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A Recipe for Fascism

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Posted on Nov 8, 2010
AP / Matt York

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

We are ruled by huge corporate monopolies that replicate the political and economic power, on a vastly expanded scale, of the old trading companies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Wal-Mart’s gross annual revenues of $250 billion are greater than those of most small nation-states. The political theater funded by the corporate state is composed of hypocritical and impotent liberals, the traditional moneyed elite, and a disenfranchised and angry underclass that is being encouraged to lash out at the bankrupt liberal institutions and the government that once protected them. The tea party rabble, to placate their anger, will also be encouraged by their puppet masters to attack helpless minorities, from immigrants to Muslims to homosexuals. All these political courtiers, however, serve the interests of the corporate state and the utopian ideology of globalism. Our social and political ethic can be summed up in the mantra let the market decide. Greed is good. 

The old left—the Wobblies, the Congress of Industrial Workers (CIO), the Socialist and Communist parties, the fiercely independent publications such as Appeal to Reason and The Masses—would have known what to do with the rage of our dispossessed. It used anger at injustice, corporate greed and state repression to mobilize Americans to terrify the power elite on the eve of World War I. This was the time when socialism was not a dirty word in America but a promise embraced by millions who hoped to create a world where everyone would have a chance. The steady destruction of the movements of the left was carefully orchestrated. They fell victim to a mixture of sophisticated forms of government and corporate propaganda, especially during the witch hunts for communists, and overt repression. Their disappearance means we lack the vocabulary of class warfare and the militant organizations, including an independent press, with which to fight back.

We believe, like the Spaniards in the 16th century who pillaged Latin America for gold and silver, that money, usually the product of making and trading goods, is real. The Spanish empire, once the money ran out and it no longer produced anything worth buying, went up in smoke. Today’s use in the United States of some $12 trillion in government funds to refinance our class of speculators is a similar form of self-deception. Money markets are still treated, despite the collapse of the global economy, as a legitimate source of trade and wealth creation. The destructive power of financial bubbles, as well as the danger of an unchecked elite, was discovered in ancient Athens and detailed more than a century ago in Emile Zola’s novel “Money.” But we seem determined to find out this self-destructive force for ourselves. And when the second collapse comes, as come it must, we will revisit wrenching economic and political tragedies forgotten in the mists of history.

Chris Hedges, who writes a weekly column for Truthdig, is the author of “Death of the Liberal Class.”

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By balkas, November 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

“corrupt liberals” and “bereft of ideas” need clarifications. i do realize that chris
cannot; because of space-time considerations, define all his terms. none of us
can.
by ‘define’, i mean elucidate; i.e., list what liberals do or tell us what they say.

i can only guess what liberals say or do; i.e., draw conclusion from following
facts: u.n. [disunited region with 1k ethnicities and dozens of cults] is still
expanding and the party one again—oops the party won again.

The party is usually elected by ab. 99% of the voters. Which means that liberals
have done too little or next to zero; in add’n to avoiding to establish a viable
second political party that wld oppose present plutocratic one. more cld be said.

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Orbis Unum's avatar

By Orbis Unum, November 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Re: gerard, November 8 at 4:41 pm

I couldn’t agree more with the mindfromae of ‘gerard’s’ overall concept of civility.

In general though as individuals, we who strive for peace, must be willing to confront what otherwise is proffer with steadfast vigilance, by whatever reasonable means, to maintain those precious unalienable rights to which the Law’s of Nature and Nature’s Creator entitle us!.

And as stated before, Patrick Henry said it best, “give me liberty or give me death!”

And again, Henry’s passion for liberty, has stood with a long line of individuals that have striven from the same stock of character. Life always seems to find a way for sensibility and the Science of Right Reason.

There are those of us who have pierced the veil of local, national, and global governmental misrepresentation foisted upon us by Centers of Education from womb to tomb for centuries. But like that old saying goes, e.g., ‘[y]ou can fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time!”

As evidenced of those who have sacrificed for years to peel away the programming of misrepresentation by social role models most have paid dearly one way or the other to expose, we offer the truth of the matter via the “4” declarations espoused by the S.E.A., published via the web link: http://www.scribd.com/rahyah, available for those honestly looking for researching the truth, in the interest of Good Will with All Walks of Life seeking Universal Peace and solution oriented paradigms to the problems of systemic fraud.

We honorably await any actual and provable evidence to prove the premises presented in-particular to the established facts raised with the declaration dealing with the Four Freedoms on pages 13-15 to prove otherwise. Not by generalities but Line for Line.

And, once again as our humble attempt for those capable of presenting facts line for line, in the light of reasonable prepositions or otherwise, just as a reminder for all those who honorably exchange ideas within the ‘Truthdig Forum’ while refraining from hateful or insolent behavior…always remember, sometimes while exchanging ideas, the time and respect we give, from a deep seated desire to foster harmonious behavior to garner enlightenment, can be met on the road of hopeful enlightenment, by those seeking to discourage, rather than exhorting to greater possibilities. My best to all who post herein, for the purpose of proposing hopeful enlightenment or garnering enlightenment, while proffering Good Will in the interest of seeking Universal Peace with All Walks of Life!!!

