A Fascism of Our Own?

Jonah Goldberg — eminently qualified for such a statement, as he is — suggests that the Obama-as-Hitler rhetoric is over the top, not the least because it underestimates the American people:

… there’s a problem. Many folks claim to see in Obama the makings of an actual Hitler and in Obamaism a repeat of the National Socialism of the 1930s. Worse, some think my book supports their fears. And maybe it does, though I hope not.
The simple truth is that I do not think it is in the cards for America to go down a Nazi path. I never said otherwise in Liberal Fascism, either.
It’s important to keep in mind that, as bad as various other avowedly fascist regimes were, only the Nazis did what they did. Mussolini was a bad man and a dictator, but he was no Hitler. The Italians did bad things, but they don’t amount to a fraction of German crimes. Supposedly fascist Franco wasn’t nearly as bad as Mussolini, and Franco’s complicity in the Holocaust was nil. In other words, fascism brings out things in specific cultures at specific moments. Not only is Obama obviously not interested in being a Hitler, he couldn’t pull Hitlerism out of the American people if he wanted to.

Of course, we should also keep in mind that, on the road to serfdom, the fascist dictator comes after the central planners have utterly failed.

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OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Here are a few earmarks of fascism. Most of these have been adopted by one side. I’ll let you consider whether they are tugs from the Left or the Right. 1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. 2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. Consider: · Torture victim’s records lost at Guantánamo, admits camp general. · Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture. · Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes · Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses. · Guantanamo Judge: I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ’international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.” 3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are… Read more »

Will
11 years ago

Fascism, in the simplest terms, has largely to do with strict government control over private industry, while maintaining the outward appearance of private control.
President Obama has certainly been moving us in that direction, but one could hardly say that he hasn’t had some high level help along the way.
I’ve never been a fan of the Obama as Hitler analogy because it just doesn’t fit the facts, plus it does tend to undervalue what Hitler actually did. It’s one of the reasons why I do not like when people displaying those kind of signs (who are supporters of fringe Democrat Lyndon LaRouche) show up at town halls and that sort of thing, when they actually have nothing to do with the event, nor anything constructive to contribute.
OTL, why not just say that you hate everything about America, and get it overwith?
I don’t think that patriotism equals fascism. You can be proud of your country without wanting to stomp on all your neighboring countries.
Our country’s only standard is the US Constitution. International law is vaguely defined at best, and should only be applied in the absence of national law. It cannot be used to trump it when there is a legitimate and functioning representative government.

Robert Balliot
11 years ago

Please note this ironic example by ‘Will’ essentially proving OTL’s argument: OTL, why not just say that you hate everything about America, and get it overwith? Somehow these radical departures from American traditions have become ‘American’ qualities rather than anomalies and criticism is anti-American: 1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. 2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. Consider: · Torture victim’s records lost at Guantánamo, admits camp general. · Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture. · Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes · Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses. · Guantanamo Judge: I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ’international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.” 3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist… Read more »

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

Obama as Hitler is complete nonsense. Though it doesn’t even seem like it’s necessary to do so, Goldberg does an excellent job enumerating the reasons.

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Will,
I notice that you ignored the 6 earmarks of fascism – didn’t bother to comment on any of them and simply declared that I should just say that I hate everything about America.
I hate this country so much that I volunteered to serve in its military for three years. I also put time in working for The National Security Agency. If I wanted to be unkind I could ask you how much of your life have you set aside for active duty. If I cared to I could call you an arm chair patriot who backs our troops from 3,000 miles away. It ain’t exclusively your country and it ain’t exclusively your flag and our patriots ain’t exactly what you want them to be. Move over and celebrate our diversity, you pot who calls the kettle black.
If I’m wrong, just tell us about how you put your ass on the line and answered the call to active duty otherwise, I’ll accept your apology for leaping before you looked, and write it off as a petty prejudice from a very narrow person.
OldTimeLefty

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