Column No. 14 By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH- May 27, 2004
Increasingly, in dealing with the Georgite Regime’s actions, programs, and policies the words "fascist" and "fascism" are being used to describe them. However, the terms are most often used without definition. Since they then become nothing more than epithets, I think that this is not particularly useful in serious politics and for serious historical analysis. In this column, I take a different approach to the subject.
I came across the following comprehensive definition of the term”fascism” in Appendix II of the rather obscure book The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2002, first published in 1996. (I have been told that this book, written by the pseudononymous “Jonathan Westminster,” is shortly to be re-released, with a New Introduction, prepared by the print-on-demand publisher Xlibris. It will be available though their website, http://www.Xlibris.com, as well as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.) According to the book’s author, this definition (admittedly quite lengthy) was not drawn out of thin air. It was based on Westminster’s analysis of the historical experience in those countries that have acknowledged themselves as fascist, especially Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
I think that this definition is a very useful one. I present it here. For most of its 14 elements, I also present one or more those actions, policies, and programs of the Georgite Regime that happen to be entirely consistent with it. The reader is left to make his/her own judgment as to whether the “shoe fits” the Georgite foot that is if, walking and quacking like a duck, it’s a duck.
A Definition of Fascism (with the major elements of the Georgite profile that fit following each):
Fascism is a political, social, and economic system that has the following baker's dozen plus one of major defining characteristics:
1. There is complete executive branch control of government policy and action. There is no independent judicial or legislative branch of government.
Examples of Georgite fascism: Taking over the judiciary and making it subservient to the executive branch, through appointments, the use of the law and rule-making, and selective refusal to abide by the present judiciary’s decisions. Limiting Congressional authority to the extent possible; while through admonition and political threats and bribery, making Congressional Republicans as subservient to the White House as feasible.
2. There is no constitution to which government is subject and that is recognized by all political forces as having an authority beyond that claimed by the regime in power, to which that regime is subject. The rule of men, not law, is supreme.
Example: The increasingly frequent referral by George Bush to his dependence on his belief in a “higher power,” one that, as Scalia and Thomas have said for years, stands above the Constitution in authority. Since there is no possibility of independent determination of what this “higher power” has to say, its/his/her word, of course consequently is whatever George Bush says it is. Ergo, the rule of man, not law.
3. There is only one political party, and no mass organizations of any kind other than those approved by the government are permitted.
Example: As of now, with the unprecedented moves to redistrict in non-census years, the DeLay/Cheney/Bush Republicans are certainly moving to establish at least the first element of a single party system in our country.
4. Government establishes and enforces the rules of "right" thinking, "right" action, and "right" religious devotion.
Examples: take your pick from among illegalization of the right to freedom of belief, for all persons regardless of age or sex, on the matter of when life begins, to the campaign to remove homosexuals from the purview of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, to the drive to retroactively put “God” (the Christian Rightist concept of “God,” of course) into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (preferably above it).
5. Racism, homophobia, misogynism, and national chauvinism are major factors in national politics and policy-making.
Examples: I don’t need to spell out this one.
6. There is no recognition of inherent personal rights. Only the government can grant "rights." Any "rights" granted by the government may be diminished or removed by it from any individual or group at any time without prior notice, explanation, or judicial review. Thus, there is no presumed freedom of speech, press, religion, or even belief, automatically accompanying citizenship. There are no inherent or presumed protections against any violations of personal liberty committed by law-enforcement or other government agencies.
Examples: the “Patriot Act” has demolished the Fourth Amendment (protection against arbitrary search and seizure), the Fifth Amendment (guarantee of due process of law), and the Sixth Amendment (guarantee of a jury trial in criminal cases) for, if the Georgites get their way, US citizens as well as all others. Just wait for “Patriot Act” II. Then there is the claim that whatever rights we do have are granted by “God,” rather than being inherent. As in (2) above, that of course means that both the rights and whoever may be their beneficiaries are whatever and whoever the Georgites say that “God” says they are.
7. Official and unofficial force, internal terror, and routine torture of captured opponents are major means of governmental control.
Examples: Hey, if foreigners can be routinely tortured, why not American citizens labeled as “enemy combatants by George and John?
8. There are few or no employee rights or protections, including the right of workers to bargain collectively. Only government-approved labor unions or associations are permitted to exist, and that approval may be removed at any time, without prior notice.
Examples: Trying to end guaranteed overtime for certain groups of workers is only the beginning on this one.
9. All communications media are government-owned or otherwise government-controlled.
Examples: Fox “News” and Right-Wing talk radio are certainly openers on this pathway.
10. All entertainment, music, art, and organized sport are controlled by the government.
Examples: Hey, nobody’s perfect (but once upon a time George was of course part-owner of a baseball team).
11. There may or may not be a single charismatic leader in charge of the government, i.e., a "Dictator."
Examples: Both President Bushes have expressed interest in this idea.
12. The economy is based on state supported and subsidized capitalism, with tight central control of the distribution of resources among the producers, and strict limitations on the free market for labor (as noted above).
Examples: Again, hey, nobody’s perfect (yet). But again, the Georgites are moving in that direction with, for example the extraordinary care and attention they lavish on the extractive industries.
13. The fascist takeover of the government of a major power always leads to foreign war and adventurism sooner or later.
Examples: No comment necessary.
14. Built as it is on terror, repression, and an ultimately fictional/self-delusional representation of historical, political, and economic reality [emphasis added to the original Westminster definition], fascism is inherently unstable and always carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. To date, such seeds have always sprouted within a relatively short historical period of time.
Examples: Well, they got the “fictional/self-delusional” stuff right.
The book from which this set of history-based definitions is quoted was published in 1996. So my question is this: did the Georgites read it first, or are they just coming to it naturally?
To conclude, if you don’t like long definitions, here is my own short definition of fascism for our era (which I think fits the Georgites pretty well too): “Fascism is a political system that, standing on a base of an unfettered, oligolopic, expansionist, capitalist economy the creed of which is greed, through the use of State power and force establishes the ultimate denial of the rule of law, the existence of inherent human rights, and human free will and autonomy.”