the millions of rising voices of Occupy plus Labor plus the jobless, healthless ordinary citizens. Instead, it appears the party is going to depend on expensive corporate advertising to compete with expensive Republican advertising as the campaign modus vivendi—thus supporting the 1% even though smart party members must know that the 1% is empty of ideas for viable and just economic reform. These rich ghosts speak only for their own elites and are apparently dependent on support from their vast, repressive and joyless “surveillance machinery.”
  Knowing all this, as he must, it is surprising that Obama is even willing to run again.  I am sure he secretly wishes to get free of such antiquated
“business and only business” whose efforts are moving the nation toward self-destruction.
  As they say in Twitterland, just sayin’.

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By elisalouisa, May 6, 2012 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

Maani:The U.S. is currently closer to an oligarchy or plutocracy than fascism.”

Is it not possible that the oligarchy would rule in a fascistic manner?

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By Maani, May 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Gerard:

Thank you for your kind words.  You are correct about my use of the word “true”; it was not entirely appropriate.  I was assuming “armed” and “violent” revolution.  But, of course, not all successful “revolutions” have been such.

As for the “system,” that is a truly good question, and cannot easily answered, since there are many aspects to “the system.”  At the risk of sounding simplistic and not very sanguine (LOL), it would seem that the only part of the system that is open enough to learning anything is…us.  The people.  As people.  I suppose that certain individuals within the remainder of the “system” (political, economic, corporate, etc.) COULD still “learn,” but my guess is that it would be a gargantuan task.  Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, but if it DOES happen, it will only happen slowly (short of a revolution even broader than OWS).

Peace.

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By gerard, May 5, 2012 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Maani:  Thank you for your just previous comment. I think I hear echoes of the OWS spirit in it, and that is encouraging.  The only “slippery” statement is the one mentioning a “true” revolution.  Frankly, OWS is itself revolutionary in important ways—so revolutionary that it instantly arouses fear in guilty consciences without striking a blow. Beating up college kids immediately becomes a “national security” issue.  Now why do you suppose ....?  Could it just maybe be the fact that “the system” knows the kids are right but lacks the imagination and/or the courage to figure out what else to do but strike out?
  Next question: Can “the system” learn anything, or is it too closed? If so, how could it be helped to open, to break out of its own self-imposed jail, go outside its own cage, and join the human race, so to speak?

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By John Poole, May 5, 2012 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The ethos of Democracy appears to be at odds with mankind’s feudal default but
those who seek to become the lords of our times see it as something to
overcome, vanquish or conquer and as a useful tool of deception.  A “level playing
field” is another ethos which begs to be overridden by those who only want the
opportunity to tilt the field in their favor.

Our species needs a new “religion”. The current monotheistic ones are clearly
toxic and doing more harm than the good they did long ago and if not abandoned
may prove to be fatal for all civilization. The transition to a new one would of
course be more destructive to the status quo than perhaps at any time in history.
Still we can’t deny the old ways aren’t working.

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By Maani, May 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

I am as concerned about the proto-totalitarian march toward fascism as anyone.  However, there is more to fascism than the marriage of political and corporate interests, and even the militarization of law enforcement.  I believe people are still throwing around the word “fascism” much too lightly,  (And, yes, I am intimately familiar with Pastor Martin Niemoeller’s famous statement…)

The U.S. is currently closer to an oligarchy or plutocracy than fascism.  As the article suggests - and has been obvious for quite some time - the U.S. has not been a democracy (if it ever was a true one) for many years.  The corruption of the election system - through everything from Citizens United and SuperPACs to manipulation of electronic voting machines to outrageously disenfranchising voter ID laws - is arguably more harmful to a “democracy” than even the decrease or loss of some freedoms and civil rights (which I am in no way minimizing the danger of).

This election may well be a watershed moment in American history vis-a-vis “the people” - whether they be on the left (OWS) or the right (TP) or in between.  No, we are unlikely to have anything resembling a true revolution here.  But a mini-“Arab Spring” is definitely a possibility, depending on certain specific factors in the next year or so.

Peace.

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By gerard, May 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

—“Central to such a project is the attempt to foster a new radical imagination as part of a wider political project to create the conditions for a broad-based social movement that can move beyond the legacy of a fractured left/progressive culture and politics in order to address the totality of the society’s problems. This suggests finding a common ground in which challenging diverse forms of oppression, exploitation, and exclusion can become part of a broader challenge to create a radical democracy.”
  The heart of the matter—unfortunately expressed in an over-academized vocabulary and sentence structure.  Nevertheless ...
  1. the need for “a new radical imagination
  2. moving beyond a fractured “left-progressive” point of view so we can address “the totality of problems” involving others who are not included in that “left-progressive” view.
  3. finding common ground to challenge diverse problems of exploitation (problems beyond our own personal, class, etc.)
  In short—to challenge ourselves to get beyond our own skins and to imagine changes that would be good for us all as a society.
  Looking back on some of the answers proposed as comments on the first Giroux article ... ???  Is there evidence of any “radical imagination”?  And on the basis of evidences so far, can we presume that OWS is attempting “radical imagination”, and might that be both their “main strength and awkwardness”?

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