Creeping Fascism and the American Politics of Madness

fascismThere was a very revealing story that made it in the news recently, but did not get the attention one would expect. A DNA test was performed on 39 living relatives of Adolph Hitler. And the results were stunning: The Haplogroup E1b1b1 chromosome was found in the samples, which is rare in Western Europe, and is usually found among the Berbers of North Africa, and Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. So, if we put two and two together, we may conclude that the ultimate “Aryan” leader of the Third Reich was himself of Jewish heritage, if not a person of color.

So, the most loathsome figure of the twentieth century— responsible for the Holocaust, the genocide of 6 million Jews, as well as millions of others, including Roma, homosexuals, political prisoners and people with disabilities–was himself conceivably a Jew. The madness and brutality of this man was daunting, as was his apparently high degree of self-loathing. And yet there is much we can learn from the Fuhrer’s legacy of death and destruction. Indeed, we must learn if we are to avoid revisiting the tragic mistakes of the past. People say “never again” because the idea is to ensure that such inhumanity does not repeat, lest we conclude in our smugness that “it could never happen here.”

And yet genocide, and the ritual scapegoating that society perpetrates against a defenseless minority, has happened in the six and a half decades since Hitler’s demise—and more than once.

As for Adolph Hitler, warped, delusional and paranoid as he was, he had a lot of help. Criminally insane as he was to conceptualize a final solution and then carry it out to the utmost, he had in Germany a nation of willing executioners that was more than willing to oblige. After all, it was a country suffering from hyperinflation and economic deprivation, with a predisposition for virulent anti-Semitism and an unhealthy respect for authority. And what do you do when an entire nation, or most of it, is literally insane? As I remember my Harvard professor, Holocaust survivor Erich Goldhagen, saying over twenty years ago, it was as if the entire German society was under a spell, or some type of fog that was lifted when the regime was brought to an end.

The Third Reich, we must remember, was democratically elected at first. Hitler had a mandate, perverted as it was. People needed a boogeyman to blame for all of their problems, and the fascist narrative was made to order. Nazis wanted to restore Germany’s honor, return to some nonexistent glorious past, the good ol’ days I suppose. And they would deal with those segments of the population they believed were the root cause of their social ills.

It began with mob violence, the lynch mob if you will, with acts of physical assaults, vandalism, desecration of property, and the burning of “un-German” books. Racist propaganda with offensive media images helped to soften up the populace and normalize society’s hatred towards the scapegoats. The next step was to codify and fully legitimize the hatred—that is, utilize the legal system to marginalize Jews from every facet of society, remove them from civic life, and neutralize them. Jews and so-called Aryans were forbidden by law to marry. Jews could not own property, attend school or hold professions, and were stripped of their citizenship, their voting rights and their personhood. And they were deported, ghettoized and thrown into concentration camps.

But could it happen again?

People of good will who observe today’s America cannot help but react with concern, if not alarm. The U.S. economy is a basket case, or at least will soon become one if President Obama does not channel his inner FDR and bring on the second New Deal many are waiting for. In any case, Americans are in pain, with massive unemployment, poverty and homelessness on the rise, and 40 million people on food stamps.

Many folks out there are looking for someone to blame. The Patriot movement, including militias, neo-Nazis, Minutemen, Oath Keepers and other armed hate groups are proliferating and boosting their membership, united in a hatred of Latino immigrants, people of color and President Obama. And political extremism has entered the mainstream.

The Republican Party— almost completely purged of moderate voices— and the corporate-sponsored Tea Parties are comparing notes, if they aren’t one in the same. This, as the GOP hopes to score major political points via an updated Southern Strategy of hating Muslims, mosques, Mexicans and marriage equality.

Meanwhile, as two billionaire brothers bankroll this nascent fascist movement to suit their narrow business interests, another rich guy serves as its propagandist, inflaming racial, ethnic and religious tensions on the airwaves, and setting up groups and individuals to be the victims of hate crimes. There is a cable network that articulates the frustration of low-income, low-information whites who are angry that this neighborhood called America is changing, browning up to be more exact, and that is the Fox News Channel. Fox News and Glenn Beck—that opportunistic and delusional little jester of “restoring honor” fame— would make Goebbels proud.

