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Senior Thesis

Parallels of the Contemporary United States and Fascism in Italy and Germany

By Dusty Hinz

Prologue: Prior Personal Beliefs and Mission

Thesis: The socio-political environment and the activities that took place during the years of the rise of Fascism in Italy with Benito Mussolini and in Germany with Adolf Hitler can be compared to the current environment and recent behavior of the Bush administration in the United States; particularly post-September 11th.

As I begin to delve into my research of Fascism I want to make clear what my current personal beliefs are. The topic I have chosen is hardly coincidental; in fact, I have selected it precisely because I believe that several things that have occurred in this country in the last eight years are eerily fascistic. Someone that did not think the last eight years in America resembled anything like Fascism would have a difficult time recognizing this as a worthwhile topic.

There are many issues surrounding my current beliefs about elements of Fascism in America, and in the paper I intend to address all or most of them.

  • There has been an unprecedented power grab by the executive branch of government in these last eight years. The power of the central national authority and the military has also been increased in the name of national security at the expense of human civil liberties. This is shown by the passing of the Patriot Act and what is being done to the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
  • The mainstream media, which are owned by the biggest corporations in our country, have become complicit, and not objective, in how they interact with the government. It is now apparent that this was the case in the Bush administration’s ability to sell the Iraq War on false pretenses.
  • It is the Republican Party, and the different sects of people in the Party, that elected to office the people that have led us down this path. The Party consists of an enduring obsession with patriotism.
  • The current revolving door between corporate-CEO-land and the most important positions in our executive branch of government is also a serious cause for concern. Undoubtedly there have been conflicts of interest; cronyism (Cheney and Halliburton) and corruption (particularly in Iraq) have ensued.
  • The imperial and corporate driven war that has been waged on the country of Iraq with war-profiteering mercenaries; there are over 300 private corporations currently contracted out by our federal government in Iraq.

Without specific matching definitions, I believe all of these things represent characteristics of Fascism. With a few other possible points missing, herein lies the foundation of why I believe there have been elements of Fascism in America in the last eight years. In stating my position on the issue I want to make it clear that I intend to objectively proceed as I research and write this thesis paper. My goal is not to opine, but rather to present facts about what Fascism actually is and to give analysis on whether what has happened in America in these last eight years is similar to or different from these characteristics.

 

 

Introduction

Thesis: The socio-political environment and the activities that took place during the years of the rise of Fascism in Italy with Benito Mussolini and in Germany with Adolf Hitler can be compared to the current environment and recent behavior of the Bush administration in the United States; particularly post-September 11th.

Fascism is the term used to describe the social movements and behavior of the nations of Italy and Germany from roughly 1919 to 1945. After World War I most European countries saw the rise of some form of Fascism whether they referred to themselves as such, or not.[1] However it is only in Italy and Germany that the PNF (National Fascist Party) and Nazi parties attained power and “spawned truly mass fascist movements.”[2] The scholars of the three books on Fascism that will be used in this thesis each make a point of the difficulty in pinning a single solitary definition to Fascism, for the many different situations and actions it can take on. In his book, The Anatomy of Fascism, Robert O. Paxton emphasizes his discontent with definitions because they are inherently limiting. However, near the end of the book he does offer this:

“Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goal of internal cleansing and external expansion.”[3]

He then lists these nine “mobilizing passions” of Fascism:

  • “a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
  • the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;
  • the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against enemies, both internal and external;
  • dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
  • the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
  • the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s historical destiny;
  • the superiority of the leader’s instincts over the abstract and universal  reason;
  • the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success;
  • the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.”[4]

The author will compare the contemporary socio-political environment and philosophy of the Bush administration in the United States with the signature characteristics of these mid-twentieth century movements and philosophy associated with Fascism.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1: Historical Foundations of Fascism

Carl Cohen, in his book, Communism, Fascism, and Democracy, writes:

“Fascism is the twentieth-century version of a very old tradition in political philosophy, revised to fit modern circumstances, reformulated using concepts recently developed, and presented as the justification of some powerful modern governments.”[5]

Very generally speaking, Fascism can be seen as the advancement of power, both internally and externally in regard to the State, and the means through which power can be advanced take on a variety of forms. The roots of Fascism can be seen in the political philosophy and national traditions that had developed long before World War I.[6] Cohen writes that “Fascism may perhaps best be understood as a contemporary blend of these three philosophical traditions”: absolutism, “deliberate” irrationalism, and organicism.[7]

Absolutism

The American Heritage Dictionary states that absolutism is “a political theory holding that all power should be vested in one ruler or other authority.”[8] Modern absolutism rose in the 15th and 16th centuries as the “monarch was coming to be viewed as the supreme earthly power, divinely instituted as ruler, and representing in his person the will and interest of the state.”[9] In Italy, with Benito Mussolini, and Germany, with Adolf Hitler, a single individual – the leader – came to embody and represent the entire Fascist State. Mussolini and Hitler were the face of their nations, which, as the supreme leader of the United States, is in many ways how George W. Bush has come to be seen throughout the world during his years as president of the United States. However, the inability to separate the leader from his nation has had a different effect for President Bush. While Mussolini and Hitler were glorified by the nation in this respect, the disdain for President Bush in the United States (with consistent 30% approval ratings) and around the world demonstrates that such a connection may have a reverse negative effect on how the leader and the nation are perceived.

The inherent nature of an absolutist style of government is inevitably centralized and the characteristics of its structure follow accordingly. Because of this, Cohen writes, absolutist States are “are authoritarian and generally patterned on military lines…since the leader is the source of the law, he himself is above the law. He may be judged, as leader, only by his success in maintaining and extending his power and the power of his state.”[10]

The philosophy of absolutism is very similar to the political philosophy of Niccolo Machiavelli. The previous quote relates directly to Machiavelli’s most remembered and most important principle, which is “if the act accuse him, the result will excuse him”[11] – the ends justify the means. Hitler, President Bush, and Vice President Dick Cheney viewed constitutional checks as impediments to expanding their power. (Mussolini actually “accorded far more power to the normative state than Hitler did”[12] because “the struggle for predominance [between himself], the party zealots, and the conservative establishment…was much less definitively settled than in Nazi Germany.”[13]) In Hitler’s quest to power he did not feel the need to act inside the parameters of the 1919 constitution; he did as he pleased because he did not want “his hands tied to rules and bureaucracy.”[14] When German President Paul von Hindenburg died in 1934 “Hitler proceeded to abolish the office of president,” and in so doing he eliminated the last constitutional check on his power.[15] The consolidation of his and the Nazi Party’s power would continue throughout the 1930s, and procedural democracy was discarded as every effort was made to maintain and extend their power. “Hitler’s authority did not rest ultimately on the rule of law or the rational structures beloved by liberal theorists.”[16] He was above the law because government checks inhibited his quest to power, and this is distinctly absolutist.

In the eight years of the Bush administration there has been an unprecedented power grab by the executive branch of the government. In his first five years in office President Bush issued more than 750 signing statements, which are done by the president’s decree and effectively allow him to ignore parts of legislation with which he disagrees.[17] This total has now swelled past 1,100.[18] To put this amount of signing statements in perspective, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now reports that President Bush has “signed more than every president in the history of America put together.”[19]

After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, President Bush authorized the illegal wiretapping of American citizens to eavesdrop on possible terrorist activity. James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times reported:

“Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years…As a result, some officials [of the National Security Agency] have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.”[20]

Paxton writes that Fascists “expanded the power of the executive – party and state – in a bid for total control.”[21] This is what Hitler did, and this is precisely what has been the prerogative of the Bush administration. In his first public appearance after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Vice President Cheney said, “It’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal.”[22] As one component of Fascism, absolutism was apparent in the actions of Hitler and the Bush administration because they believed that they were above the law. In the Bush administration’s and Hitler’s expansion of power, decisions were made without regard for the law or the consequence of their actions and with every regard for the end it would accomplish.

