Anarchy By Any Other Name

Is there anything more sickening in politics than folks who call their opponents Commies or Nazis? I submit very little.

Even someone as “distinguished” as Newt Gingrich tears into Pelosi and Reid as “socialists.” Excuse me? If you took liberal politics to their extreme, yeah, maybe you’d get socialism, but that’s not what’s happening. The government has taken over ONE private industry, and even that was temporary.

The left isn’t always much better, though. We see less of it now than we did during the Bush years, but conservatives are not fascists or Nazis. And unlike the “socialism” claims, those attacks don’t even make sense. Conservatives claim to be about small government, and if you take small government to its extreme, you don’t get an over-bearing government. You get no government.

Thus, using their own exaggerated “logic,” libertarians aren’t fascists. They’re anarchists. Violent anarchists.

Hyperbole aside, current right-wing populism really does border on anarchy. Historically libertarians claim the government should be for little more than defense, but now we see the Tea Party wanting to abandon even that. Sarah Palin has lost favor with some partiers because she wants to exempt defense from their small-government ideology. And Glenn Beck even said we should get rid of the US military and use only mercenaries. (Does this mean he endorses the criminal murders and theocratic mindset of Blackwater/Xe?)

I agree with Jerome – beating up on the tea party won’t help us win this November. But, focusing on tea party candidates like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle, tying them to Beck and Palin, and portraying the whole GOP that way might just make the election partly a referendum on the right-wing rather than entirely on jobs. (There’s no getting around the fact that it will be mostly jobs. It just doesn’t have to be all jobs.)

But the midterms aside, all I’m really saying is, the next time a tea party friend calls you an evil Socialist, use his logic and call him (or her) a reckless anarchist in return.

Tags: anarchy, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Tea Party (all tags)

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1 Comment

But it is not Anarchy

Not when these very same people were happy as clams with a President who made extreme Article 2 claims based on the fact we were in a never declared, amorphous, and never ending 'War on a Tactic', er Terror. Were there any peeps from these Freedom Loving folk at the passage of the Patriot Act? At the claims that due to his dual role under the Constitution any actions of the Office of the VP were not subject to review either by the Executive Branch or Congress? The President's political operatives, who in the person of Karl Rove were elevated to almost unprecedented positions of formal power, openly set their goal as being to establish a Permanent Majority, and it that meant using the DOJ in all all out effort to suppress Democratic voter efforts ironically in the name of enforcing anti-suppression laws, well hey don't US Attorney's serve at the pleasure of the President. Add in the last Administrations constant appeals to American Exceptionalism, its outright embrace of the use of the U.S. military to establish what proponents call The New American Century (as in PNAC). From their Statement of Principles <blockquote>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?</blockquote> When you put 'Arbitrary Executive' 'It's only a God Damn piece of paper' 'Permanent Majority', party control of the Courts and Prosecutor's Office, a compliant media (Fox and the WashTimes only being the tip of the iceberg), Traditional Values (both in family and religion) a 'New American Century, well lets just say you don't have Bakunin and Emma Goldman popping into mind. But other names and movements certainly do. As Colbert might say it 'all sounds better in the original German'.

But under the Rules and quite literally at dKos you are simply not allowed to do a straightforward analysis of where Bush-Cheneyism stood in relation to the political movements of the early 20th century, not even if you carefully keep your references with the bounds of the Italian Experience.

Whether Eliminationism is always and everywhere at the core of Fascism is an interesting question, after witnessing the actions of Mussolini in Abyssinia/Ethiopia and the Japanese in China, you have to conceed that certainly extreme Exceptionalism is always close to the heart. As it is quite obviously is in the case of 'We Want Our Country Back' Tea Partiers/2nd Amendment Absolutists. But we have allowed a single world historically horrific exercise of Eliminationism to define an entire movement, well sorry the 'argument' "We are not Fascists, after all we don't have any contracts out for ovens and Zyklon B" is not really a defense, or shouldn't be. Fascism is much more about a relation to Authority.

Finding some Ā opposition to the traditional military in the ranks of the Tea Partiers doesn't mean much, there was significant tension between the S.A. and the S.S. vis a vis the Reichswehr right up until the Party came to total power in 1933, whereupon the Party aligned itself decisively with the existing organs of power and suppressed the hitherto useful S.A. Brownshirts in 1934. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Long_Knives

The question is whether the U.S. ''2nd Amendment Remedies" folk would drop their surface individualism for snappy identical Red-White-&Blue Shirts with Party Rank insignia under the command of a charismatic right wing leader. And the hijacking of the Tea Party Movement by party loyalists like Dick Armey and Haley Barbour and the existence of the Minutemen with their own regalia suggests that the answer is 'Yes'.

Words mean something in political history, and while terms like 'socialist', 'communist', 'anarchist' and 'fascist' don't have hard and fast lines between them and certainly people and leaders crossed back and forth at times, it is possible to identify current movements with the most historically appropriate analog. And in this case it just isn't Anarchy. In particular the social and economic doctrines associated with early 20th century Anarchy are nowhere to be seen. Yet is is considered impolitic to identify these movements for where they actually fall on the historical spectrum.

I don't have any solutions in mind, the "Mommy, the mean man called me Hitler" defense seemingly never failing in effectiveness, but somewhere there has to be a sphere for honest historical comparative analysis. Which means confronting the totality of what such terms as 'Fascism' encompass.

by Bruce Webb 2010-08-14 10:00AM | 0 recs

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