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Obama The Fascist

Jonah's book has provided a useful new prism through which to view the world.

[Tuesday morning update]

Jonah says that "progressives" should be careful what they wish for, and understand their history a little better:

Today's progressives still share many of the core assumptions of the progressives of yore. It may be gauche to talk about patriotism too much in liberal circles, but what is Barack Obama's obsession with unity other than patriotism by another name? Indeed, he champions unity for its own sake, as a good in and of itself. But unity can be quite amoral. Mobs and gangs are dangerous because of their unblinking unity.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, often insists that we must move "beyond" ideology, labels, partisanship, etc. The sentiment is a direct echo of the Pragmatists who felt that dogma needed to be jettisoned to give social planners a free hand. Of course, then as now, the "beyond ideology" refrain is itself an ideological position favoring whatever state intervention social planners prefer.

A key point of the book, that many on the left miss, is that Hitler gave fascism a bad name. Up until all the racism and the genocide and the war mongering, they were all on board with the Nazi project. When mindless and ignorant leftists mistakenly call classical liberals "fascists," they're not calling them as bad a name as they seem to believe. Which is a good thing, because it is their own beliefs that are truly fascistic.


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K wrote:

A very pleasent surprise. Anyone who reads the history of that period doesn't need to be told that the Fascisti and NSDAP were socialist parties. What Goldberg does is to go well beyond that to link all the statist political philosophies from the French Revolution to the Marxists to the Progressives in the 30s to Hillary in the now. He does so in a way which illuminates collectivist leftist thought, tactics and goals into a unifying whole.

His timing couldn't be better, either. I recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves avocates for liberty.

kT wrote:

You fascists are hilarious, blame everybody else for your transgressions and failures, and then just continue with your nefarious ways :

Fascism Anyone?
Laurence W. Britt

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Be sure to post a link to psychoboy's pathetic response.

Jay Manifold wrote:

In case Rand deletes the above spam comment (the one by pseudonymous coward "kT"), I'll just note that it has already been thoroughly demolished by Bill Whittle.

Anonymous wrote:

kt = elifritz

Anonymous wrote:

kt = Elifritz

Will McLean wrote:

That word..I don't think it means what you think it means.

If you mean statist, say satist.

kT wrote:

Mr. Whittle, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Chris wrote:


Mr. Whittle offered a point by point counter-responses to 14 'fascist attributes' Lawarance Britt implied were also current American attributes. On some of his counter-responses, his logic was thin or not explained sufficiently to make a solid argument. However, I think he brought up very good points countering attributes 4,5,6,8,10,12, and 14.

Its not enough to say, "At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought." That doesn't mean anything. Someone could write that who never even read Whittle's arguments. YOU have to RESPOND point by point to his respones.

Chris wrote:

Another problem with Britt's 14 points is that the seem to suspiciously ignore every point brought up in Jonah's book.

It is unlikely that Britt is %100 right and every page of Jonah's book is %100 wrong. It is more likely that Britt only quoted those alleged attributes that he could pin, at least in his head, to a conservative admistration.

Most fascist regimes truely had socialist tax and economic structures, yet Britt mentions nothing of that. His arguments (just like Jonah's) are basically propaganda. Intelligent people don't just read things like that and automatically buy into every argument.

kT wrote:

Only an idiot fascist like Mr. Whittle would make a point by point response to the definitive broad generalizations that are the hallmark of an educated, elegant and well posed thesis, and then proceed to proclaim his hysteria as definitive. That's how you fascists work, you blame everybody else, and then proceed to proclaim yourselves the only true bearer of knowledge. You are nothing but a band of control freaks masquerading as some mafia thugs.

Band of brothers my ass. Here is a definitive quantitative analysis of your fascist neoconservative regime's complete and utter failure as bearers of truth.

How many wars are you running now?

Karl Hallowell wrote:

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Why should it "ring alarm bells"? I think an interesting example to keep in mind is the Third Republic of France. They had the same concerns about fascism and communism that KT exhibits above. However things turned out poorly for them, they were conquered by the Third Reich in 1940. As I understand it, it was in part because the evils of the each side were so grossly exaggerated to the point that little constructive work could be done (on important things like item 7 above, national security). As I see it, an obstinate, irrational, and above all blind resistance to hypothetical dangers, is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This goes for more than just a single group. There's a lot of fear these days. I really don't know where it comes from. Maybe we need to fear or maybe the surge of information has sensitized us somehow, or maybe we see great uncertainty in the future. I see good reason to be vigilant, but we need to keep in mind that the ability to discern degree of danger and its likelihood is also necessary. Obsessing over relatively minor fascist traits in the US government is irrational. Fascism existed in the first place because it filled a need. The public wanted greater security. As I see it, rather than blindly strike out at any attempt to protect ourselves in a feeble attempt to avoid some fascist state, we would do better by making ourselves more secure in reality so that true fascists will have less opportunity for mischief. This includes holding government agencies accountable when they fail to protect and when they introduce as in the case of air flight in the US, onerous burdens on the public. (I would hope that someone who would write an essay like the above might be interested in such things.) But it also includes refraining from stupid rants that compare with gross inaccuracy and exaggeration the US to the worst of 20th century governments.

kT wrote:

I guess when the goatherders living on the other side of the planet invade and occupy the United State of America with their extensive airborne and naval forces, we'll just have to ask France to repay their extensive debt, and liberate us. Perhaps they can assemble their forces on Cuba to prepare for the initial liberation invasion.

