Bush and the F word

Fascist is a word that has seemingly lost all meaning. Liberals have long thrown it at conservatives and in response conservatives throw back “communist.” An exchange that is usually fruitless.

In our mainstream culture, those two descriptors have been reserved for the worst of the worst: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao and a few select others. But this mainstream taboo doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever use the words to describe contemporary figures or countries. If the shoe fits, wear it.

Naomi Wolf of the Guardian argues that George W. Bush has taken steps toward fascism in the United States. Steps that she contends have been repeated throughout history by wood-be dictators.

According to Wolf, this is the fascist cookbook:

  1. 1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
  2. 2. Create a gulag.
  3. 3. Develop a thug caste.
  4. 4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
  5. 5. Harass citizens’ groups.
  6. 6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
  7. 7. Target key individuals.
  8. 8. Control the press.
  9. 9. Dissent equals treason.
  10. 10. Suspend the rule of law.

In my opinion, it’s tough to argue that Bush hasn’t done each and every thing on that list. What’s frightening is the fact that Bush is doing it all at once. Certainly, taken one at a time, you could find numerous examples of other Presidential administrations engaging in similar activities.

But all of this does not necessarily mean that Bush is a fascist or that the United States is under a dictatorship. Yet.

Fascist or not, we need to keep an eye on our government, and make sure that our leaders don’t cash our freedoms in for token measures of security. Just because we’re free now doesn’t mean we’ll always be free.

Other views: The Moderate Voice

10 Comments

  1. lame, lame, lame.

    Control the press? are you kidding? by what standard can you possibly allege that Bush controls the press? And, once again, tell me since I’m really slow: how was Armitage revealing that Plame worked for the CIA retaliation for Wilson’s story, espceically?

    Suspend the rule of law? What law has he suspended? To the extent his policies have been shot down by the Supreme Court, hasn’t he either stopped or revised them to conform to the Court’s dictates? And if the Court approved his policies, are you seriously arguing that the Supreme Court is a fascist partner of his?

    Create a gulag? The word is usually meant to refer to holding citizens prisoner; can you name a single American citizen who’s been held at Guantanamo?

    A thug caste? The best examples she (you) can come up with is security guards hired to protect property after Katrina and alleged improprieties by mercenaries overseas and not against American citizens?

    Dissent equals treason? While anti-Bush types are fond of saying that he’s called them unpatriotic, find me a single quote where he uses that word to describe his opponents. Name a single American who has been hauled off because he is doesn’t like Bush.

    You say you need to make sure our leaders don’t cash in our freedoms. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Other than the hassle of passing through airline security, just how have your freedoms been cashed in? What freedoms do you live in fear of having curtailed? Can you no longer go out to the movies? Can you no longer write nasty op-eds in your local paper? Has the Bush thug caste come to get you because of this blog?

    Tell me, do you live in a neighborhood where your neighbors are all of a like mind and where you can speak freely, or do you have to supress your thinking around your neighbors for fear that they’d report you to the fascists?

    It is one thing to object to some (or all) of what Bush does as being counterproductive or not grounded in law or common sense. Go ahead and argue the merits (whatever they are) or negatives of his programs. But, and I know I’m generalizing here, you (you, collectively) go too far in ascribing sinister motives to what he is doing. In your minds, Bush isn’t simply a President doing things you disagree with, he is evil, corrupt, selfish, racist, sexist, xenophobic, stupid… and a fascist to boot.

    Funny, how though Bush has never used the word unpatriotic to describe his opponents, preferring instead to debate the merits or lack thereof of their positions, his opponents have no problems in sliming him.

  2. Ian

    tell me since I’m really slow

    I have nothing further to add to Mr. Sturms awesome argument here. Here here good sir!

  3. Chris

    he is evil, corrupt, selfish, racist, sexist, xenophobic, stupid… and a fascist to boot.

    I think either he is evil, corrupt, selfish, racist, xenophobic, (not sure about sexist), fascist and incredibly bad orator -OR- he’s incredibly incompetent/stupid.

    I tend to side with the former given his extensively bad track record as President. I don’t think you bumble yourself into being one of the most corrupt administrations in history.

  4. Ian

    Chris you may as well argue with a wall. You can’t have a serious debate with partisan hacks.

  5. External Observer

    The blogger is right… the republican party drone sturm is wrong.

    Detach the stigma of Hitler and Mussolini from the ‘fascist’ tag and what one sees in western right-wing governments is so close to the wind as to be stalled with it’s jib sheets fluttering meekly.

