Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tea With Mussolini, Bourbon With Huey Long and Milk With James Dobson

How Do You Define America's Newest Fascism?
(No, Not Fashion - FASCISM!)

O.K., let's really talk about Christofascism. You've read about it in this blog ad infinitum, but I've never really sought to define it in terms we can all understand. First of all, Fascism is the antithesis of democracy. It's cloaked as a populist movement involving everyone. In a sense, it is extreme nationalism led by one person, usually a dictator, or a small group of people. When does it occur? It takes advantage of social crisis and political upheaval. Here are two very distinct definitions of Fascism from two distinct leaders:
"Fascism, which was not afraid to call itself reactionary. . .does not hesitate to call itself illiberal and anti-liberal."
--Benito Mussolini

"If fascism came to America, it would be on a program of Americanism."

--Huey P. Long

As Matthew N. Lyons writes in his chapter in "Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash:"

"Fascism is hostile to Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism, yet it borrows concepts and practices from all three. Fascism rejects the principles of class struggle and workers' internationalism as threats to national or racial unity, yet it often exploits real grievances against capitalists and landowners through ethnic scapegoating or radical-sounding conspiracy theories. Fascism rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights, political pluralism, and representative government, yet it advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use parliamentary channels in its drive to power. Its vision of a "new order" clashes with the conservative attachment to tradition-based institutions and hierarchies, yet fascism often romanticizes the past as inspiration for national rebirth."

Huey Long, Louisiana Governor and Senator, was often described in fascist terms: he was a populist, no doubt, and he was very, very power-hungry in the end, but his contributions to the State of Louisiana are undisputed. He was thought to be corrupt and he certainly took cronyism to new heights, but there was an aura about him which the people of Louisiana worshipped. He admitted to some of his shady politics, but said that things could not be done for his constituents without political slight-of-hand and outright bribes.

So, who is today's preeminent Fascist? The Christofascist James Dobson. He tauts liberty and (religious) freedom, but has he become a nationalist to be admired - or feared? There is no doubt that he is a Dominionist:

(From Wikipedia):

Dobson's Family Research Council is identified as an dominionist organization by TheocracyWatch, which says that the Congressional scorecard of the Family Research Council illustrates its success and the strength of dominionists in Congress. It is claimed that Dobson's teachings include many tenets of the Dominionist movement.

Dobson is cited by social observers and the press as a leading figure in the Dominionism movement.A May 2005 article in Harpers described Dobson as "perhaps the most powerful figure in the Dominionist movement" and "a crucial player in getting out the Christian vote for George W. Bush."One ministry described Dobson as "One of its [the Dominionism movement] most powerful leaders."

Dobson stresses that parents must uphold their authority and do so consistently, comparing the relationship between parents and disobedient children to a battle: "When you are defiantly challenged, win decisively." In The Strong-Willed Child, Dobson draws an analogy between the defiance of a family pet and that of a small child, and concludes that "just as surely as a dog will occasionally challenge the authority of his leaders, so will a little child — only more so.

(emphasis in original)

Dobson's Dominionism would not be a problem if it did not have a strong Reconstructionist bent: Dobson sees a Fascist Theocracy for America and, if he lives long enough, with him as its Christian-only pope. His attack dog, Tony Perkins, a semi-literate old choir boy (alright, I'll stop it), a graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University, hosts a "Values Voters' Summit," before election time. Basically, it's a "Dobson for Holy Dictator" rally that seems like it focuses on the family, but in reality acts as a hate group against its current "family crisis": homosexuality, in particular, same-sex marriage.

Of course, same-sex marriage is the convenient anti-family demon. That and abortion. But what if it didn't have these two things to vent it's rage on?

Christofascists would find something else. It's true that "Fundamentalism" in its current form is fairly recent (1920s) as a reaction to "modernism", but Christofascism has a much longer history. We had a form of it in the Puritan colonies, Spain's expulsion of the Jews and even as far back as the closing of Plato's Academy (by the early bishops of Christianity).

And its strength is something we all should worry about: the pulpit and the voting booth have joined together as never before in our country. Strange, isn't it, that we're becoming exactly what we sought freedom from: one of the reasons for the American Revolution was freedom from the Anglican Church (Church of England).

If Dobson gets his way, there will be a new kind of government for America.


BTW: What kind of person other than a dictator would have his "Christmas jacket" on display? Let's hope that his clothes aren't revered as saintly relics. Dobson too should beware: dictators - theocratic or not - are sometimes deposed, and not in a civilized fashion. Below is a picture of Mussolini, his body on a meathook on display in Milan.

Have a nice day.

They Want YOU!

...To Act Like An American!

Today is the birth date of James Montgomery Flagg, the artist who gave us the definitive Uncle Sam (b. June 18, 1877)

The image he created was meant to be formidable (for a recruitment poster in WWI), and it projects what many foreign countries see us as: a stern man pointing a finger accusingly. He might even be saying "Look Out! You're Next!"