Monday, January 3, 2011

The Black Quill Letters: A Reminder

 The Black Quill Letters: A Reminder

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation..." most men are slaves to their work and enslaved to those for whom they work… the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation...." - Henry David Thoreau-

Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. But it will all seem “normal”.

All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses. It will all seem “normal”.

But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons. But it will all seem ““normal””.

The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” And when it happens, somehow; it will all seem “normal”.

To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among the elite, and a degree of debate will be permitted; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized—usually by “the people” themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by a thoroughly impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, left ignorant of current events by a corporate media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control. It will all seem “normal”.

The First Letter: Letter No.1: These Are Dangerous Times


These are dangerous times, made so not only by technologies that can reduce our world to a barren charcoal briquette floating silently in the icy void of space, and those that can persuade our species to alter their perception of their existence in such fashion as they are reduced to, and succumb to, the opiate like futility of a submissive surrender to fear, but, by those who are all to willing to gamble and employ both those technologies for their interest.

History tells me; my innate instincts tell me; myself sense of hope, though I be in the presence of the those who given themselves over to hopelessness and the sickness of despair tells me that in the midst of the greatest of perils there is inherent the possibility for the greatest of achievement; the restoration of right, justice and the renewal of liberty, if we are but willing to confront circumstances and ignore the machinations of those who would be our oppressors.

At such a juncture we find ourselves. We have choices that must be made. We have actions that must be taken, lest we are willing to see our way of life and the dreams that this nation has been founded upon, nourished by the blood of every generation, to simply, silently drown in the sea history awaiting generations hence to document and dissect our desertion of those dreams and the demise our democracy.

In this nation it has become common place to be critical of all, to fault everything, to blame someone else for every problem, to expect corruption and an uneven application of law and justice, to accept passively any dictum of government with the attitude that nothing can be or will be changed, as we assume our impotence and inability as individuals to either alter the direction of this nation, or to regain command of our human condition.

We are treading water, at this point, in the pages of history, contemplated our own drowning demise, and seemingly unwilling, or unable to shed the paralysis that will take us down in the inevitable fatigue of the continued flailings of failure.

In the first “Letters To A German Friend”, Albert Camus wrote: “No, I didn’t love my country, if pointing out what is unjust in what we love amounts to not loving, if insisting that what we love should measure up to the finest image we have of her amounts to not loving.” When, as now, pointing out injustice and appealing to hope is labeled as treasonous, the pendulum has come to rest at the Fascist end of the arc.

The cross has been fashioned on the anvil of political manipulation into a sword to be deployed as a weapon in an internal social, culture clash war of deflection and deceptions. Blood has always been spilled in the name of God and every manifestation of oppression known to man has been imposed in the name of God in the pages of human history. In every instance the cross turned sword, and the legions sent forth on some “Holy Mission” have marched into the blood letting to evade the solutions of more worthy challenges.

If religion has any value it should be that of uniting humanity in a common community of understanding, toleration and embrace. The Cross, The Bible, The Koran and all symbols and sources of faith should be tools of unity and peace, not weapons of division and bloodshed.

But when man is impoverished of food and hope, self worth, immersed in the pains of loneliness, despair, futility, impotence an unimportance, as personal sense of irrelevance, he grasps for anything that gives him a sense of meaningfulness, a sense of purpose, a sense of place and being, even if it is the most negative and perverted expression of truth and goodness gone corrupted and corrosive; lies become accepted truth.

It is bad enough that in the evolution of species, our development has from time to time given rise to circumstances that spawn such tragic aberrations, but it is unforgivable when the conditions for yet another season of unreason are the product of premeditated man made circumstances, fashioned to satisfy personal whims and agendas at the expense of the unaware masses quickly ensnared in the net of deception and marched across life’s stage as puppets of the evil masters, and they are admittedly evil, through and through.

Our nation is desperate need of a serious introspective examination. There are so many divisive forces in active play. They are not only tearing at our societal fabric but like the smoke accompanying a raging fire they are obscuring the root source causes and pathways to resolution. The fires of division rage on and those pouring on the accelerants are escaping necessary exposure. So many, in particular a co-opted conforming media, have become unwitting accomplices to those dedicated to a dictatorial control of the American nation. The threat is that serious and that simple of definition.

Do we really believe that the whole hosts of ills that confront us as a matter of coincidence. Do we believe that the cultural, racial, economic, educational and political divides surrounding us have converged simultaneously by historical accident?

Do I say that there is some great conspiracy afoot with a master plan for disassembling our democratic institutions? No, that would be a grandiose inaccuracy, but there are conspiratorial forces at work whose agendas, perhaps more limited in design at the moment, that are in their successes contributing to growing infections that, if not stamped out, will eventually disease the body politic into a sufficiently comatose state, that those individuals and organizations will be able to accomplish a power grab that is currently only their dream, their ultimate fantasy.

Are the phenomenon of political character assassination and predictable political campaign tactics mere natural evolutions in our system? Hardly; and we are all well aware the techniques of negative campaigning, yet America continues to knowingly dine and digest with some degree of relish, the poison fruits served up in our obscenely expensive political feasts. 

There is something wrong with that, clearly in need of examination and explanation.

It is not a simple as one might be knee jerk response inclined to attribute to the gullibility of the American public. If that be the symptom; what is the underlying root rot that has given rise to the malady?

With what kind of pride do we announce to the world that we are a: Homophobic, Xenophobic, Racially Bigoted, Religiously Intolerant, Revenge Crazed, Blood thirsty, Execution loving, Arrogant, Insensitive to our needy, Mercenary to a fault nation?

How do we explain to the world, (and the inherent problem here is we feel no obligation to explain to anyone, anything as a nation) that we can ignore the problems and afflictions of the young, the old, the mentally challenged, the mentally ill, those who are impoverished, the homeless sleeping in our streets, the growing number of suicides, a health care health insurance system out classed by some near third world nations?

How do we justify to the world sending our youth off to die in war after war worthy of Hauge prosecution, praising them as patriots while they weapon in hand, only to have them have to wage war at home for their benefits and adequate medical treatment of their ravaged minds and bodies in civilian life. How do we justify the return of our soldiers home to jobs no longer theirs, to the ruination of their families and their entry into the ranks of the homeless on our streets. How do we do this?

How do we tolerate something a simple as raising the Minimum wage in this country to be held hostage while politicians attempt to use it as a vehicle to create new tax loop holes, tax breaks and tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans as if the poorest among us is not worthy of a pittance in their pay envelopes, after years of deprivation, unless the wealthy and well placed are awarded yet another “entitlement” of evasion of paying just dues to the support of a government that services them disproportionately well; yes this is an “entitlement” for the rich, a word they spit through their teeth with venom when is applied to any other class in this nation…curious?

But let us continue our consideration of and shed some light on why we find ourselves so deeply divided today, placing much of the responsibility for the current chaos and confusion squarely on Bush and his advisors.

The Bush presidency has never been about broadening his support among moderates and progressives. It has focused narrowly and tenaciously on solidifying his support among the right-wing conservative and fundamentalist factions and his “base” of corporate interests and the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

This strategy–a gamble that Karl Rove and his cronies may shortly regret–is yet another reason for American ferment, and distrust of George W. Bush. It proves, yet again, that our President has never had the best interests of America in mind while governing the nation, and invariably seeks to further his own political and economic interests and those of his “base,” and the rest of us be damned. That is both an analysis and the current general perception in the land, but yet again; we know what is going on and we know it is an abuse of power, but when are we and the Congress going to rise up and put an end to to this philosophy of government, a philosophy that inherently say from each American as much as we can take, and into our pockets as much as we can make off with.

All of the things that matter to us all, regardless of political stripe–jobs, the economy, the environment, education, our children’s future and our own well-being–have all been imprisoned swept into a dark locked closet while Bush, his henchmen and advisors sequester us deeper and deeper into divided, fearful and disinformed, misinformed, misled camps of Culture War conscriptees.

“Religion” has been manipulated into a strong and growing force in the way Americans think about politics bearing down on political affiliation, political values, policy attitudes and candidate selection. Its’ increasing influence on political opinion and behavior rivals race, region, age, social class and gender considerations. More specifically, religion currently has a significant impact on the political views of Christian Americans representing 84% of the voting age population. Christian political conservatism is associated with every religious dimension covered in all research and political polls.

Regardless of denomination, people who “express more faith” are more conservative.

People who engage in more religious practices are more conservative.

Those who report that religion plays a very important role in their lives are more conservative.

Polling data indicates that religious influences lead to a more liberal position on some issues, but there is little indication of a coherent pattern of liberal belief associated with any major religion or religious group.

This suits the administration’s agenda as a failure to coalesce behind “liberal” humanitarian social/political issues/causes leaves free to manipulate the hot button “life and death polarize/divide/distract and redirect issues’, of Abortion, Stem Cell Research, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment. Add the deflection of Gay and Lesbian Rights, Same Sex Marriages, Prayer and Flag matters, Treasonous Un-American conduct of “liberals who dare to question the expected obligatory Patriotism as defined by the administration, terrorism yesterday, today and tomorrow, International Security, “Illegal Aliens”, “American right or Wrong, support it, support our troops package, the ever present harpy Anti Tax rhetoric, “Family Value?”, and you have “almost” the complete emotional polarizing refocus package!

When people buy into this mental paint job, they feel Patriotic, they: make their personal dutiful patriotic sacrifices “To the Cause” in terms of individual freedoms in the name of “necessary to deal with terrorism impositions”, accept economic decline, stagnant wages and loss of rights and voice in the work place, join the mob that: “Oh woe is me, I hope they can fix the health care, health insurance disaster “someday”. This is all part and parcel of the “Flock Mentality” that this administration has worked so diligently at cultivating. Too many have succumbed; the Democratic Party dissolved into a paralyzed timid, complain only entity, and now, with some vestige of power to change things in their hands, they have been baited into in fighting, posturing on “non binding resolutions” and the sort, that somehow are supposed to demonstrate some manifestation of backbone when in reality they display a continued totally ludicrous picture. *

The full impact of religion on American politics is best observed when race is factored into the equation. The conservatism of white evangelical Protestants is clearly the most powerful religious force in politics today.

Analysis of the data reveals that the most meaningful distinction that we must understand is that there are important differences between Protestants who self-identify as evangelical or born again vs. those who do not.

While the classification cuts across denominational lines, Baptists make up the largest share of evangelicals.

Mainline denominations such as Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians are predominant among non-evangelical Protestants [Throughout this area of discussion, the terms "non-evangelical Protestant" and "mainline Protestant" are used interchangeably]. White evangelical Protestants are not only much more conservative on policy questions that involve moral issues such as abortion, laws regarding homosexuality and family issues. They are also more conservative on a range of political values including environmentalism and beliefs about international security.

Their greater conservatism on non-moral issues is independent of other factors in their backgrounds, such as income or the prevalence of evangelicals in the South. These patterns reflect the increased politicalization of white evangelical Protestants.

Compared to a decade ago, a greater percentage of them now self-identify as Republicans. The GOP has not made as many conversions among non-evangelical Protestants nor among white Catholics.

Republican affiliation among white evangelical Protestants grew 9% points between 1978 and 1987 and 7% points more between 1987 and 1995 [CBS/New York Times survey, June 1978 (N=1,527); "The People, the Press, & Politics: The Times Mirror Study of the American Electorate." Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press, 1988. Washington, DC].

The fires of division rage on and those pouring on the accelerants are escaping necessary exposure! The most dangerous element of those who have engineered the current culture divide can be found in the ranks of the Neoconservatives (Neocons). To most Americans, unfortunately, those words have little if any meaning, and they like it that way!

That which the American people must understand regarding the “Neocons” is that they have as a group a delusional unrealistic vision of the world and goals that will be addressed in LETTER NO.2

The Black Quill Letters: Letter No.2: The Neocon Menace

No idea, however powerful and seductive, is enough on its own.

