Monday, September 21, 2009

The New "New McCarthyism"

I have been out of commission on this blog for way too long. Feeling guilty about it, I've started at least three, and maybe five pieces. Unfortunately, they are still in the works, but I will try to edit and get them posted before this month is over and Judy and I go to Mexico for the first time. (Yay!)

But an interesting article in Huffington Post entitled "The Return of McCarthyism" has finally inspired me to pen a new blog post. The article and its accompanying video clip focus on neo-McCarthyite attacks on Obama as a "communist." This parallels a somewhat crazier--and definitely creepier--trend in recent right-wing attacks blurring the line between "liberal," "fascist," "socialist," "communist," and "nazi."

For the past several years, I've noticed that the loud mouths on the Right (you know who they are) have been running a stealth disinformation campaign to confuse the undereducated American public about the nature of Hitler, fascism and the Nazi Party, in order to inoculate themselves against the charge they they themselves are clearly manifesting tendencies in that direction. I first noticed this at a cast party about three years ago, when I casually opined that just as communism was the extreme of the political Left, so fascism--and by extension, Hitler and the Nazis--represented the extreme of the political Right. Someone at the party immediately became terribly offended by this (to me) self-evident statement of historic fact, and insisted for the rest of the evening that I had personally insulted her by daring to associate the "the Right" with Hitler.

At first I couldn't understand this. I hastened to assure her that I wasn't saying all "conservatives" were fascists, any more than all "liberals" are commie pinkos. But she was adamant that I was insulting the entire "right" of the political spectrum by daring to say that Hitler was a representative of "the Right" --albeit in its extremist form--rather than "the Left."

It gradually dawned on me that this person had been the victim of a conscious disinformation campaign designed to confuse the public about the nature of "the Right" and "the Left." The Right Wing blowhards in this country have done this in two ways: first, by repeatedly citing the use of the word "socialist" in the name of the Nazi party; and second, by simply repeating the Big Lie over and over again ad nauseum that all "socialists" are "Nazis." As absurd as it seems, they have established in the minds of some that Hitler was a left-wing socialist, or even a "liberal."(If you don't believe me, see here, here, here, here, and here.)

Of course, this claim is totally, utterly false -- indeed the truth is the very opposite. Hitler purposely used "socialist" in the Nazi Party name to confuse the German populace. In the 1930's, the idea of socialism was very popular throughout Europe in general and in German in particular. In fact, the Nazis were the biggest opponents of the German Socialist Party at the time. Fascism is the very opposite of socialism. Under pure socialism, ownership of industry and the means of production is placed in the State as the representative of the People. In contrast, under fascism control of the State is given to the largest corporate monopolies, which rule the country as an oligarchy led by an all-powerful Leader. Fascism was defined by its inventor -- Mussolini -- as a "corporate state": authoritarian, totalitarian, militaristic government by and for the corporations. Fascism is thus capitalist to its core -- in fact, it is extreme capitalism. Extreme socialism, i.e. communism, is similar to fascism in the fact both are totalitarian. Otherwise, the goals of fascism and communism are basically the opposite (viz., rule by the elite and wealthy versus rule by the proletariat masses). And this similarity is confined to communism. Democratic socialism, as practiced throughout the world today, can hardly be called totalitarian, much less fascist.

Bottom line: the American Right has been purposely confusing the public about the difference between far Right and far Left or order to distract from the fact they themselves present the clearest threat of real fascism -- authoritarian, super-nationalistic, racist, corporatist dictatorship.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A New Era

January 20, 2009, the day Barack Hussein Obama is inaugurated the 44th President of the United States, will mark the end of an era in our history--and the beginning of a new one.

Whatever else may happen that day, at least one thing is for sure. The country will be rid of George W. Bush. Thanks to the 22nd Amendment--an excrescence to the Constitution added by (what else!) Republicans in 1951 in retribution for FDR's election to four terms--Dubya couldn't run for reelection even if he wanted to. So that alone marks the day for celebration.

I actually think term limits are a bad idea, as demonstrated by FDR himself. Thank God he could be reelected in the middle of World War II! And if someone in office is really awful, like the current Occupant, the chances are good he/she wouldn't be reelected to a third term if he/she tried.

Anyway, it's moot; after twelve o'clock noon on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, we won't have George W. Bush to worry about any more. At that historic moment, we will usher in the first African-American President of the United States, an uncommonly brilliant and exciting individual who brings a unique--indeed, unprecedented--set of skills and experiences to the office. Based on his presidential campaign, and his own personal history as revealed in the several books he has written, all signs point to a progressive Presidency that will usher in significant change for the country.

So here's to the future, and the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Judy and I will be there, in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2009, to witness history being made.

And just incidentally, to verify with our own eyes that George W. Bush is no longer soiling the Oval Office with the special kind of "stain" he brought to the office--a stain far more insidious and dangerous to the very fabric of our constitutional democracy than any of the more inconsequential stains left in the Oval Office by his predecessor.