Organicism

On the subject of organicism, Cohen writes:

“According to this theory a nation is properly understood to be an organic unity, like a human being, but of greater import, having many separate organs that contribute to the general welfare, and a larger interest, or general will, that is necessarily superior to the interest or will of any particular member of members.”[23]

Both Hitler’s and Mussolini’s Fascist movements were conceived out of obsessive nationalism, which is directly related to the organic State. In this philosophy, the expansion of the nations of Italy and Germany under the Fascist movements had become the will of the nation. All the individual people inside the state merged as one unit, as one mass conglomeration of functioning cells and organs. This gave way to the notion that the importance of the State should be placed over the individual. Recently, in his 2008 campaign for president, Republican nominee Senator John McCain made his slogan “Country First,” and reiterated many times that in his military service of the United States he had “the honor of serving something greater than his self-interest.”[24] This is not unique to the United States, but it stems from the organic tradition, which usually consists of extreme patriotism. In Mussolini’s Italy, Fascism was “a curious mixture of veterans’ patriotism and radical social experiment.”[25]

In her lecture, Professor Milda Hedblom said, “The rise of nationalism and patriotism saw the creation of masses of people that would kill” for their nation.[26] The professor also pointed out that “no new major religion has sprouted after the rise of nationalism.”[27] This idea points to a larger concept: the need for humans to have a connection to something – a common purpose in life. Nationalism, and therefore Fascism, drew out intense emotions about one’s identity – why I am on this earth, what is my reason for being here – that had only previously been accomplished by religion. This is apparent in the mass rallies of people that literally worshiped the State and its figurehead leader.[28] Paxton writes:

“[Fascism] changed the practice of citizenship from the enjoyment of constitutional rights and duties to participation in mass ceremonies of affirmation and conformity. It reconfigured relations between the individual and collectivity, so that an individual had no rights outside the community interest.”[29]

Organicism is closely tied to the concepts of state sovereignty and classical republicanism. Contrary to classical liberalism’s notion of the freedom of the individual, classical republicanism is based on the idea that a group of people should have the freedom to rule themselves. In Italy, prior to Fascists gaining power, rhetoric was used blasting capitalism and the bourgeoisie class of society not because of a lack of worker compensation, but because of the materialist and individualist nature of a capitalist society.[30] They criticized capitalism because of “its indifference to the nation, its inability to stir souls.”[31] It is this common bond – the love of the fatherland – that gave fuel to the Fascist movements, and as we have seen in America with the Republican Party, extreme patriotism has embodied their movement.

Irrationalism

Cohen writes, “The tradition of irrationalism in political philosophy, by its nature, defies systematic statement or reasoned analysis. The intellect, so long considered the ideal ruling faculty, is to be abandoned” in favor of “sentiment, intuition, passion, inspiration, force, will.”[32] The premier example of the complete disregard for a reasoned platform based on logic is Mussolini. Throughout his political career he went from being a socialist and atheist, to denouncing socialism and supporting the Catholic Church; from being in favor of republicanism, to being a monarchist; from a supporter of laissez-faire economics, to a dictator that assumed complete control over the State’s economy.[33] In the absence of any reasoned political philosophy he made statements such as, “My program is action, not thought”[34] and that he “[did] not feel tied to any particular doctrinal form.”[35] Senator Joe Biden recalls being in the Oval Office with President Bush a few months after the United States’ invasion of Iraq. He was telling President Bush his many concerns about the dangers of the sectarian nature of Iraq when he asked him, “Mr. President, how can you be so sure when you know you don’t know the facts?” The president replied, “My instincts, my instincts;”[36] and this is precisely how President Bush governed, which is consistent with one of Paxton’s mobilizing passions of Fascism, namely “the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason.”[37]

Mussolini’s political career was blatantly irrational and he was anti-intellectual. He could not commit to any particular ideology or doctrine because in the ultimate quest to gain and maximize power, the avenues and alleys through which one must drive to reach their destination are liable to change – often times drastically, as shown by Mussolini’s ideological swings. What is said to appeal to a constituency may directly contradict the politician’s new desire to advance their power once in office. The irrationality of George W. Bush is highlighted in his 2000 campaign for president. As one of his most popular statements on the stump during this campaign season President Bush repeated his military policy would consist of “no nation-building.”[38] In the second presidential debate between himself and Vice President Al Gore, he made this statement:

“[Somalia] started off as a humanitarian mission and it changed into a nation-building mission, and that’s where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price. And so I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building.”[39]

It was less than two years after these remarks when the Bush administration began its attempt to steer the United States towards a military invasion of Iraq, which they eventually accomplished. The ensuing United States military campaign would become one of the greatest nation-building missions by any country in recent history. Far from his cries of “no-nation building,” President Bush was now touting his desire to spread democracy throughout the entire Middle East, which inevitably involves nation-building. At the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy in November of 2003, he stated:

“Our commitment to democracy is also tested in the Middle East, which is my focus today, and must be a focus of American policy for decades to come. In many nations of the Middle East – countries of great strategic importance – democracy has not yet taken root…the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before.”[40]

This kind of erratic behavior was the mark of Benito Mussolini’s political career as he routinely made decisions based on what would maximize his power in each new circumstance. For whatever reason, at a moment in time, he had favored laissez-faire economics, but this ideal was trumped in favor of a complete State-managed and controlled economy when he became dictator because this maximized his power.[41] Both Mussolini and President Bush said one thing and eventually wound up doing the exact opposite. What President Bush claimed as his political philosophy in 2000 as a result of his desire for power – and to therefore get elected – had little bearing on his decision making while in office. Irrationalism is the result of the inconsistencies associated with one’s attempt to constantly maximize their power in every situation.

Chapter 2: Republican and Fascist Parties

As previously established, it was the absolute quest of the Fascists to expand their power that nearly exclusively shaped their doctrine; whatever was convenient at the time was done. The fact that Fascists did not bother to write hardly any of their political ideology down highlights the illogical inconsistencies that came to embody their own actions.[42] Paxton writes that “the truth was whatever permitted the new fascist man (and woman) to dominate others, and whatever made the chosen people triumph.”[43]

Building off of this notion, the question becomes: how does a completely new movement build itself, gain power, and assert itself into the mainstream of society? If Fascists were going to be successful, they would have to play the game of politics by creating brokered alliances. Paxton writes that “by becoming the carriers of substantial grievances and interests, and by becoming capable of rewarding political ambitions, [Fascists] took root within political systems.”[44] It was in route to power that it became necessary for Fascists to make concessions and cut deals, but this was not easy; Mussolini caught flack from inside his own ranks for doing so. Some of the early ideal Fascists disdained Mussolini’s decision in 1921 to turn his movement into a political party in order to attempt to legitimately gain power.[45] Many of these Fascists felt it their purpose not to be in a party, rather they wanted to allow their movement to gain support from the entire nation in a mass unification of the State, and this stems from the organic tradition.

One method of drawing in supporters for the Fascist Party in Italy was to, at the very least and in the broadest terms, promise to unite the country rather than divide it.[46] This appealed to apolitical people that just wanted to see their country go in the right the direction. While this is a Fascist characteristic, upon deeper analysis, it seems that it is an inevitable result of the mass politicization of large societies. One need only look to the inspiring and unifying themes and rhetoric of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama to see this tactic at work again in history. This style of strategy and oration gives a unified direction to the State and its people, and is not necessarily fascistic.

The universal rule of democratic politics is the belief in the legitimacy of the rule of the majority. Hence the reason political parties in parliamentarian systems struggle to find alliances to secure a majority. In the United States, however, with its Single Member District Plurality (SMDP) system in which the people that get the most votes in a given area are represented in the government, the bridging of alliances in order to gain power is not done in official terms like in a parliament. The electoral system of the United States has unequivocally shaped the way its society is structured; if there were a parliamentary system it is fair to say the United States would be drastically different. The result of the SMDP system in the United States has been an inability for third parties to rise to official government status, as they cannot win a majority of the vote to get elected in any one district. Instead, roughly half the political spectrum has been forged into one major party, and the other half into the other major party; the coalition to create a majority is made among actual voters, which in the case of Republicans has made for a fractured party.

On the politics of Fascism, Paxton writes:
“[grave] compromises and transformations were involved in the process of becoming a significant actor in a political arena. For that process involved teaming up with some of the very capitalist speculators and bourgeois party leaders whose rejection had been part of the early movements appeal. How the fascists managed to retain some of their antibourgeois rhetoric and a measure of ‘revolutionary’ aura while forming practical political alliances with part of the establishment constitutes one the mysteries of their success.”[47]

In Italy and Germany the conservative elite watched as the PNF and Nazi Parties accrued more and more power. Weighing their options, conservatives had to find a way to either limit their power or begin to comply with it; the latter became their best choice.[48] In 1928, the Nazis received the ninth most votes for the parliament, but by 1932 they had grown to first, acquiring 37% of the vote. Lacking the coveted majority and in no way interested in forming an alliance with any Left or socialist factions, a political alliance with the conservatives would have to be made. This “protracted period during which fascists and conservatives hammered out a power-sharing arrangement was a stressful time for both sides, in both Italy and Germany. These negotiations promised at best to produce a less than ideal compromise for both,”[49] and for the Fascists it also risked alienating the more pure members of the party. In regard to the Republican Party, no such brokered agreement would be necessary inside the realm of government; instead, the brokered alliance occurred in the actual electorate.