“Onward Christian Neocons, marching as to war!” There is more truth here than my frivolous paraphrasing.That which the American people must understand regarding the “Neocons” is that they have as a group a delusional unrealistic vision of the world and goals that are:
(1) INCONSISTENT with traditional American traditions,
(2) PREMISED on faulty base assumptions,
(3) CATAPULT this nation into “Aggressor Nation” status internationally,
(4) IMPERIL world peace by converting the Middle East into a tinder box for the ignition of a world wide conflagration,
(5) REALIZABLE only if the democratic structure and governance systems of this nation are subject to massive corruption, destruction coupled with a Fascist-derivative form, under mining the basic legal structures and principles of this nation,
(6) ACCOMPANIED by the establishment of an Imperial Executive branch that empowers itself sufficiently as to render the Legislative branch powerless to the point where its’ actions are meaningless and the Judicial machinery of the nation is ignored with impunity, or is co-opted as an instrument of its’ actions,
(7) CHARACTERIZED by wholesale ignorance of the public’s most serious needs, allowing those issues to become sources of dissatisfaction, dissatisfaction manipulated to their advantage by shifting the onus of blame to other entities, organizations, or individuals they wish to isolate, demonize and busy with their own self defense, thus neutralizing any impact they might have or the policies, programs and actions of the administration, and
(8) FLAWED in terms of real world considerations and their “understanding” of human nature and the human condition.
Historically, neoconservatives supported a militant anticommunism, tolerated more social welfare spending than was sometimes acceptable to libertarians and mainstream conservatives, supported civil equality for blacks and other minorities, and sympathized with a non-traditional foreign policy agenda that was less deferential to traditional conceptions of diplomacy and international law and less inclined to compromise principles, even if that meant unilateral action.
The key at this point is the word, historically, and like so many other things a corruption of principles or philosophies, via, delimiting selective embrace, a sort of perverted evolution set in.In fact, some people described as "neocons" today say that neoconservatism no longer exists as an identifiable movement.
I am not inclined to go that far. Their remain theoretical purists Neocons, but our concern is with the Bush Bunch, the Bush Brand, the distilled simplified version, those who taken the larger body of thought and theory and reduced it in a Chinese Restaurant like approach, picking and choosing from column “A” and column “B” to make up their political meal.
That process is best seen in the words of Neocon Irving Kristol, the founder and "god-father" of Neoconservatism, who defines/ delimits the larger body of thought and principle into : “There are three basic pillars of Neoconservatism:
1. Economics: Cutting tax rates in order to stimulate steady, wide-spread economic growth and acceptance of the necessity of the risks inherent in that growth, such as budget deficits, as well as the potential benefits, such as budget surpluses.
2. Domestic Affairs: Preferring strong government but not intrusive government, slight acceptance of the welfare state, adherence to social conservatism, and disapproval of counterculture.
3. Foreign Policy: Patriotism is a necessity; world government is a terrible idea, the ability to distinguish friend from foe, protecting national interest both at home and abroad, and the necessity of a strong military.
At the expense of being considered sarcastic, that is about as much as this administration is capable of digesting, and tried they have!
There is a widespread impression that domestic policy does not define neoconservatism, that it is a movement founded on, and perpetuated by an aggressive approach to foreign policy, free trade, opposition to communism during the Cold War, support for Israel and Taiwan and opposition to Middle Eastern and other states that are perceived to support terrorism.
Given only the cursory examination of this administration’s policy penchants; the conclusion is inescapable: “that is a mistaken notion given the nature of the selective content adoption of the Neocon package this administration.”‘The movement began to focus on such foreign issues in the mid-1970s. However it first crystallized in the late 1960s as an effort to combat the radical cultural changes taking place within the United States. Irving Kristol wrote: “If there is any one thing that neoconservatives are unanimous about, it is their dislike of the counterculture.”
Norman Podhoretz agreed: “Revulsion against the counterculture accounted for more converts to neoconservativism than any other single factor."{ In sociology, counterculture is a term used to describe a cultural group whose values and norms of behavior run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition.
Although distinct countercultural undercurrents exist in all societies, here the term counterculture refers to a more significant, visible phenomenon that reaches critical mass and persists for a period of time.
A counterculture movement thus expresses the ethos, aspirations and dreams of a specific population during a certain period of time — a social manifestation of zeitgeist.In contemporary times, counterculture came to prominence in the news media as it was used to refer to the youth rebellion that swept North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand during the 1960s and early 1970s.
Earlier countercultural milieux in 19th century Europe included the traditions of Romanticism, Bohemianism and of the Dandy.
Another important movement existed in a more fragmentary form in the 1950s, both in Europe and the US, in the form of the Beat generation (Beatniks), who typically sported beards, wore roll-neck sweaters, read the novels of Albert Camus and listened to Jazz music.
(I guess this means me, and my generation, see Letter #1)
Counterculture is generally used to describe a theological, cultural, attitudinal or material position that does not conform to accepted societal norms. Yet, counterculture movements are often co-opted to spearhead commercial campaigns.
Thus once taboo ideas (men wearing a woman's color — pink, for example) sometimes become popular trends.}Ira Chernus, a professor at the University of Colorado, argues that the deepest root of the neoconservative movement is its fear that the counterculture would undermine the authority of traditional values and moral norms.
Because neoconservatives believe that human nature is innately selfish, they believe that a society with no commonly accepted values based on religion or ancient tradition will end up in a war of all against all.
(Hobbes )They also believe that the most important social value is strength, especially the strength to control natural impulses. The only alternative, they assume, is weakness that will let impulses run riot and lead to social chaos.
According to Peter Steinfels, a historian of the movement, the neoconservatives' "emphasis on foreign affairs emerged after the New Left and the counterculture had dissolved as convincing foils for neoconservatism . . . The essential source of their anxiety is not military or geopolitical or to be found overseas at all; it is domestic and cultural and ideological."
Neoconservative foreign policy parallels their domestic policy. They insist that the U.S. military must be strong enough to control the world, or else the world will descend into chaos.
Believing that America should "export democracy," that is, spread its ideals of government, economics, and culture abroad, they grew to reject U.S. reliance on international organizations and treaties to accomplish these objectives.
Compared to other U.S. conservatives, neoconservatives may be characterized by an idealist stance on foreign policy, a lesser social conservatism, and a much weaker dedication to a policy of minimal government, and, in the past, a greater acceptance of the welfare state, though none of these qualities are necessarily requisite.
Aggressive support for democracies and nation building is founded on a belief that, over the long term, it will reduce the extremism that is a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.
Neoconservatives, along with many other political theorists, have argued that democratic regimes are less likely to instigate a war than a country with an authoritarian form of government. (Did the Iraquis initiate the current War?)
Further, they argue that the lack of freedoms, lack of economic opportunities, and the lack of secular general education in authoritarian regimes promotes radicalism and extremism. Consequently, neoconservatives advocate the spread of democracy to regions of the world where it currently does not prevail, most notably the Arab nations of the Middle East, communist China, North Korea and Iran.
Neoconservatives also have a very strong belief in the ability of the United States to install democracy after a conflict - comparisons with denazification in Germany and installing a democratic government in Japan starting in 1945 are often made - and they have a principled belief in defending democracies against aggression.
This belief has guided U.S. policy in Iraq after the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime, where the U.S. insisted on organizing elections as soon as practical.
As compared with traditional conservatism and libertarianism, which sometimes exhibit an isolationist strain, neoconservatism is characterized by an increased emphasis on defense capability, a willingness to challenge regimes deemed hostile to the values and interests of the United States, pressing for free-market policies abroad, and promoting democracy and freedom. Neoconservatives are strong believers in democratic peace theory.
(The democratic peace theory, liberal peace theory, or simply the democratic peace is a theory and related empirical research in international relations, political science, and philosophy which holds that democracies—usually, liberal democracies—never or almost never go to war with one another.)
The original theory and research on wars has been followed by many similar theories and related research on the relationship between democracy and peace, including that lesser conflicts than wars are also rare between democracies, and that systematic violence is in general less common within democracies.)Let us examine the body of thought by examining the most accessible document relevant to the Bush Administration’s brand of neoconservatism.
The document, brief as it is, is important in that many of the Bush administration, on the payroll or advisors contributed to and approved of this final draft.
American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy.
They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this.
We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades?
Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?
We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations.
Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations.
As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.
We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.
Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power.
But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests.
The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today.
Here are four consequences:
• We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
• We need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
• We need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
• We need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.
There is no question the Bush Administration reflects, almost in total, the inclusion of the most, and the most problematic principles and ideas of the Neocon approach to government and their world vision.
That should come as no surprise when we reveal the numbers of Neocons within the administration and others that have an immediate ear in the White House and “audience immediate” upon request!
The Bush Doctrine, promulgated after September 11th, incorporates the concept that nations harboring terrorists are themselves enemies of the United States.
It also embraces the Clinton Doctrine, which is the view that pre-emptive military action is justified to protect the United States from the threat of terrorism or attack.
That concept finds fairly broad acceptance in the general public. The notion becomes problematic, however, when an administration is all to willing to “allege a threat(s)”, knowing full well that none exists and then acts under this umbrella for totally specious and unspoken motives.
We are embroiled, entangled in the Mid East currently, as part of a “grand strategy” to root out terrorism and bring democracy to yet another nation.
We are there shedding the blood of our young in the name of democracy, to protect “our national interests”, to combat international terrorism originally, and fallaciously linked to 9/11; not one word spoken on the record of OIL!
Not one word is candidly spoken about establishing a balance of power in the region that serves the administration’s interests.
Both doctrines state that the United States "will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States."
Given third world nation’s embrace of the strategy of waiting The United States out while we exhaust our resources of war materials faster than we can replace them and the American populous becomes war weary, the will to continue wanes, and the administration finally has to deal with criticisms of and resistance to a primary objective, the need to surpass our over all military might becomes negated in regional conflicts.
The attrition of men and materials adds up quickly while other local sources of weaponry appropriate to the task of inflicting daily casualties on American forces is freely supplied those who are resisting this nation.
The Iraqi Resistance has no problems of weapon supply, in fact, in recent days they have demonstrated possession of sophisticated ordinance.
Iran is “alleged, suspected” to be the source of supply. This administration, given its’ desire, and we all know that desire is there, to exercise a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities lest they become, at minimum, a regional nuclear threat with which we and Israel would have to contend.
I would again point out, that given limitations even this administration has to contend with (they are not quite at the point where they can do anything they want without repercussion).
The Iran Issue is currently in full view with charge and counter charges being bandied about in the press.The Bush Administration is holding that Iran is “responsible” for the appearance of the new ordinance and is attempting to make the case that the Iranian government is “implicated”, while government is asserting that while Iranian weaponry may have found its way into Iraq, that it may well be the result of private groups “sympathic to those opposing the American occupation”, moving the material through the porosity of the border.
The problem the administration has, is that the media has been forecasting a possible “Iranian Invasion” as Bush’s last war for sometime, and the administration has no credibility left.
They are currently boxed into having to suggest Interdiction of the arms flow, while the media has already set out the story line:“Interdiction followed by Invasion”.
There is no trust available, and coupled with a rush “on paper” look semi reasonable agreement with North Korea being touted at the moment, one gets the feeling that a smoke screen has gone up, as the agreement is merely a rehash of a 1996 proposal that has no long range certainty of solution.
It is momentary diplomatic window dressing devoid of any meaningful substance likely to collect. Like fly paper, criticisms of financial obligation on our part, and appearances of appeasement and having been black mailed, a real classic smoke and mirrors proposition.
The Neocon Doctrine, or its’ principles as “selective chosen/applied” by the Bush, administration can only be seen as marking the abandonment of a focus on the doctrine of deterrence (in the Cold War through Mutually Assured Destruction) as the primary means of self-defense. While there have been occasional preemptive strikes by American forces, until recently preemptive strikes have not been an official American foreign and military policy.
Neoconservatives won a landmark victory with the Bush Doctrine after September 11th. Thomas Donnelly, a resident fellow at the influential conservative think-tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which has been under neoconservative influence since the Reagan Administration, argued in "The Underpinnings of the Bush doctrine":“that the fundamental premise of the Bush Doctrine is true: The United States possesses the means—economic, military, diplomatic—to realize its expansive geopolitical purposes.
Further, and especially in light of the domestic political reaction to the attacks of September 11, the victory in Afghanistan and the remarkable skill demonstrated by President Bush in focusing national attention, it is equally true that Americans possess the requisite political will power to pursue an expansive strategy."
A bloated deficit ridden national budget, a beleaguered supply short, weapons short military recycling troops, no one listening or talking, the world sickened by our ambitions, a coalition of the “willing” (really the coalition of the obligated), an administration mocked with “cry wolf” analogies, condemned for its lies and lawlessness, rejected resoundingly in the November Elections, surrounded with scandals, corruption, investigations, mounting Impeachment talk and preparations in as yet “private quarters”, marches and protests growing in frequency, numbers and planning, a nation turned war weary and against the war; the assumptions have proven false and the political capital has been squandered by a President who at best can be labeled mediocre and at worst an incompetent criminal.
In his well-publicized piece "The Case for American Empire" in the conservative Weekly Standard, Max Boot argued that "The most realistic response to terrorism is for America to embrace its imperial role." He countered sentiments that the "United States must become a kinder, gentler nation, must eschew quixotic missions abroad, must become, in Pat Buchanan's phrase, 'a republic, not an empire'," arguing that "

