IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!! The Bulldog Manifesto Misconceptions Relating to Fascism - The Bulldog Manifesto

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Misconceptions Relating to Fascism

As some of you know, recently I've been posting about fascism in America. One thing I've noticed-- there certainly are a lot of misconceptions about fascism floating around. Often, many people confuse totalitarianism with fascism. In my view, thats like confusing God with religion. Look at it this way, just as religion is merely used as a conduit to God. Fascism is merely used as a conduit to totalitarianism. Religion is not God. Fascism is not totalitarianism. Just as religiously minded people are seeking God, fascists seek complete authority and control. But please dont confuse the method for the result.

Now, the right wing's metamorphosis into quasi-fascism isn't obvious to everybody because there's nothing distinctly exceptional about any single aspect of it. Indeed, much of it seems all too familiar.

Perhaps what blinds some people's vision is that its become common to think of fascism as primarily a European phenomenon. After all, fascism was personified, in its most "memorable" form, in the national identities of Germany and Italy. In Germany, as embodied by the Nazi Party, fascism was replete with Germanic imagery and symbolism. Mussolini's fascism in Italy similarly suggested its national heritage.

And its quite possible that some people have a mythical belief that fascism died with Adolph Hitler. But can an idea die just because a man dies? Fascism is an ideology. And for better or for worse, ideologies never seem to die, they just get passed on and renamed. Its quite possible that fascism has lulled us into a sleep, into a false belief that it doesn't exist anymore, that it was cremated in 1945. Or better yet, perhaps it left such an indelible mark on us, in the form of Naziism, that we wrongly assume that it can only manifest in the same exact form. Essentially, some people likely believe that, similar to 'obscenity', they would 'know fascism if they saw it".

But what if fascism has changed-- not necessarily in its essence, but in its exterior form? What if fascism has merely evolved, adapted, and marketed itself for the 21st Century? Would the American public see it coming? Or are they too conditioned to believe that a fascist only wears a swastika? Or perhaps, because the word "fascist" has become used so often in the perjorative, many people simply dismiss the term as the 'boy who cried wolf.'

In 1935, Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis stated, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross." And as David Neiwert stated in his masterful 7-part series:
"Fascism always wraps itself in the flag, always seeks absolute power, always brands opponents as traitors, always relies heavily on propaganda for dissemination of its ideas, always invokes subversive enemies (at home and abroad), always embraces militarism and permanent war, always favors politicizing of police functions (and expanding them and the surveillance state), always scorns intellectuals, artists, and bourgeois democratic values, always is hostile to leftist and labor movements, and is obsessed with idealized images of a mythic "better time" of the past (while at the same time destroying that past, and the nation as a whole)."
The truth is, so as long as there is an opportunity to seize power, then the potential for fascism remains with us.

For a democratic body politik, fascism must be recognized as soon as possible and dealt with accordingly, otherwise, like a cancer, it will consume the body. After all, as Neiwart says:
"Fascism rejects liberal ideas such as freedom and individual rights, and often presses for the destruction of elections, legislatures, and other elements of democracy. Despite the idealistic goals of fascism, attempts to build fascist societies have led to wars and persecutions that caused millions of deaths. As a result, fascism is strongly associated with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism, and violence."
And thus I ask you this again... Who is more dangerous? The so-called terrorists or the so-called fascists?

(For an in-depth look at Fascism, the Republican Party, and the Pseudo Fascist Campaign, I highly recommend reading the work of David Neiwart at Orcinus. He won the 2004 Sandy Koufax Award for his 7 part series.)

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hey i blogmarked ur blog...just reading ur blog will give good knowledge in politics...great blog...

A really interesting post. Having just lived in Warsaw for two years, you don't get past Hitler when it comes to discussions on fascism. Cool blog!

Very well written post! People seem to think that the only way you can compare anyone to the nazis is if there is genocide committed. While that is the worst of Hitler's crimes, it's not really the only aspect of the man and his tactics and ideology.

Kudos, very well put - I'm linking to you immediately.

Right now, the terrorists are more dangerous, because we still have enough democratic infrastructure in place to throw out the fascists, whereas we have no control over the terrorists. But that may be changing.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

On a side note, you misspelled "necessarily" as "neccesarily" in the fifth paragraph.

