June 24, 2007

Lacking the Gravitas for Real Fascism

Thus, my conclusion, my take on the pretentious equation between modern American government and the truly impressive tyrannies of yesteryear, those run by sadistic brutes like Hitler and Mussolini who really knew their way around totalitarianism. As with so many things, we are apt to overrate ourselves and to take our own troubles too seriously. Hitler, in particular, was actuated by a desire to emulate and to outdo Napoleon; thus, his disastrous decision to follow the Little General right over the cliff and invade the Soviet Union. Hitler ran a police state, closed down the free press by force, terrorized the German populace and drove all the powerful and influential dissenters out of the country. The Bush/Cheney Cabal, by contrast, has it very soft. There is a free press, but it's no bother. Bush/Cheney serve the economic interests of the large congolomerates which own about 90% of the media outlets. Why would they have to coerce them? Haven't they always reliably broadcast Bush's pro-war propaganda? Of course they have.

As for running concentration camps - simply unnecessary. Americans, in general, pay no attention to what's going on, and their dissent is limited to writing stupid blogs like this one and to periodically altering the mix of Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate. At the time of the Iraq invasion, 70% of the American populace thought Saddam Hussein was chiefly responsible for 9/11 (see note on "free" press above). While it's true that Bush has a 26% approval rating and Congress is at about 25%, this is because of economic factors. Most Americans, probably on the order of 80%, aren't doing too well anymore, and they will channel their "rage" into voting in a slightly different mix of Republicans and Democrats in 2008, then turn on the 42" plasma and watch re-runs of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Thus, despite the looming catastrophe of the entitlements programs, and the unstanched flow of American jobs to foreign countries, and our declining standard of living, and the absence of national health, or a comprehensive railroad system that really works, and the insane budget and trade deficits, the current workforce in Congress will, for the most part, remain on the job, enjoying premium healthcare, guaranteed pensions, large staffs, power and influence, and salaries the vast majority of them could not earn in the private sector. As such books as Hostile Takeover, by David Sirota; The Best Congress Money Can Buy, by Greg Palast; What's the Matter with Kansas?, by Thomas Frank (awesomely brilliant), describe in detail, Congress is not engaged in a "conspiracy" against the American people; it is just that they have learned that money is the means by which they can ensure their life-long tenure in Washinton. And the best source of money are the folks who have a lot of it, the lobbyists from America's (increasingly transnationally-oriented) large industries, who tell Congress what to do.

The power flowing through a system defines the system. So said the very bright people who devised systems analysis. What could be simpler? The power in American politics is money: serving the needs of Big Money, passing laws for Big Money, and ignoring anything (like the floundering entitlements programs) not concerned with Big Money. The Republicans build on an unlikely base of the not-well-off by throwing out anti-abortion, anti-gay and pro-Fundamentalist rhetoric. The Booboisie swallow it, hook, line and sinker (see Frank, ibid;). The 26% residual support is only partly comprised of America's fat cats; there simply aren't that many of them. The rest are Falwell and Robertson's wingnut brigades.

So it's not Fascism. Fascism would almost be interesting compared to what we got. This is about as interesting as a new Starbucks opening on another corner downtown. The American Congress, and the Executive Branch (unchallenged by the Republican-stacked judiciary or by a tame and compliant press) are more simply a Chamber of Commerce. Whatever is good for business - war, defense contractors, monopoly, tax cuts, lax standards for the environment -defines their mission statement. I don't think it will end well, but neither is it reformable.

No comments:

Post a Comment