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By dcrimso, November 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Public education was never an exercise in teaching a person how to think.  It’s purpose was to train children to be obedient employees of industrial America.  The reason our educational is in such turmoil, is that there is no longer an industrial America. America is a post-industrial country, losing its energy in a complex system, joining the ranks of many European has-beens.
  The advantage Europeans have, is that they have refused to turn their entire “soul” over to the corporate boss.  They have chosen to use their resources constructing an elaborate social safety net, instead of waging war against others.
  The stench of a rotting Empire hangs over the people of America like looking thru a glass darkly. 
Or maybe it’s the flouride in the water.

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By mitchum22, November 8, 2010 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

Chris, you are the greatest, and I have loved (and re-read) all of your books. But:

Globalist propaganda = Marxism??

Friedman/Fukuyama/Summers = Lenin & Trotsky???

Come on, dude. Don’t act like that pathetic tool Jon Stewart. Ideologies are not all the same.

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By Anarcissie, November 8, 2010 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, November 8 at 2:57 pm:

When will liberals “progress” past the idea of the State? Ask yourself one question. Where do these corporations (big banks) derive their power? Their power comes from the State. It is clearly obvious to me that we need to eliminate the State. ...

You’ve become an anarchist?

In any case, the central idea of liberalism is to synthesize anarchism with feudalism to the advantage of a property-holding ruling class, so the answer to your question is ‘never’.

As for fascism, I think we are likely to observe it when the ability of the ruling class to rule, to administer the state properly, breaks down.  That seems to have occurred in the U.S. over the last several decades, beginning in the 1960s.  When things get bad enough, many people will begin to hunger for a strong daddy to make things right.  When they have hungered long enough, they will get one.

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By Gregory Goldmacher, November 8, 2010 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, the alternatives to letting markets decide the optimal distribution of resources in society is always some form of central planning. This brings its own problems. How to strike that balance is not obvious, and requires some subtlety in the political and economic debate. Sadly, the ability to be subtle and to understand it seems to be lacking on both sides of the political divide.

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By gerard, November 8, 2010 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

A Recipe for Peace = Stop Killing.

A Recipe for Justice = Practice Fairness

A Recipe for Wisdom = Education of Head and Heart

A Recipe for Sanity = Love, Respect, Affection,    Understanding, Sympathy.

A Recipe for Generosity = Giving

It’s as simple as that—and as complicated.  Each one teaches one (or more) every day we live, every breath we draw, every thought we think, every word we say, every helpful act we do.

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Orbis Unum's avatar

By Orbis Unum, November 8, 2010 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Re: archivesDave, November 8 at 4:15 pm.

I couldn’t agree more with ‘archivesDave’s premise.

The historical facts surrounding the ‘constitutors’ on-going demise was accepting the engagements of the confederation rather than face the reality of a protracted conflict.

Patrick Henry said it best, “give me liberty or give me death!”

Along Henry’s passion, has stood a long line of individuals that have striven from the same stock of character. Life always seems to find a way for sensibility and the Science of Right Reason.

There are those of us who have pierced the veil of local, national, and global governmental misrepresentation foisted upon us by Centers of Education from womb to tomb for centuries. But like that old saying goes, e.g., ‘[y]ou can fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time!”

As evidenced of those who have sacrificed for years to peel away the programming of misrepresentation by social role models most have paid dearly one way or the other to expose, we offer the truth of the matter via the “4” declarations espoused by the S.E.A., published via the web link: http://www.scribd.com/rahyah, available for those honestly looking for researching the truth, in the interest of Good Will with All Walks of Life seeking Universal Peace and solution oriented paradigms to the problems of systemic fraud.

We honorably await any actual and provable evidence to prove the premises presented in-particular to the established facts raised with the declaration dealing with the Four Freedoms on pages 13-15 to prove otherwise. Not by generalities but Line for Line.

And, once again as our humble attempt for those capable of presenting facts line for line, in the light of reasonable prepositions or otherwise, just as a reminder for all those who honorably exchange ideas within the ‘Truthdig Forum’ while refraining from hateful or insolent behavior…always remember, sometimes while exchanging ideas, the time and respect we give, from a deep seated desire to foster harmonious behavior to garner enlightenment, can be met on the road of hopeful enlightenment, by those seeking to discourage, rather than exhorting to greater possibilities. My best to all who post herein, for the purpose of proposing hopeful enlightenment or garnering enlightenment, while proffering Good Will in the interest of seeking Universal Peace with All Walks of Life!!!

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By BobZ, November 8, 2010 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

The comments on this article are some of the most thoughtful and insightful of
any I have ever read on Truthdig. What happened this week in the national
elections and the reaction of the national media is also enlightening; they
almost embraced Republican’s taking back the House. Sunday all of the major
networks had nothing but the most conservative of Republican’s on to talk
about how they were going to dismantle current social programs, the EPA,
Department of Education, and on and on. There was little mention of the issue
that has most American’s fearful and that is lack of jobs. What else was evident
Sunday was the wimpiness of the progressive movement in the U.S. On Sixty
Minutes Sunday night Barack Obama seemed like he was about to pack it in.
Those of us looking for the second coming of FDR in Obama, realized that was
a pipe dream. The Republicans found out early that Obama would try to
appease them to no end in the fantasy of bipartisanship. The authoritarians are
back in authority and progressives need to get some spine back. But it certainly
wasn’t evident yesterday. Chris Hedges article was depressing but accurate; a
worst case scenario of what can happen in the U.S. if we let our closest version
of a fascist party get too much power and undo the few regulations we have left
for controlling the banks and Wall Street.