Wow, excellent blog. I happened upon it through blog explosion & I'll be sure to visit again.

Who are more dangerous? The terrorist are. They are real. While the "fascists" are just a figment of your hatred.

the fascinating thing about fascism is its speed. steps toward the fascist society happen so slowly that people don't recognize it and so fast that by the time enough people recognize it, it's too late.

is there any example of fascism rising up in a country and failing?

Great analysis. Most people don't know what fascism really means. I just heard that Bill O'Reilly called the ACLU "fascists" on his radio show today. Not only is he an ignorant hate-filled imperialist lackey moron, but he is a fascist himself.

Great blog, despite the fact that I lean to the right. If you are really interested in fascism and its root causes, etc. you should take a look at some postmodern philosophy. Postmodernists have been trying to tell us for years to abandon the project-related goals of modernity lest we create another society like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

Great Blog, and some very, very well written ideas about what's happening in America today.

The left has an undergraduate fixation for the term fascist. I wonder if anyone knows what it means anymore.

I challenge you to tell everyone, now, about the oppression you're suffering. Please share.

Would you dare to compare your struggles to that of a woman living under the Taliban?

Or that of a Kurd in pre-Invasion Iraq?

Or that of a Christian in Nigeria?

Or that of a Jew in Belarus?

Or that of a homosexual in Saudi Arabia?

Or that of a pro-democracy student activist in China?

Or that of a petty thief in Iran?

Or that of a Jew in Hitler's Germany?

Or that of a starving child in Sudan?

Shall I go on..?

Much like flag-burning, casually blogging about oppression when you're free to do so, is no statement at all.

More disturbing is the manner in which you and the left trivialize actual oppression in your eternal quest for victim status.

Worse, you dilute the meaning of the words used to describe it.

This type of self-indulgent exploration can be afforded only by the truly free.

more cowbell,

Thanks for the post. Its funny that you thnk that all of us liberals have a pedestrian understanding of fascism, then you go on to exhibit your complete misunderstanding of the ideology. You confuse oppression for fascism. Sorry, thats just a small element in the case for fascism.

Did you see my prior post regarding the 14 elements of fascism? Please go take a look. You have rasied merely one of the elements, namely, "Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause"

If you dont think that this nation has begun to scapegoat Mexicans (for all of the economic and immigration problems), muslims (for all the terrorist problems) and gays (for the corruption of marriage), liberals (for any other problem not heretofor mentioned) then you are blind to the building storm.

I suggest you take a look at some of the legislation that is currently on the shelves, waiting for the right time to enact. If you think the oppression is not about to be ratcheted up, then your are not paying attention.

And what about the 13 other elements of fascism?

Sorry Charlie, but I think your understanding of fascism is the problem here. You equate raw oppression to fascism. A starving child in Sudan is not fascist, per se. It ain't that simple, my friend.

Anyway, thanks for the post. I don't expect everybody will be willing to consider this, in fact, in my posts, which I highly doubt you thoroughly read, I even make mention of this. There will always be those people who simply assume without question that "this country could never be fascist."

Bulldog, thank you for your response. Frankly, your civility surprises me considering the tone lately in this country. I appreciate it and will return it in kind.

And, I will continue to read your posts - in their entirety.

It's not that your positions aren't valid - I would bet, even, that your heart is in the right place.

However, you did not answer my question.

It's true fascism and oppression are two distinct concepts. However, fascism without oppression is like war without weapons.

Please provide some evidence in *your* life of this. If such powerful fascists actually exist, your name should be on a blacklist, shouldn't it?

Oppressed peoples living under actual fascism have nothing of what take for granted everyday. I've met them. I've studied them and their suffering in detail.

Apart from the human soul, there is little we have in common with them.

We enjoy peace, security, luxury, property rights (despite Kelo) and freedoms they can't imagine.

I worry that to compare our struggles with theirs borders on insulting and risks drowning out their cries with Orwellian "white noise" in attempts to commiserate.

Theirs is a life plagued by civil wars, honor murders, female circumcision, rape, genocide, disease, child soldiers, hunger, illiteracy, and poverty most Americans can't imagine.

Why? It's not that they're unlucky and that you and I are fortunate. It's because they live under actual fascism run by actual fascists.

They would not understand what you're getting at and nor do I.

