Monday, May 20, 2013

The primrose path to fascism: chilling

Do any of you remember the book of Naomi Wolf wrote in 2007, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot?

Written during the George W. Bush era, the book was provoked by the remarks of a Jewish holocaust survivor who kept repeating, "They did this in Germany," every time she heard about a new policy (such as the Patriot Act) invoked by the Bush administration restricting freedoms in the name of national security.

Accordingly, the book takes an historical look at the rise of fascism, outlining 10 steps necessary for a fascist group (or government) to destroy the democratic character of a nation-state and subvert the social/political liberty previously exercised by its citizens:
  1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
  2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place
  3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens
  4. Set up an internal surveillance system
  5. Harass citizens' groups
  6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
  7. Target key individuals
  8. Control the press
  9. Treat all political dissidents as traitors
  10. Suspend the rule of law
In 2008 Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern made a documentary film based on Wolf's book. If you're up to it and have the time, maybe it would find it interesting: The End of America: The Movie (2008; from Saadaal Wacan, posted 2012).

The really interesting question, I think, is how normal the things now seem that initially alarmed Wolf and her Jewish friend, as well as how apathetically our nation now seems willing to accept the previously "unthinkable" realities that have just come to light in the most recent scandals involving the current Obama administration. Just the tip of the iceberg.

Related: (Wolf's ongoing posts available here)