What first thrust Mussolini onto the national stage in 1921 was the agreement he made with then Prime Minister of Italy Giovanni Giolitti. Giolitti, in search of ways to broaden his coalition and thereby ensure he would maintain his power, allowed Mussolini and the Fascists to become a part of his electoral coalition. Because of this, in the May 1921 elections the Fascists were able to pick up 35 seats in the parliament, which increased their credibility and their ability to get their message out to the public. Shortly after the election Mussolini denounced his alliance with Giolitti. This temporary pact was a political gift for Mussolini, because within the next year Fascist support increased greatly.[50]

In all of this, the point that must be emphasized is the length to which Fascists went in playing the political game of gaining power through the government, which entailed brokering fractured alliances with unfavorable partners. Fascists, in and of themselves, were something completely new, and the parliamentary systems in Italy and Germany created the opportunity for the PNF and Nazi Parties to rise by means of direct voter representation and through fractured alliances, whereas in America’s SMDP voting system, this would be nearly impossible to accomplish.

Because of America’s SMDP winner-take-all system, and therefore the need to unite a majority of the electorate to win, Republicans built bridges between the Religious Right, fiscal conservatives, and the international relations hawks – also known as the intellectual elite neoconservatives. The reason for the Republican Party’s power – similar to that of the rise of the Fascists – is its fractured nature. Each of these voting blocks (the neocons are hardly a voting block yet still wound up in President Bush’s cabinet) stand behind a particular pillar in the Republican Party platform; for the Religious Right it is the social issues of gay marriage and abortion; for the fiscal conservatives and businessmen it is lower taxes, less government spending, and less regulation in the marketplace; and for the neocons it is foreign policy and international relations. Largely, they are separate groups voting for separate reasons, yet all share the label of “conservative.” The coalition of the Religious Right, economic conservatives, and the neocon elite, albeit fractured, is mutually beneficial, as each side presumably gets what they want out of the deal.

In their quest to maximize power through the government legitimately, this is precisely the kind of predicament that Mussolini and Hitler were placed in. And each time it was the liberal Left that found themselves on the outside of the power circle looking in. For the Fascists the acquisition of power justified the brokering of such rigid agreements, and on the American Right the same still holds true today. The importance of the Religious Right for the Republican Party is shown in the recent 2008 American presidential election. Senator John McCain went against his maverick inclination of selecting Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate in favor of Governor Sarah Palin, a decision that was clearly grounded in its attempt to secure the Evangelical base. As Bob Edgar – the president and CEO of the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Common Cause – said right before the 2008 election, “We have to recognize that since 1980 the Religious Right and political Right have had a civil marriage.”[51] It is the fractured nature of the Republican Party that is similar to the way in which the Fascists were able to come to power.

While the Religious Right represents a significant minority of the people that vote for the Republican Party, an examination of the people that voted for Fascists (other than the purists) is warranted. Fascists were able to lure in the working class with their inspiring calls to nationalism and anti-bourgeois and anti-capitalist attacks. However, once in power, they “banned strikes, dissolved independent labor unions, lowered wage earners’ purchasing power, and showered money on armaments industries.”[52] This proves there was a serious disconnect between the Fascist politicians’ pursuit of power and the regular people that could grant them this power by voting for them. Once in power Fascists all but forgot about the common worker, and instead expanded their own power and the power of the State.

In today’s America we can see this same Fascist scenario occurring: the so-called base of the Republican Party – the Religious Right – did not vote for George W. Bush because of the qualities of the neoconservatives he would appoint to his cabinet. What is true for both the above Fascist-worker disconnect and the contemporary Republican Party is the fact that these voting bases enabled those elected to power to pursue ulterior motives. In the case of the Fascists they actually destroyed worker protections, but regardless of this, those that were elected to power had a completely separate agenda. Republican politicians have never purposely stabbed the Religious Right in the back by killing social issue bills like the Fascists did the workers. But herein lays the problem: with a sizeable portion of the electorate voting primarily on the milestone social issues and nothing else, votes for men like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are also votes for all of the other decisions and cabinet selections they will make when in office. President Bush and the people he appointed to his cabinet were given free reigns to American foreign policy, and their decisions regarding international relations highlight this Republican disconnect. For both the Fascists and the neoconservatives in the Bush administration that ended up in power, a segment of the electorate was simply used as means to attain power and advance a separate agenda.

Chapter 3: The State, Its Historic Destiny, and Internal Cleansing

In his Politics as a Vocation, Max Weber lectures on the politics of conviction as derived from the irrationality of religion, which he warns is a dangerous way to govern. He writes, “In the world of realities, of course, we see again and again how the representatives of an ethics of conviction suddenly become transformed into chiliastic prophets.”[53] Mussolini was of the belief that it is the State that precedes the nation – that without the State there is no nation. He writes that the creation of the State “gives to the people, conscious of its own moral unity, a will and therefore an effective existence.”[54] The State gives purpose and direction to the individuals that make up the nation. In his book, The Rise of the Fourth Reich, Jim Marrs writes that “even Hitler acknowledged that Nazi ideology ventured into a spiritual realm, when [Hitler] stated, ‘Anyone who interprets National Socialism merely as a political movement knows almost nothing about it. It is more than religion; it is the determination to create a new man.’”[55] In the same way religion gives meaning to one’s life, the State accomplished this for the Fascist. Mussolini writes “the Fascist State, the highest and most powerful form of personality, is a force, but a spiritual force, which takes over all the forms of the moral and intellectual life of man.”[56] Mussolini’s doctrine sheds the State in a new light that is identical to the religiously inspired politics of conviction in Weber’s lecture: the notion that the cause of the State, in and of itself, legitimates the trouncing of intellectual reasoning. This philosophy compounds the organic and irrational traditions of thought into something that is quite radical.

Because the progress of the organic State is tangibly apparent, its success or failure brings to life something that is quite different from religion. In the Fascist State, the individual, who lives through the State as a single cell of the whole organism, becomes aware of this reality, and the success of the State becomes of critical importance to him. As Mussolini writes:

“The nation as the State is an ethical reality which exists and lives in so far as it develops…Therefore the State is not only the authority which governs and gives the form of laws and the value of spiritual life to the will of individuals, but it is also a power that makes its will felt abroad, making it known and respected, in other words, demonstrating the fact of its universality in all the necessary directions of its development.”[57]

What undoubtedly aids the human being in their belief of such a doctrine’s call to nationalism is the presence and credibility of the historic importance of their land, race, or ethnicity. What is distinctly similar about the rise of Fascism in Italy and Germany, and the United States, is the belief in the exceptionalism and greatness of their native homeland or race. In 1936, the Italian Fascist philosopher Mario Palmieri wrote:

“The historical continuity of political forms, social organization, religious expression, and spiritual expressions, in the life of the Italian people, which had lasted two thousand years and had been broken only in the last few centuries of servitude to foreigners and their foreign ways of living, has been at last restored by Fascism, which is the direct heir of Roman traditions and of Roman ideals.”[58]

In this sense, the victimhood that was a result of the exertion of foreign powers over Italy becomes a gas pedal to drive the nation in a new direction; “the tradition of Rome is an idea that has force…after the many centuries of abandonment or slavery to foreigners,”[59] wrote Mussolini.

In Germany, the focus was the purity and supremacy of the Aryan race, which Hitler believed to be the will of nature.[60] When examining history, Hitler used as evidence in his claims the “Germanic of the North American Continent, who has remained pure and less intermixed, [and] has become the master of that continent.”[61] “The blood-mixing…is the sole cause of the dying-off of old cultures; for the people do not perish by lost wars, but by the loss of that force of resistance which is contained only in the pure blood.”[62] Hitler harnessed his obsession with racial purification by directing his aggression at the Jews, Gypsies, and other foreign races. He saw the Jewish people as “dirt and filth” and “as a parasite in the body of other nations and States.”[63]

One of Paxton’s mobilizing passions of Fascism is “the need for closer integration of a purer community.”[64] To a lesser extent, but still relating to the general concept, this internal purity was exhibited by the Republican Party in this year’s presidential campaign when Governor Sarah Palin made implications that small towns in America were more patriotic than other parts of the country. At a rally in Greensboro, North Carolina she said, “The best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic…very pro-America areas of this great nation.”[65] For the Republican Party this “purity” divide is on race and location, as rural America is nearly exclusively white. This nearly singular racial homogeneity was apparent at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Governor Palin said that it is these Americans that are “real;” so, logically, the diverse metropolitan areas would be fake and impure.

One important aspect of the politics of Fascism in both Germany and Italy was an obsessive preoccupation with the perceived attack on their nation’s culture and way of life. The attack could be internal or external, but its relevance and effectiveness stem from the nation’s cultural uniqueness. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, this too is how George W. Bush framed the treacherous acts when he said that “our way of life, our very freedom came under attack.”[66] Of course the death of innocent people caused by the terrorists is despicable, but, as the author will show in the pages to come, the actions of our government in the wake of this attack were distinctly fascistic. September 11th marked the “humiliation” and “victimhood” which Paxton asserts as prerequisite mobilizing passions for Fascists.[67] In Germany, Italy, and the United States, each nation saw its unique and historically divine culture and way of life being attacked by impeding forces. In each case this historical greatness unified, motivated, and gave direction and meaning to the country.