    The “right” has always and ever been about power for its own sake. George the Lesser has been the mouthpiece for the very definition of Machiavellian fascism. Centralise power, arbitrate its usage, marginalise detractors and weaken the ability of dissenters to voice their opinions publicly (this is done by providing favourable press appointments to press agencies who toe the line… you want a front seat on air force one? Stop printing Michael Moore… you want to join the Prez for breakky? Well here’s an article about how bad Hillary Clinton would be for the economy.. maybe you can find room for it on a facing page.. etc..).

    A good thing then that the time of fascists is about to end. Roll the elections… yours and ours.

  6. vinny

    [quote comment=”17733″]lame, lame, lame.
    Don’t worry about Bush the president, worry about Bush the precedent. Hillary will show you how to work the patriot act, goodbye Bill (of rights). Oh is Katrina an anagram of anarchy (anarki)? Was WMD’s a big fat lie. People are dying God Bless usa
    Control the press? are you kidding? by what standard can you possibly allege that Bush controls the press? And, once again, tell me since I’m really slow: how was Armitage revealing that Plame worked for the CIA retaliation for Wilson’s story, espceically?

    Suspend the rule of law? What law has he suspended? To the extent his policies have been shot down by the Supreme Court, hasn’t he either stopped or revised them to conform to the Court’s dictates? And if the Court approved his policies, are you seriously arguing that the Supreme Court is a fascist partner of his?

    Create a gulag? The word is usually meant to refer to holding citizens prisoner; can you name a single American citizen who’s been held at Guantanamo?

    A thug caste? The best examples she (you) can come up with is security guards hired to protect property after Katrina and alleged improprieties by mercenaries overseas and not against American citizens?

    Dissent equals treason? While anti-Bush types are fond of saying that he’s called them unpatriotic, find me a single quote where he uses that word to describe his opponents.

    Name a single American who has been hauled off because he is doesn’t like Bush.

    You say you need to make sure our leaders don’t cash in our freedoms. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Other than the hassle of passing through airline security, just how have your freedoms been cashed in? What freedoms do you live in fear of having curtailed? Can you no longer go out to the movies? Can you no longer write nasty op-eds in your local paper? Has the Bush thug caste come to get you because of this blog?

    Tell me, do you live in a neighborhood where your neighbors are all of a like mind and where you can speak freely, or do you have to supress your thinking around your neighbors for fear that they’d report you to the fascists?

    It is one thing to object to some (or all) of what Bush does as being counterproductive or not grounded in law or common sense. Go ahead and argue the merits (whatever they are) or negatives of his programs. But, and I know I’m generalizing here, you (you, collectively) go too far in ascribing sinister motives to what he is doing. In your minds, Bush isn’t simply a President doing things you disagree with, he is evil, corrupt, selfish, racist, sexist, xenophobic, stupid… and a fascist to boot.

    Funny, how though Bush has never used the word unpatriotic to describe his opponents, preferring instead to debate the merits or lack thereof of their positions, his opponents have no problems in sliming him.[/quote]

  7. Not to trounce on y’all, but you really shouldn’t sling “fascist” around. Fascist is a distinct ideology — it invokes images of a golden age to be regained (mythical or historical), comes to power legally, putting the state above yourself, the state being run by a dynamic and charismatic individual, and MOST IMPORTANTLY AND WHAT EVERYONE FORGETS, it is syndicalist. That is to say, it was the “3rd way” between capitalism and communism. To over simplify, fascists advocated for central planning but private ownership. And no, Nazism doesn’t = fascism. Maybe it’s an offshoot, but to the best of my knowledge Mussolini and Horthy and Franco never had racial policies.

    So complain all you want, but college-educated folks really shouldn’t be using fascist today unless you’re just using it as a slur like when I call some of those far-left Democrats commies. Never, ever call someone a fascist or communist in seriousness unless you’re accurate. Otherwise it dilutes the meaning.

  8. Ian

    I think I’m with Cameron on this one. The term shouldn’t be thrown around much, and in this context “facism” is being tossed around like “socialism” and “communism”. The word carries a connotation which is different from its actual meaning. I can’t say I know what facism truly is cause I haven’t read up on it as much as communism and capitalism, but people do toss around “communism” like an insult which is pretty ignorant.

    And as for Sturm and Vinny, here’s why you guys are pathetic: You blindly defend Bush. (Vinny is pathetic cause he regurgitates and regurgitated argument). You went through point by point to refute each attack on Bush. Rather than think about it, you just blindly defend him like some mindless goon. Free speech is wasted on those without free thought.

  9. pookie67

    “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” – Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

  10. pookie67

    This old quote is frighteningly relevant today.
    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” -Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

One Trackback

  1. […] Naomi Wolf reckons the US has taken the initial steps towards becoming a Fascist state. What’s interesting about the comments at Why We Worry is that most posters seem to think Wolf said the US was already a Nazi dictatorship — which she didn’t. […]