In fact this analysis is exactly backward: The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition; the solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation."
President Bush has expressed praise for Natan Sharansky's book, The Case For Democracy, which promotes a foreign policy philosophy nearly identical to neoconservatives'. President Bush has effusively praised this book, calling it a "glimpse of how I think". [17]It has been read and praised by President George W. Bush. Other members of his administration, such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have also read the book.
Washington Times interview with George Bush where he comments on the book _Mr. Bush: If you want a glimpse of how I think about foreign policy read Natan Sharansky's book "The Case for Democracy." Anybody read it? Read it. It's a great book. And I think it will help - it will help explain a lot of the decisions that you'll see being made - you've seen made and will continue to see make.
And it will help explain what's going to happen in the Palestinian territories as far as we're concerned. For government, particularly for opinion makers, I would put it on your recommended reading list. It's short and it's good. This guy is an heroic figure, as you know. It's a great book.
For some reason, the president’s reading habits — every president’s reading habits — seem to generate considerable media interest. Apparently, it’s a peek into the president’s personality, coupled with insight into what might help influence his perspective.But in order for these reading lists to be valuable, we have to believe the books are actually being read.
In Bush’s case, I’m just not so sure.President George W. Bush faced major security challenges on three fronts on and as he prepared to return to Washington after a 10-day working vacation at his ranch, Bush puts down his summer reading — including Albert Camus’ “The Stranger,” and two books on Civil War President Abraham Lincoln — in favor of presidential briefing books.
Reading about Lincoln isn’t much of a stretch. Bush very well may consider himself something of a Lincoln-esque figure, fighting a costly war while enduring intense political criticism.
But Camus? I have a really tough time buying this one.We all like to joke about Bush’s limited intellectual prowess, but I think it’s safe to say even staunch Bush allies would concede that the president is not exactly “book smart.”
According to his own carefully-crafted narrative, Bush is driven by instinct.
By the president’s own admission, he doesn’t read newspapers and he won’t pore over briefing books; Bush will instead hire a loyal team he can rely on to distill information and offer him choices, which he will make based on his gut.
He is not, in other words, the kind of guy who reads Camus on vacation, in between brush-clearing and bike-rides in which he’ll shout “air assault!” to his companions.
Moreover, “The Stranger” is not … how do I put this gently … an easy read.
It’s a novel steeped in philosophy, most notably Camus’ existentialism, and delves into a not-so-subtle atheism (Meursault rejects any suggestion of embracing religion and believes there are no supernatural influences on humanity).
If Bush has decided to branch out and challenge himself, considering a world view that is clearly at odds with his own, I’ll be the first to congratulate him.
But based on everything I’ve seen of the president, I simply find it hard to believe. I’m not suggesting the president offer us a book report, but if he wanted to take a moment, perhaps at his next press conference, to share his reaction to the book, I’d be anxious to hear his perspective.
By the way, and just an aside, if Bush did read the book, what will the GOP base think about the president picking up an existentialist novel with atheistic themes?
Though Paul Wolfowitz started out as leader of the pack in the administration, there have been limits in the power of neoconservatives in the Bush administration. The former Secretary of State Colin Powell (as well as the State department as a whole) was largely seen as being an opponent of neoconservative ideas. However, with the resignation of Colin Powell and the promotion of Condoleezza Rice, along with widespread resignations within the State department, the neoconservative point of view within the Bush administration has been solidified.
While the neoconservative notion of tough and decisive action has been apparent in U.S. policy toward the Middle East, it has not been seen in U.S. policy toward China and Russia or in the handling of the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Neoconservative proponents of the 2003 Iraq War likened the conflict to Churchill's stand against Hitler. Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld likened Hussein to Stalin and Hitler. President George W. Bush singled out Iraq's dictator as the "great evil" who "by his search for terrible weapons, by his ties to terrorist groups, threatens the security of every free nation, including the free nations of Europe."
In the writings of Paul Wolfowitz, Norman Podhoretz, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Max Boot, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, William Bennett, Peter Rodman, and others influential in forging the foreign policy doctrines of the Bush administration, there are frequent references to the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938, to which are compared the Cold War's policies of détente and containment (rather than rollback) with the Soviet Union and the PRC.
While more conventional foreign policy experts argued that Iraq could be restrained by enforcing No-Fly Zones and by a policy of inspection by United Nations inspectors to restrict its ability to possess chemical or nuclear weapons, neoconservatives considered this policy direction ineffectual and labeled it appeasement of Saddam Hussein.
JUST WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? ( Neoconservative Thinkers)
PNAC Members
Ellen Bork, Acting Executive Director[2]
Gary Schmitt, Senior Fellow[2]
Thomas Donnelly, Senior Fellow[2]
Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow, Director of the Middle East Initiative[2]
Timothy Lehmann, Assistant Director[2]


John Bolton, Ambassador to the UN (2005-2006). (Gone!)
Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, founding member of PNAC and Chief of Staff to the Vice President (2001-2005) (Oops!)
Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense (2001-2006).(Gone! but not forgotten by the German High Court on War Crimes)
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense (2001-2005) and architect of the Bush Doctrine.

Michael Gove, British Member of Parliament (2005-) and journalist.
Henry Jackson, US Congressman and Senator (1941-1983).
Alan Keyes, former diplomat and Senate candidate for Illinois. [3]
Francis Fukuyama, A Small Turning Point In The Making!
Fukuyama is a prolific widely read, highly regarded “Intellectual” writer in Neocon circles, and as such I am going to spend a bit of time presenting some of his writing and the controversy(ies) that surround him and his work.
He received his B.A. in classics from Cornell University, where he studied political philosophy under Allan Bloom, his Ph.D. from Harvard in Political Science, and is currently Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International political economy and Director of the International Development Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University.
He has been affiliated with the Telluride Association since his undergraduate years at Cornell, an educational enterprise that was home to other significant leaders and intellectuals, including the Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg and the defense and foreign affairs official, Paul Wolfowitz.
Fukuyama is best known as the author of The End of History and the Last Man, in which he argued that the progression of human history as a struggle between ideologies is largely at an end, with the world settling on liberal democracy after the end of the Cold War and when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Fukuyama's prophecy declares the eventual triumph of political and economic liberalism.
Fukuyama's thesis in this first book was based on a misprision (a "creative misreading" or "distortion") of Kojeve and Hegel's thesis that history in the limited sense of the struggle of ideologies had ended in the 19th century.
Fukuyama's work presumes that human nature is governed by a desire for recognition, and since only liberal democracy provides a way of satisfying the need for recognition, liberal democracy provides the end point of history.
But let us consider Fukuyama’s ideas in his own words.The distant origins of the present volume lie in an article entitled “The End of History?” which was written for the journal The National Interest in the summer of 1989.
In it, it was argued that a remarkable consensus concerning the legitimacy of liberal democracy as a system of government had emerged throughout the world over the past few years, as it conquered rival ideologies like hereditary monarchy, fascism, and most recently communism.
More than that, however, it was argued that liberal democracy may constitute the “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” and the “final form of human government,” and as such constituted the “end of history.” That is, while earlier forms of government were characterized by grave defects and irrationalities that led to their eventual collapse, liberal democracy was arguably free from such fundamental internal contradictions.
This was not to say that today’s stable democracies, like the United States, France, or Switzerland, were not without injustice or serious social problems. But these problems were ones of incomplete implementation of the twin principles of liberty and equality on which modern democracy is founded, rather than of flaws in the principles themselves.
While some present-day countries might fail to achieve stable liberal democracy, and others might lapse back into other, more primitive forms of rule like theocracy or military dictatorship, the ideal of liberal democracy could not be improved on.
The original article excited an extraordinary amount of commentary and controversy, first in the United States, and then in a series of countries as different as England, France, Italy, the Soviet Union, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and South Korea.
Criticism took every conceivable form, some of it based on simple misunderstanding of the original intent, and others penetrating more perceptively to the core of the arguments.
Many people were confused in the first instance by they use of the word “history.”
Understanding history in a conventional sense as the occurrence of events, people pointed to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Chinese communist crackdown in Tiananmen Square, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as evidence that “history was continuing,” and that the agruements were therefore ipso facto proven wrong.
And yet what was suggested had come to an end was not the occurrence of events, even large and grave events, but History: that is, history understood as a single, coherent, evolutionary process, when taking into account the experience of all peoples in all times.
This understanding of History was most closely associated with the great German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel. It was made part of our daily intellectual atmosphere by Karl Marx, who borrowed this concept of History from Hegel, and is implicit in our use of words like “primitive” or “advanced,” “traditional” or “modern,” when referring to different types of human societies.
For both of these thinkers, there was a coherent development of human societies from simple tribal ones based on slavery and subsistence agriculture, through various theocracies, monarchies, and feudal aristocracies, up through modern liberal democracy and technologically driven capitalism.
This evolutionary process was neither random nor unintelligible, even if it did not proceed in a straight line, and even if it was possible to question whether man was happier or better off as a result of historical “progress.”
Both Hegel and Marx believed that the evolution of human societies was not open-ended, but would end when mankind had achieved a form of society that satisfied its deepest and most fundamental longings.
Both thinkers thus posited an “end of history”: for Hegel this was the liberal state, while for Marx it was a communist society.
This did not mean that the natural cycle of birth, life, and death would end, that important events would no longer happen, or that newspapers reporting them would cease to be published. It meant, rather, that there would be no further progress in the development of underlying principles and institutions, because all of the really big questions had been settled.
The present book is not a restatement of that original article, nor is it an effort to continue the discussion with that article’s many critics and commentators.
Least of all is it an account of the end of the Cold War, or any other pressing topic in contemporary politics. While this book is informed by recent world events, its subject returns to a very old question: Whether, at the end of the twentieth century, it makes sense for us once again to speak of a coherent and directional History of mankind that will eventually lead the greater part of humanity to liberal democracy?
The answer many arrive at is yes, for two separate reasons.
One has to do with economics, and the other has to do with what is termed the “struggle for recognition.”It is of course not sufficient to appeal to the authority of Hegel, Marx, or any of their contemporary followers to establish the validity of a directional History.
In the century and a half since they wrote, their intellectual legacy has been relentlessly assaulted from all directions.
The most profound thinkers of the twentieth century have directly attacked the idea that history is a coherent or intelligible process; indeed, they have denied the possibility that any aspect of human life is philosophically intelligible.
We in the West have become thoroughly pessimistic with regard to the possibility of overall progress in democratic institutions.
This profound pessimism is not accidental, but born of the truly terrible political events of the first half of the twentieth century – two destructive world wars, the rise of totalitarian ideologies, and the turning of science against man in the form of nuclear weapons and environmental damage.
The life experiences of the victims of this past century’s political violence – from the survivors of Hitlerism and Stalinism to the victims of Pol Pot – would deny that there has been such a thing as historical progress. Indeed, we have become so accustomed by now to expect that the future will contain bad news with respect to the health and security of decent, liberal, democratic political practices that we have problems recognizing good news when it comes.
And yet, good news has come. The most remarkable development of the last quarter of the twentieth century has been the revelation of enormous weaknesses at the core of the world’s seemingly strong dictatorships, whether they be of the military-authoritarian Right, or the communist-totalitarian Left.
From Latin America to Eastern Europe, from the Soviet Union to the Middle East and Asia, strong governments have been failing over the last two decades. And while they have not given way in all cases to stable liberal democracies, liberal democracy remains the only coherent political aspiration that spans different regions and cultures around the globe.
In addition, liberal principles in economics – the “free market” – have spread, and have succeeded in producing unprecedented levels of material prosperity, both in industrially developed countries and in countries that had been, at the close of World War II, part of the impoverished Third World.
A liberal revolution in economic thinking has sometimes preceded, sometimes followed, the move toward political freedom around the globe.All of these developments, so much at odds with the terrible history of the first half of the century when totalitarian governments of the Right and Left were on the march, suggest the need to look again at the question of whether there is some deeper connecting thread underlying them, or whether they are merely accidental instances of good luck.
By raising once again the question of whether there is such a thing as a Universal History of mankind, we have to resume a discussion that was begun in the early nineteenth century, but more or less abandoned in our time because of the enormity of events that mankind has experienced since then.
While drawing on the ideas of philosophers like Kant and Hegel who have addressed this question before, one hopes that the arguments presented here will stand on their own.
This writingimmodestly presents not one but two separate efforts to outline such a Universal History.
After establishing why we need to raise once again the possibility of Universal History, I propose apossible initial answer by attempting to use modern natural science as a regulator or mechanism to explain the directionality and coherence of History.
Modern natural science is a useful starting point because it is the only important social activity that by common consensus is both cumulative and directional, even if its ultimate impact on human happiness is ambiguous.
The progressive conquest of nature made possible with the development of the scientific method in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries has proceeded according to certain definite rules laid down not by man, but by nature and nature’s laws.
The unfolding of modern natural science has had a uniform effect on all societies that have experienced it, for two reasons.
In the first place, technology confers decisive military advantages on those countries that possess it, and given the continuing possibility of war in the international system of states, no state that values its independence can ignore the need for defensive modernization.
Second, modern natural science establishes a uniform horizon of economic production possibilities.