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By Dehong, November 8, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here is my letter to The Nation which may be of some interest our readers here:

  Reading your editorial, “The Extreme GOP” (11/8/10), about the rise of the extremists brings to mind the recent census projection that by 2050 the Whites may at best become a bare majority. How do you think what the White rightists are thinking now?
    Even today, the US is not a real democracy; they occupy some 95 percent of the Senate seats and some 87 percent of the House. It is really a mobocracy! Yet, it is peddling democracy and human rights all over the world forgetting that the US has some 57 million people without any health insurance, not to mention how the Native Indians and Hawaiians are being treated.
    Unless some steps are taken beginning today by you so-called progressives together with the Blacks and the Hispanics,
  I predict that the US will become a Nazi state during the second half of this century!

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By archivesDave, November 8, 2010 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

de profundis clamavi:
Yup, Thaddeus Russell nailed it all right.
Jesse Ventura in 2012

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By robertbeal, November 8, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

I recommend not conflating the “working class” with “underclass.”  Although both are members of the have-not portion of our bipolar economy, I would reserve the term “underclass” for the poverty-stricken (AKA the forgotten class), the latter term more effectively connoting the social pathology that renders urban and rural poverty invisible.

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By keeperofthefire, November 8, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

come on,lets get real,this phoney/corrupt,violent(just ask the natives&slaves;)republic has from day one been controlled by the rich bankers/wallstreet,corrupt/bought&sold; polititions/news papers!!!!!!!!that said, we used to have an informed/acitve groups of citizens that had the guts to stand up to the evil forces destroying this country,but that ended after the wonderful&intense; 60s&70s;!!!!! what followed was the me,me,i,i generations that totally lacked(except for small pockets of resistence)the will or guts to stand up to to the growing plutocrat/nazi forces ,hell bent on destroying our way of life&the; rest of the world !!!so,my question,is when in the hell is this generation going to stop talking about this horror and get the guts it takes to stand up to this insanity!!!! i’m tired of reading negative comments “it’s too late” or “they are too powerful”,bullshit,i saw what happened in the 60s&70s; when millions upon millions took to the streets(yes we we beat up,gassed,jailed) but we stuck with it for more than 10yrs∈ the end these same “too powerful” folded&ran; like the PUNKS they were!!alright,generation x,or whatever the hell you call yourselves,IT’S YOUR TURN TO TAKE DOWN THE EVIL ONES!!!!!!!!!!

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By hlouisnini, November 8, 2010 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

I by chance last night was stopped in my channel surfing by one of your female cohorts who was postulating that we must ‘channel our anger into a positive effort etc” and then continued onto a rant about them - Chris somewhere in this country there is a 35 to 40 year old female (and I am not a feminist) who is struggling with the call she is experiencing internally -

You and those like must stop ranting and raving and hit the hustings and find her.

That my friend would be a service to the nation you purport to love.

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By robertbeal, November 8, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

What “middle class”?

“Middle class” is a fictitious icon used to obfuscate the bipolarity of the Anglo capitalist economies, especially the United States’ extreme corporate-statist model.

A bipolar economy is statistically characterized best with the labels “haves,” “have-nots,” and (with a nod to Bush the Younger’s frank use of the label) “have-mores.”

Differentiating between “haves” and “have-nots” can be done based on a household/individual’s likelihood of suffering a long-term reduction in earning potential as a result of a set-back in employment, health, relationship, housing, and/or transportation.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 8, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

By Lafayette, November 8 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
... you’ll find we’ve been living in a fascist state for some time now.
This remark is VERY cavalier.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

From Wikipedia regarding fascism:

“What constitutes a definition of fascism and fascist governments is a highly disputed subject that has proved complicated and contentious.”

“According to most scholars of fascism, there are both left and right influences on fascism as a social movement, and fascism, especially once in power, has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the “far right” or “extreme right.”

Generally speaking, fascism is right-wing, nationalistic, and authoritarian. I’ll argue that the inclusion of conservatism in the above definition from Wikipedia lacks significance in the modern world, and would only apply to an archaic kind of conservatism which espoused rule by the nobility. I’ll also argue that conservatism, as it is practiced today, is fertile soil for a germinating fascism.

It’s interesting that you use the word cavalier to describe a comment about fascism, seeing as how your namesake Lafayette was the quintessential cavalier individual. There is much to admire about Lafayette, but he was a bourgeois aristocrat who was a great admirer of the American bourgeois revolution.

Fascism as practiced by the Nazis was dominated by racism; the Nazi propagandist Goebbels criticized both Jewish Bolsheviks in the East, and Jewish Plutocrats in the West. The Nazis, like Hedges, criticized liberalism.

“Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.”
Adolf Hitler

Mussolini famously defined fascism as the merging of government and corporations. Using Mussolini’s definition, I’ll argue that our nation has had strong fascist tendencies for quite some time now, and is continuing to move towards a more fascist governance. All that would be necessary for our nation to move to totalitarian fascism would be a severe domestic or foreign crisis.

I’ll argue that in a political struggle between the Right and the Left during time of crisis, the Right would win easily, totalitarian fascism would be the victor, and that is why I believe Hedges’ attacks on liberalism are wrong headed and counter productive.

I give great credence to the observations of Noam Chomsky; Noam Chomsky has commented on the danger of the collapse of the Center, as it related to the Weimar Republic, and the rise of fascism in Germany.

