I’m not going to write a piece here explaining how the Bush Republicans “really” are fascists, but I will say that the difference is being relegated to the details, not the substance.
We can go around for hours defining the term “fascist.” No point. Let’s just ask ourselves a few basic questions.
(1) Was the current leader fairly elected?
Even the least shrill among us would say the election was “disputed.” The wise among us would say that Congress, not the Court should have decided the election in 2000.
(2) Do people, in general, have more or less freedom than before?
Think PATRIOT Act and the detention of citizens in violation of the Constitution and trial before “tribunals.” This mentatlity resulted in the abu ghraib scandal.
(3) Notwithstanding the rights of the accused, are people more or less able to act freely in the absence of law enforcement activity?
Five interests control the media. Ari Fleischer told us to “watch what we say, watch what we do.” Opponents of the President are derided as “unpatriotic,” thereby chilling dissent.
(4) Are those in power held accountable for their mistakes?
Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Rice, and Powell are still in their offices. As are Wolfowitz and Feith. None of the Generals–only the non-coms–have been indicted for abu ghraib. O’Neill wasn’t removed for his failure to create jobs; nor was Lindsey. They were fired for not parroting about Iraq and other things.
(5) Does the government conduct secret business?
Right off the hop, Cheney conducted meetings on energy policy with oil company flacks. The President opposed the 9/11 commission. And now . . . . . . . the CIA is refusing to release its own 9/11 report before the election.
(6) Are the “proletarian” classes channeling their anger at the correct target?
Instead of focussing on the loss of quality jobs for working class Americans, and the attendant moral decay, many working class Americans are blaming it on a “homosexual” agenda (cf. Jewish agenda) and other failures to behave Biblically. Of course, our leaders never ask them or anyone to render unto Caesar that which is his.
So, we don’t have goose-stepping legions and book burnings. We don’t have people snatched away at night and killed. But in substance if not style, and in direction if not in actual position, America has grown more “fascist” under Bush.