Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Has America Become a Fascist State?

That is the question troubling RU Sirius over at 10 Zen Monkeys.
I thought it would be interesting to ask a few folks representing a variety of views whether they think America is now a fascist state. Somewhere in the back of my mind, was the auxiliary question, “Does it matter?” In other words, certain levels of repression and intolerance are being manifested in various public, political, and legal spheres. If we can legitimately label it all fascism, will that help to generate a successful opposition? I always wonder when I see some protester carrying one of those (relatively rare, actually) “Bush = Hitler” protest signs: How do they think that’s helping? Do they think somebody walking down the street who is sort of neutral is going to see this sign and say, “Oh, Bush equals Hitler! Why didn’t you say so? I’m going to revolt now.”
So he asked a few of the "big" thinkers in the cyber world and beyond. Here are a few bits of the answers. You'll have to read the whole article to see the rest of each answer.

Douglas Rushkoff
Media theorist; author; host of Frontline documentaries “The Merchants of Cool” and “The Persuaders.”

Yeah, for sure we do. I’m actually just starting a book on this subject. The weirdest part, though, is that it’s not all bad. That’s what’s so pernicious about it. The corporatism envisioned by Ford and Mussolini came to pass, but without the starkness of the racial purity sought by Hitler. It’s more of a Borgification — assimilation of all. Even the work of folks like us who call it what it is.

* * * * *

Howard Rheingold
Digital culture legend; author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs.

I don’t think that it is useful to reduce complex issues to simple answers.

* * * * *

John Shirley
Science fiction author; script writer (“The Crow”); occasional Blue Oyster Cult lyricist

Is the first gust of wind from a hurricane itself a hurricane? It is not. And like a hurricane, this storm of right-wing extremism may “change direction” and pass us by, blow itself out. But also like a community in the path of a hurricane, we’re in serious danger.

* * * * *

Ken Layne
West Coast Bureau Chief, Wonkette

Fascism is such a twisted, loaded and abused word. We need a completely new term.

Humorless liberals yell “Fascist!” at anything they don’t like: NASCAR, Wal-Mart, or especially somebody enjoying a nice hamburger.

The Neocons have made the bizarre decision that Fascism is actually a 1,400-year-old Semitic religion from Arabia, even though that religion is virtually indistinguishable from the monotheistic Semitic religions they claim to follow. Of course, the Neocons are the closest thing to a purely Fascist party in America.

There are more to each of these answers, and more respondents, including Rabbi Michael Lerner and Susie Bright. Check it out. Then tell me what you think in the comments.

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