Technology makes possible the limitless accumulation of wealth, and thus the satisfaction of an ever-expanding set of human desires.
This process guarantees an increasing homogenization of all human societies, regardless of their historical origins or cultural inheritances. All countries undergoing economic modernization must increasingly resemble one another: they must unify nationally on the basis of a centralized state, urbanize, replace traditional forms of social organization like tribe, sect, and family with economically rational ones based on function and efficiency, and provide for the universal education of their citizens.
Such societies have become increasingly linked with one another through global markets and the spread of a universal consumer culture.
Moreover, the logic of modern natural science would seem to dictate a universal evolution in the direction of capitalism.The experiences of the Soviet Union, China, and other socialist countries indicate that while highly centralized economies are sufficient to reach the level of industrialization represented by Europe in the 1950s, they are woefully inadequate in creating what have been termed complex “post-industrial” economies in which information and technological innovation play a much larger role.
But while the historical mechanism represented by modern natural science is sufficient to explain a great deal about the character of historical change and the growing uniformity of modern societies, it is not sufficient to account for the phenomenon of democracy.
There is no question but that the world’s most developed countries are also its most successful democracies.
But while modern natural science guides us to the gates of the Promised Land of liberal democracy, it does not deliver us to the Promised Land itself, for there is no economically necessary reason why advanced industrialization should produce political liberty.
Stable democracy has at times emerged in pre-industrial societies, as it did in the United States in 1776.
On the other hand, there are many historical and contemporary examples of technologically advanced capitalism coexisting with political authoritarianism from Meiji Japan and Bismarckian Germany to present-day Singapore and Thailand.
In many cases, authoritarian states are capable of producing rates of economic growth unachievable in democratic societies.
Thus, a first effort to establish the basis for a directional history is only partly successful.
What is called the “logic of modern natural science” is in effect an economic interpretation of historical change, but one which (unlike its Marxist variant) leads to capitalism rather than socialism as its final result.
The logic of modern science can explain a great deal about our world: why we residents of developed democracies are office workers rather than peasants eking out a living on the land, why we are members of labor unions or professional organizations rather than tribes or clans, why we obey the authority of a bureaucratic superior rather than a priest, why we are literate and speak a common national language.
But economic interpretations of history are incomplete and unsatisfying, because man is not simply an economic animal.In particular, such interpretations cannot really explain why we are democrats, that is, proponents of the principle of popular sovereignty and the guarantee of basic rights under a rule of law.
It has always been true than any "single determination/determinst" explanation or evaluation of history, while it may offer its' own unique, and valuable insites, will fail as an ultimate yardstick for measuring history, because only a portion of the yardstick is in use.
It is for this reason that the writing by necessity turns to a second, parallel account of the historical process, an account that seeks to recover the whole of man and not just his economic side.
To do this, we return to Hegel and Hegel’s non-materialist account of History, based on the “struggle for recognition.”According to Hegel, human beings like animals have natural needs and desires for objects outside themselves such as food, drink, shelter, and above all the preservation of their own bodies.
Man differs fundamentally from the animals; however, because in addition he desires the desire of other men, that is, he wants to be “recognized.” In particular, he wants to be recognized as a human being, that is, as a being with a certain worth or dignity.
This worth in the first instance is related to his willingness to risk his life in a struggle over pure prestige. For only man is able to overcome his most basic animal instincts – chief among them his instinct for self-preservation – for the sake of higher, abstract principles and goals.
According to Hegel, the desire for recognition initially drives two primordial combatants to seek to make the other “recognize” their humanness by staking their lives in a mortal battle. When the natural fear of death leads one combatant to submit, the relationship of master and slave is born.
The stakes in this bloody battle at the beginning of history are not food, shelter, or security, but pure prestige. And precisely because the goal of the battle is not determined by biology, Hegel sees in it the first glimmer of human freedom.
The desire for recognition may at first appear to be an unfamiliar concept, but it is as old as the tradition of Western political philosophy, and constitutes a thoroughly familiar part of the human personality.It was first described by Plato in the Republic, when he noted that there were three parts to the soul, a desiring part, a reasoning part, and a part that he called thymos, or “spiritedness.”

Much of human behavior can be explained as a combination of the first two parts, desire and reason: desire induces men to seek things outside themselves, while reason or calculation shows them the best way to get them.
But in addition, human beings seek recognition of their own worth, or of the people, things, or principles that they invest with worth. The propensity to invest the self with a certain value, and to demand recognition for that value, is what in today’s popular language we would call “self-esteem.”

The propensity to feel self-esteem arises out of the part of the soul called emos.
It is like an innate human sense of justice. People believe that they have a certain worth, and when other people treat them as though they are worth less than that, they experience the emotion of anger. Conversely, when people fail to live up to their own sense of worth, they feel shame, and when they are evaluated correctly in proportion to their worth, they feel pride.The desire for recognition, and the accompanying emotions of anger, shame, and pride, are parts of the human personality critical to political life.
According to Hegel, they are what drives the whole historical process.By Hegel’s account, the desire to be recognized as a human being with dignity drove man at the beginning of history into a bloody battle to the death for prestige.
The outcome of this battle was a division of human society into a class of masters, who were willing to risk their lives, and a class of slaves, who gave in to their natural fear of death. But the relationship of lordship and bondage, which took a wide variety of forms in all of the unequal, aristocratic societies that have characterized the greater part of human history, failed ultimately to satisfy the desire for recognition of either the masters or the slaves.
The slave, of course, was not acknowledged as a human being in any way whatsoever. But the recognition enjoyed by the master was deficient as well, because he was not recognized by other masters, but slaves whose humanity was as yet incomplete. Dissatisfaction with the flawed recognition available in aristocratic societies constituted a “contradiction” that engendered further stages of history.
Hegel believed that the “contradiction” inherent in the relationship of lordship and bondage was finally overcome as a result of the French and, one would have to add, American revolutions. These democratic revolutions abolished the distinction between master and slave by making the former slaves their own masters and by establishing the principles of popular sovereignty and the rule of law.
The inherently unequal recognition of masters and slaves is replaced by universal and reciprocal recognition, where every citizen recognizes the dignity and humanity of every other citizen, and where that dignity is recognized in turn by the state through the granting of rights.
This Hegelian understanding of the meaning of contemporary liberal democracy differs in a significant way from the Anglo-Saxon understanding that was the theoretical basis of liberalism in countries like Britain and the United States.
In that tradition, the prideful quest for recognition was to be subordinated to enlightened self-interest – desire combined with reason – and particularly the desire for self-preservation of the body. While Hobbes, Locke, and the American Founding Fathers like Jefferson and Madison believed that rights to a large extent existed as a means of preserving a private sphere where men can enrich themselves and satisfy the desiring parts of their souls, Hegel saw rights as ends in themselves, because what truly satisfies human beings is not so much material prosperity as recognition of their status and dignity.
With the American and French revolutions, Hegel asserted that history comes to an end because the longing that had driven the historical process – the struggle for recognition – has now been satisfied in a society characterized by universal and reciprocal recognition.
No other arrangement of human social institutions is better able to satisfy this longing, and hence no further progressive historical change is possible. The desire for recognition, then, can provide the missing link between liberal economics and liberal politics that was missing from the economic account of History.
Desire and reason are together sufficient to explain the process of industrialization, and a large part of economic life more generally. But they cannot explain the striving for liberal democracy, which ultimately arises out of thymos, the part of our being that demands recognition.
The social changes that accompany advanced industrialization, in particular universal education, appear to liberate a certain demand for recognition that did not exist among poorer and less educated people. As standards of living increase, as populations become more cosmopolitan and better educated, and as society as a whole achieves a greater equality of condition, people begin to demand not simply more wealth but recognition of their status.
If people were nothing more than desire and reason, they would be content to live in market-oriented authoritarian states like Franco’s Spain, or a South Korea or Brazil under military rule. But they also have a thymotic pride in their own self-worth, and this leads them to demand democratic governments that treat them like adults rather than children, recognizing their autonomy as free individuals.
Communism is being superseded by liberal democracy in our time because of the realization that the former provides a gravely defective form of recognition, among other things.
An understanding of the importance of the desire for recognition as the motor of history allows us to reinterpret many phenomena that are otherwise seemingly familiar to us, such as culture, religion, work, nationalism, and war.
Logic requires that we make an attempt to do precisely this, and to project into the future some of the different ways that the desire for recognition will be manifest.
A religious believer, for example, seeks recognition for his particular gods or sacred practices, while a nationalist demands recognition for his particular linguistic, cultural, or ethnic group.Both of these forms of recognition are less rational than the universal recognition of the liberal state, because they are based on arbitrary distinctions between sacred and profane, or between human social groups.
For this reason, religion, nationalism, and a people’s complex of ethical habits and customs (more broadly “culture”) have traditionally been interpreted as obstacles to the establishment of successful democratic political institutions and free-market economies.
But the truth is considerably more complicated, for the success of liberal politics and liberal economics frequently rests on irrational forms of recognition that liberalism was supposed to overcome.
For democracy to work, citizens need to develop an irrational pride in their own democratic institutions, and must also develop what Tocqueville called the “art of associating,” which rests on prideful attachment to small communities.
These communities are frequently based on religion, ethnicity, or other forms of recognition that fall short of the universal recognition on which the liberal state is based. The same is true for liberal economics. Labor has traditionally been understood in the Western liberal economic tradition as an essentially unpleasant activity undertaken for the sake of the satisfaction of human desires and the relief of human pain.
But in certain cultures with a strong work ethic, such as that of the Protestant entrepreneurs who created European capitalism, or of the elites who modernized Japan after the Meiji restoration, work was also undertaken for the sake of recognition. To this day, the work ethic in many Asian countries is sustained not so much by material incentives, as by the recognition provided for work by overlapping social groups, from the family to the nation, on which these societies are based.
This suggests that liberal economics succeeds not simply on the basis of liberal principles, but requires irrational forms of thymos as well.The struggle for recognition provides us with insight into the nature of international politics. The desire for recognition that led to the original bloody battle for prestige between two individual combatants leads logically to imperialism and World Empire.
The relationship of lordship and bondage on a domestic level is naturally replicated on the level of states, where nations as a whole seek recognition and enter into bloody battles for supremacy.
Nationalism, a modern yet not-fully-rational form of recognition, has been the vehicle for the struggle for recognition over the past hundred years, and the source of this century’s most intense conflicts.
This is the world of “power politics,” described by such foreign policy “realists” as Henry Kissinger.
But if war is fundamentally driven by the desire for recognition, it stands to reason that the liberal revolution which abolishes the relationship of lordship and bondage by making former slaves their own masters should have a similar effect on the relationship between states.

