Commentary — Dr. Glen Barry / Earth Meanders – 2004-09-09 09:05:39
(August 28, 2004) — There is no agreed upon and authoritative one-sentence definition for Fascism. I define it as authoritarian, hierarchical and militaristic government; based upon governance for corporate interests, holding itself up as the only adequate response to an urgent threat, while scapegoating some segments of society.
Key features of this definition are present in contemporary America — particularly the authoritarian blending of corporations/industry with the state. The United States of America is being run by, of and for corporations. Energy industry interests have been foremost in foreign, environmental, human right and other policy realms.
And any good fascist requires a good scapegoat. Gays, “extremist” environmentalists and, indeed, the natural world itself fit the bill nicely. America’s fascism is using liberalism as a straw puppet and anti-terrorism as its crucible.
Liberal is now a dirty word. Forget humanity’s unprecedented advances under the banner of liberal democracy. Liberty, equality, and fraternity — the basis of America’s government, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights — are monumental liberal achievements. Without American liberalism, workers would remain relegated to sweat shops and extreme racial injustice would persist. Conservatives are against progress and change — extremist conservative fascists all the more so.
Conservative Fascism in America
As in the past, America’s flavor of conservative fascism gains its support primarily from angry and anxious people, frustrated with the chaos and uncertainty implicit in a modern democracy based upon liberal democratic principles. Many are christian fanatics who are no less dangerous than their counterparts from other religions, which believe as they do, that the way to God is to force their spirituality upon others.
I am aghast at the Bush record. In virtually every sphere of policy America has abdicated leadership. During a time of nuclear proliferation and criminal terrorist acts you want more international law, not less. Civil rights, natural forests and a functional atmosphere are being lost — perhaps forever.
President Bush has undone decades of environmental policy, leaving a legacy of unmatched ecocidal violence against the Earth’s natural systems. At a time when there exists unprecedented wealth to address environmental issues, President Bush has chosen instead to launch a holy war.
Holy Wars and Unholy Ends
There can never be absolute security in a free and open society. Belligerent, taunting militarism will not make America or the world safer. Not only has Bush lied about justification for a state of perma-war, he lies by stating usurpation of civil liberties will maintain freedom. Secret prison camps, torture, spying on peaceful protesters and certainly preemptive war are fascist — the antithesis of liberal democracy.
It is time for America to get over 911. This dastardly event must not be allowed to change America for the worse, nor halt future efforts to make America even greater. The focus should be upon bringing the criminals responsible to justice in order to stop future attacks without undermining American liberties and our position in the world. Indeed, overreaction may be worse than moderate action. Restraint and thoughtfulness are signs of wisdom and strength.
There are much greater threats to American and global security than terrorism. Americans are living in fear largely because their lives and society are exploitative, inequitable, unjust, and unsustainable. American’s standard of living is not universalizeable. These inequities are at the root of America’s feeling of insecurity.
If Americans do not want to live in barricaded terror for the rest of their life they will need to learn how to share and play by a set of fair global rules. Americans must empathize and work to alleviate suffering in the rest of world; as most of humanity strives to meet basic human needs in the midst of abject poverty, environmental collapse, American sponsored militarism and commercialism, and rampant preventable disease.
Freedom has never, and will never, be defended or maintained by restricting civil liberties or waging preemptive war. Such fascist acts are the antithesis of democracy. In the grand tradition of patriots, suffragists, and activists — liberal and progressive anti-fascists must rid the World of conservative fascism in order to embark upon an era of ecological sustainability, social justice and international mechanisms to end terrorism and militarism.
US Must Withdraw from Iraq
There are immediate actions required to overthrow fascist corporate control of America and the world. First and foremost, the US must withdraw swiftly from Iraq. Strength and resolve against criminal terrorists does not mean a great nation can not admit a mistake at the hands of tyrant leadership. Other countries have dealt with illegitimate, authoritarian leaders — emerging better for having done so — and the US can too.
America will only reenter the circle of civilized, progressive nations by placing a short timetable on withdrawal and doing the best we can to stabilize things before then, and after. And it is crucial that America’s current fascist leader be deposed at the ballet box; or if necessary, through impeachment, an International Court of Justice indictment and/or an international war crimes tribunal.
Further, the US is the only country likely to marshal the resources and technology necessary to lead on climate change, water scarcity and other imminent environmental catastrophes. The Earth’s ecosystems are collapsing around us. As the ecological fabric of being frays, conditions conducive for life can no longer be assured. Bush’s militarism makes this leadership impossible and global ecological Armageddon all the more likely.
The purpose of this rant is not to incite any sort of lawless action. However the American people do retain the rights of all free peoples to protest and overthrow tyranny. Godspeed to the brave protesters in New York this week as they peacefully highlight the importance of dumping Bush, in order to start building a bright green, equitable, just and free world for all.
Earth meanders is a series of personal essays regarding environmental sustainability and related matters. Opinions expressed are those of the author.