Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The F-word

Think about it.

Andrew Tobias puts it into context today:
I think we are "approaching the foothills of fascism" - but that with any luck we will turn away long before we get there. But we're less likely to turn away if we don't see where we could be headed...
(regarding the flash video he linked to on Friday)

From David Neiwert:
We tend to think of [fascism] in terms of alien things like Nazi uniforms and concentration camps. The reality is that the popular imagery of fascism ... is actually derived from its later stages, when it proceeds into serious metastasis; while in the stages at which it has traditionally obtained power, fascism is constituted of things which seem everyday and familiar to us. ... we often refuse to recognize it for what it is because it seems so ... familiar. ( * )

He flowed there faster -
In Edge, back in 2001, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wondered about The Reasons For Right-Wing Extremism In Europe And The U.S.
...I think the most important unreported story concerns the reasons for a return of right-wing extremism in Europe, and for the first time in the U.S. Since I am not a journalist I would not report such a story, but I would first find out if it is really true, and if true then study what its causes are. Is it that people are running out of hope and meaning? Have the Western democracies run out of believable goals? What conditions favor fascism and what can we do to prevent them from spreading?

From a review(*) of The Anatomy of Fascism by Robert O. Paxton:
Some of Paxton's important points are [that] fascism appears in failed or highly stressed democracies, that fascism involves mass politics, that fascism emerges as a reaction to perceived threats from the socialist threat, that fascism depends on charismatic leadership, and that fascism always contains a cult of violent action. A particularly important point is that the successful fascist movements, Italian Fascism and Nazism, were invited into power by traditional conservative elites seeking to coopt fascist mass mobilization in support of their own ends.
Authoritarian states have commonly used external aggression as a way of addressing internal problems.
Feb 18: An interview with Neal Stephenson:
It's clear that the body politic is subject to power disorders. By this I mean events where some person or group suddenly concentrates a lot of power and abuses it. Power disorders frequently come as a surprise, and cause a lot of damage. This has been true since the beginning of human history. Exactly how and why power disorders occur is poorly understood.

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