Liberal democracy replaces the irrational desire to be recognized as greater than others with a rational desire to be recognized as equal. A world made up of liberal democracies, then, should have much less incentive for war, since all nations would reciprocally recognize one another’s legitimacy.

And indeed, there is substantial empirical evidence from the past couple of hundred years that liberal democracies do not behave imperialistically toward one another, even if they are perfectly capable of going to war with states that are not democracies and do not share their fundamental values.
Nationalism is currently on the rise in regions like Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union where peoples have long been denied their national identities, and yet within the world’s oldest and most secure nationalities, nationalism is undergoing a process of change. The demand for national recognition in Western Europe has been domesticated and made compatible with universal recognition, much like religion three or four centuries before.
The fifth and final level of this dialog addresses the question of the “end of history,” and the creature that emerges at the end, the “last man.”
In the course of the original debate over the National Interest article, many people assumed that the possibility of the end of history revolved around the question of whether there were viable alternatives to liberal democracy visible in the world today. There was a great deal of controversy over such questions as whether communism was truly dead, whether religion or ultranationalism might make a comeback, and the like.
But the deeper and more profound question concerns the goodness of Liberal democracy itself, and not only whether it will succeed against its present-day rivals. Assuming that liberal democracy is, for the moment, safe from external enemies, could we assume that successful democratic societies could remain that way indefinitely? Or is liberal democracy prey to serious internal contradictions, contradictions so serious that they will eventually undermine it as a political system?
There is no doubt that contemporary democracies face any number of serious problems, from drugs, homelessness and crime to environmental damage and the frivolity of consumerism. But these problems are not obviously insoluble on the basis of liberal principles, nor so serious that they would necessarily lead to the collapse of society as a whole, as communism collapsed in the 1980s.
Writing in the twentieth century, Hegel’s great interpreter, Alexandre Kojève, asserted intransigently that history had ended because what he called the “universal and homogeneous state” – what we can understand as liberal democracy – definitely solved the question of recognition by replacing the relationship of lordship and bondage with universal and equal recognition.What man had been seeking throughout the course of history – what had driven the prior “stages of history” – was recognition. In the modern world, he finally found it, and was “completely satisfied.”
This claim was made seriously by Kojève, and it deserves to be taken seriously by us. For it is possible to understand the problem of politics over the millennia of human history as the effort to solve the problem of recognition. Recognition is the central problem of politics because it is the origin of tyranny, imperialism, and the desire to dominate.
But while it has a dark side, it cannot simply be abolished from political life, because it is simultaneously the psychological ground for political virtues like courage, public-spiritedness, and justice.
All political communities must make use of the desire for recognition, while at the same time protecting themselves from its destructive effects.
If contemporary constitutional government has indeed found a formula whereby all are recognized in a way that nonetheless avoids the emergence of tyranny, then it would indeed have a special claim to stability and longevity among the regimes that have emerged on earth.
But is the recognition available to citizens of contemporary liberal democracies “completely satisfying?” The long-term future of liberal democracy, and the alternatives to it that may one day arise, depend above all on the answer to this question.
In concluding, we sketch two broad responses, from the Left and the Right, respectively. The Left would say that universal recognition in liberal democracy is necessarily incomplete because capitalism creates economic inequality and requires a division of labor that ipso facto implies unequal recognition.
In this respect, a nation’s absolute level of prosperity provides no solution, because there will continue to be those who are relatively poor and therefore invisible as human beings to their fellow citizens. Liberal democracy, in other words, continues to recognize equal people unequally.
The second, and in my view more powerful, criticism of universal recognition comes from the Right that was profoundly concerned with the leveling effects of the French Revolution’s commitment to human equality.
This Right found its most brilliant spokesman in the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, whose views were in some respects anticipated by that great observer of democratic societies, Alexis de Tocqueville.Nietzsche believed that modern democracy represented not the self-mastery of former slaves, but the unconditional victory of the slave and a kind of slavish morality.
The typical citizen of a liberal democracy was a “last man” who, schooled by the founders of modern liberalism, gave up prideful belief in his or her own superior worth in favor of comfortable self-preservation.
Liberal democracy produced “men without chests,” composed of desire and reason but lacking thymos, clever at finding new ways to satisfy a host of petty wants through the calculation of long-term self-interest. The last man had no desire to be recognized as greater than others, and without such desire no excellence or achievement was possible.
Content with his happiness and unable to feel any sense of shame for being unable to rise above those wants, the last man ceased to be human.
Following Nietzsche’s line of thought, we are compelled to ask the following questions: Is not the man who is completely satisfied by nothing more than universal and equal recognition something less than a full human being, indeed, an object of contempt, a “last man” with neither striving nor aspiration?
Is there not a side of the human personality that deliberately seeks out struggle, danger, risk, and daring, and will this side not remain unfulfilled by the “peace and prosperity” of contemporary liberal democracy?
Does not the satisfaction of certain human beings depend on recognition that is inherently unequal?Indeed, does not the desire for unequal recognition constitute the basis of a livable life, not just for bygone aristocratic societies, but also in modern liberal democracies?
Will not their future survival depend, to some extent, on the degree to which their citizens seek to be recognized not just as equal, but as superior to others?And might not the fear of becoming contemptible “last men” not lead men to assert themselves in new and unforeseen ways, even to the point of becoming once again bestial “first men” engaged in bloody prestige battles, this time with modern weapons?
Current writings seem to anticipate and seek to address these questions.
They arise naturally once we ask whether there is such a thing as progress, and whether we can construct a coherent and directional Universal History of mankind. Totalitarianisms of the Right and Left have kept us too busy to consider the latter question seriously for the better part of this century.
But the fading of these totalitarianisms, as the century comes to an end, invites us to raise this old question one more time.
Fukuyama has written a number of other books, among them Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity and Our Post human Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. In the latter, he qualified his original "end of history" thesis, arguing that since biotechnology increasingly allows humans to control their own evolution, it may allow humans to alter "human nature", thereby putting Liberal Democracy at risk.

One possible outcome could be that an altered human nature could end in radical inequality.
The current revolution in biological sciences leads him to theorize in an environment in which as he says history is not at an end because science and technology are not at an end.
Also among them is The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstruction of Social Order. In this book, he explores where social norms come from and talks about how the current disruption, due to the shift from the manufacturing age to the information age, is normal and will correct itself due to the need for humans to have social norms and rules.
Politically, Fukuyama has in the past been considered neoconservative. He was active in the Project for the New American Century think tank starting in 1997, and signed the organization's letter recommending that President Bill Clinton overthrow the then-President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. [1] He also signed a second, similar letter to President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks that called for removing Saddam Hussein from power "even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack."[2]Thereafter, however, he drifted from the neoconservative agenda, which he felt had become overly militaristic and based on muscular, unilateral armed intervention to further democratization within authoritarian regimes (particularly in the Middle East).
Now Please remember this is a Neocon by anyone’s definition!
He did not approve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq as it was executed, and called for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense [3].
He said that he would vote against Bush in the 2004 election,[4] and said Bush made three major mistakes:(1) The threat of radical Islamism to the US was overestimated.
(2) The Bush administration didn't foresee the fierce negative reaction to its benevolent hegemony.
From the very beginning it showed a negative attitude towards the United Nations and other international organizations and didn't see that this would increase anti-Americanism in other countries.
(3) The Bush administration misjudged what was needed to bring peace in Iraq and was overly optimistic about the success with which social engineering of Western values could be applied to Iraq and the Middle East in general.
Fukuyama's current beliefs include the following: the US should use its power to promote democracy in the world, but more along the lines of what he calls realistic Wilsonianism, with military intervention only as a last resort and only in addition to other measures.
A latent military force is more likely to have an effect than actual deployment. The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world put together, but Iraq shows there are limits to its effectiveness.The US should instead stimulate political and economic development and gain a better understanding of what happens in other countries.
The best instruments are setting a good example and providing education and, in many cases, money.The secret of development, be it political or economic, is that it never comes from outsiders, but always from people in the country itself.One thing the US is good at is the formation of international institutions. These would combine power with legitimacy. But such measures require a lot of patience.
This is the central thesis of his most recent work America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy.In an essay in the New York Times Magazine in 2006 that was strongly critical of the invasion,[5] he identified neoconservatism with Leninism. He wrote that the neoconservatives:...believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will.
Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States. Neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something I can no longer support.He also announced the end of the "neoconservative moment" and argued for the demilitarization of the war on terrorism:"[W]ar" is the wrong metaphor for the broader struggle, since wars are fought at full intensity and have clear beginnings and endings.
Meeting the jihadist challenge is more of a "long, twilight struggle" whose core is not a military campaign but a political contest for the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslims around the world.
If he has distanced himself from the label of neoconservatism, he remains indebted to Leo Strauss, purported father of neoconservatism, for much of the theoretical basis of his political economics. In Our Post human Future he takes a Straussian stance, defending a classical doctrine of natural right. He says his argument is Aristotelian and that:Aristotle argued, in effect, that human notions of right and wrong--what we today call human rights--were ultimately based on human nature.
In August 2005 Fukuyama, together with a number of other prominent political thinkers, co-founded The American Interest, a quarterly magazine devoted to the broad theme of "America in the World". The editorial tone of the publication is largely bi-partisan and is an attempt to transcend the polemical discourse that dominates discussions of contemporary American foreign policy.
Fukuyama was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001-2005.
Fukuyama is on the steering committee for the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Trust. [6] Fukuyama is a long-time friend of Libby. They served together in the State Department in the 1980s.Fukuyama is also a part-time photographer and has a keen interest in classical furniture which he makes by hand.
He is married to Laura Holmgren and has three children.
Selected Bibliography Books
The End of History and the Last Man. Free Press, 1992. ISBN 0-02-910975-2
Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. Free Press, 1995. ISBN 0-02-910976-0
The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order. Free Press, 1999. ISBN 0-684-84530-X
Our Post human Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002. ISBN 0-374-23643-7
State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century. Cornell University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8014-4292-3
America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (Yale University Press, 2006). ISBN 0-300-11399-4
After the Neo Cons: Where the Right went Wrong. Profile Books, 2006. ISBN 1-86197-922-3 (N.B. Published in the US as America at the Crossroads see above)


Women and the Evolution of World Politics, Foreign Affairs Oct 1998
Social capital and civil society, paper prepared for delivery at the IMF Conference on Second Generation Reforms, 1 October 1999
Don't do it Britannia, Prospect, May 2000
Biotechnology: our slippery slope?, Prospect, June 2002
The neoconservative moment, The National Interest, Summer 2004
After neoconservatism, The New York Times Magazine, 19 February 2006

Supporter's voice now turns on Bush, The New York Times Magazine, 14 March 2006
Why shouldn't I change my mind?, Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2006

Japanese dilemma, Prospect, November 2006Identity and migration,
Prospect, February 2007: Francis Fukuyama says: The US needs to reconceptualize its foreign policy now that conflict in Iraq has shattered neoconservative notion that US could impose democracy and human rights abroad by military force alone, The US must demilitarize what it calls global war on terrorism and shift to other types of policy instruments;The US must seek to establish effective international institutions that can confer legitimacy on collective action;The US must also reform, reorganize and properly finance those institutions of US government that actually promote democracy, development and rule of law around the world.
Are there welcomes signs within the Neocon inner circle that Bush administration is abandoning legacy of its first term?
Yes but those signs are minimal and among the theorists, not the practitioners of the poisoned politics of this White House, so don’t hold your breath looking for an epiphany Pennsylvania Avenue, but a small sign found in an article excerpting from the forthcoming book, In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq.The Iraq war: the journalist Nick Cohen writes a provocative book indicting former friends on the British left who opposed it.In a mirror image, Francis Fukuyama's provocative book indicts former friends on the right who supported it.
As Tony Blair observed in 2001, the kaleidoscope has been shaken.Fukuyama achieved intellectual stardom as the author of The End of History, taken by many to mean that, with the death of communism, the triumph of liberal democracy was not only desirable but inevitable.