You mention some groups you believe are scapegoated (Mexicans, homosexuals, Muslims, etc...) yet each group thrives in this country in mass numbers. Even illegals take part in our prosperity. That's quite the opposite of subjugation under the yoke of fascism.

This last week for me was not unique from that of most Americans. I don't watch much tv, yet I saw many ads for gay themed shows when the tv was on. It's hard not to. Gay culture is a large % of pop culture. For what it's worth, my family spent last weekend with friends who happen to be a gay couple. Not exactly refugee status for them either.

I know a handful of Southeast Asians, Middle-Eastern folks (Jordanians, Indians, Pakistanis, Indonesians). None of them are afraid to speak their minds and are middle to upper class economically.

Again, my experience is not unique. Most Americans have this in their day to day, week to week.

The only scapegoating I'm able to discern lately is broad charges and distortions leveled at Christians as a whole from the left. You're not doing that, are you?

Thank you for affording me an opportunity to voice my opinion on your blog. Although, we disagree, it's very well done. I will bookmark it.

I look forward to your response.

Cheers - more cowbell

Dear Cowbell,
I will give you some examples of oppression.
I am an atheist Unitarian who attends a Unitarian Fellowship regularly, has never been arrested, earns money and pays taxes.
My fellowship was spray-painted. I cannot put my son in Boy Scouts without asking him to lie. I am afraid that my son would be tormented in the public schools here the way our Jewish atheist friend's son is, by faculty and students. When I taught in a university, I was asked by my boss to be careful about expressing my views "in the current political climate."
Is this as bad as others are experiencing? No. It's not even as bad as the detainees in Guantanamo are experiencing without any legal recourse. But it always starts like this.

I hear you weirsdo.

I believe your challenges are real and unfortunate. I have similar stories myself.

Try standing up as a Conservative or a Christian at an Art School or at a very liberal workplace. I did both risked a lot by doing so.

I was physically intimidated in college and ridiculed often at both college and work because I wasn't a Socialist/Marxist and I followed Christ. (Believe it or not, I played in a punk band too - making it really hard on myself.) :)

But, convictions take courage, my friend. People of faith are no stranger to this as you'll agree. The New Testament and Hebrew scriptures are full of stories like ours. If you believe, you will face resistance.

I don't think the Left has a monopoly on being made to feel different and I don't think we'll ever legislate away ridicule or bigotry completely.

I certainly don't put our stories in the same ballpark, league, or even the same game as those living under fascists.

The difference is what we're doing now - debating via Internet. Not fixing bayonets to charge across trenches at one another.

I'll stay on the lookout here at home, but I think our attentions our needed by others suffering greatly in the Third World.

more cowbell,

I will always return civility with civility. I don't have a problem with disagreement, so long as its respectful. And I do think your post was respectful.

I can completely see where you are coming from. Yes, fascism in this country has not reached the full blown level as exhibited elsewhere in time and space. But, in my humble view, our policies over the past 25 years (notice, that includes a democrat president!) have taken us closer and closer. And in the last 4 years, the process has quickened quite considerably.

The Patriot Act, Guantanomo Bay, the war in Iraq, the media consolidation, the disputed election of 2000, the attempts at Patriot Act II and the flag burning amendment, the suggestion by former General Tommy Franks of the potential necessity for "martial law" should another major terrorist attack take place (he said this in an interview in Cigar Afficianado), the attacks on the ACLU (Bill O'Reilly just called them "jihadists" the other night) and liberals in general, the destruction of the workers unions (only 12% of American workers are unionized now), the rapid growth of the federal government, the limitations on gun ownership, the mixture of church and state (government "faith based programs"), the lack of tolerance for those less fortunate, the fact that our military budget equals 50% of all discretionary federal spending, the move towards corporate welfare and away from individual welfare, the Echelon project, Operation Northwoods (although that was over 40 years ago, it recently came to light, and I think it speaks VOLUMES!!), attempts at constitutional amendments banning same sex marriages, and beyond all of this, what draws my attention is the rhetoric which seems to be getting more and more hateful. Namely, the rhetoric against the muslims, gays, and the latino populations. The rhetoric against people who want peace. The rhetoric against the intellectuals, the artists, and the dissenters.

What about the way they managed to pass the first Patriot Bill? Reminded me of the way the Enabling Act was imposed on Germany in the 30's.

