Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The following is from http://atheism.about.com/od/religiousright/ig/Christian-Propaganda-Posters/One-Nation-Under-God.--3V.htm . If you go to the link, the propaganda posters are fun, and the information is interesting food for thought:

Fascism is a term commonly used as an epithet for any ideology that a person doesn't like. Nevertheless, it is a real political phenomenon which can be defined (if with some difficulty) according to particular characteristics. When we look at what fascism really is, we discover that it is not something which must be limited to Germany and Italy of the mid-20th century. It is, instead, a phenomenon which might conceivable occur in any nation at any if the conditions are right. America is no exception.

Robert O. Paxton, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, defines fascism in his book The Anatomy of Fascism as: "A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

It should be clear that there is nothing fascist about "Islamofascism," so that's an example of people using the fascist label as a means of attack rather than as a serious description. Fascism is more like a religion than it is like a political movement. Fascism isn't motivated by rational conclusions about economics, political philosophy, or social policy. This makes real religions like Christianity well suited for integration with a fascist movement. If fascism occurs in America, it will be Christian in nature because only Christianity has the power to motivate a mass-based movement with a passionate concern for unity, redemption, victimhood, and nationalism. Christian fascism will also be convinced of its own righteousness, moral purity, and godly intentions.

This image was taken from a World War II poster of an American prisoner of war saying "Don't Let Me Down" and "You are still free to work." Americans are free to work, but how free are they to enjoy the rest of the liberties which Americans fought and died to protect in World War II? Overt repression in America hasn't started, but once a people unjustly puts others in shackles, they put on their own shackles as well. One is imprisoned by the brutality of the other; the latter is imprisoned by the need to perpetuate their own brutal methods lest the repressed rise up.

America is supposed to be a democratic nation founded by "we the people" and based upon the will of the people. This conception of government contrasted sharply with European traditions that rulers were essentially chosen by God and thus the decisions of rulers were effectively divine mandates. Unfortunately, more than 200 years of democratic tradition have failed to extinguish the religious impulse to attribute divine agency to democratically elected leaders. There are many who believe God is responsible for George W. Bush being president -- including, it seems, George W. Bush himself.

There are reports of President Bush claiming that he was chosen by God to be president during this time in history. There are also reports of Bush claiming that he speaks to God, with God giving him instructions on foreign policy -- including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. If Bush were alone in this it might simply be dismissed as egotistical delusions, but many of Bush's Christian supporters completely agree. They believe that Bush was placed in office by God, that Bush's authority is derived from this divine mandate, and that Bush's policies are all the Will of God.

If people believe their leader is placed in charge by gods, they are less likely to question, challenge, or oppose his decisions. This is what makes such beliefs popular with authoritarian, totalitarian, theocratic, and fascist rulers; it's also what makes such beliefs inimical to democratic systems. If God, not the people, is the sovereign power responsible for Bush being president, then it means Bush is ultimately responsible to God rather than to the people. Democracy requires the principle that citizens, not gods, choose their leaders and that the government is founded on human reason rather than divine agency.

This is fertile ground for Christian Nationalism and Christian Fascism because it allows for the excision of democracy, democratic elections, the separation of powers, constitutionally protected rights, and everything else which makes America a secular and free nation. People who say that Bush was placed in office by God are denying that Bush's authority and office derive from the will of the people. People who say that Bush is doing the Will of God are denying that the American people have any right to challenge or stop Bush. All of this is unequivocally anti-democratic.

Snave's Note: I am all in favor of keeping America secular and free, and for religion to keep its proper place, which I believe is in the church/synagogue/mosque/etc., in the heart, in the mind, and in the home. In that last paragraph I posted, I think what the author means is that what we often see is an abrogation of responsibility on the part of the fundamentalists. The world can be a tough place, especially when you have lots of responsibilities, right? Do many of the fundamentalists feel overwhelmed and hand their responsibilities over to their god? Do they give themselves credit for things they accomplish? If they screw up, are they terrified of their god? Sounds like hell on Earth to me.


Blogger J. Marquis said...

Snave- you make a good point there at the end. Fundamentalists are driven to do insane things because they're trying to achieve success in an insane version of reality.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Thanks J., it does seem they are far too driven by fear, and that their vision of the world is based in insanity, thus their insane pronouncements and actions!

I suppose I could say much of my posting is based on fear of the Christofascists! Heh! And it isn't like I want to spread fear by posting stuff like these things... I tend to view it as more of a way to explore what certain people might be up to when it comes to making America into something unlovable and unlivable, or getting America into a situation our founders tried to keep us from getting into when they designed our country.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Whatever the exact definition of fascism is, there are lots of parallels between fascists and religious fanatics. Blind devotion to a god, blind devotion to a king or fuhrer -- pretty much the same thing.

Who Hijacked Our Country

11:01 AM  
Blogger Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I disagree on one point. I believe the term "Islamofascists" is an accurate depiction of their views and their actions. However, I'm far more concerned about Christofascism here in the United States, and my basis is simple numbers. The higher a proportion of a group in a population, the higher the total number of crazies there are that self-identify with that group.

4:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home