7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
Writing about fascism for an American audience is always a fraught business.
Invariably, a third of the readers will dismiss the topic (and your faithful blogger's basic sanity) out of hand. Either they've got their own definition of fascism, and whatever's going on doesn't seem to fit it; or else they're firm believers in a variant of Godwin's Law, which says (with some justification) that anyone who invokes the F-word is a de facto alarmist of questionable credibility.
I get letters, most of which say something to the effect of, "Calm down. You're overreacting. We're nowhere near there yet."
Another third will pepper me with missives that are every bit as dismissive -- for exactly the opposite reason. To them, anyone who's been paying the barest amount of attention should realize that America has been a fascist state since (choose one:) 1) 9/11; 2) Reagan; 3) McCarthy; 4) the Civil War; 5) July 4, 1776.
For them, my careful analysis and worried warnings are dangerously naive -- clear evidence that I'm simply not seeing the full horror of America as it truly is, and always has been, at least since (insert date here).
Given this general crankiness, I probably wouldn't bother with the subject at all -- except for that final third who keep me going. From them, I've gotten a blizzard of anecdotes, questions, meditations, ideas, suggestions, manifestos and love letters (including lots of link love).
The piece sparked a lot of conversation all across Left Blogistan about what fascism is and what it ain't, and what we need to be watching for. And that kind of thoughtful discussion is exactly what I hoped for. I wanted people to start paying attention.
In the post about fascism, I pointed out that the most insidious part of it is that by the time it's finally obvious to absolutely everyone that these people are dangerously out of control, it's too late to do anything about it.
Early warnings are even more valuable here than they are in most domains. And since futurists are -- more than anything -- in the business of early warnings, it falls to me to step up there and point out that according to at least a few of the more reputable atlases in the glove box, this looks a lot like the last turn into the parking lot of downtown Fascist Hell.
The good news is we're not yet parked and locked, let alone committed to entering the building. (Which is good, because the doors appear to be all one way, just like in the "Hotel California.") We've still got a few minutes to change our minds, back out of this and go spend our future somewhere else.
But we are now actively in the process of choosing, whether we're aware of it or not. There are things happening now that are setting us on a course that may prove impossible to change.
How do we turn back? A few basic principles:
First: The teabaggers must not win this one. Back in elementary school, most of us learned that when a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he'll will keep doing more of it. In fact, the longer he goes without comeuppance, the bolder and badder he becomes, and the harder it is to make him stop. Every success teaches him something new about how to use terror for maximum effect and tempts him to push the envelope and see what else he can get away with. Do nothing, and he'll soon take over the whole playground.