The humiliation associated with internal community decline, which best characterizes the environment within Germany in its devastation after World War I, was a driving force for the Nazis. In Germany the scapegoat to hate and abuse – and to therefore give direction to the Aryan race and the German nation – were the Jews, Gypsies, and other foreign peoples. In Italy this scapegoat was foreign powers. In the United States this scapegoat became Islamic terrorists. A U.S. response was most definitely warranted after September 11th, but in the months and years that followed a line was crossed when Islamic terrorism became a fear-based political tool for the Republican Party. Ultimately all three of these scapegoats, amplified by excessive calls to nationalism, were used as a rallying point for the external expansion of the State. Fortunately, the United States has progressed past the race-based motivation which was used to unify Nazi Germany. However, because of the United States’ cherished history of freedom and democracy, the one card the Bush administration still had to play – “they hate us for our freedoms” – fit in beautifully as the response to the terrorist attacks. An attack on our freedoms was surely the most effective way to unite the country and give it direction – a prime example of Paxton’s “cultural particularism”[68] – and this is the rhetoric that was constantly repeated by the Bush administration.

Chapter 4: Crisis as Opportunity, Propaganda, and Fear Tactics

One of Paxton’s mobilizing passions of Fascism is “a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions.”[69] In her book, The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein writes of several incidents in recent world history in which a crisis was used as a means to quickly pass legislation that may well be unfavorable for the population at large. She uses Hurricane Katrina and the economic crisis in Russia in the early 1990s as two of her examples. Klein’s book expounds on the concept of “crisis as enabler.” After reading it, it became clear that times of crises are simply a means for those in power to accomplish what they desire when the public is temporarily confused. They are not necessarily fascistic; however the following comparison of the burning of the Reichstag government building in Germany in 1933 and the terrorist attacks September 11th, 2001, and the ensuing actions of the respective governments, is striking.

On February 27th, 1933, Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag, burned down. There is some dispute to whether or not the Nazis started the fire, but most historians believe the sole perpetrator to be Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist.[70] Regardless of who actually lit the fire and who was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center, it is the government actions that followed that matter. In the immediate wake of the Reichstag fire, then President Paul von Hindenburg was persuaded to sign the “Decree for the Protection of People and State”, which “suspended all legal protection of speech, assembly, property and personal liberty, permitted the authorities to arrest suspected ‘terrorists’ (i.e., communists) at will, and gave the federal government authority over the state governments’ police power.”[71] Though this decree was only supposed to be temporary, “it remained in place until the collapse of the [Nazi] regime” and cemented the legal foundation through which the Nazis were ultimately able to consolidate their dictatorship.[72] Playing off the German public’s fear of communist terrorism Hitler quickly seized at the state of crisis to expand the power of government.[73]

Forty-five days after the terrorist attacks of September 11th on October 26th, 2001, with a fear-stricken public, the USA PATRIOT Act was streamlined through the United States Congress. The Bill effectively discarded of precious civil liberties that were laid out in the U.S. Constitution so long ago. The list of revoked civil liberties is quite long, but here are a few important ones:

  • “(Sec. 106) Modifies provisions relating to presidential authority under the International Emergency Powers Act to: (1) authorize the President, when the United States is engaged in armed hostilities or has been attacked by a foreign country or foreign nationals, to confiscate any property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of a foreign person, organization, or country that he determines has planned, authorized, aided, or engaged in such hostilities or attacks (the rights to which shall vest in such agency or person as the President may designate); and (2) provide that, in any judicial review of a determination made under such provisions, if the determination was based on classified information such information may be submitted to the reviewing court ex parte and in camera.”[74]
  • “(Sec. 201) Amends the Federal criminal code to authorize the interception of wire, oral, and electronic communications for the production of evidence of specified chemical weapons or terrorism offenses.”[75]
  • “(Sec. 213) Authorizes Federal district courts to allow a delay of required notices of the execution of a warrant if immediate notice may have an adverse result and under other specified circumstances.”[76]

All of these provisions in the law are an attack on the Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, which protect citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Regarding the revoking of civil liberties, Al Gore, in his book, The Assault on Reason, writes:

“President Bush has declared that he has a heretofore unrecognized inherent power to seize and imprison any American citizen whom he alone determines to be a threat to our nation – without an arrest warrant, without notifying them of the arrest warrant, without notifying them of what charges have been filed against them…The president claims that he can simply snatch an American citizen off the street and keep him or her locked up indefinitely…and refuse to allow that citizen the right to make a phone call or talk to lawyer.”[77]

With the fearful and confused state of the public following the sudden domestic attacks of the Reichstag and 9/11, new laws were hastily established disbanding the imperative individual civil liberties people depend on to be safe from unjust actions of their government. In each case a great increase in power was awarded to the central national authority. And in each case government authorities were given the power to arrest anyone who they deemed to be a suspected “terrorist” and legally hold the person inside the confines of the law indefinitely. After the Reichstag fire there were many arrests of communist leaders and activists as a result of the new law; the assault on the communist party reduced their percentage of the vote the following March 5 (one week after the Reichstag fire) election by over four points.[78]

For September 11th and the Reichstag fire, the argument goes that the safety and security of the all-important State should placed over that of the individual. This concept stems from the nationalist organic tradition – the belief in “the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it.”[79] The political implications and unjust behavior were far worse for the people of Nazi Germany, but the time and place of the occurrence was drastically different. Ravaged from World War I and economic distress, the German nation was very fragile when these laws were put in place. In the United States, with its distinguished history in defense of civil rights and liberties, the passing of such legislation is far more significant.

To expand and increase the power of the State, one of the all-important aspects is controlling information and the frame of public debate. Included in this is the simple label things receive, similar to a brand name. Recently there was a communications battle between the Bush administration and the news media over what to call the increase in troop levels in Iraq: Was is it a surge? Or was it an escalation? The Bush administration eventually won this word game and the label of “surge” stuck to the increase in troops. The label of “escalation” sounds far more aggressive and instigative, and this is not the way the Bush administration wanted their actions portrayed.

From the previous examples of crises, notice the names given to the pieces of legislation that were passed in the aftermath of the internal attacks in Germany and the United States: the “Decree for the Protection of People and State” and the “USA PATRIOT Act,” which actually stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.”[80] Compared to what these laws actually did, it could be argued that the terms used to describe them are slightly deceiving. The selection of these simple yet patriotic and assuring phrases as a label for such controversial legislation is very strategic. It is the words “Patriot Act” that are repeated constantly in the news media and such constant positive reinforcement disenfranchises the public from the literal reality of the many words and provisions that are in the new law. The public’s judgment of this legislation based on its true merits is jeopardized by strategic, Machiavellian propagandists.

It is through actions like these that the absolutist component of Fascist governments shines through. The object of the absolutist, centralized government is to expand its power at all costs and by any means. Inevitably this is accomplished through public control and information suppression. Cohen elaborates on how the make-up of Fascism is derived from old political traditions that have been reformulated to fit modern circumstances. What is consistent in Nazi Germany and contemporary America as a result of the modern mass politicization of society is the use of propaganda. “Fascism could well seem to offer…new techniques for controlling, managing, and channeling the ‘nationalization of the masses.’”[81]

What followed after the terrorist attacks of September 11th was the Republican “War on Terror” beat, as George W. Bush’s political architect, Karl Rove, devised a strategy for controlling the public that was conceived by Machiavelli so many years ago: he chose fear over love. On the subject Machiavelli wrote:

“Men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”[82]

This train of thought is purely absolutist.

Looking ahead to the 2002 mid-term elections at the winter Republican National Committee meeting on January 19th, 2002 in Austin, Texas, Karl Rove announced to his fellow Party members that “Americans trust the Republicans to do a better job of keeping our communities and our families safe” and that “we can also go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America’s military might and thereby protecting America.”[83] Just as Rove’s plan to make the public believe that only Republicans were capable of ensuring security, “the Nazis sought to portray themselves as the most vigorous and effective force against the communists – and, at the same time, to portray the liberal state as incapable of preserving public security.”[84] Islamic terrorists were to the Republican Party what communist terrorists were to the Nazis. The presence of these respective oppositions was used by the Republicans and Nazis to scare the public into believing that only they could keep them safe.

Selling the Iraq War

Paxton writes that the “propagandistic manipulation of public opinion replaced debate about complicated issues”[85] in Fascist States. In the United States this is epitomized by the 2002-03 selling of the Iraq War. To begin with, the marketing campaign to sell the war was strategically selected to begin in the fall of 2002 after the summer had ended and public attention could be secured.[86] Andrew Card, then White House Chief of Staff for the Bush administration, put it bluntly when he stated in 2002, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”[87] It was in September of 2002 and the months that followed that the Bush administration built their case to invade Iraq. And just as the Fascists carried with them “a well-calculated set of coded messages…that only [they] were tough enough to save the nation from antinational terrorists,”[88] so too did the Bush administration.

