Friday, June 17, 2005

"Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato."

"Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State"

Benito Mussolini did a nice job of condensing the essence of Fascism, didn't he?

Here's some other interesting things I've been reading. Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, studied Fascist regimes from Hitler to Suharto, and came up with the Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism:

1. Powerful and continuing nationalism employing constant use of patriotic slogans, symbols, songs, flags.
2. Disdain for the recognition of human rights because security needs outweigh human rights which can be ignored.
3. Using enemies as scapegoats for a unifying cause.
4. Supremacy of the military.
5. Rampant sexism including more rigid gender roles and anti-gay legislation.
6. Controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security driven by a politics of fear.
8. Religion and Government are intertwined especially in rhetoric employed by its leaders.
9. Corporate power is protected--industrial and business aristocracies put government leaders into power and keep them there creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor power, which represents one of the few threats to fascism, is suppressed.
11. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts and hostility to higher education along with censorship of arts or refusal to support the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent Elections.

For for a really cool flash animation of these 14 characteristics, especially for those with short attention spans, go here.

And the interesting thing not mentioned is the way religion can be complicit in fascism.

From Chris Hedges, in Harper's Magazine (this article is not available online):

I Can't help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr. James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and the was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting the "Christian Fascists."

He gave us that warning twenty-five years ago, when Pat Robertson and other prominent evangelists began speaking of a new political religion that would direct its efforts at taking control of all major institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government, so as to transform the United States into a global Christian empire. At the time, it was hard to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously. But fascism, Adams warned would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts. Its ideological inheritors would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Adams told us to watch closely the Christian right's persecution of homosexuals and lesbians. Hitler, he reminded us, promised to restore moral vales not long after he took power in 1933, then imposed a ban on all homosexual and lesbian organizations and publications...Homosexuals and lesbians, Adams said would be the first "deviants" singled out by the Christian Right. We would be next.

Here's another interesting article, bringing Hollywood's Sexiest Martyr--Mel Gibson (and the less sexy Opus Dei) into the fray:

Christian Fascists and Passion
By Rev. Cr. Matthew Fox

"The piety of fascism is inevitably a piety of pain and suffering (thus the complete fascination with redemption and total refusal to entertain grace and original blessing) and it manifests itself in full bloody form in this movie. Gibson is allegedly a member of Opus Dei, a secretive Catholic sect of wealthy men whose spirituality is deeply fascistic. Its founder, a Spanish priest named Escriva, whom the Pope rushed into canonization two years ago in record time, was a card carrying fascist who actually praised Adolph Hitler and who was also deeply sexist. Two of his Opus Dei members served on Franco's cabinet. The present pope has taken this religious order under his wing (his own press secretary is a member of Opus Dei) and has appointed many Opus Dei bishops and cardinals (especially in Latin America after decimating the liberation theology and base communities there). They have constructed an $81 million edifice in Manhattan and are ensconced in the financial capitals of Europe, especially in Frankfurt, which is replacing Switzerland as the financial capital of Europe."

That's from 2004. The current Holy Father has eliminated the middleman, and is himself a fascist.

Let's see--what else?

Oh, I don't know--there's got to be some other things too.

Maybe you could tell me.



Blogger Phreadom said...

I've linked to this on my blog. hopefully direct a few more eyes in this direction.

thanks for the excellent post.

1:33 PM, June 19, 2005  
Blogger Lisa said...

Very interesting.

I always understood one of the characteristics of fascism to not be intertwining religion and the government, but to be eliminating religion all together. Religion preaches human rights, something that fascism supresses and denies to the people. Hitler supressed the church, however Mussolini did not. Knowing how important religion was to the people, he struck up a deal with the church (Latern Accords). He allowed it to exist as long as they supported him and did not advocate human rights. So maybe it's not about supressing religion as a whole, but rather supressing the essence of religion, the part that affects the individual.

As for having Christians in the government - I wouldn't mind having some people in there that believed "thou shalt not steal" (sponsorship scandal).

1:49 AM, June 20, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Very well put. Lisa. That's why fascism relies heavily on the 'Opus Dei' model of religion, which focuses more on pain and suffering.

Always nice to hear from another pirate.


8:48 AM, June 20, 2005  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Also to further Lisa's point, the form of religion reported by the media today is a Christian religion that focuses solely on hot-button issues such as gay marriage, while rooted on by Republican operatives. Religion as a whole is not falling for it, even if Evangelicals are. Case and point, President Bush's recent visit to Calvin College.

4:02 PM, June 21, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

I beg your pardon, Kevin?

"the form of religion reported by the media today..."

Ummm...I think we're basically in agreement here about the main issue, but I do take umbrage with that particular turn of phrase.

"the form of religion reported by the media today..." makes it sound like 'the media' is misreporting a certain style of evangelical extremism. I beg to differ. I feel that a certain style of evangelical extremism has made itself the mouthpiece for the evangelical movement. Those who follow this particular religiousity also feel that they were the ones who tipped the electoral scales towards Bush in the previous election, and furthermore, they feel that they are 'owed' a certain amount of fealty by this administration.

By no means do I feel that this branch of evangelical Christianity represents the mainstream of that movement, but they speak the loudest, and carry the most political weight. If anything 'the media' has not done enough to point this out.

Do you disagree?


7:47 PM, June 21, 2005  
Blogger indygirl said...

Very interesting indeed. It's disturbing to see how many points from the list we've checked off! Eek!

7:38 AM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

By my count, Indie, we're 14-for-14


7:44 AM, June 23, 2005  
Blogger "Radical" Russ said...

I posted recently on the arising Christian Left that is sick of the evangelicals speaking for them. So there are some true Christians left. (Not exactly a pun to pardon, but definitely a clever turn of phrase!)

4:38 PM, June 27, 2005  

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