Heck, look at the bill James Sensenbrenner is trying to pass. The bill would make it a criminal offense if somebody who witnesses a drug crime didn't report it within 24 hours.

And Patriot Bill 2, they had this bill marked confidentaial for the longest time. How the heck can they get away with keeping legislation that effects our civil liberties marked as confidential? Thats certainly not democratic. Its smacks of fascism.

The purpose of fascism is the attainment of complete power. This administration has constantly thumbed its nose at dissent and the actual democratic process. Do you remember when Sensenbrenner cut of the microphones and adjourned a congressional hearing unilateraly because he didn't like what the testimony was going to be about? Regardless of what the testimony was, he had no right. But worse than that, he got away with it. Nobody even censured him. Thats tyranny, my friend.

Or what about the fact that the minority party has time and time again been denied vital congressional hearings? They have also been denied the right to investigate matters that are of utmost importance to America's national interest. If it wasn't for the CIA requiring the justice department to act, they wouldn't have investigate the outing of Valerie Plame!

We might not be at totalitarianism yet, but the snowball is getting larger each day. Its only via discussion, such as this, that we may be able to keep it from happening. But these types of discussion need to be taking place in the national media. But its just not happening.

I'm afraid the right has given far too much power to the President. They simply go along with anything he says. And when the legislative, executive, judiciary, and the media are all now on the Right side of the political spectrum, there is no self restraint.

Can you believe that a president's lawyer actually gave an American president legal advise that permitted the use of torture? Is this American? How about the fact that, pursuant to Patriot I, the government can conduct secret searches? They can now investigate American citizens without probable cause so long as the government simply says its for "intelligence matters". They can also detain American citizens (in military custody) who are suspected of terrorism (suspected!) wihout being charged and without access to an attorney.

Non-citizens can now be jailed on mere suspicion, without a crime being committed, denied legal counself nor judicial review for six months and potentially beyond.

8,000 Arabs have been interrogated for no good reason except their skin color and ethnicity.

Yes, we lost 3000 people on 9/11. But the truth is, none of this will make us any safer. Look at Iraq, we have that country patroled by 140,000 troops, under martial law, without a bill of rights, and still there is "terrorism". We are vulnerable, and we will always be vulnerable. But there wasn't major terrorism for the first 150 years of country's existence. It wasn't until we became the world's hegemone that terrorism came to us. If you squeeze people too much, you leave them no choice but violent resistance.

The only way to stop terrorism is for us to stope acting like terrorists. We need to get the heck out the Middle East, close down at least half of our 170 bases around the world in over 100 countries, and perhaps, after we actually acted like a global citizen rather than a global thug, we might be able to live in peace.

Why arent countries like Mexico, or Guatemala, or Costa Rica, etc, getting attacked by terrorists? BEcause they do as to others as they would have others do unto them. They live and let live.

You spoke of Christianity. I love Christianity. But I'm not seeing a lot of Chrisitianity these days. I'm seeing people using the cross for their profits and self interests. I know its cliche, but who would Jesus bomb? Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be the sons of god. This administration has us believe that war equates to peace. It never has, and it never will. Peace equates to peace.

A true christian would not bomb an entire country because one alleged criminal happened to take shelter there. A true christian nation would bring that man to justice. Justice, not revenge. There is a big difference.

As for Christians getting a bum rap in this country, yes, its has happened. But I believe it has happened because some so-called christian groups have been nothing short of intolerant to others. We have our share of religious zealots in this country, and unfortunately, the media always loves to publicize the loudest and angriest people (that applies across the board to every religion, race, etc.)

We never get to hear from the Christians who want peace. I'm always amazed at how the same people who supposedly care for the sanctity of human life have no issue with the taking of innocent life as "collateral damage".

OK, I'll stop now. :-)

Forgive the rant. I just had to get it all out.

Well, glad to hear we at least agree about guns! Well said though, I see very little of it as you do, but I will fight for your right to say it.

It's too late for a point by point - maybe later ;)

One note about Christianity as I see it. Don't confuse Christianity with pacificism. Christians like me believe evil exists and taht we have an obligation to confront it. In the case for war, I believe no single arrest would have stopped the Third Reich either.

good night and blog on!

