Violence is the cardinal characteristic, the logo, the brand identity of fascism. Every fascist movement in history has lifted itself to power on the scaffold of violence
Yes, I have definitely noticed. Fascism is mean and it is violent. You're so right! They are on a methodical path to a total take over as evidenced by Justice Samuel Alito. There's an article about this in the NY Times today by Charlie Savage. To me, they seem to be trying to kill democracy slowly - a death by a thousand cuts. Everyday we are finding out more and I appreciate Thom finding out where it’s happening and reflecting our feelings on it. Because it’s hard to believe - shocking and upsetting. It’s refreshing to hear a validation of this in Thom’s essays and weekday shows.
To me, especially as a woman, the Middle Ages (which is where Alito & who he serves are getting their basis for understanding the world) represented the worst of humanity: total cruelty and enslavement of the human spirit - especially anything deemed as having feminine qualities. It’s awful that they feel that their "freedom" will come when only they have total control to make the world exactly how they feel it should be instead of how it is - full of diversity; a diversity not established or controllable by "man." I hear about this from some right wing christian acquaintances. They express that they believe they "don't have religious freedom." Why? it's because they can't express bigotry without being criticized; they cannot openly oppress without someone standing up to it. By attempting to make the perpetrator of oppression the victim is a way to distract from the point - which is that they are causing pain and suffering to others. It's also a grandiosity that exists to cover their own shame of being afraid of feeling out of control and/or a personal loss of feeling strong and indispensable in society. I think we have to heal this on both the individual level and at a governmental level through stopping the take over of our democracy. They know this so they are trying to dismantle the democratic institutions where people learn to accept & appreciate diversity. It's hard to feel the shame that you've violated someone else's boundaries or somehow hurt them. When a person justifies violence, then they can rid themselves of feeling shame and humiliation.
Democrats have a lot of responsibility for the dire situation, but just as much?; I don't think it's even close. What the Democratic party has been able to do or not been able to do over the past four decades has been conditioned by the fact that the Republican party, after decades of being the perennial opposition party, figured out a way to win elections, not by offering but good public policy, but by activating a dormant religious right and by picking up the Jim Crow south once the Democrats fell out of favor with the segregationists after Johnson's signing of the Civil Rights and Voter Rights Acts and the subsequent southern strategy. For a multitude of reasons the American people shifted right and started voting Republican in big numbers at all levels of government, starting with Reagan's landslide victory over Mondale in 1984. I think there are times when society gets in a certain mood and tends to vote for one party over the other whether or not it's a very good idea in the long run. We saw that in the 1920s when Republicans were riding high with Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, whose laissez-faire economic policy led to the great depression. Those failures and the subsequent successes of FDR's New Deal kept voters in the Democratic camp for decades to come, up until the so called Reagan Revolution. I think one of the main things that turned voters against the Democratic party, especially the solidly middle and upper middle class ones who gained their status largely thanks to New Deal policies and Keynesian economics, was that they associated Democrats with the welfare state and excessive government regulation, and they weren't so much in favor of government helping the little guy any more. They wanted lower taxes, an even higher standard of living and a good retirement. Too much regulation could hurt their investment portfolio or pension fund. Right or wrong, they saw Republicanism as a better alternative and I think during this whole period since Reagan when his brand of conservatism has reigned, Democrats have had to dramatically moderate their tendency towards more progressive public policy in order to have any hope of winning elections in certain parts of the country. Clinton, who I think deep down is and was a flaming New Deal type liberal, is a perfect example. He was an incredibly astute politician and he saw the writing wall. Gingrich and the GOP were on a roll, the American people were with them and Clinton knew some power was better than no power, so he did what he had to do. This was the case with many other Democrats. Look, I'm aware of the shortcomings and failings of the Democratic party—ineffective messaging, uninspiring candidates, etc. etc. etc. But I just happen to think that the Democrats have an infinitely better vision for what the country needs now and in the future than the Republicans do. We always talk about the politicians and their successes or failings. But we often forget the, other side of the equation, the people, the voters. Sometimes the people, rightly or wrongly, just aren't buying what you're selling. The Republican party has done a very good job at selling a culture war that has gotten people to vote for them and against their own interests and well being, and, in my opinion, against the interests of the country as a whole. Sure Democrats have many faults, but I believe the Republican party is downright toxic and harmful, even nihilistic. If and when the Democratic party gains enough power that it can actually put its money where its mouth is and deliver the goods, my criticism will be strong and unwavering if it doesn't. In the meantime, I just want Democrats to win elections and Republicans to lose because it's very clear to me which party is more likely to move this country in the direction it needs to go. (I didn't even talk about the structural flaws in our electoral system that is making it possible for minority rule which is causing a lack of progress. For example, we have a 50/50 Senate while one party represents 41 million voters than the other. Can you guess which? The Electoral College needs to go, as well as gerrymandering.)
