Tom

“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labelled made in Germany. It will not be marked with a swastika. It will not even be called fascism. It will be called, of course, Americanism” – An uncredited New York Times reporter covering Halford E. Luccock in an article published September 12, 1935

According to Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III, in TruthoutArmed Angry White Males are the New Domestic Terrorists. And the economy is why.

Today, lynch mobs have been replaced by Zimmermans and Dunns, who feel empowered by Stand Your Ground, believing that juries of their peers will exonerate them of their use of deadly force when black youths are involved.

[snip]

Conceal Carry permits, Stand Your Ground laws and inept prosecutors are creating a climate that provides the Zimmermans and Dunns of the world with a license to kill as long as juries are predisposed to letting them do so.

As the American economy continues to contract and full-time, well-paying jobs become harder to find, the face of poverty in America is changing. The stereotypical ‘urban’ or ‘black’ poor have now become the ‘suburban’ or white poor. According to CBS, ‘Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures . . . More than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line . . . accounting for more than 41 percent of the nation’s destitute, nearly double the number of poor blacks.’

According to the Christian Science Monitor, ‘Suburbs are increasingly becoming the address of America’s poor. Suburban poverty across the country grew 53 percent between 2000 and 2010, more than twice the rate of urban poverty . . . ‘ Many of those newly poor suburbanites are white and many of them are angry, blaming people of color for their misfortunes, instead of directing their ire toward corporate greed, the outsourcing of factory jobs to overseas companies, and governmental policies that favor the wealthy.

Not surprising actually. Blaming others for ones misfortunes is as old as the hills. Just like the criminal yelling “Dirty rotten copper” in some crime drama. And ass Ken Eisold says in this September 10, 2010 piece from Psychology Today, bigotry has a long tradition in the good old USA, nearly always based on fear.

I think it fair to say that bigoted minds are made up and closed. But how does that happen?

Nicholas Kristof reminded us last Sunday how much a part of American history it has been: ‘Screeds against Catholics from the 19th century sounded just like the invective today against the Not-at-Ground-Zero Mosque.’ And there have been similar attacks against Germans, Italians, Chinese and other immigrants.

‘During World War I, rumors spread that German-Americans were poisoning food, and Theodore Roosevelt warned that “Germanized socialists” were “more mischievous than bubonic plague.”‘ The public was ‘warned that Jews were plotting to destroy the United States. . . . A 1940 survey found that 17 percent of Americans considered Jews to be a “menace to America.”‘

‘Chinese in America were denounced, persecuted and lynched, while the head of a United States government commission publicly urged in 1945 “the extermination of the Japanese in toto.”‘ Kristof adds a vital insight about the motives of bigotry: ‘The starting point isn’t hatred but fear: an alarm among patriots that newcomers don’t share their values, don’t believe in democracy, and may harm innocent Americans.’

Kristof’s point is important. We tend get angry at those who frighten us, and if the threat continues we want to get rid of those who cause it. But that’s not all. Ignorance about the other is required. Some fears are not founded, some threats not real. Almost by definition, bigotry is directed against those we fear but have no substantial reason to fear, as Kristof’s examples illustrate. Otherwise, we are seeing real dangers, real enemies.

Blaming others for misfortunes often our own. I think it would be fair to say that a number of these newly poor suburbanites are also in hock up to their eyeballs. So their economic fear at any rate is likely well founded but not necessarily the fault of anyone but themselves. This bigotry can be along any line. Racial, sexual, religious, cultural, economic…..what ever fits the moment. And is not limited to one political thought or another.

This fear and anger too often is expressed in reactionary ways. The same reactionary way it did in Europe which lead the way to Fascism and extreme nationalism in many countries:

It was Rousseau who is best known for crystallizing these modern social theories in The Social Contract. The progeny of these theories are sometimes called Modernism or Modernity because they challenged social theories generally accepted since the days of Machiavelli. The response to the French Revolution and Rousseau, by Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and others, poured into an intellectual stew which served up Marxism, socialism, national socialism, fascism, modern liberalism, modern conservatism, communism, and a variety of forms of capitalist participatory democracy.

Fascists particularly loathed the social theories of the French Revolution and its slogan: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

  • Liberty from oppressive government intervention in the daily lives of its citizens, from illicit searches and seizures, from enforced religious values, from intimidation and arrest for dissenters; and liberty to cast a vote in a system in which the ; majority ruled but the minority retained certain inalienable rights.
  • Equality in the sense of civic equality, egalitarianism, the notion that while people differ, they all should stand equal in the eyes of the law.
  • Fraternity in the sense of the brotherhood of mankind. That all women and men, the old and the young, the infirm and the healthy, the rich and the poor, share a spark of humanity that must be cherished on a level above that of the law, and that binds us all together in a manner that continuously re-affirms and celebrates life.

This is what fascism as an ideology was reacting against–and its support came primarily from desperate people anxious and angry over their perception that their social and economic position was sinking and frustrated with the constant risk of chaos, uncertainty and inefficiency implicit in a modern democracy based on these principles. Fascism is the antithesis of democracy. We fought a war against it not half a century ago; millions perished as victims of fascism and champions of liberty. – http://www.publiceye.org/fascist/berlet_fascism.html

Now we have or beginning to have the same kinds of conditions arising here and in Europe. We see in in Greece with the rise on New Dawn and now in the Ukraine.  Formally well off white males see their power, authority and now the financial status being systematically eroded. Disparately needing some explanation and something to blame.

These people are not unintelligent or even entirely ignorant, they are however reacting emotionally to the situation. Which blocks out rational thinking. What they do not and cannot realize is that their previous situation was built on lies by Wall Street and Washington.

This country had it uncommonly good after WWII. Our military secured us cheap or nearly free energy. Wall Street was on a short lease. Minorities did all hard disgusting work for almost now money and were denied pretty much all the constitutional rights. Europe and Japan had been bombed back to the stone age and China was just then emerging from it. Communism gave the military a really good excuse to spend like a sailor.  Every white picket fenced house had a chicken in its pot, on a nice new stove with a silver spool to stir it – so long as one was a white male. And the children went off to college and became engineers and doctors and lawyers and business executives.  People came to expect this as the norm, that the party would go one forever. Because that was what they were told.

The fist person/party to promise a return to those halcyon days of yore, regardless of how he/she will treat anyone else, will become very popular. But reactionary populous politics rarely — it ever — work out.

There are of course a plethora of unscrupulous elites taking advantage of the situation and egging it on to make as much money as possible. Just like pre WWII Europe. And like pre WWII, anyone who preaches concern for those seen as the “cause of the suffering” will be at the very least summarily dismissed as a heretic and/or traitor to the [country, race, culture, religion ...]

The danger in all of this is that scared reactionary people generally make very bad decisions since they are no longer thinking.