Such an interpretation seems likely to have encouraged the neoconservatives to go charging into Iraq on the assumption that, when the smoke cleared, democracy would fill the gap.
But in this volume of self-justification, Fukuyama insists that he has nothing to apologies for because his theory was misunderstood.He pleads that The End of History was actually asserting a universal desire for modernization, technology, healthcare, high living standards of which liberal democracy is a likely by product.

But plenty of cultural, economic and other contingent factors can get in the way.
No idea, however powerful and seductive, is enough on its own.
The neocons imploded, he argues, not because they were neocons but because they forgot one of their own principles: to distrust ambitious social engineering projects, such as trying to act as midwife to Iraqi democracy.
On how to get there he is somewhat vague. Fukuyama is readable, but some of his arguments smack of translating common sense into academese.
Nor does the book, based on a series of lectures he gave at Yale University in 2005, quite come together as a rounded polemic.Reviewers of the hardback edition used words such as "devastating" and "brutal", but the tone is not as exciting as anger.
Many associate neoconservatism with periodicals such as Commentary and The Weekly Standard, along with the foreign policy initiatives of think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Neoconservative journalists, pundits, policy analysts, and politicians, often dubbed "neocons" by supporters and critics alike, have been credited with (or blamed for) their influence on U.S. foreign policy, especially under the administration of George W. Bush


Kobo Abe
Edward Albee
Paul Auster
John Barth
Georges Bataille
Samuel Beckett
Simone de Beauvoir
Michel Butor
Albert Camus rejected being labeled an existentialist, but his thoughts and works are often characterized as having existentialist themes.
CelineNoah Cicero
Joseph Conrad
Eugene Cullen
Philip K. Dick
Fyodor Dostoevsky lived in the Nineteenth century, well before the beginning of existentialism proper. Further, being a Russian Orthodox Christian, any ideological alliance with the likes of Sartre and other existentialists is highly speculative to say the least. But his is a major influence on many or most existentialist thinkers.
Marguerite Duras
Ralph Ellison
John Fowles
Jean Genet
André Gide
Anthony Farway
Knut Hamsun
Joseph Heller
Hermann Hesse
Henrik Ibsen
Eugène Ionesco
Franz Kafka
Jack KerouacImre
C. S. Lewis
Malcolm Lowry
André Malraux
Yukio Mishima
George Oppen
Chuck Palahniuk
Walker Percy
Harold Pinter
Rainer Maria Rilke
Alain Robbe-Grillet
Catherine Robbe-Grillet
José Saramago
Nathalie Sarraute
Claude Simon
Jean-Paul Sartre
Marquis de Sade pre-dated the existentialist movement by over one hundred years, but his writings affected it.
Ali Shariati
Tom Stoppard
Alexander Trocchi
Richard O. Russell
Miguel de Unamuno
Peter Weiss
O V Vijayan's most famous work, Khasakkinte Itihaasam (The Legend of Khasak) deals with existentialism.
Kurt Vonnegut
Richard Wright
Fritz Zorn existentialist author ("Mars"), died of cancer while writing about his neurosis


Simone de Beauvoir
Nikolai Berdyaev
Henri Bergson
E. M. Cioran
William A. Earle
José Ortega y Gasset
Martin Heidegger rejected the label 'existentialist', but his ideas inspired Sartre and many others.
Karl Jaspers
Hans Jonas
Søren Kierkegaard lived before the existentialist movement began, and it is probable he would have rejected many tenets of Sartre's existentialism. Yet, he was of the first philosophers dealing with the problems of human existence in ways recognizable as forerunners of Sartrean existentialism.
Walter Kaufmann
Ladislav Klíma
Emmanuel Levinas
Gabriel Marcel Like Kierkegaard,
Friedrich Nietzsche lived before the existentialist movement began, and in many ways, differs from existentialism proper. Yet, his work is precursor to many of the developments in later existentialist thought.
Jean-Paul Sartre
Ramond Quole
Lev ShestovEgoist,
Max Stirner, lived before the existentialist movement of the twentieth century and cannot properly be referred to as an existentialist. He is an important predecessor to the existentialist thought.
Miguel de Unamuno
Peter Wessel Zapffe
Colin Wilson
Paul Ricoeur In his earlier writing, he was very existential, until he learned of hermeneutics
Mahmoud Khatami.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.
In Letter No.3 we will turn our attention to the Issue of the Rise of an American Fascism


The Black Quill Letters No.3: When Fascism Comes To America: It will All Seem "Normal".

THE RISE OF FASCISM IN AMERICA: It will all seem so normal.

Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. But it will all seem “normal”.

All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses. It will all seem “normal”.

But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons. But it will all seem ““normal””.

The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” And when it happens, somehow; it will all seem “normal”.

To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among the elite, and a degree of debate will be permitted; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized—usually by “the people” themselves. Deprived of historical knowledge by a thoroughly impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, left ignorant of current events by a corporate media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control. It will all seem “normal”.

The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as ““normal”,” as the chill of autumn feels “normal” when summer is gone. It will all seem “normal”.

Fascism is a political ideology and mass movement that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community.[1] Many different characteristics are attributed to fascism by different scholars, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism, corporatism, statism, collectivism[2], anti-liberalism, and anti-communism. There are numerous debates between scholars regarding the nature of fascism, and the kinds of political movements and governments that may be called fascist. For further elaboration, please see definitions of fascism and fascism and ideology.

The term fascism was first used by Benito Mussolini, and it comes from the Italian word fascio, which means "union" or "league", and from the Latin word fasces (fascis, in singular), which means rods bundled around an axe. The fasces was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of magistrates, and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is very difficult to break.

Since the end of World War II, there has been considerable stigma associated with fascism, and few political groups in the past 60 years have dared to openly identify themselves as fascist. Unlike other ideologies, fascism never generated a large body of dogma or political theory, and, most importantly, there have been no significant political texts written from a fascist point of view since 1945. Thus, nearly all works on the topic of fascist ideology have been written by non-fascist and anti-fascist authors, and it is often difficult to determine the fascist position on many important issues. The word "fascist" is often used pejoratively, a label used by people of all political views to draw criticism upon an opposing viewpoint. This has spilled over into debates concerning the ideological nature of fascism, with adherents of some ideologies trying to draw parallels between fascism and their own ideological opponents.

Many diverse regimes have identified themselves as fascist, and many regimes have been labelled as fascist even though they did not self-identify as such. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets. Since the 1990s, there has been a growing move toward some rough consensus reflected in the work of Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin, and Robert O. Paxton.

Mussolini defined fascism as being a right-wing collectivistic ideology in opposition to socialism, liberalism, democracy and individualism. He wrote in The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism:

Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State. (a version of the text is here).

Since Mussolini, however, there have been many conflicting definitions of the term "fascism." Former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton has written that:

"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."[4]

Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:

1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions;
2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits;

3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts;

4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint;

5. fear of foreign `contamination."[5]

Fascism is associated by many scholars with one or more of the following characteristics: a very high degree of nationalism, economic corporatism, a powerful, dictatorial leader who portrays the nation, state or collective as superior to the individuals or groups composing it.

Stanley Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector; fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism; anti-conservatism.[6] Semiotician Umberto Eco also attempts to identify characteristics of fascism in his popular essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt.[7] More recently, an emphasis has been placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.[8]

Most scholars hold that fascism as a social movement employs elements from the political left, but many conclude that fascism eventually allies with the political right, especially after attaining state power. For example, Nazism began as a socio-political movement that promoted a radical form of National Socialism, but altered its character once Adolf Hitler was handed state power in Germany. Some scholars and political commentators argue that fascism is a form of socialist dictatorship similar to that in Soviet Union.[9]

The evolution of Fascism in a Democracy is the most insidious of political transitions, assembling many components from divergent intellectual, pop culture sources and fringe organizations that have fanatic devotees. Even in the face of warning, the words of the courier most often go without heed, and in fact, are frequently attacked as the ranting of lunatic alarmists; the evolutionary/transitional process, both by design of the usurpers and the climate of gradual acceptance isolates the messenger until it is too late. Everything seems rational; everything seems “normal”. Just look inside the following and tell me: Is this your idea of “normal”? From such sources is the stew being

Neo-fascism and religion
Christian Identity
Creativity Movement
Ku Klux Klan
National Alliance
Nouvelle Droite
American Nazi Party
Alain de Benoist
William Luther Pierce
George Lincoln Rockwell
International Third Position
National anarchism
National Bolshevism

And the Top Neocon Think Tanks

Project for the New American Century (PNAC)
Established in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, PNAC's goal is "to promote American global leadership." Creating a blueprint for the US' current role in the world, PNAC's original Statement of Principles called for the US to return to a "Reaganite foreign policy of military strength and moral clarity."

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Founded in 1943, this influential Washington think tank is known as the headquarters of neoconservative thought. In a crucial speech in the leadup to the war in Iraq, US President George W. Bush said this to an audience at AEI: "You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds."

Jewish Intitute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)
Based in Washington, JINSA "communicates with the national security establishment and the general public to explain the role Israel can and does play in bolstering American interests, as well as the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel." Some of the strongest supporters of Israel's right-wing Likud Party in the already pro-Israel neoconservative circles are on JINSA's board of advisers.

Center for Security Policy (CSP)
CSP's 2001 annual report boasts of its influence saying it "isn't just a 'think tank' – it's an agile, durable, and highly effective 'main battle tank' in the war of ideas on national security." Securing neoconservatives' influence at the nexus of military policymakers and weapons manufacturers, CSP's mission is "to promote world peace through American strength."

The Hudson Institute

The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies

Ethics and Public Policy Center

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Further Sources For Investigation

In his original article, "Fascism Anyone?", Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes. This page is a collection of news articles dating from the start of the Bush presidency divided into topics relating to each of the 14 points of fascism. Further analysis of American Fascism done by the POAC can be read here.

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

September 11 Freedom Walk

New Majority Leader: Iraq War “May Be The Greatest Gift That We Give” Our Grandchildren

Headstones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with the Pentagons war-marketing slogans

White House and the RNC are going to make a habit of using uniformed military personnel as props at Republican political rallies, despite the fact that it is a plain violation of military regulations banning politicization of the armed forces.

"You must glorify war in order to get the public to accept the fact that your going to send their sons and daughters to die." The inside story of the cozy relationship between big box office American war movies and the Pentagon


2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

We are now a torturing police state: Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture.

Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes

Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.

Guantanamo Judge: “I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”

Rumsfeld to approve new guidelines that will formalize the administration's policy of imprisoning without the protections of the Geneva Conventions and enable the Pentagon to legally hold "ghost detainees,"

US 'preparing to detain terror suspects for life without trial'

U.S. oks evidence gained through torture

July 1, 2003: U.S. Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries: because they have supported the International Criminal Court and failed to exempt Americans from possible prosecution.

US has at least 9000 prisoners in secret detention

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

Congressman: Muslims 'enemy amongst us'

SB 24, Ohio law to muzzle "liberals"

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has joined a conservative Washington think tank, where he will found and direct a program called "America's Enemies."

Sean Hannity creates weekly "Enemy of the State" segment on his new program

If you haven't seen the Oreo flash animation yet, see it here (It puts things in perspective!)

