As I look at America today, I am not afraid to say that I am afraid. I am afraid of those who proclaim that it can’t happen here. In 1935 Sinclair Lewis wrote a popular novel in which a racist, anti-Semitic, flag-waving, army-backed demagogue wins the 1936 presidential election and proceeds to establish an Americanized version of Nazi Germany. The title, It Can’t Happen Here, was a tongue-in-cheek warning that it might. But the “it” Lewis referred to is unlikely to happen again any place. Even in today’s Germany, Italy or Japan, a modern-style corporate state or society would be far different from .the old regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese oligarchs. Anyone looking for black = shirts, mass parties, or men on horseback will miss the telltale clues of creeping fascism.
In any First World country of advanced capitalism, the new fascism will be colored by national and cultural heritage, ethnic and religious composition, formal political structure, and geopolitical environment. The Japanese or German versions would be quite different from the Italian variety-and still more different from the British, French, Belgian, Dutch, Australian, Canadian, or Israeli versions. In America, it would be super-modern and multi-ethnic-as American as Madison Avenue, executive luncheons, credit cards, and apple pie. It would be fascism with a smile. As a warning against its cosmetic facade, subtle manipulation, and velvet gloves, I call it friendly fascism. What scares me most is its subtle appeal.
I am worried by those who fail to remember-or have never learned-that Big Business-Big Government partnerships, backed up by other elements, were the central facts behind the power structures of old fascism in the days of Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese empire builders. I am worried by those who quibble about labels. Some of my friends seem transfixed by the idea that if it is fascism, it must appear in the classic, unfriendly form of their youth. “Why, oh why,” they retrospectively moan, “didn’t people see what was happening during the 1920s and the 1930s?” But in their own blindness they are willing to use the terms invented by the fascist ideologists, “corporate state” or “corporatism,” but not fascism.
I am upset with those who prefer to remain spectators until it may be too late.I am shocked by those who seem to believe-in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s words of 1940-that “there is no fighting the wave of the future” and all you can do is “leap with it.” 3 I am appalled by those who stiffly maintain that nothing can be done until things get worse or the system has been changed.
I am afraid of inaction. I am afraid of those who will heed no warnings and who wait for some revelation, research, or technology to offer a perfect solution. I am afraid of those who do not see that some of the best in America has been the product of promises and that the promises of the past are not enough for the future. I am dismayed by those who will not hope, who will not commit themselves to something larger than themselves, of those who are afraid of true democracy or even its pursuit.
I suspect that many people underestimate both the dangers that lie ahead and the potential strength of those who seem weak and powerless. Either underestimation stems, think, from fear of bucking the Establishment. This is a deep and well-hidden fear that guides the thoughts and actions of many of my warmest friends, closest colleagues, and best students. It is a fear I know only too well, for it has pervaded many years of my life.
I fear any personal arrogance in urging this or that form of action the arrogance of ideologues who claim a monopoly on truth, of positivists who treat half-truths as whole truths, of theoreticians who stay aloof from the dirty confusions of political and economic combat, and of the self-styled “practical” people who fear the endless clash of theories. I am afraid of the arrogance of technocrats as well as the ultra-rich and their high executives. Some of this arrogance I of ten find in my own behavior. I am afraid of blind anti-fascism.
==Friendly Fascism, (Bertram Gross)-1980
The migration from the “Friendly Fascism” that Bertram Gross warned of 35 years ago, which had been unfolding as of his writing at an accelerating rate since the Second World War, has followed its natural evolutionary path. A path leading to the arrival of the total surveillance police state and what is, unfortunately, now all but inevitable–rule by force under an authoritarian conglomerate of transnational corporate power, government bureaucracy and the systematic destruction of all personal liberties. To behave according to dictate, even if agreeably, is not freedom.
There is still hope, but the window of opportunity to revolt against the powers of the elites who have been insidiously brainwashing generations of Americans into docile, compliant zombies, systematically destroying our economic freedoms and tying a hangman’s noose around our capacities for independent thought is very, very narrow. Without hope we are lost. Without action we will be slaves.
Because of the economic and financial collapse that is fast approaching and which should be obvious to all but the truly self-delusional and mind-controlled, both on Wall and Main Streets, as well as the sounds of thunder from the clouds of a war that ominously sit over the near horizon, nothing short of a collective primal scream from the throats of the American people, and likely most of the worlds, will prevent what is coming. Friendly Fascism will be wistfully remembered.
“Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled, they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell
The more things change, the more they stay the same.It’s a shell game intended to keep us focused on and distracted by all of the politically expedient things that are being said—about militarized police, surveillance, and government corruption—while the government continues to frogmarch us down the road toward outright tyranny.Unarmed citizens are still getting shot by militarized police trained to view them as the enemy and treated as if we have no rights.
Despite President Obama’s warning that the nation needs to do some “soul searching” about issues such as race, poverty and the strained relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve, police killings and racial tensions are at an all-time high. Just recently, in Texas, a white police officer was suspended after video footage showed him “manhandling, arresting and drawing his gun on a group of black children outside a pool party.”Americans’ private communications and data are still being sucked up by government spy agencies.
The USA Freedom Act was just a placebo pill intended to make us feel better without bringing about any real change. As Bill Blunden, a cybersecurity researcher and surveillance critic, points out, “The theater we’ve just witnessed allows decision makers to boast to their constituents about reforming mass surveillance while spies understand that what’s actually transpired is hardly major change.”
Sen. Rand Paul accomplished something worthwhile when, almost single-handedly, he saw to it that Section 215 of the Patriot Act expired. For that he deserves our heartfelt thanks.But where does the expiration now leave us opponents of indiscriminate government spying on innocent people ? Not in such a great place. Shortly after 215 disappeared, the Senate passed the House’s watered-down USA Freedom Act, which perhaps puts some meaningful, though modest restrictions on the government’s access to our communications data, but about which the civil-liberties community properly has decidedly mixed feelings. With or without the so-called Freedom Act, however, the government’s ability to conduct mass surveillance, unrestrained by the “probable cause” standard in the Constitution, lives on. The NSA and kindred agencies have had many more arrows in their quiver than Section 215. An appeals court had already ruled that what the government was doing — collecting everyone’s “metadata” — exceeded what 215 appeared to permit.
Yet the NSA proceeded anyway.
Advertisers know what we want to buy. Google knows what we want to search. Will the state soon know—or think it knows—what we intend to do?In Predicting and Preventing Crimes—Is Minority Report the Next Step? Jon L. Mills, a professor of law at the University of Florida, says that the era of pre-crime surveillance may soon be upon us. He documents the dangerous forays currently being made that could ensure a future reminiscent of the 2002 film Minority Report (based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name), in which clairvoyant oracles—“precogs”—dispatch police to stop potential criminals before they even have a chance to earn the label.But Professor Mills—whose writing appears in the forthcoming essay collection, After Snowden: Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age—need not look that far over the horizon.On May 12, a New York-based federal prosecutor asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the conviction of Gilberto Valle, the so-called “Cannibal Cop.” Valle, a former New York police officer, had his name—or, rather, his newfound moniker—splashed across tabloids the world over when prosecutors alleged that he had concocted a plan to kidnap, sexually torture, murder, and eat several women. In 2013, a jury convicted him of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, based primarily on macabre Internet chats he shared with two other individuals he met on the website Dark Fetish Net.