Rand wrote:

Its not enough to say, "At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought." That doesn't mean anything. Someone could write that who never even read Whittle's arguments. YOU have to RESPOND point by point to his response.

Elifritz is apparently incapable of coming up with an original thought on his own. He is unable to actually coherently respond to Mr. Whittle's demolition of his first cut'n'paste from one of the stock wacko web sites, so instead he cut'n'pastes a bit of dialogue from an Adam Sandler movie. He's actually even funnier than Adam Sandler--just not intentionally, and in a sadly pathetic way.

Chris wrote:

"That's how you fascists work, you blame everybody else, and then proceed to proclaim yourselves the only true bearer of knowledge. You are nothing but a band of control freaks masquerading as some mafia thugs."
This is a very non-specific, bold statement. It is like saying, "All liberals are idealistic leaches living in a fantasy world." This would be a ridiculous statement to make on a liberal web site. It would convince no one. Please eleborate on your comment on this relatively conservative weblog. We conservatives honestly want to hear a logical, respectfull, alternative points of view. When I comment on dailykos, I am always extremely respectful. Otherwise, no one will listen to what I have to say. They'll start constructing counter-arguments in thier heads without even internalizing what I wrote.
With that in mind, I apogize for the rude, disrespectfull way in which Mr. Whittle responed to your original post. He started the personal attacks. His arguments would have been a lot stronger if he had left the immature vindictiveness out of it. He would have sounded more mature, less crazy, and more likable, and, like it or not, sounding more likeable means sounding more convincing.
You also bring up a good point with the national debt. However, the national debt is a problem whose causes extend well back in time (beyond just the current administration) are are equally the fault of both the legislative and executive branches, in my opinion.

Rand wrote:

I apogize for the rude, disrespectfull way in which Mr. Whittle responed to your original post.

We don't know to whose post Bill was responding, since it was anonymous. It was probably some other leftist moron incapable of an original thought, who just pasted the same thing in my blog.

And who are you to apologize for Bill Whittle? Why is mindless, off-topic, drive-by cut'n'paste graffiti on my blog worthy of a "respectful" response?

And by the way, this is not a "conservative" blog.

Chris wrote:

You are right, this isn't a conservative blog. However, it does tend to be frequented by more conservative readers then liberals, or, at least the conservatives comment more.

I'm just trying to remove any obstical (and remove any excuse) to a well thought out coherant response from Elifritz.

I feel like a lack of a well thought out response from Efifritz on this blog (after the olive branch I've extended ) indicates a lack of any well thought out response at all, and that is pretty damning.

I really like this blog and enjoy the fact that lots of different people comment here. In other words, it is not simply an echo-chamber for conservative space junkies.

Ilya wrote:

Out of curiousity, how do you know "kT's" real (?) name is Elifritz?

Anonymous wrote:

Saw it on "Rockets And Such"

Jay Manifold wrote:

Chris, two words: spell check. Also, don't confuse conservative with libertarian. I admire your attempt to lower any remaining barriers for "kT," but pseudonymous cowards, spammers, and trolls rarely reform. Particularly those unintelligent enough to think that they're responding to the original blogger when his post is quoted on another blog, or think that the National Debt Clock is some kind of rebuttal of people whose policies would create enormous surpluses.

Rand wrote:

Out of curiousity, how do you know "kT's" real (?) name is Elifritz?

By his comments, shall ye know him. Also, "kT" is the pseudonym that he has trolled with for years on Usenet, where most in the* groups have long had him in their killfiles.

He has been using different pseudonyms at Space Politics, but his posts are readily recognizable for their vileness and idiocy (and yes, true fascism, including the Big Lie) to anyone familiar with him.

I've been dreading the day that he would start to infest this web site, but apparently that day has arrived.

Mike Puckett wrote:

I suggest Rand simply do what the KT boundary marked for the saurians. Make his vile, rude and hypocritical posting extinct on this board.

SteveMick wrote:

I'm new to this site, or more accurately its been a long time since I breifly looked in. Although this line of commentary is outside of my usual interests,I have never before seen fascism equated with the left. I had naively assumed that the war against communists et al in the Spanish Civil War and suppression of communists by the Nazis was an indication that they certainly saw themselves in conflict with the Left.
You do agree that communism is on the Left side of the spectrum don't you?
Do you see FDR as a fascist? Were the industrialists Gen. S. Butler identified as soliciting his help in a coup against FDR mistaken and acting against their own interests? After all fascism can be defined as the conflation of the corporate and the State and overthrowing someone who would promote corporate interests seems counterproductive doesn't it?
Also there seems to be a level of personal attack against any who disagree here that usually indicates a weakness of the attackers argument. It's always tempting to do that but reasoned refytation is better IMO.

Rand Simberg wrote:

SteveMick, the answers to your questions are found in Goldberg's book, but briefly, yes, FDR was a fascist, and Wilson even more so.

Phoenix wrote:

Thomas Lee Elifritz (a.k.a. "kt"):
What? Not an Engineer?
Ah hahahahahahaha!

Keep up the good work Rand!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on February 4, 2008 6:02 PM.

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