Bush’s Domestic Program Hit List (What Priorities are important?)

Bush slashes domestic programs, boosts defense. Arlen Spector calls it "scandalous"

Funding for job training, rural health care, low-income schools and help for people lacking health insurance would face big cuts under a bill passed Friday by the House

Pentagon to spend 75 billion for three new brigades

Three cable channels now feed news, information and entertainment about the armed services into millions of living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week: The Military Channel, the Military History Channel and the Pentagon Channel.


5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

It's legal again, to fire gov't workers for being gay

Bush calls for Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages

Bush refuses to sign U.N proposal on women's "sexual" rights

W. David Hager chairman of the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee does not prescribe contraceptives for single women, does not do abortions, will not prescribe RU-486 and will not insert IUDs.

The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist U.S. group part of a US$10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political participation and democracy.


6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

FBI Acknowledges: Journalists Phone Records are Fair Game

Report shows U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens and the story gets only 41 mentions in the media

Free Press details recent governmental propaganda efforts, from faux-correspondent Jeff Gannon to paid-off pundit Armstrong Williams, and from the demise of FOIA to video news releases passed off as news.

also... See a Whitehouse fake news release here (opens realplayer)

US seizes webservers from independent media sites-

Bush's war on information: US editors forbidden to publish certain foreign writers-


7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses

Bush Aides ADMIT 'stoking fear' for political gain:

Bush adviser said the president hopes to change the dynamics of the race. The strategy is aimed at stoking public fears about terrorism, raising new concerns about Kerry's ability to protect Americans and reinforcing Bush's image as the steady anti-terrorism candidate, aides said.-

The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level.

GOP Ad These are the stakes-

Keith Olbermann: "The Nexus of Politics and Terror."-

Cheney warns that if Kerry is elected, the USA will suffer a "devastating attack"

GOP convention in a nutshell (quicktime) –

Rove: GOP to Use Terror As Campaign Issue in 2006


8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

Jerry Falwell cleared of charges that he broke federal election law by urging followers to vote for Bush

NC congressman proposes law making it ok to preach politics from the pulpit

Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals

Family research council: Justice Sunday

Thou shalt be like Bush:
What makes this recently established, right-wing Christian college unique are the increasingly close - critics say alarmingly close - links it has with the Bush administration and the Republican establishment.

Park Service Continues to Push Creationist Theory at Grand Canyon and other nat'l parks


9.) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

The K Street Project is a project by the Republican party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.

American Conservative Magazine: One U.S. contractor received $2 million in a duffel bag... and a U.S. official was given $7 million in cash in the waning days of the CPA and told to spend it “before the Iraqis take over.”

There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in Iraq

Bush money network rooted in Florida, Texas: Since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the federal government has awarded more than $3 billion in contracts to the President's elite 2004 Texas fund-raisers, their businesses, and lobbying clients


10.) Labor Power is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

Labor Department warns unions against using their money politically

President Bush Attacks Organized Labor: Bush attacked organized labor Saturday, issuing orders effectively reducing how much money unions can spend for political activities and opening up government contracts to non-union bidding.

March 2001: President Bush signed his name to four executive orders on organized labor last month, including one that cuts the money unions will have for political campaign spending.

Congress and the Department of Labor are trying to change the rules on overtime pay, eliminating the 40 hour work week, taking eligibility for overtime pay away from millions of workers, and replacing time and a half pay with comp days.


11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

The A to Z guide to political interference in science

Bush's new economic plan cuts funding for arts, education

Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds.

A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes

Freedom of Repression: New ruling will allow censorship of campus publications


12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations

The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006

The United States has now become the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-8 times the rate of other industrialized nations.

American Gestapo is here: "There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"

America: secret jails, secret courts, secret arrests, and now secret laws

Snitch-or-Go-to-Jail bill will make pretty much anything short of reporting on everyone you see for doing just about anything a jailable offense. With minimum sentences, up to and including life without parole.

The problem with Gonzales is that he has been deeply involved in developing some of the most sweeping claims of near-dictatorial presidential power in our nation's history, allowing him to imprison and even (at least in theory) torture anyone in the world, at any time

Police officers don't have to give a reason at the time they arrest someone, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling that shields officers from false-arrest lawsuits.


13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Bush Cronyism: Foxes Guarding the henhouse

Who's been indicted, named as a co-conspirator or convicted? The Grand Ole Docket tracks trial dates, court appearances and sentencing hearings for players in the current array of national political scandals.

Making Sense of the Abramoff Scandal

In preparation for upcoming Congressional hearings, Bush Administration firing federal attorneys and appointing ringers without Senate confirmation via the patriot act.

If Bush's pick is confirmed, that will mean the five top appointees at Justice have zero prosecutorial experience among them.

Iran-Contra Felons Get Good Jobs from Bush

Big Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Went To Big Donors

Bush Wars -- Crooks Get Contracts : The main companies that were awarded billions of dollars worth of contracts in Iraq have paid more than $300 million in fines since 2000, to resolve allegations of fraud, bid rigging, delivery of faulty military equipment, and environmental damage.

US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) lost track of $9 billion

"Contracting in the aftermath of the hurricanes has been marked by waste, corruption and cronyism"


14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

A couple of election workers have been convicted of rigging a recount in Ohio following the 2004 election

Rolling Stone does some investigative and rather exhaustive digging into public documents and says we’re almost guaranteed the 2004 election results were massively rigged

Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings

Conyers hearing in which Clinton Curtis testifies that he was hired to create hackable voting machines (.wmv)

The Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.

The Conyers Report (.pdf)

No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush, the improper purging in Cuyahoga County, the lock down in Warren County, the 99% voter turnout in Miami County, the machine tampering in Hocking County

Less access than Kazakhstan. Fewer fail-safes than Venezuela. Not as simple Republic of Georgia. The 2004 Elections according to international observers.

This picture is what stopped the ballot recounts in Florida shortly after it seemed that legitimate President Gore had a lead. The "citizens" started what was later called "the preppy riot". Screaming, yelling, pounding on the walls, these "outraged citizens" intimidated the polling officials to halt the court mandated recount. A closer look reveals who they really were. They were bussed and flown in at Republican law makers expense. Some even flew in on Tom Delay's private plane.

If Mussolini defines fascism as "the merger of corporate and government power" what does that make the K Street project?

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Now and Then- Part IIIHitler's Playbook: Bush and the Abuse of Power-

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Bush’s supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right. They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was not involved in the September 11 attack on the US – truths now firmly established by the Bush administration’s own reports – as treasonous America-bashing.

Fascism then. Fascism now? When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.

What is Fascism? Some General Ideological Features

Hello. You are now living in a fascist empire

Neo-fascism in America : Too many people believe fascism is only about goose-stepping, jack-booted Nazis. Too many people believe that American democracy is so strong that fascists could never take control of America. If you are sympathetic to those views, I invite you to consider the possibility that you are mistaken.

It is in times of fascism rising that armies of ignorance are once more resuscitated from the bowels of a society bordering on the edge of mass psychosis. The America at the dawn of the twenty-first century is no exception...

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The Rise of Fascism in America; A Little Repeat Reminder and Review

Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street.

It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed.

Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses.

But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.

The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name.

Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace.

In time, this will be seen as ““normal”,” as the chill of autumn feels “normal” when summer is gone. It will all seem “normal”.

Since the 1970’s, American businesses have grown larger and more monopolistic, helped along by deregulation, the repeal of anti-trust laws, and a steady transformation from manufacturing to capital management (dare I say, “capital manipulation”?).

As Paul Bigioni puts it in his excellent essay entitled “The Real Threat of Fascism”: “If we are to protect ourselves from the growing political influence of Big Business, then our antitrust laws must be reconceived in a way which recognizes the political danger of monopolistic conditions.”

Bigioni continues by emphasizing that “Antitrust laws do not just protect the marketplace, they protect democracy.” It is well to remember that conditions like these led to fascism in both Germany and Italy in the 1930’s, and Bigioni points out that the transformation toward fascism occurred in both countries while they were still liberal democracies.

In America, since at least 1971, the rich have gotten much, much richer and the poor have become poorer and far more numerous, largely because our government now sees its primary function as serving the interests of Big Business and its Big Money.

As of 2003, according to a Congressional Budget Office report, the top one percent of households in America accounted for 57.5% of America’s wealth, up from 38.7% only twelve years earlier. And this does not take into account the last three years of the Bush tax-cuts. In the U.S. today, there are 374 billionaires, approximately 25,000 deca-millionaires ($10,000,000-$999,000,000) and 2.5 million millionaires; and this does not even take into account the wealth of corporations!

Under such conditions, competition is minimized or thwarted, and capital is exalted over labor, the consummation of Marx’s contention that “Capital is dead labor.”

In every industry, huge monopolistic cartels dominate the playing field, following the spate of mergers and acquisitions throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. To cite just two examples: (1) Four media giants (AOL-Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup) control everything we read, view, listen to, see at movie houses, and do at entertainment parks. Just four conglomerates, which have oh so much in common with one another, produce (for profit) every newspaper, magazine, major internet site, movie, cd, dvd, television program, and so on.

The pressure to stay within fairly narrow bounds of covering and the fear of losing one’s job should one “think outside the box” is detailed succinctly in Danny Schechter’s March 27, 2006 column the title of which is taken from a line Edward R. Morrow utters in the movie “Good Night and Good Luck”: “The Fear is in the Room: Inside our Unbrave Media World”; Robert Fisk’s March 19 column, “The Farcical End of the American Dream”; and Bill Gallagher’s March 28th column, “There is No ‘Good News’ in Iraq."

To note one other example: if Wal-Mart were a country it would have the 19th largest economy in the world!

Do not be hoodwinked by labels here: there was nothing “socialist” about Hitler’s National Socialist Party, despite his clever employment of terms such as “volk” (the people or the folks), “heimat” (homeland), or the solidarity sounding “ein land” (one country)! Likewise, there is no genuinely human freedom in the free market, despite the intoxicating rhetoric of the neo-liberals. Bigioni quotes Thurman Arnold, the head of the Anti-trust section of the Justice Department in 1939:

“Germany, of course, has developed within 15 years from an industrial autocracy into a dictatorship. Most people are under the impression that the power of Hitler was the result of his demagogic blandishments and appeals to the mob. . . Actually, Hitler holds his power through the final and inevitable development of the uncontrolled tendency to combine in restraint of trade.” And in another address, Arnold told the American Bar Association that “Germany presents the logical end of the process of cartelization.”

And, of course, every cartel needs a strong leader, a commander-in-chief with an iron fist, And Arnold says that Hitler filled that role, but that if it had not been Hitler, it would have been someone else. (Americans today might draw an analogy: if it were not George W. Bush, the first M.B.A. President, who would serve as the front-man for Big Business, it would be someone else.)

Bigioni writes, “Compulsory slave labor was the crowning achievement of Nazi labor relations.” By analogy, Employment-at-Will, the outsourcing of manufacturing and even service jobs, and the rejection of a living wage, is the crowning achievement of American labor relations. (See, for example, Harold Meyerson’s article, “Three Ideas to Radically Reorder Economy” (Providence Journal, March 24, 2006) and Princeton University Professor Alan Blinder’s article in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs.

The disappearance of union jobs, outsourcing and downsizing has been the crowning achievement of American business relations over the past 30 years or so. The other factors contributing to what Bigioni calls “the fascist trajectory” includes low taxes, various forms of corporate welfare, the decimation of small businesses, and the ability of corporations to discharge obligations to employees, to the environment, and to the country as a whole.

In short, the United States is suffocating from the deleterious effects of Big Money interests in virtually every arena, from public political processes to the privatization of much of what belongs to all of us. Corporate advertising secures the pernicious effects. From time to time, one hears a call for public financing of elections, for truth in advertising, and for more regulation and oversight of lobbying activities, but on the whole, Americans seem glib about the way things are, supposing that this is the only way they can be.