And I use the term fascism, indeed creeping fascism, to describe what is happening because no other words will suffice. Now is the time that we refrain from dancing around the problems here in America. Burning the Holy Qur’an, bombing and burning mosques, banning houses of worship on private property, widespread denial of the president’s citizenship, efforts to nullify the Fourteenth Amendment, states scrambling to enact punitive, unjust laws to target Latinos—these are the ingredients of which fascism is made.

david loveThe crises outlined above are far too complex to be resolved in this commentary. However, it must be said that these forces of right-wing extremism are able to exploit the desperation of hard economic times and seize the moment. Reforming America’s dysfunctional casino-shell game economic system in fundamental ways, making people whole, and restoring a sense of equity and justice are the things we need. Tweaking at the edges will not do.

President Obama, are you listening?

David A. Love

This article first in The Black Commentator and is republished with permission.

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Comments

  1. Bob says

    It is interesting to note how the word Fascist is used as a trigger word to kick up emotions, and usually by the left, just as the right used to use the word Communism . However, both are bad, and both are so close to each other abrogating rights and oppressing individuals. Why is the left so quiet about what’s gone on in Communist countries? Because it’s a Socialist regime?

    What’s the point that Hitler had some Jewish genes? More trigger words? Reminds me of Godwin’s Law . Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, Pol Pot … they are more alike than different. Ostensibly, Marxism is a proletarian-based political movment, and Fascism is an elite-based movement, but in the end, they both end up being run by elites who oppress the people. The left seem to be sensitive to being called Fascists, but generally, they are more the elite-based group, where the Tea Party folk is more of a groundswell-based group. So shouldn’t the left support the proletarian Tea Party movement? Doubt it.

    Sorry about mangling the HTML tags in the previous post…

  2. CCGC says

    Burning the Holy Qur’an, bombing and burning mosques, banning houses of worship on private property, widespread denial of the president’s citizenship, efforts to nullify the Fourteenth Amendment, states scrambling to enact punitive, unjust laws to target Latinos—these are the ingredients of which fascism is made.

    Some of the above either indicates or can lead to fascism. But no one is writing laws that target Latinos. That’s just a stupid misrepresentation of the Arizona law. The law says nothing about Latinos, and it specifically prohibits implementation based on race or ethnicity. Just because many of the illegal aliens who have snuck into our country HAPPEN to be Latino doesn’t mean laws that limit illegal immigration are targeting Latinos. The laws target the illegal activity, and it just so happens that lots of Mexicans are breaking the law by entering our country.

    Furthermore, the effort to modify the Fourteenth Amendment is NOT an attempt to nullify it. It’s an attempt to prevent people from cheating us out of our resources. Right now, any pregnant woman from anywhere in the world can enter this country either illegally or legally, even just by taking a vacation here, and if she times it such that she gives birth here, her kid is instantly a US citizen with all of the benefits that American taxpayers fund.

    Even when an illegal alien who snuck into this country has a baby, that kid is an “instant citizen” who is automatically entitled to ALL social service programs our country offers. That means if the kid is disabled in any way, he or she is entitled to 100% complete Social Security Disability for the rest of his or her life. The parent may have NEVER paid into the Social Security system, yet their kid can help suck the life out of it.

    Birthright citizenship is a system that was designed hundreds of years ago when people couldn’t travel easily from country to country. We put it into place in the country to ensure that children of newly freed slaves would be citizens. It’s not appropriate for today’s world where you can fly to the US, pop out a baby, and instantly access all benefits of citizenship. There is no good reason for keeping the birthright citizenship rule in place anymore. It’s archaic, outdated and a terrible enticement for abuse by people all around the world. It also allows people to jump ahead of the immigration line because all those babies and kids are automatically a priority over potential adult workers who could come here and actually help our country.

    You make some good points in the article David, but you’re way off base to claim that limitations to immigration are “unjust laws” to target Latinos, or that we nullify the Fourteenth Amendment by updating it to reflect the modern world of easy transportation between countries.