Gradualism is extremely frustrating, but I believe forces on the Left and Center must coalesce in order to combat the ever increasing shift to the Right that has characterized our political life for the last thirty years or more.

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By GW=MCHammered, November 8, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kristof nails it:

Our Banana Republic (excerpt)

You no longer need to travel to distant and dangerous countries to observe such rapacious inequality. We now have it right here at home — and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, it may get worse.

The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

That’s the backdrop for one of the first big postelection fights in Washington — how far to extend the Bush tax cuts to the most affluent 2 percent of Americans. Both parties agree on extending tax cuts on the first $250,000 of incomes, even for billionaires. Republicans would also cut taxes above that.

The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/opinion/07kristof.html

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By archivesDave, November 8, 2010 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

T.M.Liston:
“Hedges’ inference is correct: we no longer have a
democracy, but a plutocracy assiduously maintained by
wealth and all the cynical propaganda money can buy.”

Sorry T.M. but we never have had a ‘democracy’. 
You and Hedges have fallen into the same trap.
It was SUPPOSED to be a Republic.
Present day Plutocracy and Oligarchy? Yup, I can
certainly buy THAT! 
And I can also go with the classical definition of
a Fascist government as well!  This time it’s a
global Fascist system with the collusion of BIS
(Hitler’s bank), Goldman Sachs, IMF, g20, WTO, UN,
and Fed Reserve.
Get ready for a new currency called SDR which our
USPS is now accepting.

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By de profundis clamavi, November 8, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

The sad truth about the USA is that our ruling class has no fear of the people, and they have complete confidence in their ability to keep the people misinformed, confused, divided and conquered.

The French ruling class are different. Historians commenting on the French revolution of 1789-94 tend to argue that the reign of terror was counter-productive, and that it provoked a reaction that brought the revolution to an end. That is true as a statement about the immediate aftermath of the terror, but in the long term, France has never been the same country. Ever since 1792-4, the Frency elite have shared the collective memory of the drumming of the tocsin and the clattering of the tumbrils, the jeering crowds gathered at the Place de la Revolution to watch the French aristocrats, who so recently had held their bewigged heads up with the utmost conceit and arrogance, now bedraggled and lice-ridden after months in rat-infested jails, mounting the scaffold to receive the people’s justice under the blade of the guillotine. It is because of that cultural memory that the French elite fear, even today, the wrath of the people of France, and the people of France know that they are powerful. France has never been a completely egalitarian society. The wealthy today have their Paris apartments, their fine fashions, their houses and yachts on the Riviera, their seats at the opera and their five star restaurants. They are not suffering. But they know that they cannot grab everything for themselves and leave nothing for the people, like the French aristocracy pre-1789. And the people know how to let their rulers know when enough is enough.

In the USA, on the other hand, our only experience of “revolution” was a revolt against British rule led by the elite of the American colonies. The people of the United States have never risen up and removed their own ruling elite from power as the French did in 1789. Our “founding fathers” were, for the most part, from among the wealthiest class of people in their respective colonies, and the constitution these “founding fathers” bequeathed to us in 1788 was riddled with checks and balances designed which, though we are assured they protect us from “tyranny”, mostly protect our wealthy elite from the wishes of the majority finding expression in government policy.

Our constitution proved its fatal weakness soon, in the regional conflicts and political gridlock over slavery and tariffs in the decades preceding the Civil War. Neither side could prevail over the other because the construction of the Senate assured that the Southern senators could preserve their veto against abolition by refusing to admit new free states. The impasse could not be resolved by constitutional means, so the only solutions available were partition or civil war. After the civil war, the triumphant elite of the North might have changed the constitution (had they truly wanted to forge democracy in America) but instead they perpetuated it and the country became an oligarchy for the next 70 years epitomized by the Gilded Age. 

Today, the country finds itself in a second Gilded Age, and it is again caught in political gridlock caused by the insulation of the office of the president from the ruling party in congress and the power of the senate to block the popular will of the people expressed in the House. Worst of all, the blunt instrument of first-past-the-post voting instead of proportional representation ensures the perpetuation of a two-party system that forever forces us to choose between unacceptable alternatives.

Our American ruling class who dwell in the executive suites of Wall Street, the lobbying firms of K Street, the Pentagon and the corporate media, run this country so selfishly, greedily and rapaciously that they make the French aristocracy of 1789 look like bleeding hearts.

Citizens, we could use a few men like Danton, Robespierre and St Just around here, right now.

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By keeperofthefire, November 8, 2010 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

come on people,lets get real,this country,from day one has been controled but corrupt rich,business,bankers,polititions,period!that said,since the last citizen uprising in the 60s&70s;,we have nobody but ourselves to blame for the hell that has been in our lives!what followed the 60s&70s; has been the me me,i i generations who have dropped the ball big time,and what stands out now is that,except for the asleep at the wheel tea party,the rest of whats left of the radical left in this generation is all talk,no action&this; 60s hippy/back to the lander radical says shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!

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By T. M. Liston, November 8, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Hedges’ inference is correct: we no longer have a democracy,
but a plutocracy assiduously maintained by wealth and all the
cynical propaganda money can buy.  Which explains the sound
and the fury of the Tea Party and the destructive apathy of a
Know Nothing middle class. 

Jefferson said: “To unequal privileges among members of the
same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord,
adverse.”

