End of America

I watched The Rape of Europa the other night, a documentary about the Nazi theft of art during WWII. I was struck by how hard it is to learn lessons from the Third Reich. Compare anyone or anything to Nazi Germany and the conversation is effectively over (see: Godwin’s Law). I think part of the problem is that many people mistake comparison for identification. The result is that we’re essentially cut off from learning anything meaningful from that era — surely there’s more to take away than simply “Hitler bad, America good.”

Naomi Wolf is one writer who’s attempted to learn a little more from the rise of Hitler. She’s examined Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy in an effort to discover what steps usually happen before a dictatorship takes over.
Here are her “Ten Steps to a Fascist State,” or “How to Turn an Open Society Into a Closed Society:”

1. Invoke an internal and/or external enemy
2. Create a secret prison network
3. Employ a paramilitary force
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Infiltrate and/or harass citizens’ groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Restrict the press
9. Equate dissent with treason
10. Subvert and/or suspend the rule of law

“Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps” looks at how all ten of those have been implemented in the US in the last 8 years. Her book End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot fleshes out the argument even further. She has a documentary out called End of America as well, which can be viewed for free on the SnapFilms website.

If you don’t have time for a documentary, amuse yourself instead with Republicans gone wild. This blog also seems to be collecting videos of Republican asshattery. There’s a good deal of Democrats also acting loony in those videos.

3 thoughts on “End of America

  1. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. The current economic situation and the resolution we came up with seem to confirm the idea that our “democracy” is imploding.

    In response to the video I wonder how many times Obama will have attempts on his life while in office….

  2. I’ve got no patience for kids who go to McCain/Palin rallies trying to find stupid people to clip and put on youtube. I’m guessing that’s the Democratic asshattery to which you were referring.

    I have to give the one guy credit though. While most people aren’t very creative… just uttering racist slurs or “muslim”, “terrorist”, “socialist”, etc… the one guy actually had a handwritten sign that said “Obama half-breed Muslin[sic]” in his yard. That kind of creativity is what might keep this low brow campaign interesting.

    Regarding the fascism article, it’s fascisminating. But I read most of a book called “The COINTELPRO Papers” a while back and it’s clear that most of this isn’t new at all. That book details the FBI’s covert assaults on freedom in the 50’s and 60’s using their own FOIA-released documents. I’m guessing fascism goes in cycles. Remember HUAC? We’ve both progressed and regressed a long way since then.

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