  3. marie says

    About Hitler’s DNA… it only proofs that his fanatic madness is not something typical for the German or Austrian race.
    It can happen again? Sure. When people feel threatened they get in an attack-mood.
    The less they develop independent-thinking and the more they become programmed by advertisement, false information and promises; the more vulnerable they are to follow some crazy leader.
    The German population impoverished by their lost war with France, to such a degree that they were desperate, and also jealous towards the Jews who in general had been able to survive financially a little better. It didn’t take much to raise their adrenaline. The independend-thinking Germans who did not want to follow Hitler’s madness were quickly shot. Did the Germans win anything through that madness. No, any wealth they confiscated from the Jews, went to a small group of leaders and at the end most of the male-population was killed in the war.
    Racism is not dead, and neither the attitude to blame anyone different from their own tribe.

  4. Joshua says

    “Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’.”

    George Orwell, Tribune. — GB, London. — 1944.

    You know ,like the people who use a publication to assassinate the charachter of those who disagree with their myopic world view.

    My questions is this , Does a hatchet man for the Left (or right) require the same edjucation as a JOURNALIST? Once again you have slandered many of your countrymen, Have you no shame? For what? To prop up a failing administration operating from a failed and fallacious ideology (as all Ideologies are).

    The good thing is OUR countrymen are not as foolish as you think. They will actually go to the source and see that you are mischaracterizing, at the best of times, and outright lieing at the worst. Have you ever Watched Glenn Beck’s show? Listened to his radio show? Can you cite specific evidence to support your opinion? Hardly a Goebbels!

    You are obviously intellegent and well-edjucated (unlike myself) but you have no intellectual Honesty or morals. I know the economy is rough now , but no job is worth what you are doing. I am sure the ever-shrinking circle of people who agree with you will cheer your article, BUT they are as foolish and shortsighted as you appear to be.

  5. Marshall says

    After reviewing #9, I offer this. you are somewhat correct, my government took over several companies. My government, not following the laws of contracts, took bond holder rights, which were senior to union rights, and bond holders received .05 on the 1.00 and the unions, a supporter of the head of the government received the bond holder equity. Even after these companies pay back the buyout loans, the bond holders are still victims. #9 calls for unions to be eliminated and the reverse happened. Your facts again seem not to add up to truth. Just because you believe it to be true does not make it so. Currently, I think more citizens are claming they have rights than there are citizens claiming they have responsibilities.

    • Paul McDermott says

      Marshall,
      As usual you’ve missed the whole point of Dave Love’s article, which is that fascism can occur here in the United States. In fact, many of the characteristics of fascism are already present here in some nascent form. Take a look at Dr. Lawrence Britt’s 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism:

      http://www.rense.com/general37/fascism.htm

      Britt’s #9 has become more of a reality with the Supreme Court’s recent decision. An interesting point is that the term “corporatism” was the term coined before the term “fascism” became more popularly used.

      As an aside, Marshall, you claim that having lived in Europe, you speak the language. Which language is that??

      • Marshall says

        Same one the mass killer spoke, some English (not the same as ours), plus a little Russian, how about you? Do you think the oath keepers are in the fascism group? I notice you did not directly answer anything I said, you gave me hype but no facts. In the short of it, Love related the US to Germany under Hitler and having been in the company of blacks in the south during the 60s,I know how they were treated in some states but it was nothing like Germany under Hitler and it is not now as it was then.

  6. Marshall says

    The 14th was passed after the end of the War Between the States. It had a purpose then that is no longer the same, again our Constitution has grown. How many major countries can you name that have a law such that anyone born there, on vacation, sky dived in, or how ever they arrived, legal or illegal, becomes a citizen at birth?

    What churches of any faith have been set afire here with a motive as you satated?

    As for you history of Europe, having lived there for many years and spoke the language, I could just as well make a case that the French are to blame for the rise of Hitler. How much do you know of the history of the Weimar Republic? People there were paid twice daily due to inflation.

    I find much of what you say to be unfounded claims and based on no more fact than those who deny the US birth of Obama. In fact, you sound just like the right loons but you are the left loon. Just stick to the facts, John Lewis is yet to verify what has been said about his being called names but you loons can keep using the story over and over again. Verify first then speak..

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