I think you have identified one of the two very vital emotions--meanness as expressed through violence--that the universe is using to play us Homo sapiens. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I think the universe is playing 4-5-or-6 dimensional chess with us humans while we think we are just playing checkers. I'll explain. You write this morning, Thom: " violence (provides)...a sense of agency, of individual power and meaning, a sort of orgasmic release from a life of ordinariness and political impotence." How fantastically accurate you are in stating this ! Especially when viewed not just through the social, political, and historical lenses, but also through the psychological. one as well. What do I mean? Try this simple exercise: take a sheet of binder paper (yep that stuff that probably doesn't even exist anymore?), draw a vertical line down the middle, and a line across near the top. Then on the left side write down the word "ego" / "small self" / "immature self" / or whatever term you prefer to label our everyday "self" that is often insecure, fearful, angry, feeling impotent, and "wanting more." Then on the right side write down the term "Big Self" / "Higher Power" / "Universal Self" / or whatever term that you prefer to denote our Self in its best sense, best feelings, most inclusive, and feeling "at one" with the world. (I have to point out here that our current understanding of human psychology and terminology are still severely deficient). I'll give just one example of what I would enter in the two columns: "Greed" under "small self" and "Sharing / Giving under "Big Self."
When you have entered all your characteristics of each, then squeeze in at the top on each side the name of the political party that you find that most corresponds to that column of characteristics. What do you find? I will note here that Strauss & Howe in their book "The Fourth Turning" did a spectacular job of presenting their "saeculum" theory....but failed to clearly state the force driving the whole, dysfunctional, human dilemma--egoic identity based on human emotions. So when you very accurately say, Thom, that "violence (provides)...a sense of agency, of individual power and meaning," you are describing egoic identity based on anger and hate--one side of our two-faced human coin. The other side of this coin--love and a sense of Oneness with the world--manifest in a very different manner...does it not? What do you find in the right column of your paper? Where does all that come from--if not this other face of our coin? Why is our country almost evenly divided 51 /49 in preferring diametrically opposite Presidential candidates (Biden vs Trump in 2020)...and still going at it today? Is this not a reflection / manifestation of our basic human nature caught up in this dichotomous universe? And finally, Thom, your description of violence as " a sort of orgasmic release from a life of ordinariness and political impotence" is, I find, so uncannily accurate ! Yes, it is an unconscious release of energy--because hate & anger largely eclipse awareness & beingness. It is far from an accident that MAGA-hatters / -haters do not subscribe to facts, evidence, peace, democracy,and integrity. Their sense of "impotent" energy has built up due to the lack of release through more peaceful, integrating means...and like any energetic system, a release is either found....or the whole system explodes. The past 6 " 4th Turnings" have demonstrated that the egalitarian side--doesn't this term belong in the right column?--has won over the authoritarians / dominators in power...when the "common folk" refused to "take it anymore." But this time around, the USA with its roughly 250 years of increasing "egalitariaism," is facing in this current "Fourth Turning" a "reverse coup" as the authoritarian dominators want to crush their enemies--the supporters of democracy and a multiracial, diverse society. The dividing line appears to be "identity"--which side of the line is each of us on ?