The status quo breeds resignation in the citizenry, and this resignation, too, is in large part an effect of Big Business and its Big Money. It keeps ordinary folks and their common sense away from the political arena, which might otherwise force a change in the way things are done. Big Money does everything it can to sour people on political participation, so that the little guys who just don’t know what’s best for themselves or the country will leave matters of governance to the professional ruling class.

To formalize this relatively recent reality, it would seem necessary to reword our Constitution to reflect those entities called “corporations,” which have now been deemed “persons” and whose capital is now regarded as a form of “speech.” (See, for example, Jeffrey Kaplan, “Uncivil Liberties: ACLU Defense of ‘Money=Speech’ Precedent Undermines Democracy.”) The United States has become a country “of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation.”

Public financing of elections and campaign expenditure limits are shouted down as communism or socialism, in a manner very similar to Big Money’s cries of “class warfare” when the population at large objects to additional giveaways to the richest few Americans. Big Money (representing a small, elite class) does everything in its power to prevent the American people from awakening to the fact that what it is seeing really is class warfare: warfare that is being waged from the top down, against the poor and what we used to call the “middle class,” which are now subsidizing Big Money interests that control the political agenda and its legislative processes.

The influence of Big Money on U.S. elections cannot be underestimated. (See, for example, Greg Palast’s “Jim Crow in Cyberspace” in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, the work on election fraud by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and the recent articles by Warren Stewart “Do You Know How Your Vote Will be Counted?” and Fred Grimm “Election Official Hammered for Telling the Truth”. The problem with the role of money in a supposedly democratic country is not restricted to the many and all-too regular scandals—such as the Abramoff affair or the conviction of Randy “Duke” Cunningham—nor is the problem restricted to the corruption that has ensnared elected officials and exposed lobbyists as little more than bribes makers and bagmen.

(See Geov Parrish, “That Old-Fashioned Corruption,” and Katrina vanden Heuvel’s, “Annals of Outrage I, II, and III) It is, rather, that money, as John McCain famously said, “is the mother’s milk of politics” (at least in the U.S. political system.) The need to raise money at every level, from city to state to federal offices, pollutes and perverts the democratic process.

The corruption is bipartisan; at present, the Republican Party enjoys greater favor with the corporate paymasters than does the Democratic Party, but both parties are “on the take”. It does little to assuage one’s concern for democracy that one party gets 55-60% of the paymasters’ money and the other only 40-45%. In a country that prides itself on being democratic, private money peddles its influence across the political spectrum.

To cite one illustrative example, Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen, an energy industry watchdog, reports that Big Oil and Gas doled out $55 million to various campaigns for legislative and executive seats since 2001. And why not, ExxonMobil alone made a profit of $36.1 billion in 2005, the most profit ever recorded by a U.S. corporation in a year, and a rate of return on investment of 46-59%. And what did these donations buy the industry? Among other things, when the executives of the top five oil and gas companies were called before Congress to testify about possible price-gouging and the prospect of a windfall profits tax, the five company representatives were not required to testify under oath!

Big Money and the future of Democracy in America

I suspect that everything just recounted is entirely by design: not by the design of our framers, but by the design of Big Money interests. The role of money ensures that only the wealthy and well-connected have any chance of influencing the political process or holding elected office at a significant level.

In the 2004 election campaign, 549 people each raised $100,000 for Bush’s re-election, and John Kerry, too, relied on big donors on his side of the political equation. Thus, it was not by sheer coincidence that, in the 2000 presidential campaign, voters were given a choice between a Yale graduate, whose father had been President and whose grandfather was a Senator, and a Harvard graduate, whose father was a Senator.

And in the 2004 presidential contest, the choice was even more narrow, between a multi-millionaire Yale “Skull and Bones” man and a billionaire Yale “Skull and Bones” man. Nepotism, like corruption, discourages most good Americans from participating in elections, to say nothing of running for office!

If in 1968, I had hung a poster on my bedroom wall that read: “Wanna Be President of the United States? First Find $25 Million”! Today, that wouldn’t buy a Senate seat or even a New York City Mayor’s job.

We should be either shocking or disgusting to realize that John Corzine spent $63 million for a New Jersey Senate seat, and Michael Bloomberg spent $70 million to become the mayor of New York City. With rumblings that he is considering a run for the Presidency we need not worry about being hounded for contributions by Mr. Bloomberg. He can foot the bill himself, and should he run you can rest assured that he won’t have to; there will be freely volunteered contributions to curry later favors.

Corporations give money to both parties in staggering amounts, and what they do not give directly to their favorites, they spend on advertising to shape the public mind. The result is a net loss both for the public good and for democracy. It costs the corporations only a small fraction in contributions for what they gain through their wheel-greasing.

Do you wonder how much the oil and natural gas lobby paid to secure that $9 billion in windfall profits that they stand to gain from the Bush administration’s plan for “royalty relief”. And that million dollar donation by the UAE to the Bush library in Crawford was surely just a down-payment on the ports deal they hoped to get!

It seems quaint nowadays to reflect back on the corporate culture of the 1960’s. John Kenneth Galbraith wrote the following description in his1967 book, The New Industrial State, as quoted by Paul Krugman in his excellent October 20, 2002 New York Times Magazine article, “For Richer”:

“Management does not go out ruthlessly to reward itself---a sound management is expected to exercise restraint. . . With the power of decision goes opportunity for making money . . . Were everyone to seek to do so . . . the corporation would be a chaos of competitive avarice. But these are not the sort of thing that a good company man does; a remarkably effective code bans such behavior. Group decision-making insures, moreover, that almost everyone’s actions and even thoughts are known to others. This acts to enforce the code and, more than incidentally, a high standard of personal honesty as well.”

Does anyone believe that such a self-policing culture exists today? If the corporate scandals of the 1990’s taught us anything, it is that corporations no longer even aim to stay in business, a goal that used to temper their penchant for excess and bridge-burning. The cases of Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and many more perpetrators, should have made abundantly clear that there is no limit to corporate excess or insatiable greed, and, in the absence of federal and international regulations, it is usually the stockholders and the public at large who end up underwriting the thefts, cleaning up the pollution, and dealing with the displaced workforce.

Most of this is not new. In fact, the seeds of corporate rule over America were sown by the 1971 ”Powell Memorandum.” And we need only think back to the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980’s, to recall another half a trillion dollar boondoggle that taxpayers had to underwrite.

There have been plenty of books written about such scandals (see, for example, William S. Greider, Who Will Tell the People?, Arianna Huffingtom, Pigs at the Trough, Jim Hightower, Thieves in High Places, and David K. Johnston, Perfectly Legal, for starters.) Yet despite the recurrent malfeasance, little has been done to curb corporate excesses and outright frauds.

What is more, trans-national corporations need have no allegiance to the United States of America. They have offices in many countries and on many continents, and most of them have already shipped their profits offshore to avoid the patriotic duty of paying their fair share of U.S. taxes.

Remembering President Eisenhower’s Warning

Several commentators have recently reminded us of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s January 17, 1961 farewell address, warning of the threat posed by the “military-industrial complex”. Usually omitted from discussions of President Eisenhower’s warning is the less well-known fact that, until the final version of the speech, Eisenhower used the phrase, “military-industrial-congressional complex”. He is said to have deleted the reference to Congress from his final version to avoid offending legislators.

But President Eisenhower regularly referred to “the triangle” and even to “the iron triangle” consisting of the military, the industries that profit from war, and the Congress, which is charged with declaring war, appropriating funding for wars (and everything else the federal government spends money on), and for exercising oversight functions of various kinds.

According to University of Washington Emeritus Professor of engineering, public affairs, and social management, Edward Ward Wenk, Jr.: “These three cornered fellowships coupled hungry defense contractors, ambitious military officers whose promotions rested on husbanding new defense systems, and members of Congress eager to steer new funds and job opportunities to their district.”

Eisenhower might have added “educational institutions” to the list, since universities conducted research for the Manhattan Project and institutions, such as UC Berkeley, which managed the Los Alamos laboratory (which produced the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) from its inception until last year, when the University put Los Alamos on the auction block and Bechtel secured the management contract.

President Eisenhower’s speechwriter—whom Professor Wenk revealed to be Malcolm Moos—recalled that Eisenhower feared a “pathological influence of the military-industrial coalition beyond a healthy arm’s-length relationship, especially if the national psyche was prodded artificially by fear. A future chief executive might exploit political energies of the coalition to further a narrow and dangerous agenda” (Italics mine).

Professor Wenk, who served in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and who was the first incumbent in the post of science advisor to Congress during the Eisenhower administration, draws this conclusion in his March 17 article, “Ike’s Warning Reverberates Today” by saying: “I see coalitions increasingly entrenched. Failed weapons systems are seldom canceled. Auditing is cursory for moving and feeding troops; malperformance is accepted in the fog of war, and penalties for fraud uncollected. . .” “Influence of coalitions also has grown with the cost of political campaigns. Members spend half their time raising funds, rather than forging policy. . . In the absence of strong vigilance, their concern about a corporate state hatched by stealth might yet happen.”

Indeed, it has already taken place, repeatedly!

It appears glaringly obvious these days that Congress has failed miserably in its oversight, appropriation, and war-declaration functions. This lack of oversight is apparent not only with respect to the Administration’s reckless adventure in Iraq, but also with regard to the passage of the Patriot Act (and its renewal), the muted response against policies condoning torture, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the practice of “extraordinary rendition”, the warrantless wiretapping on American citizens, and the insuring of free and fair elections with verifiable ballot-counting.

What we have now is a military-industrial-Congressional complex indeed…a real foundation for Fascist formulation!

I nonetheless, really believe that “most” public officials begin their careers with a desire to serve the people and to make America better. I do not believe that members of Congress, or members of state legislatures, for that matter, run for office merely to enrich themselves. No, I think that most of them begin their political careers as genuine and sincere people. But the systemic role of money, as I have said, pollutes and perverts processes and people.

It is a bit like boiling a frog. If you drop the frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out of the kettle; but if you drop the frog in lukewarm water and slowly increase the temperature, the frog will neither jump out of the kettle nor croak anymore. And that is just what happens to far too many of our public servants and to the citizenry as a whole.

It is ironic that Big Business tries to insure that government stays on the sidelines and pursues laissez faire policies, until Big Business needs the government (usually aided by the U.S. military) to make some country or region “safe” for its business interests.

From making Cuba safe for the United Fruit Company, to securing access to Persian Gulf oil and South Asian gas, Big Business is always ready to have the government protecting its interests. One notes again and again, however, that such security is paid for by taxpayers, while the profits go straight into the corporate coffers.

But beware, Big Business; for as Bigioni warns: “Just as monopoly is the ruin of the free market, fascism is the ultimate degradation of liberal capitalism.” It’s sort of like be careful of what you wish for…

But then again the drift downward will be in a comfortable proper patriotic, flag wrapped, Christian, Family Values fog will all seem so “normal”…except, sooner of later the fog lifts and reality become clear. Its sort of like mowing the lawn on a hot summer day and having one or two too many beers. You lay down on the sofa for a few minutes with a fan blowing on you to cool down, and sleep comes quickly, a sleep broken by the rudeness of your neighbor ringing your door bell to report you left you mower running and it is now at rest against the side of his house….

Or you’ve had a good party with friends and your pitchers of Martinis were good and gone, and you awake to find yourself on that sofa again, and as you stumble in the Martini haze through the darkened house, you discover the bedroom door locked. You don’t know what you did, but you know you are in trouble, and at that moment you don’t know what you are going to have to do.

The arrival of Fascism is like that, seductive, intoxicating, and comfortable because your leaders have assured you that they are strong enough and have the answers to keep you safe and happy, and then comes the political hang over that can last for generations!

I on the other hand have no question as to where I stand, for the following words are, and will be, my refuge and resort when everyone has failed and the Fascist Flag Flies; I will be on the other side ready to begin anew the fight to regain what we all once knew before we succumbed to the intoxication, woke up in a fog pondering: “What do we do now, or as was written on the original book jacket of Sinclair Lewis’s, “ It Can’t Happen Here: “What will happen when Dictatorship comes to America?”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.



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