Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Politics of Fear and the Rise of an American Fascist State

From the New York Times:

"Yesterday, the director of national intelligence released a report with the politically helpful title of “The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” and Fran Townsend, the president’s homeland security adviser, held a news conference to trumpet its findings. The message, as always: Be very afraid. And don’t question the president. . . .

The White House denied that the report was timed to the Senate debate. But the administration controls the timing of such releases and the truth is that fear of terrorism is the only shard remaining of Mr. Bush’s justification for invading Iraq.

This administration has never hesitated to play on fear for political gain, starting with the first homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge, and his Popsicle-coded threat charts. It is a breathtakingly cynical ploy, but in the past it has worked to cow Democrats into silence, if not always submission, and herd Republicans back onto the party line.

That must not happen this time. By now, Congress surely can see through the president’s fear-mongering and show Mr. Bush the exit from Iraq that he refuses to find for himself."

One of the hallmarks of the fascist or totalitarian state is the use of fear to shape public opinion and stifle dissent. Under Hitler, for example, the Nazis manufactured a fear of communists and Jews as a means of uniting popular opinion and quelling moderate opposition. The ultimate by-product of this fear-mongering was of course the Holocaust.

The Bush administration mirrors the Nazis' tactics by warning Americans at politically opportune times about unpatriotic liberals and a perceived terrorist threat - a threat it has only magnified thanks to the war in Iraq. In addition, like the the Nazi's, the Bush White House exploits this fear to justify the suspension of basic human rights and the rule of law. Add the administration's religious zeal, backed by the "Christian Right," and the nation is poised at the brink of an anti-Muslim campaign that bears the ideological baggage of a Medieval crusade marching on Constantinople. Like the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, the Bush administration's crusade hides an undercurrent of economic imperialism. This time, however, oil has replaced spices and silk as the currency of choice.

1 comment:

Tish said...

Brian, as you know, I am gearing up for Blogathon and will be posting for 24 hours on I wanted to invite you to submit a 10 Questions post. I've always enjoyed your blog, and I think others will too. Check out for the 10 Questions. If you're interested in participating, please get your answers to me before the 28th and we will post them during Blogathon! :) Have a great day.