The Bush Administration and Fascism

…The Bush administration (like the Reagan administration) has a particularly difficult task, and the Bush faction is pretty much a narrow reactionary statist extreme of the Reaganites — who were a narrow reactionary statist extreme of the narrow bipartisan spectrum (most Reagan policies extended late Carter policies).

The Bush administration has to deal with the fact that the last 25 years have been an unusual, probably unique, period of American economic history. For the large majority, real wages have stagnated or declined, working hours have increased, benefits have shrunk, rights have been denied (including the right to organize, basically rescinded under Reagan and since), and wealth has been concentrated in a tiny part of the population. To keep the population in line requires major efforts of all sorts, which have been carried out intensively. They are even harder than before because there’s no resort to “the Russians are coming” technique for instilling fear and obedience.

There are similarities to rise of fascism, which have been pointed out right in the mainstream. One of the leading scholars of Modern Germany, Fritz Stern, had an article in Foreign Affairs a few months back on the “descent into barbarism” of Germany in the 1930s. His family came to the US as refugees in the 30s, and he opens by saying that he now worries about his adopted country. He then runs through the techniques of national mobilization used by Hitler to drive a society that was the pride of Western civilization to the depths of barbarism. Each one is an implicit reference, which can’t be missed, to the Bush administration.

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