Eleven years later…

In Editorial on September 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

“When we see a blow struck, we go on and think no more about it: Yet every blow aimed at the most distant of our fellow creatures is sure to come back, some time or other, to our families and descendants.” (Walter Savage Landor 1775-1864)

Eleven years have passed and another eleventh day in the month of September settles over a fearful and vengeful America. Each year, and this one was no different, Americans are reminded how evil men flew passenger aircraft into skyscrapers filled with innocent civilians. In response America has, with equal evil, sent forth unmanned aircraft to bomb and strafe weddings, birthday parties, and neighborhoods filled with innocent civilians. The Talmud instructs: “He who takes a life is as though he killed an entire world.” America’s indiscriminate killing not only destroys the future worlds of its victims, it breeds hatred and thoughts of revenge among the survivors who will, if given the chance, retaliate in kind.

It’s time to end this madness, if we can.

What if? Just, what if? America has not been the innocent victim? President Bush cannot leave our borders out of a reasonable fear that he will be abducted, a la Josef Mengele, and hauled before a court to answer for war crimes. Barack Obama entirely ripped whole portions of the Constitution to shreds with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. Innocents are hauled from their American beds by black uniformed shock troops and the following eleven years bode even worse for civil liberties. So, where are we? Are we good? Or, are we evil? If we are not good, but not entirely evil…what can we do?

In May of 2003, Dr. Lawrence Britt released the results of his examination of fascist regimes and compiled his list of Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism. His list, with editor’s notes is the subject of Phyne Dyning’s September 11th Memorial Edition.

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

PD: I seldom recall seeing a flag flown at half-staff (half-mast) during my childhood or as a young man. Today, you can end up having forearms like Popeye if you heed gubernatorial admonishments to fly your flag at half-staff in memory of so-and-so or this-and-that. I used to keep a VFW calendar because it showed the major patriotic holidays when citizens were encouraged to fly their flags. It became useless when, during some months, flying the flag became a near-daily obligation and I stopped flying flags anyway.

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

PD: Human rights? Today, the emphasis is on “security” and “public order”. In retaliation for fanatics who flew airliners into skyscrapers, killing innocent civilians, America sends unmanned drones to bomb and shoot up weddings, birthday parties, etc…killing innocent civilians.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

PD: “Terry-wrists” are a conveniently vaporous, continually useful threat. If the enemy cannot be a goat-herding peasant living in a distant and backward lands…surely our next door neighbors might be possible threats worthy of watching.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

PD: Every September, the ongoing orgasm of nationalism becomes a full frenzy homage to the military and police. “On September 11th, say ‘Thank you’ to a police officer, a fireman, or a member of the military.” Even community memorials to the dead from the 2001 attack are turned into an orgy of lovemaking to instruments of state violence. No thanks!

5. 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.

PD: Everything Dr. Britt observed here is fundamentally correct if we look at right-wing politics. Does that mean that the state collectivists get a pass on this one? Absolutely not! America’s left-leaning fascists (state socialists) holds to a belief that people must be cared for by the state. Public schools, meals-on-wheels, government welfare, and other programs are always presented as institutions designed to preserve the family.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

PD: I wish people would abandon the misconception that the media is either “controlled by the right” (e.g. Fox News) or that it is “controlled by the left” (e.g. CNN). The fact is, the media universally bows and scrapes to the state. Almost universally in the media, there is never a “bad” public works program or a “bad” system of distributing stolen money (taxes) as grants.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

PD: This one is obvious on its face. The most useful boogeyman for the state is one that “can be anyone”. Fifty years ago, it was the communists. Today, the “enemies of freedom” are even more nebulous…terrorists.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

PD: Here again, Dr. Britt perhaps over-examines the right wing of fascism. The right often speaks of religion-centered morality…which is typically fundamentalist Christian in nature. But the left does not get an easy pass. The leftist fascists steer away from making moral decisions based on one particular religion. Instead, the whole of religion gets co-opted. Religion is not G-d based. Religion IS the state and its various ministries and petit officials.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

PD: This is the very definition of fascism. Each election cycle, the candidates gush homey-sounding claims that they are pro-business. They are not talking about Joe’s Grocery down the street. The claim is a half-lie because the “business” they seek to protect are the ones who actually hold the strings of power.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

PD: Again, Britt appears to give the leftist-fascists a pass. Labor unions have devolved to become corporations unto themselves. When a union presses to disenfranchise a worker who chooses not to be a union member, the union is no better than the corporate suits who seek to build “profits” off of the back of the worker.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

 PD: State-mandated education and centralization of education policies are mistresses of the fascist state. Higher education and academia are only valued by the fascist state if education and academia forwards the fascist cause. However, any academic who questions the natural order of the fascist state is subject to censoring or arrest.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

PD: The American “criminal justice system” has devolved into vengeance. The state cajoles citizens into believing that everyone is a potential criminal. Fair treatment of the accused has virtually vanished. Prime time television is an ongoing homage to police authority and it promotes a “resistance is futile” doctrine where all criminals are captured and the state always wins.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

PD: And there is no more guilty party than the office of the President of the United States. The executive office now declares wars unilaterally, shreds due process rights, and ignores the sovereignty of borders entirely at will and without oversight. The executive appoints unelected “tsars” to head up bureaucracies where the bureaucracy acts as its own judge and jury via administrative law. In 1969, and it has only gotten worse since then, Richard Barnet completed a study of the top four hundred decision makers in the postwar (WWII) national security system. He found that “most have come from executive suites and law offices within shouting distance of one another in fifteen city blocks in New York, Washington, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston”. Nepotism, cronyism and tribalism runs American fascism.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

PD: It is more eloquent to quote Noam Chomsky’s 1971 work “Government in the Future”: “Unfortunately, you can’t vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in (in the first place). The corporate executives and corporation lawyers and so on who overwhelmingly staff the executive (assisted increasingly by a university-based managerial class) remain in power no matter whom you elect. And, furthermore, it is interesting to note that this ruling elite is pretty clear about its social role.”

 One need only look at the state response to the Occupy Movement at the behest of Wall Street bankers and other swells.

 Eleven years later, the presidential election is perceived by many Americans to be an entirely rigged process. It does not matter whom you vote for, the result will always be the same. The only way to effect change is to 1) Register to vote and, then, 2) Don’t vote. No matter how enthusiastic their small numbers of acolytes may be, no matter how vocal, a low voter response underscores the illegitimacy of the office. Not voting is your best, only voice to stop the latest statist madness that we have lived under for eleven years.


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