I have noticed the meanness, and I have noticed that some of the comments here are bat-shit crazy as well as mean.
Face it, if you are talking fascists and authoritarians, they spring right back like a tight curl. Some of the "good guys" we see before the January 6th Committee have already said they will vote for that psychopath AGAIN. Are those individuals really patriots-do they really love this country???!!!
The times they are a changing-always are. When big upheaval happened before for the Dems, LBJ cut-loose the despicable Dixiecrats. That's why I am a Democrat with a capital "D", because we try to live in the present and care about changing for a better future. We still have the balls to have a platform. You know, the opposite of wanting the status-quo and being conservative or stuck in the past.
The majority of these 2022 Republicans do not have the courage to do the right thing, and that's a damn shame for the ones that DO!
RE: "It can happen here." Definitely!!! But it can be stopped.
In 2006, John Dean wrote Conservatives Without Conscience, where he said:
“Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds. … And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going away.”
In 2020, in his book Authoritarian Nightmare, he expanded on this:
"And even if Trump accepts the will of the majority and the Electoral College and leaves the White House, his backers will remain a very powerful force, ready to give undying loyalty to him for as long as he wants, and then to the next dictator-in-waiting. And the next one will almost certainly be smarter than Donald Trump. You can be sure someone is watching Trump closely, planning to step into his place. Thus, if you want to remain free, you will probably have to outvote today’s ardent Trump followers , not only in November 2020 but for some time in future elections. You may have heard that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance." page 106.
Based on his first book, I created four blog posts about it. One quoted Dean, "Can There Really Be Fascist People In A Democracy?" The books answer was, Yes!
Based on his second book, I also have a few posts. His recommended solution:
"The matter can be decided without a doubt by young voters, who are the least prejudiced age group in the United States and strongly oppose Trump on numerous grounds. … If the Democrats run good registration campaigns among the young, and if Biden supporters can overcome all the voter-suppression barriers the Republicans will throw at them, and if Bernie Sander’s suppporters can settle for half of what they want in order to have a certain chance to the rest later on, rather than no chance at all if Trump wins, Democrats can win the White House and both Houses of Congress in November." page 276
Fascist violence, humans hunting humans, requires a “bad barrel” to turn good people evil.
Spending on, Selling, Promoting fear, hate and violence makes for a fascist state that legalizes humans hunting humans, locally and internationally.
If you dress for hunting with a gun, some animal will be killed by a bullet fired from that gun. If you are a soldier dressed for WAR with weapons of mass death, other people will be killed by bullets fired from those automatic guns. If you are a cop dressed for stopping criminals, some citizen is likely to be killed by a bullet fired from a cop’s gun. If you are a family member in your home with guns, another family member, or someone else outside the home, is likely to be killed by bullets fire from those guns. If guns are available in schools, students are more likely to be killed by a bullet from those in-house guns than from guns brought from home by a fearful, angry, domestic terrorist hell-bent on saving white America. If guns are freely available to hateful, fearful, domestic terrorists, legally enabled (SCOTUS) hunting of humans will increase.
A nation that spends nearly a $1T to produce, sell and operate weapons of mass killing, that adds to that funding with little opposition and lies to justify WAR, and a nation that allows citizens to own weapons for mass killing, will nurture hunting of humans both locally and world-wide.
A party that promotes hate and fear of others, that stacks SCOTUS with ideological justices, that owns a massive media system, that represents and manipulates a minority of haters who buy guns out of fear, will produce a fascist state with humans hunting humans.
“Blood alone moves the wheels of history.” – Benito Mussolini
“But at its core, fascism is rooted in physical violence, intimidation, and murder. It’s war brought into politics and governance.” - Thom Hartman
To that I add, the mindset of WAR, Civil or World, Enables The Violent Hunting Humans
I agree, certainly Thom would NOT incite violence. Incite hate and discord, yes. Violence, no! His rhetorical approach simply never fails to encourage readers to think in strict binaries, or an us versus them language game. Without an acknowledgment of the complexities within all these social issues, he undoubtedly lose his opposition.