In the ensuing months the Bush administration would sell the Iraq War through the mainstream media – which are owned by massive corporate conglomerates that have little interest in challenging the status quo, particularly as it was in the wake of 9/11 – on two primary strategic on-message points: (1) that Iraq was a terrorist State and that Iraq/Saddam Hussein had connections with Al Qaeda and therefore to 9/11 (2) and that Iraq/Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and could give them to terrorists. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, other members of the Bush administration, and many other pundits constantly repeated these messages. Veteran journalist Walter Pincus said that for this “marketing group…the link was a two-fold link. One, [Saddam] had weapons of mass destruction. And two, he supported terrorists. And they repeated it everyday. Anybody who watches television these days knows you sell a product, not just by saying it once, by saying it over and over again with new spokesmen two, three times a day and it sinks into the public.”[89] The reverberation of these points by President Bush and his counterparts went from September of 2002 to March of 2003 – the climax of which occurred on March 6, 2003 at a scripted press conference two weeks before the U.S. led invasion of Iraq.[90] For Fascists, “up to date techniques of propaganda and stagecraft” were commonplace and necessary to manipulate the public.[91] Nearly 17 months after 9/11, Bush would invoke the terrorist attacks over a dozen times in this address,[92] as the deceiving technique of answering scripted questions from journalists with strategic on-message responses of fear mongering was perfected.  To scare the country President Bush used 9/11 and Islamic terrorism, for Hitler this device was communist terrorism, and the means for each was propaganda.

The Bush administration’s effort to shape public opinion was ultimately successful, as at the time of the United States invasion over half of America believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and that he had weapons of mass destruction.[93] The name given to the military campaign – “Operation Iraqi Freedom” – is yet another example of a simple propaganda label. Eventually it came out that the reasons to invade Iraq were manufactured by the Bush administration, which is documented thoroughly in Ron Suskind’s The Way of the World.[94] Suskind explains that the Niger documents, which claimed Saddam Hussein tried to buy yellowcake uranium, were actually “forgeries” and “there was nothing to them.”[95] These documents were cited numerous times by members of the Bush administration as evidence that Saddam was trying to attain weapons of mass destruction, and therefore the justification for war. He then writes:

“The second part of the case against Hussein that led to war involved biological weapons facilities. The central source for this intelligence was Rafid Ahmed, an Iraqi defector to Germany better known by his codename Curveball. We know a great deal about him now. It is common knowledge that Curveball turned out to be a skilled fabricator and that his tales about germ factories and mobiles – the core of Colin Powell’s UN speech that made America’s case for war – were false.”[96]

Suskind goes on to explain that Defense Intelligence, which was closely aligned with Vice President Cheney’s office, tried desperately to attain Curveball purely to secure the evidence necessary to sell the war.[97] As this was happening the Bush administration ignored intelligence given to them from Saddam’s last foreign minister, Naji Sabri, wherein he stated that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This intelligence was not useful for selling the war and it never found its way to Colin Powell.[98] Jonathon Landay, a reporter for Knight Ridder, was part of a small minority of journalists that saw through the Bush administration’s attempt to sell the war. On Bill Moyer’s documentary, Buying the War, he said “it became quite apparent that [the Bush administration was] grabbing just about anything they could to make the case for going to war in Iraq.”[99]

The argument also made by the Bush administration was that Saddam could distribute the weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Bob Simon, a foreign correspondent that had reported on Iraq for years and lived in Baghdad, called the idea of a Saddam Hussein-Al Qaeda connection an “absurdity.”[100] Furthermore, he said:

“Saddam as most tyrants, was a total control freak. He wanted total control of his regime. Total control of the country. And to introduce a wild card like Al Qaeda in any sense was just something he would not do. So I just didn’t believe it for an instant.”[101]

For the sake of his own self-interest and his nation’s security, Saddam had no intention of handing off weapons of mass destruction to terrorists – even if he had actually had them, which he did not.

Though these things were not true, they were created by the Bush administration and engrained in public opinion with the aid of a complicit mainstream media that had abandoned objectivity in favor of deference after 9/11. The Bush administration seized at this golden opportunity. As Lance Bennett, author of News: The Politics of Illusion, writes on the Bush administration’s selling of these falsehoods to wage the Iraq War:

“This example indicates that even though it is not easy to influence opinion, it is possible to do so through dominating the news with simple messages that are personal, dramatic, and fragmented enough to appeal to large numbers of people, particularly when those messages arouse considerations about order and security.”[102]

Playing into the hands of the Bush administration is the entire structure of the medium of television and the corporate media conglomerates that own them. In the United States nearly every person has a television in their home and in 1939 over 70 percent of German homes had a radio.[103] These one-way mediums were crucial for the propaganda campaigns waged by the Bush administration and by the Nazis. The massive corporations that own these media outlets are a business that is responsible to its shareholders and therefore to profit, and not the quality of public discourse and truth. When challenging the narrative of the political elite makes the achievement of this goal more difficult, the necessary deference ensues and the press falls in line.

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) did a study of the four American major nightly newscasts in the two weeks surrounding Colin Powell’s argument for war at the United Nations. They found that out of 393 interviews conducted about the war in this time period only three were done with anti-war persons.[104] The canning of Phil Donahue’s show on MSNBC highlights just this. While the mainstream media blindly bought the war from the Bush administration, Donahue attempted to objectively analyze the situation by having an Iraq War supporter and opponent on his show to debate the merits of a U.S. invasion. Although his ratings were doing just fine, his show was pulled shortly thereafter. An internal memo at NBC was leaked stating “Donohue presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity.”[105] The “propagandistic manipulation of public opinion replaced debate about complicated issues,”[106] only this time with the help of profiting media corporations.

The elements of absolutism in the Bush administration are seen in their actions of selling of the Iraq War. When evidence in support of invading Iraq was needed, the unethical means of simply creating them were justified by this absolute end. Logic and truth were trounced in favor of lies and deceit in order to scare and convince the public that invading Iraq was imminently necessary. It was “Fascism’s deliberate replacement of reasoned debate with immediate sensual experience” – for the Bush administration, this sensual experience was fear – that “transformed politics.”[107]

Staged Ceremonies

Paxton writes that Fascism “sought to appeal mainly to the emotion by the use of ritual, carefully stage-managed ceremonies, and intensely charged rhetoric.”[108] In 1932, Joseph Goebbels, as his first task as head of Hitler’s newly created Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, “orchestrate[d] a ceremony that was to be held in the historic Potsdam garrison church…Broadcast live on the radio, the ceremony seems to have had a deep impact on many people. It was, of course, an act designed to prepare opinion for the next Nazi coup.”[109] The parallel in the United States of occurrences like this one in Germany was the staged ceremony of President George W. Bush’s declaration of victory in Iraq.

On May 1, 2003, one month and ten days after the invasion of Iraq, President Bush decisively proclaimed on the USS Abraham Lincoln that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended…the United States and our allies have prevailed.”[110] This event was perfectly planned and propagandized to the America people, and the mainstream media, ready to sensationalize at a moments notice, ate it right up. President Bush, dressed in a flight suit and parachute, heroically co-piloted a navy jet that landed on the Lincoln. As Frank Rich writes in his 2006 book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, the set-up of the ship had to be “so painstakingly specific in its details that a White House media maven, Scott Sforza, had boarded the Lincoln days earlier to attend to them all. The plane the president flew…was renamed Navy One and was emblazoned with the legend GEORGE W. BUSH, COMMANDER IN CHIEF especially for the occasion.”[111]

Well over five years after this declaration of victory the United States still finds itself in the midst of war in Iraq. This simple fact is proof that this staged ceremony was pure propaganda meant to bring George W. Bush to that of legendary status as a victorious president of war. Paxton writes that “Fascist propagandists wanted to us to see the leader alone on his pinnacle, and they had remarkable success.”[112] The similarities between Nazi attempts to glorify their leader in staged ceremonies are identical, in every facet, to what was attempted for President Bush on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Chapter 5: The Rise of Corporate Fascism

In the Fascists’ quest to attain more power and expand externally, the role of corporations becomes very important. Dating back to at least the rise of Fascism in Italy and Germany there have been three general pillars of power in human society: the people, government, and corporations. It was Mussolini himself who stated that “fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”[113] The alliance between these two power pillars is easy and mutually beneficial, and it consists of a small number of societal elites. Notice the absence of the people in this arrangement.

