Fascism in Ten Easy Steps

February 12, 2008 at 12:41 am (U.S. Domestic Policy, Uncategorized)

fascism.jpg

In The End of America, Naomi Wolf lists the ten steps that have historically preceded the “fascist shift” that occured in Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and that is occuring in our land in the present day:

1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat

2. Establish Secret Prisons

3. Develop a Paramilitary Force

4. Surveil Ordinary Citizens

5. Infiltrate Citizens’ Groups

6. Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens

7. Target Key Individuals

8. Restrict the Press

9. Cast Criticism as “Espionage” and Dissent as “Treason”

10. Subvert the Rule of Law

Are you shuddering yet?

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5 Comments

  1. Johnny T said,

    I really like the picture.

    Developing a paramilitary force — who ever would have thought we would see the day. Now, billions of tax payer dollars are being funneled into private armies, thanks to Rumsfeld’s new model for the military. Bush said of Rumsfeld’s sweeping transformation of the military was his most profound contribution. Quote, “Don’s work in these areas did not often make the headlines. But the reforms that he set in motion are historic.”

    And what did Rummy do: privatized the military. Not all of it, but as much of it as was possible at the moment. This includes contracting out tons of military duties to private corporations. It even allowed the contracting out of armed duties to mercenaries. The amount of government money being given to these groups is so large that they are able to buy the most advanced warfare technology.

    shuddering, indeed

  2. The Pundit said,

    It really is incredible when you think about it. These companies get all the benefits of a “free market” without assuming any of the risk. They get free money in the form of tax dollars funnelled through the Pentagon, and they get to keep all the profits.

    It’s like “we the people” are all unwilling venture capitalists who never taste the fruits of our forced investments.

  3. Paul Baxter said,

    I’m sorry, but this just seems really facile to me. Compare the argument in Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom on the same subject. There are quite a lot of important but more subtle factors involved in analyzing how Nazi Germany came to be (I’m a little too ignorant about Italian history to comment on it). Although there is plenty of danger involved in the way a lot of Americans think about war and international relations, the American mindset is almost nothing like that of inter-war Germany.

    Most of the things you mention seem like symptoms, rather than causes. Were these things occurring in Germany PRIOR to the accession of Hitler? (Or of Mussolini?)

  4. The Pundit said,

    Hi Paul,

    Welcome to my blog.

    Yes, Wolf’s argument is that prewar Germany was very similar to what we experience in the US today: There were celebrity gossip magazines and Hollywood-style movie premieres alongside the “fascist shift” that subtly took place.

    So she would agree that full-blown Nazi Germany was very different from anything we could imagine seeing today, but it was also very different from what ordinary Germans could have imagined before it actually happened.

  5. The Dane said,

    Godwin’s Law!!!!

    That aside, most of these points have been in place since the Forties—if not longer. Each of the following has been more or less a part of the American political landscape since WWII:

    1. Invoke an External and Internal Threat
    3. Develop a Paramilitary Force
    4. Surveil Ordinary Citizens
    5. Infiltrate Citizens’ Groups
    6. Arbitrarily Detain and Release Citizens
    7. Target Key Individuals
    8. Restrict the Press
    9. Cast Criticism as “Espionage” and Dissent as “Treason”
    10. Subvert the Rule of Law

    You’ll note that the only thing missing is Secret Prisons. We may well have had those too. But they were just secret.

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