Maybe at this point, he doesn't care. But the fact that he simply provides little if no balance remains unfair and manipulative. This is especially true with todays article. To not acknowledge that both sides engage in hate speech and violence just discredits his arguments. One may be worse than the other, but both sides engage in the hate. And if the violent hate is wrong for one, it's wrong for both ... and everyone in-between.
Look, we need something radical that can change the game, where "even if Trump accepts the will of the majority and the Electoral College and leaves the White House, his backers will remain a very powerful force." Here it is. How to deliver this to anyplace that can deal with it seriously?
WILD IDEA. Even convictions of him won't put off Trump’s followers, where we will stay divided even if we get our pounds of flesh, but how about an intervention? Get him to show up on some fabrication and get the Republicans testifying against him to sit in a circle with him and read him chapter and verse. For what the country needs, offer him total immunity from all prosecutions to admit he lost and whatever he’d say about that – omg, a Trumpian mea culpa would be something to behold. But he would be speaking for the good of the country, to unite us. He might love being that kinky hero.
"The truth is there ain't nobody fighting because
Nobody knows what to save..."
"Winter In America"
"There used to be an agreement between the seasons
I mean, after a while they decided to sit down and work it out
And they agreed that they were gonna just come and stay
About three months each
And then they would go to wherever seasons go
When they're not where you are
And this would be a cycle and it would go on all the time
And then one year in America, one of the seasons got mad
And decided it was going to stay
Decided that the way things were done there made it feel at home
He would not, he wouldn't go when he was supposed to
I mean it wasn't the people
The people runnin' this stuff, you know what I'm sayin'
It was something, there was some kind of vibe there
Made it feel like it wasn't leaving, it was just not, just not gonna go
It wasn't in terms of the temperature, it was in terms of the philosophy
The politics, the psychology, the way things were going in other directions
And so for a long time, where we come from there's no spring
And no summer and no fall
We have been taken over by the season of ice
Very few people recognise it for what it is
Although they feel uncomfortable
Very few people recognise the fact that somehow the seasons don't change
I mean, you can acclimate it, you can politically acclimate it
You can philosophically acclimate it
You start to, you start to relate everything to the season of ice
And so your dreams become frozen, and your ideas become frozen
Your promises become frozen in this
Frozen days, and frozen nights
Frozen aspirations and frozen inspiration
There's something wrong
We'd like to talk to you about a season that is taking over America
The season is winter"
Yes I have Thom. I have noticed you playing juvenile and demeaning Lincoln Project ads mocking conservatives who took Ivermectin. I have heard you repeatedly suggest that the unvaccinated should be punished by standing in line behind those who have been vaccinated for life-saving treatment. I have heard callers minimize the racism of our foreign policy and immigration system by claiming that we feel "closer" and can identify more with educated Europeans, alluding to our support for Ukraine and our destruction of black and brown countries around the world, with no pushback from you at all. So yes, the Biden/Clinton brand of neoliberalism you protect by obsessing about Trump and Republicans is a key player in the militarism, cruelty and division in our country. I hate to say you are a part of the problem.
Some great comments today. My contribution is this: my lesson from the beatitudes. Jesus said that before a person carries out a violent act such as murder, the evil actually began when the thought entered the mind. He applied the same to adultery. Thoughts are at the root of our actions, which is to say we need a transformation of our thought lives if we want to see a change in our activities. Legislation is like putting a band-aid on a wound; it doesn't get to the core issue. We have some highly-trained mind-control professionals in our midst - Dr. Joe Dispenza comes to mind, as well as Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor; it's time we put such professionals front and center. Instead of looking at Dr. Fauci's mug telling us we need to be injected, I say let's put Dispenza and Bolte-Taylor in the media, instructing people how they can change their thought patterns so together we can become constructive instead of destructive. This will help us all. The time's ripe to begin a new thought life.