Thursday, March 03, 2016

Hillary Is No Saviour


Even if Hilary Clinton beats Donald Trump in the upcoming federal election, Chris Hedges is not optimistic about his country's future. The Clintons, Hedges writes, are card carrying members of the liberal elite which has sold out the white working class:

College-educated elites, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity—embodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama—succeeded for decades. These elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values—civility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class—while thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters. This game has ended.

There are tens of millions of Americans, especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on them by college-educated elites from both political parties: Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.

The rise of a particular kind of American fascism was predicted over twenty-five years ago. Back in 1998, Richard Rorty wrote, in his book Achieving Our Country:

Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.

American fascism will not look like European fascism of nearly a century ago. It will have its own particularly unique American character, which Robert Paxton described in The Anatomy Of Fascism:

The language and symbols of an authentic American fascism would, of course, have little to do with the original European models. They would have to be as familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascisms were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans, as [George] Orwell suggested. Hitler and Mussolini, after all, had not tried to seem exotic to their fellow citizens. No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses. No fascist salute, but mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance. These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.

It might have happened in 1932 and didn't. But it could very well happen in 2016.


Steve said...

Fuck Hillary, I will take Trump anyday. He may be a racist rabid brainless PT Barnum, but he is our all of the above

Owen Gray said...

God help us, Steve.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

I think it already is happening Owen, more behind the scenes then anything.The US fascist government will come out from behind and show its face when Americans, especially blue collar workers start protesting and rioting in big numbers. They won't understand that it is their governments Neoliberal Fascist policies that has destroyed their jobs,their freedom and their country, but they will protest out of feelings of complete hopelessness, helplessness and anger.They won't realize, as they are rounded up, that their country is controlled by an industrial/military elite who has been laying the groundwork domestically for many, many years to make America into a fascist police state and internationally to bring the rest of the world to its knees under US rule. The tragedy of the American people is that their country is a country of unquestioned myths.The content of these myths contain no truths. They are a substitute for knowledge fed to the public to hide their governments imperialism and pursuit of tyranny in order to create an authoritarian power over them.They will come to realize, that "The city on the hill" is really a fortress.

Owen Gray said...

Your last sentence is particularly poignant, Pam. The county's leaders have built a prison in the name of freedom.