We know what happens when good men do nothing.

more cowbell,

I had a feeling you'd at least agree with me about the guns. I'm for the Bill of Rights, all of it. I'm tired of seeing each part of it stripped away. And I certainly dont want to see them pass amendements (amendments!) that take rights away. Thats just lunacy to me.

As for the Christianity not equaling pacifism, I'd probably disagree with you, and I'd say that Martin Luther King Jr. would have too. Unfortuantely, the words of Jesus has been drowned out by the word of man, namely, politco-religious leaders who enjoy their positions more than the Word.

I cant find too much in Jesus's actual teachings (and I'm a big "fan" of the Gospel of Thomas) that would support this country's actions. As for "fighting evil", I respectfully suggest you re-read the Book of Matthew. Who is to say that it is not US that is evil. Judge not, lest ye be judged.(Matthew 7:1) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.....thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother's eye (Matthew 7:5)...therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS." (Matthew 7:12)

Please indulge me in reading the following:
Ye Shall Know the Truth....

About.com had a few things to say about fascism, including "Fascism is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot without ever being very carefully defined." I agree, but what they generally have in common is a ruthless disregard for humanity.

Sorry to harp on this, Cowbell, but I think you may have missed a key point (Bulldog didn't in his response, though). I did not list the many times when I was made to feel uncomfortable personally by the general atmosphere or remarks made to me regarding my beliefs and my ability to parent, etc. All the instances I listed, except the students in the public school, were either institutionally sponsored or attacks on institutions I belong to. So this was not just liberal whining but instances where institutional corruption tending toward theocratic fascism touched my life. By contrast, most of your instances sound like personal attacks, regrettable, but not indicative of the direction in which institutional authority is tending in this country. To the extent that I'm wrong, sorry, and of course those things shouldn't be happening to you either.

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hey i blogmarked ur blog...just reading ur blog will give good knowledge in politics...great blog...

A really interesting post. Having just lived in Warsaw for two years, you don't get past Hitler when it comes to discussions on fascism. Cool blog!

Very well written post! People seem to think that the only way you can compare anyone to the nazis is if there is genocide committed. While that is the worst of Hitler's crimes, it's not really the only aspect of the man and his tactics and ideology.

Kudos, very well put - I'm linking to you immediately.

Right now, the terrorists are more dangerous, because we still have enough democratic infrastructure in place to throw out the fascists, whereas we have no control over the terrorists. But that may be changing.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

On a side note, you misspelled "necessarily" as "neccesarily" in the fifth paragraph.

Wow, excellent blog. I happened upon it through blog explosion & I'll be sure to visit again.

Who are more dangerous? The terrorist are. They are real. While the "fascists" are just a figment of your hatred.

the fascinating thing about fascism is its speed. steps toward the fascist society happen so slowly that people don't recognize it and so fast that by the time enough people recognize it, it's too late.

is there any example of fascism rising up in a country and failing?

Great analysis. Most people don't know what fascism really means. I just heard that Bill O'Reilly called the ACLU "fascists" on his radio show today. Not only is he an ignorant hate-filled imperialist lackey moron, but he is a fascist himself.

Great blog, despite the fact that I lean to the right. If you are really interested in fascism and its root causes, etc. you should take a look at some postmodern philosophy. Postmodernists have been trying to tell us for years to abandon the project-related goals of modernity lest we create another society like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

Great Blog, and some very, very well written ideas about what's happening in America today.

The left has an undergraduate fixation for the term fascist. I wonder if anyone knows what it means anymore.

I challenge you to tell everyone, now, about the oppression you're suffering. Please share.

Would you dare to compare your struggles to that of a woman living under the Taliban?

Or that of a Kurd in pre-Invasion Iraq?

Or that of a Christian in Nigeria?

Or that of a Jew in Belarus?

Or that of a homosexual in Saudi Arabia?

Or that of a pro-democracy student activist in China?

Or that of a petty thief in Iran?

Or that of a Jew in Hitler's Germany?

Or that of a starving child in Sudan?

Shall I go on..?

Much like flag-burning, casually blogging about oppression when you're free to do so, is no statement at all.

More disturbing is the manner in which you and the left trivialize actual oppression in your eternal quest for victim status.

Worse, you dilute the meaning of the words used to describe it.

