The Debate about Guns and Fascism.
For those of my friends who continue to throw around the word Fascist or Fascism, I find my anger growing since my father fought REAL Fascists during WWII, and paid a price with physical injury and depression that took his life early. I consider his sacrifice the reason that I was spared having to go to war. Thank you, Dad.
In an effort to utilize the LIBERAL education that my father fought so hard to preserve, let me give you a brief set of definitions and clarification about what Fascism is and is not.
(1) In terms of political structures and labels, most people blend or confuse the concepts of Totalitarianism with Fascism. Centralized control is where they are the same, but the economics they espouse are quite different. China has moved from a Communist Totalitarianism government to a Fascist Totalitarian government with the introduction of wealth-based capitalism. (In case you never realized it, Capitalism as an economic system DOES NOT require democracy as it political system. Fewer share the wealth that way.)
(2)Economically, Fascist states are always underpinned and supported by a Corporate Oligarchy which is in league with or is directly controlled by, a military-industrial complex; which owns or pays homage too a strong, dictatorial leader (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinoche, Sadam, & Napoleon, to cite a few.) Yes, Stalin and MAO were dictators, but with a Communist economic system, they ran state enterprises directly “in the name of the workers”. A sham to be sure! These two were Totalitarian dictators, but not Fascists. All of them assholes, but none of them could have come to power without support of a large group of citizens from their own nation. The Germans and Italians, tired of the national shame imposed by the Allies after WWI, which resulted in runaway inflation and economic hardship, embraced Hitler and Mussolini with open arms – calling them “patriots” and “heroes”. Pointing to the fact, how historical perception of a person and their movements, change over time.
(3) There is no real voting in a Fascist or Totalitarian structure, because citizens have no franchise and no rights – just duties, obligations, subjugation, and fear of oppression. In theUS, we still have peaceful transitions of power as witnessed by the recent Presidential inauguration.
(4) Opposition is not tolerated! For those of you who call yourselves conservatives, be very clear that if President Obama, or any other governing party or leader were Fascist, the Republican Party would have disbanded, labeled as unpatriotic or treasonous; and its members either imprisoned or executed. Where are the dead bodies of high ranking Republicans if we are ruled by a Fascist? Answer: they are the Zombies serving in the Congress and on Wall Street programmed by and subservient to their corporate, or worse still religious, overlords. So no, we do not have a Fascist president, yet! I am waiting for another round of extremist Republican sycophant fanatics for that to happen. (BTW, I believe there are many moderate Republicans who still exist and are good people, but they have been cowed by the extremists.)
(5) We do have freedom in many venues of our nation. Sadly, most of us want freedom from responsibility to our fellow citizens, and perhaps more so, want freedom to exploit each other without any meaningful legal or economic safeguards against wrong doing. Fascist do love those types of freedom especially! Including: to punish or discriminate against anyone they: dislike, fear, blame, or would exploit; limiting those person’s or groups access to the halls of power and their right to seek justice for themselves. In the extreme of course, Fascists would simply imprison opposition and label them “criminals.” Then under the guise of paying their “debt” to society, use them as unpaid prison labor. Hmmm, there used to be a word for that?
(6) Totalitarians and Fascists both get things done quickly (and for their own benefit) in the same way an angry father lording over his children ready beat them with his belt, is able to make things happen with an intimidating shout. But in such case, it is almost exclusively the oppressor who benefits and those induced into the labors, bearing the costs. I agree thatAmericais not perfect, and the military-politico-prison complex is trying to take control and reduce the working class back to indentured servitude, but it is still not there yet! An informed, devoted, committed and participatory citizenry, so far at least, continues to stand in its way. An individual can still work his/her way around the system making headway toward economic advancement at least. And, whether one is speaking of reproductive rights, racial equality, women’s rights, or gender preference equality, let us get real: the only thing these real injustices and inequalities have in common with “freedom to own guns” is the verbiage. Owning assault rifles, machine guns, explosives, and access to used military surplus actually enflames fear, not curtail it. A handgun or rifle or shotgun to defend yourself or your home, or hunt for food is perfectly reasonable is perfectly reasonable in my mind. (I own one myself) Anything above that is paranoia ready to strike, not defend. If any of you care to read, for those who still can or are willing, you will find many historical perspectives that acknowledge that while Hitler’s Germany had gun control, it was because so many in the population were already in the armed forces and had access to their arms in uniform. So, like so many propagandized arguments, look a bit deeper and you find the fact to be true, but the reason behind it to overlooked, or how it is invoked to be deceptive. Fascists like Goebbles, were master propagandist’s. In America, they reside on Madison Ave.
(7) Fascist want you to fight for them. As long as they can convince you that what they do “is for your own good or security”, or “something you can achieve” then history shows how many people have willingly put on the yoke of submission choosing to believe some morally or righteous or hype of greed. Holding onto those sanctioned rationalizations, allows one to excuse whatever they do as, moral, OK, patriotic, and for the common good; with the promised payoff being somehow their “hard work” and allegiance will reap personal wealth or power for themselves. It is the perfect “opiate of the masses.”
