Summary: America moves steadily along a dark path, as we refused to see the obvious. Here we again attempt to awaken ourselves, by showing what we become. Nothing is written, as we have to power to choose a different future. Otherwise we’ll learn that the great national evils, like fascism, never die — but only assume new forms for a new generation.
Although fascist parties and movements differed significantly from each other, they had many characteristics in common, including extreme militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and political and cultural liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites, and the desire to create a Volksgemeinschaft (German: “people’s community”), in which individual interests would be subordinated to the good of the nation. (from the Britannica)
A checklist for America
- Militaristic nationalism: strong and growing (see the next section).
- Rule of elites: ditto.
- Contempt for electoral democracy: present and growing (eg, lawless wars, President Hope and Change morphing to Bush III, ignoring the Constitution, ignoring the Courts and Congress).
- Contempt for cultural liberalism: present and growing in the increasingly dominant conservative elements of society, and more slowly among liberals (e.g., passive towards loss of civil liberties).
- Belief in natural social hierarchy: present in elites and growing in the population (evident in the rising inequality of wealth & income plus low social mobility, and growing acceptance of this).
- The desire to create a “people’s community”): individual interests are subordinated to the good of the nation: not yet (a few more years?).
Score this as you will. The trend is obvious. Only the future remains uncertain.
About militaristic nationalism
An easily frightened people (as our reaction to 9-11 proved), people having low confidence in their political institutions, people facing great challenges — who will they turn to? Gallup’s 2011 Confidence in Institutions survey provides the answer. Military and police are the most trusted institutions (small businesses are not an “institution”), and among the few in whose our confidence has increased since the 1999 survey.
These should be expected results for a frightened people who have lost the capacity for self-government. A people growing ready for tyranny.
- Military: up 10%, from 68% to 78%
- Police: unchanged at 56%
Here’s the detailed result. It deserves some thought.
God only knows how this will play out.
For More Information
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about the Constitution, about the New America, about Reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these…
- Important: the Constitution is dying.
- A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one.
- Lewis Lapham explains why America needs a Third Republic.
- We’ve worked through all 5 stages of grief for the Republic. Now, on to The New America!
- Can we love the Constitution without knowing what it says?
- A 4th of July reminder that America is ours to keep – or to lose!
- Our institutions are hollow because we don’t love them.
A great book about the secret power source of the Constitution.
By Michael Kammen (the late professor of history at Cornell).
“The Constitution occupies an anomalous role in American cultural history. For almost two centuries it has been swathed in pride yet obscured by indifference: a fulsome rhetoric of reverence more than offset by the reality of ignorance.”
From the publisher…
“Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Michael Kammen explores the U.S. Constitution’s place in the public consciousness and its role as a symbol in American life, from ratification in 1788 to our own time. As he examines what the Constitution has meant to the American people (perceptions and misperceptions, uses and abuses, knowledge and ignorance), Kammen shows that although there are recurrent declarations of reverence most of us neither know nor fully understand our Constitution.
“How did this gap between ideal and reality come about? To explain it, Kammen examines the complex and contradictory feelings about the Constitution that emerged during its preparation and that have been with us ever since.
“He begins with our confusion as to the kind of Union we created, especially with regard to how much sovereignty the states actually surrendered to the central government. This confusion is the source of the constitutional crisis that led to the Civil War and its aftermath. Kammen also describes and analyzes changing perceptions of the differences and similarities between the British and American constitutions; turn-of-the-century debates about states’ rights versus national authority; and disagreements about how easy or difficult it ought to be to amend the Constitution.
“Moving into the twentieth century, he notes the development of a ‘cult of the Constitution’ following World War I, and the conflict over policy issues that persisted despite a shared commitment to the Constitution.”