This type of self-indulgent exploration can be afforded only by the truly free.

more cowbell,

Thanks for the post. Its funny that you thnk that all of us liberals have a pedestrian understanding of fascism, then you go on to exhibit your complete misunderstanding of the ideology. You confuse oppression for fascism. Sorry, thats just a small element in the case for fascism.

Did you see my prior post regarding the 14 elements of fascism? Please go take a look. You have rasied merely one of the elements, namely, "Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause"

If you dont think that this nation has begun to scapegoat Mexicans (for all of the economic and immigration problems), muslims (for all the terrorist problems) and gays (for the corruption of marriage), liberals (for any other problem not heretofor mentioned) then you are blind to the building storm.

I suggest you take a look at some of the legislation that is currently on the shelves, waiting for the right time to enact. If you think the oppression is not about to be ratcheted up, then your are not paying attention.

And what about the 13 other elements of fascism?

Sorry Charlie, but I think your understanding of fascism is the problem here. You equate raw oppression to fascism. A starving child in Sudan is not fascist, per se. It ain't that simple, my friend.

Anyway, thanks for the post. I don't expect everybody will be willing to consider this, in fact, in my posts, which I highly doubt you thoroughly read, I even make mention of this. There will always be those people who simply assume without question that "this country could never be fascist."

Bulldog, thank you for your response. Frankly, your civility surprises me considering the tone lately in this country. I appreciate it and will return it in kind.

And, I will continue to read your posts - in their entirety.

It's not that your positions aren't valid - I would bet, even, that your heart is in the right place.

However, you did not answer my question.

It's true fascism and oppression are two distinct concepts. However, fascism without oppression is like war without weapons.

Please provide some evidence in *your* life of this. If such powerful fascists actually exist, your name should be on a blacklist, shouldn't it?

Oppressed peoples living under actual fascism have nothing of what take for granted everyday. I've met them. I've studied them and their suffering in detail.

Apart from the human soul, there is little we have in common with them.

We enjoy peace, security, luxury, property rights (despite Kelo) and freedoms they can't imagine.

I worry that to compare our struggles with theirs borders on insulting and risks drowning out their cries with Orwellian "white noise" in attempts to commiserate.

Theirs is a life plagued by civil wars, honor murders, female circumcision, rape, genocide, disease, child soldiers, hunger, illiteracy, and poverty most Americans can't imagine.

Why? It's not that they're unlucky and that you and I are fortunate. It's because they live under actual fascism run by actual fascists.

They would not understand what you're getting at and nor do I.

You mention some groups you believe are scapegoated (Mexicans, homosexuals, Muslims, etc...) yet each group thrives in this country in mass numbers. Even illegals take part in our prosperity. That's quite the opposite of subjugation under the yoke of fascism.

This last week for me was not unique from that of most Americans. I don't watch much tv, yet I saw many ads for gay themed shows when the tv was on. It's hard not to. Gay culture is a large % of pop culture. For what it's worth, my family spent last weekend with friends who happen to be a gay couple. Not exactly refugee status for them either.

I know a handful of Southeast Asians, Middle-Eastern folks (Jordanians, Indians, Pakistanis, Indonesians). None of them are afraid to speak their minds and are middle to upper class economically.

Again, my experience is not unique. Most Americans have this in their day to day, week to week.

The only scapegoating I'm able to discern lately is broad charges and distortions leveled at Christians as a whole from the left. You're not doing that, are you?

Thank you for affording me an opportunity to voice my opinion on your blog. Although, we disagree, it's very well done. I will bookmark it.

I look forward to your response.

Cheers - more cowbell

Dear Cowbell,
I will give you some examples of oppression.
I am an atheist Unitarian who attends a Unitarian Fellowship regularly, has never been arrested, earns money and pays taxes.
My fellowship was spray-painted. I cannot put my son in Boy Scouts without asking him to lie. I am afraid that my son would be tormented in the public schools here the way our Jewish atheist friend's son is, by faculty and students. When I taught in a university, I was asked by my boss to be careful about expressing my views "in the current political climate."
Is this as bad as others are experiencing? No. It's not even as bad as the detainees in Guantanamo are experiencing without any legal recourse. But it always starts like this.

I hear you weirsdo.

I believe your challenges are real and unfortunate. I have similar stories myself.