When you see today’s military rosters, read the statistics about which economic or ethnic groups the fighting troops come from: the majority are of the poor, working class, or ethnic minorities. Why? Because they need the job! The only place you are likely to find anyone from the upper echelons of wealth or power, are in the top ranks, safely giving orders behind the scenes, removed from the front lines, being wined and dined and honored by the contractors of military arms, or other elites of their own “class”. While the expendable soldier, lives on a wage that is below poverty line, may come home to substandard post-traumatic health care, and then given nothing more than a slight advantage for fewer and fewer civilian government jobs. All this, in trade for facing unimaginable terrors (by me at least) of bullets, explosives, atrocities, or subject to the outright mishandling of conflict by the same elite class, whose job is not to seek peace, freedom, or justice, but to make sure that the assets of a country are secured for the benefit of their group. Just like all Totalitarians do!
(8) Lastly, and I know you are ready to have me shut-up, especially since we hate informed opinions that differ from our own. Or worse still, show us the shallow ideas or flimsy reasoning we have build our world view upon. That those soldiers in uniform, and there civilian counterparts the police, would be the ones to carry out the acts of oppression that you so vehemently fear. If these, our neighbors, brothers, sisters, fathers, and fellow working class citizens actually choose to abdicate their right to stand against an oppressive government and enforce their edicts, (no matter what rationalization they tell themselves), then it is we who would be selling out our civilized democracy for Fascism. As I said in a previous post, arguments waged with ballots advance and evolve a culture, albeit slowly when everyone has a say. Where, conflict is waged with bullets, it destroys freedom and devolves a culture, leaving us to look for a strong arm few to dictate to us what to do, what to think, how to live, but most sadly what to fear…them!
If you think our current government is on the road to Fascism I believe you are correct. Not because they are going to limit the type of guns you can own; but because a very few are slowly acquiring ownership to everything: your houses (mortgages), your cars (loans), your income (paying off credit card debt, student loans, and control of your investments), and the of course, your time (working harder for less money).
But the one that is the biggest threat we have allowed to flourish right beneath our noses, has been their control over the information you should have access to in a free society, or are allowed to know at all! Corporate media control and government restriction of public information labeled “classified or secret”, in the name of national security, continues to hide from us the actions of a few that we might otherwise be outraged by. But also, keeps from our view some of the works of our fellow citizens legally and peacefully challenging the status quo which might “stir people up” into confronting the few who maintain power. Who are out for themselves ONLY, by manipulating with their mechanisms of economic control. In practical terms, we have come to worship MONEY more than any actual God, just as the powerful do. Daily advertising promotes, programs, persuades, preaches at us and bribes us, until willingly, though largely unconsciously, we have adopted a false notion of what patriotism is, under the guise of security. We are shown images of and continually bombarded to believe that: Nascar, football, beer, rampant profiteering, Christian domination, and male macho are the good things about this nation. These things are not “bad” but the veil they are adorned in, IS!
Fascist, like the Romans (yes, they existed was before the word was invented but their empire fits the model) had it down to an art form! They called it Bread and Circuses, i.e. the arena. By using the combat and spectacle of gladiators to channel the collective resentment, fear and hatred of a willingly passive society; the Roman elite provided the masses with an outlet for catharsis with the blood shed by others. With thumbs down, spectators could transfer all their anger, without threat, personally responsibility, or exposure to the terror and horror of those on the field. The Roman Emperors reveled and basked in the knowledge of how easily accomplished the needs of a crowd could be sated. Such public bloodletting left leaders and their minions of power, progressively less hampered by the protestations of their civilian rabble. And like all militaristic cultures to of history, which engage in the animalistic, not divine or heavenly sanctioned, activity of warfare, conquest, exploitation, it is to establishment their dominance upon others and exploit resources.
So, as I watch the commercials during Sunday’s football games tell me and show me what an American is supposed to look like, (even when their products are made in China, Mexico, or India) and deceptively exhalting a few deserved soldiers before the game, while pricing tickets higher than a service person could afford; I shake my head in part disbelief and muddied in some shame. Disbelief that we have allowed ourselves to be so caught up in these self indulgent exercises of chest beating, but also because I find my own nervous system palpitating with the same Pavlovian responses to the gladiation on the field, as my fellow citizens. But the most disturbing insult is not to or about me, or my fellow citizens; it is to the real soldiers (sailors et al), as football players are called heroes when the only thing they risk is a large paycheck or being traded to another team. (Yes, injury too, but their equipment and health care is top notch!) But it is the insinuation aimed at OUR children, who by these charades are the ones drenched in a most disturbingly misguided comparison: that football is equivalent to actual warfare! A comparison that is not only deceptive but tragically stupefying.
We are being conditioned to believe that war is honorable, and that victors are the same as heroes, and that at the end of the game you simply go home. From my father and every Vet I’ve ever met and listened to, the experience of war lasts a life time; not just 60 minutes or a season. It is those types of messages which will train us to not just acquiesce to Fascists when they arrive, but hail them as the heroes of our salvation; protecting us against some perceived threat they concocted and convinced us was looming.
That is why and how Fascism is taking over America and it has nothing to do with personal gun ownership. It does however have everything to do with a lack of personal accountability to address and handle the fears that plague our individual and collective psyches. And fighting fear with fear, leads only to a victory of fear. Yeah, like we need more of that in the world! NOT!