There is a quote (often misattributed to Sinclair Lewis) that states, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” While the actual quote seems to be a condensed meme of a collection of prognostications from the 1930′s as Hitler came to power, it is very true of where we find ourselves headed in the 21st century here in the United States.
The word “fascist” is thrown around a lot these days and it’s usually by people who have no clue what it really means. They bleat about “Big Brother” and an authoritarian government, even as they ironically vote for the politicians who support the very same things. Even though we won the war against fascism in Germany, it seems as if we brought that back with us like a parasite that would lay dormant for a few decades.
In a nutshell, fascism is basically an authoritarian government for corporations, by corporations. Extreme nationalism, the loss of individual liberties, and collectivism that benefits corporations rather than people. Basically, corporate protection and welfare. This is where the dollar is placed above the individual, where human beings are just cogs in the wheel. Have you ever heard your boss say “you’re an asset to the company”? That’s it, you are an asset just like the office printer — and just like that printer, you’ll be thrown away once your usefulness has run its course.
Working class people have been voting against their own self-interests for a long time now, especially here in the South since the beginning of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy.” They’ve been convinced that minorities and liberals will take their rights and jobs away, so they turn around and vote for the people who actually do take their rights and jobs away.
Fascism draws strength through the public’s need for patriotism and religion, hence the flag and cross reference in the misattributed Sinclair Lewis quote. Wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross, many of us have been duped by “patriotic” legislation like “Right To Work,” “Citizens United” and “The Patriot Act” which has received a lot of attention lately with the NSA leak.
We see it everywhere when politicians try to peddle their snake oil — they just wrap it in the flag and give it a pretty name designed to lull the public into buying it. Just look at Bush’s “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Or look through some of the details of Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget, which would have cut billions from social safety net programs in favor of tax cuts for millionaires, while adding a trillion dollars to the deficit by 2023. But it’s the “Path to Prosperity,” so it must be good for us, right?
It’s the “Patriot Act,” and I’m a patriot — it must be good for me!
It’s the “Right To Work,” and I want to work — it must be good for me!
It’s “Citizens United” and I want unity among my fellow patriots — it must be good for me!
Patriotism! Freedom! Prosperity for all!
Fascism depends on a “my country, right or wrong” mentality. It thrives on a twisted version of the words of a Jewish rebel 2 millenniums ago. Finally, fascism relies on the very people it suppresses to continue to support it and to be the storm troopers in the fight for the “Evil Empire” of corporate interests. As long as a good portion of the country continues to let the wool be pulled over their eyes, this strategy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” – 1984