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Patriotism and Native Fascism
by Don Doig
August 28, 2004
"Why of course the people
don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine
the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether
it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist
dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they
are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
exposing the country to danger."
- Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II
Patriotism and Native Fascism
When and how do honest good intentions and understandable love for America transition into something more sinister?
Americans whom one would want to try to appreciate for their earnest defense of American values and institutions, your neighbors and mine, can and do voice support for America in ways which are patriotic in form only, showing support for the government in Washington, D.C. when that government is engaging in activities which violate its charter.
It is not in fact patriotic to support governmental actions which are destructive of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Why is it that police and politicians, soldiers and judges take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic? Would following that oath be patriotic, or would following orders in violation of it, be patriotic instead?
Americans are up against constraints which make it difficult to analyze questions such as these, and many come up short. The government schools' indoctrination of impressionable students which stresses that good citizens do not question, and certainly do not resist, authority is an observable contradiction to traditional American thought. The government's schools deny students the analytic tools which would make it easier to question authority. Priorities of previous generations, such as facility with reading and writing, the uses of logic, and history studies which are not distorted by agendas, as well as the moral certainty that patriotism does require that authority be questioned and scrutinized, are not taught with appropriate emphasis.
The giant corporate media conglomerates seem to act in concert with governmental authority, in effect propagandizing Americans into a quiescent kind of stupor, presenting statements by government officials in place of actual investigative news, when a more actively skeptical approach would better serve the cause of truth. News is selectively presented in ways that further the interests of Power.
Perhaps the most effective tool to fool a population into acquiescing in the destruction of their rights is the time-tested ruse of war.
There is a science to this. It has been studied diligently since the time of Machiavelli. Hermann Goering summed it up well:
"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger." - Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II
For anyone who has been paying attention to abundantly available alternative media (both left and right), there have long been disturbing indications that our government is systematically seizing dictatorial power. The Constitution, long understood to place limitations on government power by permitting only specifically enumerated functions, has been emasculated under the fiction that it is, or ought to be, a "living" constitution, malleable to the extent that the State "needs" more power. State power comes at the expense of individual citizens' power over their own lives and their representative government. The interests of Power, then, make it a priority that the public is made to believe that this is in their own interest.
And yet there has occurred, over the last several decades, the development of a serious body of critical literature against this usurpation of power. Literature which followed the actual and historic course of State power aggrandizement, and developed attractive alternative programs which emphasize individual freedom.
To the chagrin of the power elites, they have also now lost control over the flow of information. Starting with the Xerox copy machine, then deregulation of talk radio, the advent of personal computers (which made possible the publication of hundreds or thousands of small political journals), and finally the Internet and email. As a result, several million people - on the left and on the right - have at least some understanding of what the situation is. Many of these are people whose personal oxen have been gored by the power of the State. Many are indeed activists on behalf of freedom, or some aspect of it. There are even indications that coalitions are forming in defense of fundamental liberty.
Yet probably a majority of people have been exposed to at least some critiques of government power, but chose to reject them for various reasons.
There is emotional resistance to seeking out information which calls into question the actions and motives of the government. People are resistant to the idea that their own government might lie to them, and that it might not in fact have their best interests at heart. It is "their" government, after all; the government schools assured them that their government always works for their benefit. If they fought in the U.S. military, they are invested in the idea that they fought for freedom, even if after it is all said and done, they didn't. At least not freedom here at home.
Even people who ought to know better, who have shown some understanding of the principles of liberty, are not immune to wartime manipulation of their emotions. Some put aside their understanding of the venality of the State in favor of "supporting the troops" regardless of what those troops are really doing, or because "we have been attacked"-- even if "we" asked for it. If what "we" really want is a world wide empire, then we will pay the price when that empire finishes consolidating control here at home, and when it inevitably collapses, as all empires do.
Supposed self interest comes into play when large numbers of people get government checks or work directly for the government. A tangled web of dependence has been constructed that leaves people afraid that their security would be threatened if the subsidies were to end, and they may calculate that they are getting more in transfer payments than they pay out in taxes.
Many are afraid to confront the reality of what it would mean if the government really was becoming a dictatorship- in particular, what it would mean for personal comfort and security if they were to get serious about opposing it. Indeed, as long as the money is coming in, many would prefer to not rock the boat. It's like if you just ignore reality, it will go away, and then you won't have to deal with it. As long as the government is able to hold the economy together, their job will be made easier. In the end, though, if there is no freedom, then there will be no security.
If you refuse to consider taking alternative media seriously, how would you know if the government actually went over the line, in a way that you would find unacceptable? Is CNN or CBS or the New York Times going to tell you? Of course, some people just can't imagine that the news anchor might lie to them; that just seems outside the realm of the conceivable, so they remain oblivious to the possibility that a crisis is approaching.
The Nazis, remember, were elected via democratic vote. People who refused to go along were fingered by the good Germans who had voted Hitler into power. And yet we blame the German people for not rising up to overthrow Hitler. Our own government is establishing the formal framework for a huge nationwide network of informants; has incarcerated people without charges and without trial; has carte blanche to conduct surveillance against every American citizen, including black bag jobs; is building comprehensive files on every citizen; has built an overwhelming and suffocating - and unconstitutional - framework of laws and regulations with a massive bureaucracy to administer and enforce them. The Constitution and Bill of Rights are all but dead . And if they are no longer honored by the government, then in a legal sense, that government no longer has any legitimacy.
Will it take imposition of martial law, suspension of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and cancellation of elections?
When does blind support for the government move beyond being frustrating and aggravating to being an outright threat to freedom, and a direct threat to individual dissidents? When the oppression rises to the level where it provokes resistance from those who decline to be rounded up for the concentration camps, who are denied access to trial by jury, or who refuse to be disarmed. Then the population will begin to be more clearly divided into partisans for and against the government, and those who try to maintain neutrality.
There are a lot of folks out there who have it in the backs of their minds that something is rotten in D.C., and in the state and local governments also, who have heard the stories, but continue to hope that it isn't true. There are large numbers of people whose basic inclination is libertarian or constitutionalist conservative, but who have never been active, or are burned out. But push them too far -- and the warning flags are waving wildly -- and all Hell may break loose.
Do I have any comforting conclusions to offer? Any silver bullets? I wish I did. Theoretically trial by independent jury should be a uniquely powerful counterforce, and efforts are ongoing to rescue trial by jury and to ensure that jurors once again are able to effectively exert a check and balance on a government which is observably out of control, by refusing to convict if they believe the law is unjust or unconstitutional, or if the prosecution is unfair. The judges and prosecutors are expending every effort to make sure this doesn't happen. Judges prevent the defense from presenting the evidence it wants, intimidate jurors with a bogus oath, and stack the jury with compliant and uninformed people. Nevertheless, some considerable effect has been felt. The government is moving to deny trial by jury, as in the rule that a federal defendant does not get a jury trial if the sentence is for less than six months. So they multiply 5 month charges. Precedents are being set in the indefinite detention without trial of "terrorists" (including some American citizens), and the beginning of military tribunals.
The jury is still out.
copyright Don Doig, August 28, 2004
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