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“You drop bombs on seven Muslim countries and then you wonder why Muslims are upset. Or you drop bombs on innocent Muslim children with U.S. drones and then you wonder why the gangsters, the fascists that are coming out of the Muslim world, are organizing.” – Dr Cornel West – in a recent interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!
“Thank God for Democracy Now! Journalism is almost dead as we move into this Neofascist age. And thank god you all are still willing to tell the truth. I think Trump is already betraying working people in terms of making sure that Wall Street is in the driver’s seat. And what I mean by that is that in an emerging Neofascist movement, you have the rule of big business, which is big banks and big corporations.” – Dr Cornel West
“Neofascists scapegoat the most vulnerable. It could be Muslims, Mexicans, gay brothers, lesbian sisters, indigenous peoples, black people, Jews, and so on. And then they also have militaristic orientations around the world. Under a Trump administration .it’s clear that the one percent will still be running things.” – Dr Cornel West
Over the past several decades, I have been researching and writing essays on such sobering subjects as militarism, war, suicidality, homicidality, PTSD, racism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, unfettered capitalism, anti-communism, anti-socialism, pro-war Christianity, punitive parenting, European fascism and it’s not-so-smiley-faced American variety which Dr Cornel West calls Neofascism.
“Dr West is currently proving his solidarity with other “vulnerable scapegoats” like the Sioux nation by heading out to Standing Rock to join the water protectors.”
I hope he arrived in time to celebrate the news that the US Army Corps of Engineers courageously refused to permit the Dakota Access Pipeline group to risk contaminating the life-giving water of the Standing Rock tribe by drilling under the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.
The exploitive, sociopathic oil sector corporation Energy Transfer Partners had foolishly squandered the investments of many members of the over-privileged billionaire investor class like Donald Trump, the dozens of big Wall Street banks, Enbridge, Phillips 66, Marathon Oil, etc by prematurely investing $3 billion + dollars into a scheme to drill under the sacred Missouri River and Lake Oahe without getting a federal permit first. I’m proud of many tribes of First Nations people for resisting the police state tactics of these big corporate powers, I am also proud of those thousands of altruistic military veterans who may have forced the hand of the authorities by intending to use their bodies to shield the more vulnerable native Americans from the violence of the police state.
In my writings over the years, I have dealt with issues such as sociopathy, corporate domination of our government (and our media), white supremacy, slavery, the lynchings of African-Americans, racial segregation, police shootings of unarmed people of color, American imperialism, American false flag ops, the many myths of mental illness, Conservative Christian Dominionist theology (that is pledged to overthrow American democracy in favor of a Christian theocratic state), and the Gestapo tactics increasingly used by American law enforcement.
The lessons that I have learned from my reading of world and American history have justifiably alarmed me, particularly the raw, uncensored history of America’s dark side that has been so well obscured in the mis-education and disinformation that most Americans received in our schooling and media consumption.
Because of my concerns about American propaganda (see last week’s column about Edward Bernays, the Father of American Propaganda), I have often tried to interest my readers into paying close attention to those same warning signs. In addition, I have tried to challenge my readers to start becoming active in the resistance movements that will be needed in the near future.. I sometimes have to wonder how effective my efforts have been. But when I have my doubts and need an impetus to keep on warning about potential dangers ahead, I only have to recall one of the axioms of the teaching profession, that “one never knows what influence a teacher has had on the student”. The positive turn of events out at Standing Rock should give every antifascist altruist courage to keep on keeping on.
Most of the issues noted in the opening paragraphs of this essay actually happened in pre-Nazi and Nazi Germany in the war-ravaged first half of the 20th century. It should give us all pause when we realize that similar events have been happening in America in the war-ravaged second half.
The Rise and Fall of the Third (and Fourth?) Reich
Reading into William Shirer’s 1,500 page classic The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany was a political and theological epiphany for me; but what alarmed me the most was that I could see that America was following the same fascist path as Germany did (albeit with leaders that didn’t shriek when they gave speeches and learned to smile for the cameras).