In Mario Palmieri’s Italian Fascist doctrine he rejected both the economic ideologies of capitalism and communism in favor of “the corporative idea.”[114] In this philosophy rests the belief that “open competition, if not wisely directed and restricted, actually destroys wealth instead of creating it.”[115] A clear distinction can be made between the ideal economic philosophy of the Fascists in Italy and the modern economic philosophy of the Republican Party. The conservative economic doctrine of the Republican Party is that of deregulation and laissez-faire government in the market place. Italian Fascists understood the extremes associated with unregulated capitalism.  Palmieri writes, “The proper function of the State in the Fascist system is that of supervising, regulating, and arbitrating the relationships of capital and labor, employers and employees, individuals and associations, private interests and national interests.”[116] It is the Fascist belief in the absolute importance of the State that supports such an ideal model of economic organization. This ideal Fascist economic philosophy rejects individualistic nature of free market capitalism. While contemporary Republican economic ideals relish in the ability of the individual to accrue wealth strictly for his self, Palmieri writes that “[Fascist] economic initiatives cannot be left to the arbitrary decisions of private individual interests.”[117]

As Paxton emphasizes, the actions of the Fascists speak much louder than their words. Such economic ideals were never implemented in Italy; in fact, rhetoric of this ideal “corporative idea” was used to disguise Mussolini’s ultimate desire to consolidate power.[118] What developed as economic policy for Hitler and Mussolini in their respective movements was whatever would maintain and extend their power, and this is shown in their dealings with labor. Suppressing the power of labor was imperative, but even so, concessions had to be made. This is demonstrated by Mussolini’s brokering of the Palazzo Chigi Pact between the representatives of unions and industry in 1923 to “ensure industrial peace.”[119] This pact was not pursued out of Mussolini’s convictions in the righteousness of the “corporative idea” elaborated by Palmieri. It was conceived out of the necessity to quell worker/employer tensions, thereby securing the stability of the State. “Fascist economic policy responded to political priorities, and not to economic rationale…Politics trumped economics.”[120]

There were sizeable bargaining chips that the Fascists and big-business conservatives had to offer each other. “Hitler and Mussolini needed the economic and military resources that the conservatives controlled” and conservatives saw Fascists as the only means to suppress the socialists and the Left.[121] Out of necessity these camps gravitated towards each other. Paxton writes that “most Fascists – above all after they were in power – considered economic policy as only a means to achieving the more important fascist ends of unifying, energizing, and expanding the community.”[122] In the free-market enthralled corporate dominated contemporary United States, we will see that this corporate/government merger has taken on a radical new form.

Fascism may not have been the first choice of most businessmen, but “in time, most German and Italian businessmen adapted well to working with fascist regimes, at least those gratified by the fruits of rearmament and labor discipline.”[123] As territorial expansion was necessary for the success of the organic State, heavy artillery and arms production were needed for its military. The “lucrative armament contracts” for big business which followed represented this convergence of interests.[124] Paxton writes that in the Fascist State “economic policy tended to be driven by the need to prepare and wage war.”[125] This close link between government and corporations, particularly as it relates to war, would surface again as a defining element in the paradigm of the modern American political hierarchy.

That Revolving Door

Emerging as common place in American politics is a revolving door between the most powerful positions in the U.S. government and positions on the boards of the most powerful corporations. Through the years the top-heavy influence of corporations over the U.S. government – through extremely powerful lobbying, campaign contributions that are the lifelines of politicians, and this corporate-government revolving door – has resulted in the merging of the two into a single force. “It is hardly a secret…that the Bush administration and the Republican congressional leadership have been the most enthusiastic boosters of corporate power since the Gilded Age,” writes Joe Conason in his book, It Can Happen Here.[126] In her book, The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein documents extensively the rise of problematic U.S. government and corporation relations. She writes that “much of U.S. foreign policy…is an exercise in mass projection, in which a tiny self-interested elite conflates its needs and desires with those of the entire world.”[127] This is possibly best exemplified by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Dick Cheney served as the Defense Secretary under President George H. W. Bush. In 1992, near the end of their term, Cheney contracted Brown & Root – a division of the multinational corporation Halliburton – to assemble a list of military jobs and operations that could be contracted out by a private firm.[128] This compilation of jobs and services was then put up for auction in the Pentagon’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. On the program, Klein writes:

“A select group of companies was invited to apply to provide unlimited ‘logistical support’ for U.S. military missions, an extremely vague work description. Furthermore, no dollar value was attached to the contract: the winning company was [awarded]…a ‘cost plus’ contract…and the company that won [it] was none other than Halliburton. As the Los Angeles Times’s T. Christian Miller noted, Halliburton ‘beat out thirty-six other bidders to win a five-year contract – not surprising perhaps, given that it was the company that drew up the plans.’”[129]

So before leaving the government in 1992 Cheney was able to slip this gift of a contract to Halliburton.

 

After finishing his term as Defense Secretary, Cheney was hired by Halliburton in 1995 and for the next 5 years he lobbied to expand the U.S. Treasury funds for his company from 1.2 to 2.3 billion dollars.[130] In all of Cheney’s efforts dating back to the original cost-plus contract awarded to Halliburton when he was Secretary of Defense, he effectively ensured government dependence on – and lucrative contracts for – the military services of this private corporation, especially if the United States were to enter a war.

Cheney left Halliburton to assume his position in the White House as vice president in 2000, but prior to doing so he was not forced to sell off all of his stock in the company. At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported that even after selling off a bulk of his stock, he still retained “189,800 shares and 500,000 unvested options.”[131] In the next three years – and as a direct result of the invasion of Iraq, which Cheney had a central role in orchestrating – the stock of Halliburton would rise from $10 to $41 as more and more cost-plus, lucrative contracts were awarded to the company by President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The awarding of these “cost-plus” – and at times “no-bid”[132] – contracts to Vice President Cheney’s former company is a glaring conflict of interest, and his entire relationship with the company, inside of government and out, represents corporatism and the convenient mergence of State and corporate power. Vice President Cheney may be the pinnacle example of the corporate-government revolving door, but he is still just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney’s wife, served on the board of Lockheed Martin, one of the world’s largest defense contractors, from 1995 to 2001.[133]
  • Before becoming Defense Secretary under President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld was on the board for the aircraft manufacturer Gulfstream and ASEA Brown Boveri (ABB), the Swiss engineering giant. He also was chairman of the board for Gilead Sciences, a company that patented “a treatment for many kinds of influenza…If there was ever an outbreak of the highly contagious virus [avian flu], governments would be forced to buy billions of dollars’ worth of treatment from Gilead Sciences.”[134]
  • Condoleezza Rice served on the board for the oil giant Chevron Corporation from 1991 until she took office in 2001 in the cabinet of President Bush.[135]
  • “John Ashcroft, former attorney general…now heads up the Ashcroft Group, specializing in helping homeland security firms procure federal contracts.”[136]
  • Recently selected National Security Advisor for President-elect Obama is Marine General Jim Jones, who has served on the boards for Chevron and Boeing.[137]
  • Henry Paulson was chairman and chief executive officer for the investment bank Goldman Sachs from 1999 to 2006; he had been with the company for decades prior. In 2006 he was appointed Treasury Secretary by President Bush.[138] He then elected to allow Lehman Brothers – one of his former arch-rival competitors on Wall Street[139] – to fail and to bail out his previous company and many others in the $700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout.

These seven examples hardly do justice to the long list and magnitude of the problem, but common sense tells us that conflicts of interest are rampant. This new radical paradigm represents the evolution that Fascism has undergone. In Germany there was a clear distinction between the Nazis and big business. Sometimes there were shared interests among them and other times not, but they were generally separate parties with their own self-interested agenda.[140] However, in the United States, the predicament seems to be that this distinction is no longer black and white; it has in fact become an elite shade of grey whereby the actors in these extremely powerful institutions have actually become the same people. This new form of Fascism – “revised to fit modern circumstances”[141] – has led the elite to, at their convenience, float between the upper echelons of the two most powerful institutions to date in human society. This new phenomenon of people can correctly be labeled “corporate Fascist.”

The reconstruction and occupation of Iraq has consisted of a corporate-profit bonanza. Operations that used to be conducted by the U.S. military are now privately contracted out by firms that are not held to the same rule of law as the U.S. military – a thoroughly problematic situation with which there is not an adequate amount of time to address. The U.S. government employs the massive mercenary corporation known as Blackwater Worldwide. The amount of money allocated to Blackwater has increased yearly since the company’s hiring of top government officials that had connections to the government.[142] These men were Coffer Black, former Coordinator for Counter Terrorism of the State Department; Joseph Schmitz, former Inspector General of the Pentagon; and Chris Taylor, a former Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.[143] After the acquisition of these government insiders, private contracts for Blackwater increased immensely, from $5.1 million in 2002 to $221.4 million in 2005.[144]

There are over 300 privately contracted firms in Iraq that are receiving billions of dollars from the U.S. government[145] and there are 50,000 more private contractor personnel in Iraq than there are American soldiers.[146] In his book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Rajiv Chandrasekaran thoroughly documents the lavish profit that private corporations attained in the months after the initial Iraq invasion, and also the corruption that went along with it.[147] “Literally billions of dollars have been squandered and perhaps misappropriated by these companies in Iraq,” writes Joe Conason. What is invariably consistent in the United States with the Fascist regimes of Italy and Germany is the armament contracts that were “showered” on corporations;[148] the U.S. is on par with this corporatist arrangement. The actions of the Bush administration abroad and their munificent use of profiteering mercenaries also support the absolutist characteristic of a centralized authority that is “generally patterned on military lines.”[149] For the Bush administration, corporations were a convenient means of advancing their power and the power of the State, and the label of corporatism is warranted.