If there’s truth in that statement, and if the identity of the
REAL enemies of democracy ever occurs to the angry minions
unwittingly doing their bidding, then surely we can anticipate
a day of reckoning, a day when there will be hell to pay, a day
when we discover the modern equivalent of the guillotine.  The sad irony is that it
remains to be seen if what rises from the ashes will be any better
than the feudal society the present system guarantees.

Why have we become so obdurate?

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By wfalcone, November 8, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges is certainly an acqired taste that I have really begun to enjoy reading.One bit of reporting from “down here” that makes alot of sense to me:
no class identity, particularly in southern states. This is certainly a result of the demise of labor unions-as planned decades ago by corporatists and put into action by Reagan. Without a voice for the working masses who will address the concerns of the working and middle class ? The working classes, particularly in the past 10-15 years, rely on radio and TV for “news”. And we all know what that has resulted in, again by corporate design.
Yes we have entered a new era-my favorite movie to reflect what’s going on was Tim Robbins’-Bob Roberts (Bob’s followers look like the Tea Party to me.)

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By thebeerdoctor, November 8, 2010 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges use of the word fascism is a fully loaded emotional button pusher. It would be good if there was a general acceptance of what this word actually means.
For many, fascism invokes visions of the Nazi takeover in Germany, but more accurately it invokes what happened in Italy under Benito Mussolini, where the government, the catholic church and corporations formed an alliance designed to control the population completely. This was and is a classic definition of fascism. But authoritarian control is not always so overt. As they say amongst the Zen practice: “freedom means giving your cow a large enough pasture”.
In many ways, the word fascism is a chimera employed by those frustrated that they can not find political solutions to the problems of injustice. The activities of the political world reveal, time after time, that political solutions are rarely ever about justice. Because of this, new definitions of language are called for. Stolen land by violence is determined to be called “disputed territories”. Public services for a nation’s citizens are referred to as “costly entitlements”. A public health service becomes a “public option”. And so on.
Instead of using the hot potato word fascism, it might be better to ask at what level is the United States government an authoritarian regime, and when did it become worse? As Emma Goldman once pointed out, for many newly arrived immigrants to this land, Uncle Sam was not perceived to be a benevolent dutch uncle at all.

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By csavage, November 8, 2010 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

LOL-we are living in a fascist state. The examples of Myanmar and North Korea are fascinating because the poster confuses plain totalitarianism with fascism. Especially with the North Korean example-communism is extreme leftist philosophy, not rightist and, especially, not fascism. That being said, fascism can exist without a police state, although, depending on your ethnicity, we live in a police state, too.
The other issues I have with Hedge’s post-we do live in a global economy and to think we can’t innovate to protect our economy but still participate is demeaning to American ingenuity and denying the existence of economies that manage globalism quite well-like Germany. The solution lies in a determination that American jobs and lives are valued. Not surprisingly, that idea is premptively “shot down” by the GOP with it’s appeals to cultural populism. Will we get better? Of course….our redemption is going to come from watching our currency lose it’s status as an index currency and possibly with an economic default or two. Tough times are coming. The UK survived losing it’s status as the world’s empire and we will, too. Besides, who wants us? We are all we have, “Tea Party” included

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By Fat Freddy, November 8, 2010 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

After rereading this article, I realized that it is so full of holes and contradictions, I’m going to have to wait until after I get home from work to dismantle all of the fallacies here.

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By archivesDave, November 8, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

“All sides of the political equation are lackeys for
Wall Street.”
Chris, you obviously have not been paying attention
to folks like Jesse Ventura and Michael Ruppert.
Here, chew on this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=AvaGbb6PNbI&feature=player_embedded#!

And if part of it gets cut off, go to:
<www.youtube.com/watch?
v=AvaGbb6PNbI&feature=player_embedded#!>

DRAFT VENTURA 2012

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By maxpayne, November 8, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

Thanks again Chris. I feel more vindicated that I’m not a Republican after all for bringing up the fact that progressive populism needs to be put on the table after reading this article.

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By Fat Freddy, November 8, 2010 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

When will liberals “progress” past the idea of the State? Ask yourself one question. Where do these corporations (big banks) derive their power? Their power comes from the State. It is clearly obvious to me that we need to eliminate the State. We are a Totalitarian Democracy. Collectivism always leads to Totalitarianism.

If money is the root of all evil, what is the root of all money?

Yes we do need Fascism. We need an authoritarian structure to force freedom on people.

*sarcasm*

When liberals and conservatives stop fearing freedom, then maybe, just maybe, we can “progress” to the next level.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIs5r3ujBmw

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By heavyrunner, November 8, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Chris please do not use the term “Tea Party.” Because there is no such thing as a Tea Party. It does not exist. It is a fictitious concept pushed by fascist minded corporatists like the Koch bothers. The Kochs and others invested hundreds of millions in media and other events to build this non party out of thin air. It’s not a political party. They have no officers. Like the MERS mortgage scandal, there have been no registrations with local county recorders or the following of any of the other laws which are on the books concerning the necessary legal steps required in the formation of a political party, such as the Green Party, which is real and does exist.

Naming a pseudo movement after a historical event the name of which sounds similar to the name of an actual political party was a clever ploy. It does not make a non party a party regardless of how clever the name is, and writers and thinkers who refer to the “Tea Party” fall into their insidious intellectual trap.