American troops were on the winning side in the war against fascism in Germany – although the soldiers of the USSR actually inflicted 80% of the Axis casualties on Germany and were the victims of 80% of the Allied casualties. Despite that, as soon as V-E Day had passed, America’s military and corporate leaders immediately and aggressively engaged in the Cold War against communist Russia.
America’s war-profiteering corporations saw the huge potential of keeping the war industries going strong when they normally should have been shut down in peacetime. These sociopathic entities were willing to keep sending its youth to kill and die in wars over economic systems that were only a concern for the investor classes.
And so, starting with the Cold War that led to the disastrous hot shooting war in Korea and then the even more disastrous Vietnam War, the Cold War kept the world on the brink of mutual bankruptcies (both moral and financial) and mutually-assured destruction (MAD).
The Cold War with the communist Russia was a situation that proved that, if “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, then every American president fighting against the communism- and Russian-hating enemy (including Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon and Reagan) were therefore allies of the equally communism- and Russian-hating fascists like Hitler, Goebbels and Goering, since each of those pro-capitalist leaders (from both America and Nazi Germany) were warring against the same anti-capitalist enemy that Hitler and his corporate sponsors had feared and hated so intensely.
Fascism in America?
The past year’s political events concerning Donald Trump’s far right-wing army of enthusiastic misogynistic white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-black, anti-Hispanic and anti-Islamic racists, xenophobes, homophobes, anti-Semites and Dominionist Christians that got him elected are a huge and understandable concern for fearful progressives and other skeptics who know the qualities of fascism and who know the difference between a normal person and a sociopath or a narcissist. (See below for definitions.)
And now it is apparent that Trump’s transition team is actively abandoning all of his beloved “poorly educated” army of justifiably angry, under-employed and impoverished white voters, for Trump has been letting his team name ultra-wealthy corporatists, vehement climate-change deniers, indoctrinated anti-science types, anti-public school pseudo-educators, anti-democratic corporatists, anti-democratic militarists, anti-democratic globalists, anti-democratic multibillionaires, anti-democratic Wall Street financiers, anti-democratic proto-fascists, indoctrinated anti-democratic Christian Dominionists and assorted over-privileged right-wing leaders to cabinet appointments and White House adviser roles.
As we all witnessed during the past election there appeared at Trump rallies a multitude of previously angry- and bored-with-politics, well-armed white folks who saw or heard something in Trump’s campaign promises that resonated with them. The same kind of energy happened with the progressive supporters of the democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. The major difference between the two candidates is that Adolf Hitler would have probably had Sanders and his supporters imprisoned, tortured and then executed, but he probably would have embraced the politics of Trump and many of his supporters (see the list of fascist traits below to judge for yourselves if this inflammatory comment holds water).
Many of Trump’s voters had been previously apolitical but sympathetic with such below-the-radar groups like the KKK, the militia movement, white supremacists, Hitler/Trump/swastika- saluting Neo-Nazis, anti-Islamic/anti-immigrant xenophobes, racists, anti-Semites, homophobes, itchy trigger-fingered wannabe street fighters who secretly bomb mosques and black churches and beat up innocent Muslims and blacks, deface Jewish cemeteries, and support arbitrary police violence against blacks and other minorities. The rise and fall of these groups over the past century have been well-documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU.
The words and actions taken by many of those pro-Trump groups have risen to stark visibility since the Tea Party insurgency which has culminated in the 2016 GOP primaries, where it was obvious that most of the candidates were far right-wing conservatives beholden to corporate, military and Conservative Christian power.
Proto-Fascist Sleeper Cells of Many Stripes are Everywhere
Definition: Theocracy is a form of government in which God is recognized as the ruler and his laws are administered by a priestly order as his ministers and agents. In the desired form of theocracy, according to the influential author, Christian Reconstructionist R. J. Rushdoony, the hoped-for theocratic government in the US, would abolish the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government (contrary to the First Amendment of the Constitution) and institute 19 more forms of crimes that would be punishable by death, according to the Old Testament.
Of course, it needs to be recognized that politically-active and very influential Christian Dominionists (http://www.theocracywatch.org/) have been taking over the Republican Party over the past couple of decades, and in every primary election cycle - especially since the Clinton presidency - they have been fielding candidates for school board, local, state and federal elections.