Try standing up as a Conservative or a Christian at an Art School or at a very liberal workplace. I did both risked a lot by doing so.

I was physically intimidated in college and ridiculed often at both college and work because I wasn't a Socialist/Marxist and I followed Christ. (Believe it or not, I played in a punk band too - making it really hard on myself.) :)

But, convictions take courage, my friend. People of faith are no stranger to this as you'll agree. The New Testament and Hebrew scriptures are full of stories like ours. If you believe, you will face resistance.

I don't think the Left has a monopoly on being made to feel different and I don't think we'll ever legislate away ridicule or bigotry completely.

I certainly don't put our stories in the same ballpark, league, or even the same game as those living under fascists.

The difference is what we're doing now - debating via Internet. Not fixing bayonets to charge across trenches at one another.

I'll stay on the lookout here at home, but I think our attentions our needed by others suffering greatly in the Third World.

more cowbell,

I will always return civility with civility. I don't have a problem with disagreement, so long as its respectful. And I do think your post was respectful.

I can completely see where you are coming from. Yes, fascism in this country has not reached the full blown level as exhibited elsewhere in time and space. But, in my humble view, our policies over the past 25 years (notice, that includes a democrat president!) have taken us closer and closer. And in the last 4 years, the process has quickened quite considerably.

The Patriot Act, Guantanomo Bay, the war in Iraq, the media consolidation, the disputed election of 2000, the attempts at Patriot Act II and the flag burning amendment, the suggestion by former General Tommy Franks of the potential necessity for "martial law" should another major terrorist attack take place (he said this in an interview in Cigar Afficianado), the attacks on the ACLU (Bill O'Reilly just called them "jihadists" the other night) and liberals in general, the destruction of the workers unions (only 12% of American workers are unionized now), the rapid growth of the federal government, the limitations on gun ownership, the mixture of church and state (government "faith based programs"), the lack of tolerance for those less fortunate, the fact that our military budget equals 50% of all discretionary federal spending, the move towards corporate welfare and away from individual welfare, the Echelon project, Operation Northwoods (although that was over 40 years ago, it recently came to light, and I think it speaks VOLUMES!!), attempts at constitutional amendments banning same sex marriages, and beyond all of this, what draws my attention is the rhetoric which seems to be getting more and more hateful. Namely, the rhetoric against the muslims, gays, and the latino populations. The rhetoric against people who want peace. The rhetoric against the intellectuals, the artists, and the dissenters.

What about the way they managed to pass the first Patriot Bill? Reminded me of the way the Enabling Act was imposed on Germany in the 30's.

Heck, look at the bill James Sensenbrenner is trying to pass. The bill would make it a criminal offense if somebody who witnesses a drug crime didn't report it within 24 hours.

And Patriot Bill 2, they had this bill marked confidentaial for the longest time. How the heck can they get away with keeping legislation that effects our civil liberties marked as confidential? Thats certainly not democratic. Its smacks of fascism.

The purpose of fascism is the attainment of complete power. This administration has constantly thumbed its nose at dissent and the actual democratic process. Do you remember when Sensenbrenner cut of the microphones and adjourned a congressional hearing unilateraly because he didn't like what the testimony was going to be about? Regardless of what the testimony was, he had no right. But worse than that, he got away with it. Nobody even censured him. Thats tyranny, my friend.

Or what about the fact that the minority party has time and time again been denied vital congressional hearings? They have also been denied the right to investigate matters that are of utmost importance to America's national interest. If it wasn't for the CIA requiring the justice department to act, they wouldn't have investigate the outing of Valerie Plame!

We might not be at totalitarianism yet, but the snowball is getting larger each day. Its only via discussion, such as this, that we may be able to keep it from happening. But these types of discussion need to be taking place in the national media. But its just not happening.

I'm afraid the right has given far too much power to the President. They simply go along with anything he says. And when the legislative, executive, judiciary, and the media are all now on the Right side of the political spectrum, there is no self restraint.

Can you believe that a president's lawyer actually gave an American president legal advise that permitted the use of torture? Is this American? How about the fact that, pursuant to Patriot I, the government can conduct secret searches? They can now investigate American citizens without probable cause so long as the government simply says its for "intelligence matters". They can also detain American citizens (in military custody) who are suspected of terrorism (suspected!) wihout being charged and without access to an attorney.