Chapter 6: Significance of External Expansion, World Cultural Aggrandizement

For Hitler and Mussolini, external expansion was the cause of the State and its people. Mussolini saw the idle State as failing to reach its potential; “thus it can be likened to the [individual] human will which knows no limits to its development and realizes itself in testing its own limitlessness.”[150] Sitting atop the world as the victors of the Cold War, this element of hubris and limitlessness appears to have driven the actions and decisions of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest of the Bush administration.

For both Hitler and Mussolini, the objective of the organic State was to expand and dominate the foreign people of the world. This is the aspect of organicism in Fascism in which the State literally takes its place in raw Darwinian nature. The Fascist States of Italy and Germany could be viewed as massive gangs of people. Just as Bloods and Crips battle over street territory in the U.S., these States looked to battle for world territory. In the Darwinian struggle of the nations, World War II was the pinnacle of the importance of military strength, as it was the military power of the United States that ultimately prevailed. However, in the post-World War II world, and most certainly by the year 2000, the quest for world domination had become less about military might and more about international economic competition and the battle for scarce resources.[151] It is generally accepted that if Iraq did not have one of the largest oil reserves in world the United States would simply not be there. In this sense, the way it was strategic for Germany to invade Poland and for Italy to invade Ethiopia, is now the same way it is strategic for the United States to invade Iraq. The world paradigm of geopolitical strategies has shifted. Cohen’s statement that Fascism was “revised to fit modern circumstances, reformulated using concepts recently developed, and presented as the justification of some powerful modern governments”[152] is still very relevant today.

Fascist conquest involved broadcasting their culture and philosophy of life on to the rest of the world and making its power felt abroad. By expanding territorially and killing off their enemies, the Fascists forced their way of life on the rest of the world. It is the actions of the United States in Iraq that relate to the Fascist attempt to force their particular doctrine on the rest of the world. Near the end of the collapse of Communism in Russia in 1989, Francis Fukuyama gave a speech at the University of Chicago entitled “Are we approaching the end of history?” In it, he said that the fall of Communism would result “not to an ‘end of ideology’ or a convergence between capitalism and socialism…but to an unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism” and therefore “history as such.”[153] Fukuyama, a neoconservative himself who signed the New American Century document, gave this speech at the free-market fundamentalist Milton Friedman’s school of economics. This is crucial because it is this ideology – the belief that democracy and neoliberal free markets are inseparable for eternity – that defined the strategy of the United States in its occupation of Iraq.

What must be recognized is that the installment of democracy in Iraq was also accompanied by a particularly extreme view of neoliberal capitalism. One of Paxton’s mobilizing passions is “the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.” [154]As documented extensively in his book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Rajiv Chandrasekaran – a journalist that lived in Iraq in the months after the 2003 U.S. invasion – explains how it was the goal of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to privatize everything in Iraq with little regard for the interest of the Iraqi people and its leaders.[155] He writes that “the neoconservative architects of the war – Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld, and Cheney – regarded wholesale economic change in Iraq as an integral part of the American mission to remake the country.”[156] The concept of Iraqi State sovereignty in their new democracy simply did not apply to CPA economic policy. The 1,010 page pre-war economic plan for Iraq that came from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) “envisioned the sale of state-owned enterprises through a ‘broad-based mass privatization program’…Notably absent from the thick plan was much reference to consultation with Iraqi leaders or even an interim Iraqi government.”[157]

Iraq was not free to choose its own future as the beat of “installing democracy” insinuates; they were simply part of the United States’ new world economic order. Hitler said the objective of Nazism was to “create a new man;”[158] Mussolini wrote that Fascism “wants to remake, not the forms of human life, but its content, man, character, faith;”[159] and on Iraq, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said, “We are not doing nation-building in Iraq. We are doing nation-creating.”[160] Hitler and Mussolini favored creating this new Fascist man in the image of its irrational doctrine just as the Bush administration had a very precise neoliberal economic doctrine which it forced upon Iraq in their efforts to remake it anew. Iraq’s economic future was subservient to the American paradigm.

In the exact way that Hitler obsessed about the supremacy of the Aryan race, those in charge of the United States’ economic policy in Iraq obsessed over the absolute necessity of neoliberal, free-market capitalism. As human evolution progressed from the Darwinian nature of Hitler’s competition of the races, it reached its next stage, namely economic Darwinism. The freer and more open the market and the lesser the regulation, the more raw the natural selection is. The similarity is that both of these Darwinian trains of thought – for Nazis it was racial, for the United States it is economic – were forced upon foreign peoples of the world by super powers. The U.S. actions in Iraq are just one symptom of a much larger battle that has been waged by the United States on behalf of international neoliberal, free-market economics. As documented by the investigative journalist, Naomi Klein, in her book, The Shock Doctrine, the CIA backed coups in the countries of Chile and Argentina in 1973 and 1976, respectively, saw the implementation of these same neoliberal free-market policies.[161] She writes that “the Iraq invasion marked the ferocious return to the early techniques of the free-market crusade” of the United States.[162]

With heavy influence over the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – countries with the largest economies receive the most votes in these institutions, and the president of United States appoints the president of the World Bank – the United States has effectively forced this neoliberal economic paradigm on the rest of the world at the expense of foreign countries.[163] As a means to achieving this raw capitalistic end, the IMF and World Bank, with free-market fundamentalists from the United States steering the way, have leveraged debt relief for the further privatization and neo-liberalization of the markets of less developed countries in times of crisis.[164] The effects of what Naomi Klein calls the “shock doctrine” – from Chile to Argentina to Poland to Bolivia to Russia to Iraq – have been devastating.[165] The forcing of some form of Darwinian competition on the world was present in Nazi Germany and the United States: each as part of the organic tradition in which uniquely particular cultural elements embody the notion of the super power’s presence abroad. In forcing these ruthless doctrines on the rest of the world there was no regard for the desires of the foreign people or the sovereignty of their State; right was decided “by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle.”[166]

Chapter 7: Community and State over Human Kind

Paxton writes of the impossibility of an international Fascist movement because these movements can only develop inside of an individual nation. The success of the organic State and its people is placed on the highest pedestal – the very reason for their existence. Foreign States and foreign people did not matter to Fascists because they believed it their right to “dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law.”[167] Paxton writes that “the community comes before humankind in fascist values.”[168]

For the Nazis, their absolute disregard for the peoples they deemed inferior is perfectly illustrated by the Holocaust. The mass genocide and horrific torture that took place in the concentration camps was a direct result of the Nazi belief in the supremacy of the Aryan race. Jews, Gypsies, and foreigners were dehumanized and not seen as people worthy of their own lives. On this subject psychologist Viktor Frankl, who went through the agonizing experience of living in concentration camps in Nazi Germany, wrote in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Under the influence of a world which no longer recognized the value of human life and human dignity, which had robbed man of his will and had made him an object to be exterminated – under this influence the personal ego finally suffered a loss of values. If the man in the concentration camp did not struggle against this in a last effort to save his self-respect, he lost the feeling of being an individual, a being with a mind, with inner freedom and personal value…his existence descended to the level of animal life.”[169]

This highlights the ruthless Nazi doctrine and its disdain for what they viewed as impure human life. This arrogance, self-righteousness, and belief that the native person is of far greater import than the foreign one is also apparent in the way in which the United States has conducted the War on Terror: from military action to media coverage.

As an avid follower of corporate cable news, the mere mentioning of the number of Iraqi casualties since the 2003 U.S. invasion has be deceivingly absent from mainstream discussion. This is in line with the Fascist belief in the superiority of the native person over the foreign one. Undoubtedly, coverage of American soldiers should and does consume most of the Iraq War coverage, but to ignore the hardships of the Iraqi people, the thousands and thousands that have died, and the many more displaced refugees, is telling about what the American media believe Americans want to hear. The United States’ indifference to the suffering and extensive casualties of the Iraqi people, and its exclusive focus on American life only, embodies this Fascist characteristic.

