The F word once more
This should be a serious post, but RL is calling. So I'll just throw some random questions out there. We know that history doesn't repeat, but rhymes.* And it looks to me like we can divide totalitarian regimes into two buckets: First, nation-states (Hitler's Germany, Hirohito's Japan, Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain, Milosevic's Yugoslavia, and no doubt others. The reconstruction South might be an edge case, but one notes the absence of the "big man" present in the other regimes). Second, continental, multi-ethnic empires (the Soviet Union begun by Lenin, and China, begun by Mao). One notes the different chords struck by scale and scope, virulence, history, and the social and political structures of the exemplars in each bucket -- and especially regime life-span, which is a single generation for the nation states, and several generations for the empires.**
So which bucket does the United States fall into?
Continental, multi-ethnic empire, clearly.
So, I'm going to throw two comments out. First, I think that CD's analysis of "neo-fascism" is spot on, and what we face.*** To quote:
let's see, just off the top of my head:
-the interests of large corporations are the only interest of the state and its functionaries: check.
-the public declaration that the government can kill citizens at will, without trial or conviction: check
-the oppression of ethnic and religious minorities for no other reason than they are different from the majority, including detaining those minorities: check
-a media stream that lies, distorts, and give space only to right and far right voices, drums up support for illegal invasive wars and pushes a corporate agenda: check
-the conflation of faux patriotism and the majority religion: check
-reduction of public education and replacing it with brainwashing to produce illiterate drones who willingly accept their only career choices are in the military or in low paying jobs as corporate slaves: check
-meaningless "difference" between political parties who some how always end up passing policy that supports all of the above, no matter how loudly the electorate may express their desire to do the opposite: check
-security theatre at all points of entry and routes of transportation which does nothing to improve citizen safety but everything to remind them that the state is watching them at all times and those who do not conform will be treated as enemies: check
-domestic security forces who are able to beat and murder citizens for absolutely no reason and get away with it (taser deaths, drug war, etc): check
neofascism is different than the nazi kind. it's smarter, slicker, prettier (well, the nazis had better uniforms), and less obvious. i don't think we'll get to mass roundups and concentration camps really soon, but i do perceive how more and more groups are being constructed as "deserving" of such in the media stream, and when the next attack on our soil comes (be that from legitimate terrorists or blowback or some COINTELPRO like operation) i believe the rate of incarceration of people like us will increase rapidly and dramatically.
On might see the combined operations of BP and its subsidiary, the Obama administration, in the Gulf (of Mexico, that is) as one of many examples of neo-fascism. It's also worth noting, when you read Charles Munger's succinct and explosive summary of elite thinking, that some in the elite believe that the bailouts prevented a Fascist regime. That doesn't say they aren't giving us the other sort, though. In fact, they're probably charging us rent for it.)
Now, in "full disclosure" mode here, what I like about CD's model is that it's slow(er), and so perhaps "slow politics" will have time for work. (Consider the idea of best, if not necessarily winning, strategies in Bridge: If you can make the contract only by assuming the cards fall a certain way, play as if they fell that way.)
Second, when I think of Weimar, I think (also) of the artists of that time: Grosz, Dix, Ernst, Klee; of Brecht and Kafka; of Schoenberg and Weill. One can, one might think, see a "feed forward" or premonition of the horrors to come in all their work -- a flowering just before nightfall. So, one might consider the artists leading indicators. Do we have such leading indicators now? I realize I'm listing fine artists and not popular artists; but then, is there any such thing as fine art, anymore, really?
NOTE * The counter-argument:
History would be "predictive" if the neo-fascist playbook was sufficiently effective. One would generalize Gore's observations about polling in his last book (forget name, rushed in RL). Gore was amazed and appalled to see that when he paid money to political consultants, and they said "Let's do this" and then did it, that the numbers rose as they predicted they would. OK, suppose that's not "political campaigns" but "political economy." That would make history "predictive" alright. Not that I'm foily. Perhaps as soon as you think of Nazi Germany as a set of data points and intellectual resources, as opposed to a chilling example of human evil (or, which comes to the same thing, the genocidal myth of origin for a nation-state), everything would fall into place.
NOTE ** This is a challenge to the "checklist" methodology for determining fascist regimes, as exemplified by Sara Robinson. Yes, I see that CD's got a checklist too, but I'm just groping for an answer here, and CD's final paragraph ties the list items together dynamically.
NOTE *** That would make "progressives" like Robinson wrong again. Quelle surprise.