I repeat - The Tea Party is not a party and it does not exist.

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By peterjkraus, November 8, 2010 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

It all boils down to the old divide and conquer.

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By surfnow, November 8, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Caro:
Reread Wealth of Nations and Smith’s other generally overlooked work “Moral Sentiments”. He never advocated “unmitigated selfishness.” In fact he carefully laid out public sector functions- such as the military,law enforcment, maintenance of the infrastructure etc.- that should remain in the public for the public good. I don’ know where you or John Nash got your analysis of Adam Smith but its way off base.

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By Paul McGuire, November 8, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
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In practice Fascists have felt free to emphasize
certain of their tenets while easing others. A look
at the 1930’s,when fascism was in vogue, gives one a
picture of a few varieties of the same species:
Italy, Germany,Portugal,Spain and Austria all fell
under the spell through one means or other. Each had
a distinct character based on the peculiarities of
the nation itself. The salient element among all
Euro-fascists was their fear and hatred of the
democratic socialist and communist left. In that, the
plutocrats in each case were in lock step with each
other and with many admirers in the democracies.
Nothing prevents plutocrats from developing a hybrid
fascism. In a society as besotted by entertainment,
celebrity worship and spectacle as ours, it ought to
be relatively easy. It needn’t be enforced by
cudgels,camps and Christian bigots; lots of playoffs,
super-bowls and reality television ought to do it. Of
course, we will need permanent wars against someone
somewhere; we can’t do without them. And with the
likes of “Professors” Beck and Limbaugh standing in
as historians, our affliction with national amnesia
is in good hands, and there is no cure for the
cluelessness.

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By surfnow, November 8, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Several filmmakers and novelists foresaw this descent into fascism years and even decades ago. Films like John Carpenter’s They Live and others like Running Man, Robocop and V for Vendetta clearly illustrate where we are now.It is a scary place and getting more frightening everyday.

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By QuantumBubbler, November 8, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges hedges.

Hedges a whole lot!

Kind of like lying.

Watching him play ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ with himself is amusing. It’s the REPUBLICANS [sic] and the Dems, but in the end it is only the REPUBLICANS. So let’s trash them and more so, any greater allies they legitimately attain. His incessant ignoring of the lack of news reports to suggest even a hint of violent tendencies of the vilified Tea Party breaches any journalistic empirical standards.

I could go on and on, I might…

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By tedmurphy41, November 8, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

America, after the second World war(probably before), supported despots and dictators and has never had any qualms in doing so, only condemning those “dictators” who did not fully support American policy.
The use of financial ‘incentives’, as non-returnable loans, helped to encourage such people as these to make the right choices; we all know what happened in Iraq when Saddam Hussein started to act independently of this tacit understanding.
However, not a lot has changed in the interim.
Why don’t you Americans start to ask serious questions of your Government as to where all your tax dollars go and who really benefits from such largesse, that is apart from the intimate corporate interests that live on the lifeblood of your Government.

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By Tesla, November 8, 2010 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

We have for at least 3 decades now been the frog
in the pot of water. Whether by design or simply
leveraging the opportunities as they arose, a
relatively small group of wealthy and powerful
forces within our society have managed to complete
the corruption of our systems. These systems exist
only to serve the interest of the plutocrats,
kleptocrats and fascists.

There is no vehicle left for average citizens to
“take back” the government and their pathetic
lives. The plan is complete and forces are in
place to extinguish any spark of resistance as
soon as it flashes into being. Hoe ironic that the
spark of resistance will most likely be silenced
by a spark from our militarized police tasers.

Our government in its current form must fail
utterly and completely before any real change can
take place. And hopefully like the French of 220
years ago we take our “royals” (captains of
industry) and make them a head shorter.

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By Caro, November 8, 2010 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Mathematician John Nash, subject of the book and
movie, A Beautiful Mind, showed mathematically that
Adam Smith had to have been wrong in his implication
that unmitigated selfishness leads to good for all.

“Adam Smith’s theory is incomplete. Self-interest
alone can lead to disaster for all, Nash demonstrated
mathematically. Self-interest coupled with concern
for the good of the group is most likely to benefit
everyone.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
file=/chronicle/archive/2002/02/24/IN83497.DTL

I’d write a book about it, if I could ever find a
publisher.
http://makethemaccountable.com/balance/

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

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By rm, November 8, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
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Who really cares about what happens to amerikkka? It has looted the world and murdered/tortured/brutalized people in just about every place on earth. It is about time that the chickens come home to roost and amerikkkans themselves get a little of the treatment they have been dishing out for a century. Fascism would be a good thing for the US—I can only dream of jackbooted brownshirts thrashing the WASPS in the suburbs in order to get their tax money. Maybe it will all devlove into the class/race wars that the teabaggers dream of. Amerikkka is over. The sooner it collapses into true chaos the better—the better for the rest of the world which seems to want to live and to be humane.

