A series of essays and reflections. I try to write at least once and sometimes more each week. Opposing views are most welcome. This is a marketplace of ideas blog.
27 February 2017
In Episode V of Star Wars, a major climactic moment is the light sabre fight between Lord Vader and Luke Skywalker. As the duel progressives, Vader tries to talk Luke into joining him. He tries to convince Luke that if they join forces and crush the rebellion, they can bring order. That is his goal and he offers it as a virtue.
In the 1930's, the model fascist State was Italy. Mussolini until his army proved remarkably inept in Ethiopia and Greece, had been the model. Franco, Salazar, and yes Hitler all made trips to Rome to see how it was done. Hitler would add State anti-Semitism and and effective military. As Germany bailed Italy out in Greece and Africa, Hitler would eventually surpass Mussolini. What strikes me as relevant from that earlier time is the almost universal comment by Americans and other visitors was that the Fascists had made the trains run on time. That imposition of efficiency was seen as success, and an alteration of the somewhat sloppy Italian culture that was remarkable.
We must have, I hear, order. The same lunatic gun lobby that proclaimed a right to shoot Federal agents in Wyoming and Montana now wants to attack Standing Rock Lakota and their "liberal" allies. There is as my favorite rock song proclaims, something happening here.
Back in the 1930's Hitler showed the world that what fascism needs is an enemy. So also Communism needed an evil enemy. Hitler proclaimed Jews the enemies of the "volk," while Stalin discovered, "counter revolutionaries" who were enemies of the Soviet People. If any of that sounds the least bit familiar, you have been paying attention to Mr. Trump, and his tools, Steve Bannon and Steven Miller. The press, paid protesters, and the evil intellectuals are the enemies of the people.
Wayne La Pierre declared in his CPAC speech that gun owners, "have the president's back." http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/short-enemies-nras-lapierre-invents-new-one He also brought back the big lie technique with his reference to $1500 a week payments for protesters which he knows or should know is a lie. Mark Shields observed on PBS last Friday that declaring the press the enemy of the people is where dictatorships begin.
So here we are at the moment when the desire for order over-rides (a card player might say,"trumps") liberty. The opposite of order is not chaos, it is freedom. We are slipping into a time when order will be the overwhelming motive of the State. Authoritarianism is always excused by finding an enemy of the people and of order. That way lies fascism.