And every four years Christian Dominionists have campaigned for Republican presidential candidates who have been believers in strange and dangerous pseudo-biblical dogmas such as “the Rapture”, biblical inerrancy, a 6,000 year-young earth, Christian triumphalism, “creation (pseudo-)science”, the institution of 19 new capital crimes into US Law (that were listed in the pre-Christian Old Testament) and the institution of a biblically-based theocracy (Old Testament law - as opposed to the Sermon on the Mount teachings of Jesus that is the basis of New Testament ethics). Christian Fundamentalist Dominonist theocracy is hard to distinguish from Islamic Fundamentalist Sharia law (which is condemned so vociferously by conservative Christians). Some call it Christofascism.
Christian Fundamentalists that are firmly in power in the Republican Party (and the GOP-dominated House of Representatives) have succeeded in getting elected the born-again president George W. Bush and the born-again vice president-elect Mike Pence. Even the totally-incompetent-for-federal-office, born-again Dominionist Sarah Palin was the vice presidential candidate in 2008 with loser John McCain. (For much more, read “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” by Jeff Sharlet.)
Given the rise of fascism all around the world, it is a wonder that political analysts, talking heads and the voting public haven’t taught us sheep about the historical lessons of fascism and the many secret sleeper cells of proto-fascism everywhere. Many of these groups have been biding their time until it is their chance to rule – and now might be their appointed time. As Ralph Reed, Reagan-era Executive Director of Pat Robertson’s powerful sleeper cell, the Christian Coalition, said:
“What Christians have got to do is take back this country, one precinct at a time, one neighborhood at a time and one state at a time. I honestly believe that in my lifetime, we will see a country once again governed by Christians...and Christian values.” “I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” - Ralph Reed
It is almost as if our media talking heads and our centrist politicians are purposely trying to ignore the historical lessons that should have been learned since the fall of the Third Reich. Mussolini’s and Hitler’s varieties of fascism should have warned us about the dangers of our own creeping American fascism.
I end with a few lists to hone the early warning systems of we potential victims of American-style fascism who might be on the enemy’s lists of those in new positions of power in the Trump administration
I start with Dr Lawrence Britt’s 14 characteristics of fascism, a list of 7 characteristics of sociopathic/psychopathic/anti-social personality disorder and end with a list of 9 characteristics of narsissistic personality disorder, all virtually incurable disorders – only partly because the victims don’t think they have anything wrong with them and therefore don’t seek help!
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
By Lawrence Britt, PhD
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights .
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
5. Rampant sexism
6. A controlled mass media
7. Obsession with national security
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
9. Power of corporations protected
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent elections
The 7 Characteristics of Sociopathic or Psychopathic Personality Disorder
(only three are needed to make a
• Callous disregard for the feelings of other people
• Incapacity to maintain human relationships
• Reckless disregard for the safety of others
• Deceitfulness (repeated lying and conning others for profit)
• Incapacity to experience guilt, and
• Failure to conform to social norms and respect for the law
Other common sociopathic traits include:
Lack of remorse for evils done to others
Indifferent to the suffering of its victims
Rationalizes (makes excuses for) having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others
Willingness to exploit, seduce or manipulate others
No sign of delusional or irrational thinking
Commonly above average intelligence
Always looking for ways to make money or achieve fame or notoriety
Willing to cause or contribute to the financial ruin of others
Cannot be trusted to adhere to conventional standards of morality
The 9 Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
(aka, “pathological self-love”)
(only five are needed to make the diagnosis)
1. A grandiose sense of self-importance, superiority and talent and expects to be recognized as superior
2. A preoccupation with unlimited success, beauty, brilliance, ideal love, power, or wealth
3. A belief in being special and unique and can only be understood or should only be associated with people of high status
4. Requires excessive admiration (especially applause)
5. An unreasonable sense of entitlement and an expectation of being treated with favor or expecting an automatic compliance to his or her wishes
6. Is interpersonally exploitive, taking advantage of others to achieve his or her goals
7. Lacks empathy
8. Believes that others are envious of him (or is envious of others)
9. Exhibits arrogant or haughty attitudes or behaviors