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By GJS, November 8, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
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I’ve always been an optimistic person however I’m beginning to believe we have let these criminals with their adgendas run free for too long to an extent now where they are on a solid footing leaving us with virtuously no hope of stopping them & thus a horrific war seems to be the only way mankind will survive in any memorable or credible way.
I sincerely hope I’m wrong but each week that goes by where these people progress unimpeded is a virual nail in most of our coffins.
Many politicians & so called community & business leaders of all persuasions over many decades MUST be held accountable for the corrupt & greedy world we now have but as always it’s the victors that write history & if it’s these who are victorious the future will then be told it was the fault of we the masses who caused the ultimate horrific end for most of us.
I do however wish you & yours all the very best in a very ugly environment, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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By parnell44, November 8, 2010 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

@ Lafayette: The title of Chris’ article is “a RECIPE
for fascism”.  He is warning about what has happened
and what can result.  I agree with Chris.  We are a
gutted, ignorant nation, on the whole.  Chris is one of
the few voices speaking out, looking past the bread and
circuses we are given to entertain and distract us.  He
points out what is happening behind the scenes.

You don’t have to agree with his analysis; but if you
disagree, cite some facts or an alternate theory.  I’d
be interested in your view.

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By ProfBob, November 8, 2010 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
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As political scientists know, liberty and equality are antithetical ideals. The Republicans have typically espoused liberty while the Democrats have more often been in the equality camp. Both positions can be seen as moral depending on the evidence you use and the basic assumptions that lie behind your thinking.  (See the free e-book series “In Search of Utopia”, Book 4 at http://andgulliverreturns.info for a thorough analysis of morals and values.)  Similarly ideas like democracy, plutocracy, capitalism, God are all ideas that need to be defined and evaluated before we jump onto any bandwagons. Certainly the loud uninformed voices of the media coming from both the right and the left leave thinking people aghast at their lack of logic and evidence. Perhaps it could be remedied if all of our citizens had effective educations—but what politician would want to answer to an educated electorate?

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By madisolation, November 8, 2010 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

“The old left…would have known what to do with the rage of our dispossessed. It used anger at injustice, corporate greed and state repression to mobilize Americans to terrify the power elite on the eve of World War I.”
There are individuals in this country who can and maybe will connect with the working people and channel their anger in the next couple of years. It’s a matter of urging them to get out there. Maybe it’s too late to ever become what we once were, but maybe it’s not too late to dismantle some of the most egregious actions of the authoritarian Republicans and the simpering Democrats. If ever the time is ripe for liberalism to emerge, it is now.

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By bogi666, November 8, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment
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Lafayette, your definition of Fascism is lacking. It is the collusion of business being funded by the tax monies collected by the government doled out to the WEALTHY PREDATORY CAPITALIST WELFARE KINGS. With a history of almost 90 years of psychology knowledge the government, business, pretend christians[Biblical Harlots] mindlessness,  the inability to discern thoughts from facts, has been instilled into the populace through TV daily,hourly, by the minute and second. As for your examples of fascism, they are countries without an industrial base to collude with the government. They are just dictatorships which plunders the wealth of the country natural resources.The rulers don’t need to collude with the industrialists because their are none. The reason for deregulating the banking system and globalization of capital is to facilitate money laundering worldwide. Wall St. and the USG are intimately involved with money laundering which goes into the $trillions. The drug war is a sham and is not intended to ever end. It’s purpose is to eliminate the Constitution and its worked. DEA and CIA agents in Latin American that don’t speak Spanish or even have a $20 electronic translator complete with conjugated verbs. Proof that the “war” on drugs is as addicted to drugs as are the drug addicts.The real reason for not regulating the hedge funds is that they are a prime vehicle for money laundering. The USG is a criminal enterprise involved with graft, corruption, assassinations, wholesale murders and a Pentagram to protect the worldwide assets of the WELFARE KINGS some of which don’t pay USG taxes but derive the benefits. Fascism has come to the USA carrying a bible dressed in a flag.

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By Bubba, November 8, 2010 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

For anyone who’d like to go beyond the unrelenting and next to useless criticism across the political spectrum, read Henry George’s “Progress and Poverty.”

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By Bob Burns, November 8, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
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Yes, much of what you say I agree with, it seems so to me as well. I would spin it the other way tho. I live in China, which is experiencing the opposite situation. Opposite as well is our economic system, which is as pure a free-market Capitalist as one could ever hope to see. Also the fact that liberals such as yourself have been contained into insignificance. Could there be a connection? Could it be, that the hard-core right, left to it’s own devises, could produce an Utopia? Seems headed that way here, and the other way there. How do you explain that?

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By Lafayette, November 8, 2010 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

... you’ll find we’ve been living in a fascist state for some time now.

This remark is VERY cavalier.

You obviously have no idea whatsoever of what constitutes a fascist state. I suggest you relocate to Myanmar or North Korea and make this same statement above on a blog. Say goodbye to your loved ones first.

If you must attack the present situation, start with the world “plutocracy”. Plutocracy =  Government by the wealthy. A state or society governed in this way. An elite or ruling class whose power derives from their wealth.

The corruption of Congress by BigMoney and the fact that 40% of the Senate consists of millionaires are indications of a genuine plutocracy. But, given the heinous crimes of fascism, particularly in Europe, let’s not confuse a plutocratic Uncle Sam with the Nazis.

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By kerryrose, November 8, 2010 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

I am relieved to read Chris Hedges finally take on the Tea Party.  If he is concerned about threats to democracy and the advent of fascism (through corporate power and Dominionism) then look no further than the Tea Party.

I know some, and they are the simple Republicans who know and understand very little about the political arena, getting most of their information from Fox news.  They are mobilized and their fear and anger directed against the very forces that could protect them as well as the vulnerable in our society. For this, they deserve no pity.

