Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fascism Canadian Style as Identified by Everyone But Us

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane. Mark Twain

In April of 2006, Time Magazine ran an article entitled Controlling The Message.

George Bush was in his sixth year as President of the United States and most Americans now realized that under Bush they had all but lost their personal freedoms, and their international reputation was at an all time low.

But the Time article was not about George Bush.

Nor was it about Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or even Ari Fleischer.

It was about Stephen Harper.

Four years ago, Time Magazine recognized that what was happening in Canada was troubling and newsworthy.

They speak of secret cabinet meetings, and while legally the government must announce these, Harper would wait until the meeting was well underway before meeting his legal obligations. And in describing one of those announcements:
...the veiled wording of the advisory--"There will be a Government media availability, today in the foyer of the House of Commons"--was almost Soviet in its stiff obfuscation. (my emphasis added)

"Canadians should be worried when they see the government trying to exert such an unprecedented level of control."

... Alasdair Roberts, a Syracuse University public-policy professor, asks, "How can the average Canadian make a judgment about whether their government is being well run if they don't have access to the information?"

...Peter Murdoch of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union says the new policy "smacks of totalitarianism."

An American author, Lawrence W. Britt, was troubled by the direction that the U.S. was heading under George Bush, and compiled a list of 14 bench marks of Fascism. He asks the question; Fascism anyone?

I read down his list, expecting to find that Canada maybe represented a few traits, but was quite alarmed to realize that we actually met all 14. All 14 bench marks of Fascism now define our country. I am so proud.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags ... the fervor to show patriotic nationalism ... Catchy slogans, pride in the military ... suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. .... The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating an disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Fascism Anyone?


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  1. I can't really disagree. Our Chairman is a micro manger control freak. I would also suggest Harper suffers from a mental Illness like being a 'Paranoid unprincipled narcissist' and a bully. I don't say that lightly either. Just look at his body language, the way he answers questions especially uncomfortable ones.

    I doubt there is any room for dissent within his caucus either except maybe for the likes of Doris day and Potato Pete and maybe a couple others.

  2. He's a weird one, that's for sure.