Clearly the United States’ revitalization of torture against prisoners that are suspected terrorists is the prime example of such contempt for human dignity. For the Bush administration, the possibility of attaining information justified the means of such action, which violated international law and the Geneva Convention. A brutally honest depiction of what actually happened in the prisons of Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Bagram in Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, is documented in the film Taxi to the Dark Side, directed by Alex Gibney. In the film, Sgt. Ken Davis of the 372nd MP Company stationed at Abu Ghraib prison put it bluntly when he said:

“[Soldiers] were being told to rough up Iraqis that wouldn’t cooperate; we were also told that they were nothing but dogs; then all of sudden you start looking at these people as less than human, and you start doing things to them that you would never dream of, and that’s where it got scary.”[170]

Detainees in the prisons were subjected to harsh beatings and forced to stand with their arms chained to the ceiling for extended periods of time; their testicles were electrically shocked; they were piled naked on top of each other; and vicious barking dogs were placed right in front of them.[171] The controversial water-boarding technique was also employed. In Afghanistan a taxi driver named Dilawar was seized by the United States and beaten so badly in the Afghan prison of Bagram that he died. “There was like four MPs on [Dilawar], one of the MPs kept giving him kidney shots” and another one “jumped on his back,” said Spc. Glendale Wells in the film.[172] Wells was one of the American soldiers that interrogated Dilawar, and he said they were told that these prisoners did not fall under the Geneva Convention and that they could pretty much do anything to them. The army coroner said that Dilawar’s limbs looked like they had been run over by a bus; had he lived they would have needed to be amputated.[173] After the incident was investigated it was found that Dilawar had just recently bought his taxi car and he was completely innocent.[174] There have now been over 100 deaths in U.S. military prisons.[175]

For detainees, Habeas corpus and due process simply do not exist – innocent or guilty. Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, was kidnapped by the United States and tortured at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay without charge and without trial. The United States only released Begg after the British government put pressure on them to do so. He was held and tortured for just under three years and was never charged with a crime.[176] According to the documentary there have been over 83,000 suspected enemy combatants detained in United States military prisons as of September 11th, 2006, and there had not been a single trial.[177] U.S. military officials told the Red Cross that between 70 and 90 percent of military prisoners had been falsely detained in Iraq.[178] The United States is not only illegally torturing the detainees, but many of them were mistakenly captured and are actually innocent people.

One of Paxton’s mobilizing passions of Fascism is “the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal of moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external.”[179] The manner of response exhibited by the United States can be characterized precisely by this mobilizing passion. The attack of 9/11 was the cause of such victimhood for the United States, and this is why the terrorist attacks were constantly reiterated as justification to the young American soldiers that were carrying out the torturous acts: these were your enemies.[180] There was no conscious moral or legal bearing to what the military did to its prisoners. For the Bush administration, the gathering of any and all terrorist information justified ignoring the law, brutally abusing the prisoners, and even risking that completely innocent people be held and tortured for years. In both the prisons of Iraq and the concentration camps of Nazi Germany prisoners were identified by numbers and every effort was made to humiliate and dehumanize them. All of the people in the concentration camps and American military prisons were seen as less than human and inferior people.

Conclusion

As I wrote this thesis I found myself in absolute amazement at the striking similarities between the contemporary United States and Fascism in Italy and Germany. Mussolini and President Bush each acted irrationally and made decisions based on pure instinct, and not logic or reason. The Republican and Fascist Parties were able to come to power through fractured alliances, and each elicited extreme nationalism. In all three places the credibility of the historic importance of the race or nation gave meaning and direction to the country when it came under attack from internal or external forces. Unique cultural elements defined the nation’s response: for the United States, September 11th was an attack on our freedoms and our way of life.

In the rise of the modern State and the mass politicization of society, distinct methods of expanding the power of the central authority and the State have developed, and there seems to be a general formula for rule. Constitutional checks are an impediment to power; President Bush has demonstrated his contempt for these checks by the great amount of signing statements he has issued. Crises can be used as a means to a whole number of ends. The burning of the Reichstag and the attacks on the World Trade Center resulted in the passing of legislation that revoked individual civil liberties. These attacks also established a clear enemy that was used for the purpose of fear mongering, which for the United States was the driving force behind the internal expansion of executive authority. In the mass politicization of society, information suppression and public control are imperative. Propaganda was used in Nazi Germany and contemporary America for public manipulation; to both scare the people, in the case of terrorism, and to glorify the leader and the nation in staged ceremonies.

Convenient to the social elites in their quest to maximize power is the merging of corporations and government – termed “corporatism” by Mussolini. The people are excluded from this paradigm. In the United States this arrangement is articulated it two ways; massive armament and mercenary corporations assist in the waging of war, and “corporate Fascists” float freely between powerful corporations and government to further their power-grabbing agenda.

Present in Nazi Germany and the United States was the forcing of a form of Darwinian competition on foreign peoples of the world: human evolution had progressed from the culturally-particular, race-based Darwinism of Germany, to the economic-based Darwinism of the United States, which is thoroughly demonstrated by its actions in Iraq. The right of the chosen people to dominate others based solely on their prowess is one of Paxton’s mobilizing passions of Fascism. This mentality is consistent with the actions of these foreign powers abroad and it supports the belief in the inferiority of the supposed enemies of the native community. The United States’ torturous treatment of thousands of innocent people in its military prisons and its refusal to try them in a court of law exemplifies this mobilizing passion.

All of the above examples are parallels between the old Fascists and what has happened here in America. In varying degrees, history has just repeated itself right before our eyes – it is time we learn from it.

 Parallels of the Contemporary United States and Fascism in Italy and Germany

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[1] Eatwell, Roger. Fascism a History. 1st American ed. New York: Penguin Group, 1996, 17.

[2] Eatwell, Roger. Fascism a History. 1st American ed. New York: Penguin Group, 1996, 17.

[3] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 218.

[4] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 219-220.

[5] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 215-216.

[6] Eatwell, Roger. Fascism a History. 1st American ed. New York: Penguin Group, 1996, 17.

[7] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 215-216.

[8] “Absolutism.” The American Heritage®. Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2008 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/absolutism

[9] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 217

[10] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 216.

[11] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 216.

[12] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 122.

[13] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 108.

[14] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 121.

[15] Eatwell, Roger. Fascism a History. 1st American ed. New York: Penguin Group, 1996, 144.

[16] Eatwell, Roger. Fascism a History. 1st American ed. New York: Penguin Group, 1996, 149.

[17] Bacevich, Andrew J. Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam. Lloyd C. Gardner and Marilyn B. Young, eds. New York: The New Press, 2007, 129.

[18] Savage, Charlie. Boston Globe. “House panel probing Bush’s record of signing statements.” 1 February 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2008 from http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/02/01/house_panel_probing_bushs_record_on_signing_statements/

[19] Goodman, Amy. Interview. CNN Newsroom. 10 November 2008.

[20] Risen, James. Lichtblau, Eric. New York Times. “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.” 16 December 2005. Retrieved 15 December 2008 from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/politics/16program.html

[21] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 11.

[22] Cheney, Richard. Meet the Press. Interview with Tim Russert. 16 September 2001.

[23] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 216.

[24] John McCain 2008 Slogan. Statement from Campaign Web site. Retrieved 10 Demcember 2008 from http://www.johnmccain.com/

[25] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 5.

[26] Hedblom, Milda. Lecture.

[27] Hedblom, Milda. Lecture.

[28] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 17.

[29] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 11.

[30] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 10.

[31] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 10.

[32] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 257.

[33] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 277.

[34] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 277.

[35] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 17.

[36] Suskind, Ron. The New York Times Magazine. “Faith, Certainty, and the Presidency of George W. Bush.” 17 October 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2008 from http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17BUSH.html?_r=2

[37] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 219.

[38] “Bush Backs into Nation Building” Neal, Terry M. washingtonpost.com Staff Writer. Information Clearing House. 26 February 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2008 from http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1710.htm

[39] “Debate Transcript: The Second Gore-Bush Presidential Debate.” Commission on Presidential Debates. 11 October 2000. Retrieved 13 November 2008 from http://www.debates.org/pages/trans2000b.html

[40] Bush, George W. Speech. 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy. “President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East.” 6 November 2003. Retrieved 11 December 2008 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031106-2.html

[41] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 277.

[42] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 18.

[43]Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 16.

[44] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 55.

[45] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 57.

[46] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 58.

[47] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 57, 58.

[48] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 99.

[49] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 100.

[50] Eatwell, Roger. Fascism a History. 1st American ed. New York: Penguin Group, 1996, 58.

[51] Egner, Bob. PBS. Bill Moyer’s Journal. 31 October 2008.

[52] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 10.

[53] Weber, Max. Politics as a Vocation. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company: 2004, 85.

[54] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 292.

[55] Marrs, Jim. The Rise of the Fourth Reich. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008, 179.

[56] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 292.

[57] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 292.

[58] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 310.

[59] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 298.

[60] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 327.

[61] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 328.

[62] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 330.

[63] Cohen, Carl. Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. 3rd ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1997, 322.

[64] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 219.

[65] “Audio of Sarah Palin’s ‘Real’ And ‘Pro’ America Remarks.” You Tube. 17 October 2008. Greensboro, North Carolina. Retrieved 14 November 2008 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMj1ftgDmJ8

[66] Bush, George W. Speech. White House. 11 September 2001. Retrieved on 21 November 2001 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010911-16.html

[67] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 218.

[68] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 20.

[69] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 219.

[70] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 107.

[71] Paxton, Robert O. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Random House, 2004, 107.

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