What they need is education, but listening is instrumental to learning, and their minds and ears are closed to reality.

My son told me that he thought people should get a disease, like Michael Jackson’s disease that turned his skin white, that changed their skin color, and turned people into the ethnicity they feared the most.  Pretty savvy for a ten year old.

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By godistwaddle, November 8, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Oh, come on, Chris, that recipe for fascism has already been mixed, salted and peppered, baked and served.  Search the “14 tenets (or points, I know there are 14), and you’ll find we’ve been living in a fascist state for some time now.

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By John Fletcher, November 8, 2010 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
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I think CH is being unfair to Lenin and Trotsky. They promised a better society, and to a large extent their heirs delivered it. A Russian born in 1900 would have seen unbelievable economic and social progress over the years from the end of the Civil War to the eve of WW2. By contrast the apostles of globalisation and markets have nothing to offer but pain and suffering, kidding us that these sacrifices (which they do not have to make themselves) will somehow preserve “competitiveness” and save jobs - until next time, of course. Theirs is a nightmare world of ever-increasing competition, ever-declining living standards and ever-increasing poverty, a secularised version of the racial competition the fascists believed in. A boot, as Orwell put it, stamping on the human face for ever, but a boot made wherever labour can be found to produce it most cheaply.

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By Lafayette, November 8, 2010 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

MENTAL MASTURBATION

CW: The Sarah Palins and the Glenn Becks use hatred as a mobilizing passion to get the masses, fearful and angry,

CW waxes passionate?

C’mon, Chris, take a lesson in Populism 101. The Tea Party Tactics are as old as the hills and populists can only succeed when and where people are as politically ignorant as they are.

This happens in times, such as these, where people feel insecure. Any reasonable arguments, and you make a good many, simply wash off their minds like water off a duck.

People are scares sh*tless in America of losing the lifestyle that they were born into. The “Leave it to Beaver” crowd have a misguided idea of America—a throwback to a time that no longer exists.

I’ve been living in Europe for decades and when I go back stateside, there is a country awaiting me that I no longer recognize. Which is no great problem, I am very happy where I am in Europe—with its progressive ideals.

Yes, times are bad here as well. No, nobody is panicking. Yes, the French are passionate - but they walk their frustrations off by demonstrating peacefully in the streets. An art that we seem to have forgot since the war in Vietnam.

MY POINT

The real issue in America, I submit frankly and forcefully, is cultural. The inability to have a sensible dialog of political economics because any such exchange is beyond the mental capacity for the people to understand.

Progressives are probably some of the most educated people in America. They see right through the mischief of Corporate America and how BigMoney has corrupted the democratic process.

Our objective, however, is not to rant about it in a blog. We are preaching to the converted. Our purpose should be to elucidate the ignorant grassroots who need woefully an education of the fundamentals of political economy—which is both an art and a science.

All this blog-passion reminds me of mental masturbation. Good fun, but ultimately infertile.

POST SCRIPTUM

An explanation of Political Economy today.

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By RanDomino, November 8, 2010 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies, is stronger today than it’s been in the last 50 years, and is one of the fastest-growing unions.  Why not show the actual, living IWW some love, instead of just relegating them to the graveyard of the “old Left”?

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By konst, November 8, 2010 at 5:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After studying Austrian economics for the past two years it’s much easier to spot all the mistakes and misconceptions in articles such as this one. I don’t mean to be disparaging but there are common propaganda-like misconceptions one right after the other.

I would point them out but it’s late and I’m not an expert. I’ll just refer you to two books. one easy reading (~100 pages) and the other detailed (~1400 pages)

The first is
“Economics In One Lesson” and is available in hardcopy from the Mises bookstore
http://mises.org/store/Economics-in-One-Lesson-P33.aspx

The other is
“Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market (The Scholar’s Edition)”
http://mises.org/store/Man-Economy-and-State-with-Power-and-Market-The-Scholars-Edition-P177.aspx

And two more easy ones if those are not to your liking:
“Economics for Real People”
http://mises.org/store/Economics-for-Real-People-P116.aspx

“How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes”
http://www.amazon.com/How-Economy-Grows-Why-Crashes/dp/047052670X

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By racetoinfinity, November 8, 2010 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Great column!

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By Lafayette, November 8, 2010 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

THE KNOW NOTHING PARTY

CH: American politics, as the midterm elections demonstrated, have descended into the irrational.

They have been irrational for quite some time. The Tea Party is a sea of irrational dogma. The Reps are the party of dogma and not thought. In fact, they inherited the mantle of the Know Nothing Party that existed in the 19th century and were originally called the American Republican Party.

Knowing Nothing goes a long way back in America’s political history. It raises its ugly head from time to time, particularly when populists come to the fore with their inane but popular arguments. And this time is yet another in a long line.

It is not only shameful but insane that a country so developed should also be so politically ignorant.

POST SCRIPTUM

But is it fascism? Fascism = an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government.

Not yet ... we bumped to the Right with Reagan and to the Left with Clinton, then back to the Right with Bush and back to the Left with Obama and ....

That’s not fascism, it is just a people who don’t know how to make up their minds. They select presidents as if it were a beauty contest.

Worse yet, like buying detergent at a supermarket. Which candidate “washes whiter than white”? In our hell-bent rush for sloganeering, we’ve corrupted the language as well as the political debate.

The televised sound-bite rules American minds.

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