Non-citizens can now be jailed on mere suspicion, without a crime being committed, denied legal counself nor judicial review for six months and potentially beyond.

8,000 Arabs have been interrogated for no good reason except their skin color and ethnicity.

Yes, we lost 3000 people on 9/11. But the truth is, none of this will make us any safer. Look at Iraq, we have that country patroled by 140,000 troops, under martial law, without a bill of rights, and still there is "terrorism". We are vulnerable, and we will always be vulnerable. But there wasn't major terrorism for the first 150 years of country's existence. It wasn't until we became the world's hegemone that terrorism came to us. If you squeeze people too much, you leave them no choice but violent resistance.

The only way to stop terrorism is for us to stope acting like terrorists. We need to get the heck out the Middle East, close down at least half of our 170 bases around the world in over 100 countries, and perhaps, after we actually acted like a global citizen rather than a global thug, we might be able to live in peace.

Why arent countries like Mexico, or Guatemala, or Costa Rica, etc, getting attacked by terrorists? BEcause they do as to others as they would have others do unto them. They live and let live.

You spoke of Christianity. I love Christianity. But I'm not seeing a lot of Chrisitianity these days. I'm seeing people using the cross for their profits and self interests. I know its cliche, but who would Jesus bomb? Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be the sons of god. This administration has us believe that war equates to peace. It never has, and it never will. Peace equates to peace.

A true christian would not bomb an entire country because one alleged criminal happened to take shelter there. A true christian nation would bring that man to justice. Justice, not revenge. There is a big difference.

As for Christians getting a bum rap in this country, yes, its has happened. But I believe it has happened because some so-called christian groups have been nothing short of intolerant to others. We have our share of religious zealots in this country, and unfortunately, the media always loves to publicize the loudest and angriest people (that applies across the board to every religion, race, etc.)

We never get to hear from the Christians who want peace. I'm always amazed at how the same people who supposedly care for the sanctity of human life have no issue with the taking of innocent life as "collateral damage".

OK, I'll stop now. :-)

Forgive the rant. I just had to get it all out.

Well, glad to hear we at least agree about guns! Well said though, I see very little of it as you do, but I will fight for your right to say it.

It's too late for a point by point - maybe later ;)

One note about Christianity as I see it. Don't confuse Christianity with pacificism. Christians like me believe evil exists and taht we have an obligation to confront it. In the case for war, I believe no single arrest would have stopped the Third Reich either.

good night and blog on!

We know what happens when good men do nothing.

more cowbell,

I had a feeling you'd at least agree with me about the guns. I'm for the Bill of Rights, all of it. I'm tired of seeing each part of it stripped away. And I certainly dont want to see them pass amendements (amendments!) that take rights away. Thats just lunacy to me.

As for the Christianity not equaling pacifism, I'd probably disagree with you, and I'd say that Martin Luther King Jr. would have too. Unfortuantely, the words of Jesus has been drowned out by the word of man, namely, politco-religious leaders who enjoy their positions more than the Word.

I cant find too much in Jesus's actual teachings (and I'm a big "fan" of the Gospel of Thomas) that would support this country's actions. As for "fighting evil", I respectfully suggest you re-read the Book of Matthew. Who is to say that it is not US that is evil. Judge not, lest ye be judged.(Matthew 7:1) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.....thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother's eye (Matthew 7:5)...therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS." (Matthew 7:12)

Please indulge me in reading the following:
Ye Shall Know the Truth....

About.com had a few things to say about fascism, including "Fascism is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot without ever being very carefully defined." I agree, but what they generally have in common is a ruthless disregard for humanity.

Sorry to harp on this, Cowbell, but I think you may have missed a key point (Bulldog didn't in his response, though). I did not list the many times when I was made to feel uncomfortable personally by the general atmosphere or remarks made to me regarding my beliefs and my ability to parent, etc. All the instances I listed, except the students in the public school, were either institutionally sponsored or attacks on institutions I belong to. So this was not just liberal whining but instances where institutional corruption tending toward theocratic fascism touched my life. By contrast, most of your instances sound like personal attacks, regrettable, but not indicative of the direction in which institutional authority is tending in this country. To the extent that I'm wrong, sorry, and of course those things shouldn't be happening to you either.

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