The Real Reason America Is
Drifting Towards Fascism
October 22, 2012 "Information
- Step 1: Demonizing
always sold by artificially demonizing the enemy.
need to lie about their enemies in order to demonize them
sufficiently so that the people will support the war.
“truth is the first casualty of war“.
wars are based on propaganda.
prepared in foreign countries demonizing Americans are an
obvious form of propaganda. For example, here are samples from
(the American is
supposed to be the guy on the left)
These are disturbing
images, because we as Americans know that they falsely depict
who we are.
Americans have demonized our enemies as well. For example, in
World War II, anti-Japanese posters such as the following were
used to whip up hatred of the enemy:
such as this were also widely used:
And, at times,
Americans have even demonized other Americans, such as during
the Civil War:
Modern America’s Unique Form of
modern strain of American fascism can be traced through Leo
Strauss and the University of Chicago.
Strauss is the
father of the Neo-Conservative movement, including many
leaders of recent American administrations. Indeed, many of the
main neocon players – including Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle,
Stephen Cambone, Elliot Abrams, and Adam Shulsky – were
students of Strauss at the University of Chicago, where he
taught for many years.
pushing for war against Iran are the same neocons who pushed for
war against Iraq. See
this. (They planned both wars
at least 20 years ago.) For example, Shulsky was the
director of the Office of Special Plans – the Pentagon unit
responsible for selling
false intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass
destruction. He is now a
member of the equivalent organization targeting Iran: the
born in Germany, was an admirer of
Nazi philosophers such as Carl Schmitt and of Machiavelli
(more on Schmitt later).
believed that a stable political order required an external
threat and that if an external threat did not exist, one
should be manufactured. Specifically, Strauss
political order can be stable only if it is united by an
external threat . . . . Following Machiavelli, he maintained
that if no external threat exists then one has to be
is by one of Strauss’
Stauss used the analogy of Gulliver’s Travels to show what a
Neocon-run society would look like:
Lilliput [the town] was on fire, Gulliver urinated over the
city, including the palace. In so doing, he saved all of
Lilliput from catastrophe, but the Lilliputians were
outraged and appalled by such a show of disrespect.” (this
quote also from
the same biographer)
great fool would call the new political science diabolic . .
. Nevertheless one may say of it that it fiddles
while Rome burns. It is excused by two facts: it
does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that
seems to have advocated governments letting terrorizing
catastrophes happen on one’s own soil to one’s own people — of
“pissing” on one’s own people, to use his Gulliver’s travel
analogy. And he advocated that government’s should pretend
that they did not know about such acts of mayhem: to
intentionally “not know” that Rome is burning. He advocated
messing with one’s own people in order to save them from some
artificial “catastrophe”. In other words, he proposed
using deceit in order to demonize an adversary and
artificially turn him into a dangerous enemy.
Genesis of the Meme: Carl Schmitt
William Banzai 7
really understand Strauss – and thus the Neocons – one must
understand his main influence: Carl Schmitt. Schmitt was the
leading Nazi legal scholar and philosopher who created the
justification for “total war” to destroy those labeled an
“enemy” of the Nazi state.
was a life-long follower of Schmitt, and Schmitt helped Strauss
get a scholarship which let him escape from Germany and come to
was Strauss heavily influenced by Schmitt, but Strauss and
Schmitt were so close that – when Strauss criticized Schmitt for
being too soft and not going far enough – Schmitt
Schmitt himself recommended Strauss’s commentary [on
Schmitt's writing] to his friends as one that he believed
saw right through him like an X-ray.
philosophy argued that the sovereign was all-powerful in being
able to to declare a state of emergency. As Neil Levi
sovereign is the name of that person (legal or actual) who
decides not only that the situation is a state of exception
but also what needs to be done to eliminate the state of
exception and thus preserve the state and restore order.
Note the circularity of the definitions: the sovereign is
the one who decides that there is a state of exception; a
state of exception is that which the sovereign deems to be
sovereign eliminates the state of exception to restore
order, but the content of this order is historically
contingent, because it is dependent on the sovereign’s will.
All that matters to Schmitt is, as Slavoj Žižek puts it,
“the decision for the formal principle of order as such.”
Similarly, Schmitt says nothing, can say nothing, about what
it is that makes a [principle] worth defending with one’s
life, what substance and concrete content could or should
compel one to make such a commitment to preserve this form.
says that “politics” is not the process of debate, making
trade-offs, building consensus or letting the best ideas win.
Instead, the sovereign – through an act of will – makes a
decision, and then the political system should carry it out, and
the military effectuate it.
Bush’s statement that he was the “decider” fits in nicely with
argued that war against one’s enemy is total – lacking any
legal constraints – but the sovereign can use ever-shifting
definitions of who the enemy is:
the existential negation of the enemy.
with the state of exception, there are not rational criteria
for distinguishing friend from enemy. All conflict is
Al Qaeda has been our “mortal enemy” since 9/11 … but
now they are our close ally.
said that those who are like our “brothers”, who are as much
the same as different from us, must be demonized so that we
don’t feel any compassion for them. They are either “with us or
against us”, regardless of whether or not they are good people,
or how close to us they may be.
Georgetown University Law Center
Schmitt denounces all “neutralizations and
depoliticizations,” which for him are the hallmarks of
liberalism. There are no neutralizations: if you are not
with us you are against us and we will destroy you: “If a
part of the population declares that it no longer recognizes
enemies, then, depending on the circumstance, it joins their
side and aids them.”
Schmitt believed that demonization and war must be maintained
for their own sake, or else a
horrible world where peace and culture reined would be
Schmitt writes that if war became impossible, then “the
distinction of friend and enemy would also cease” and what
remained would be “neither politics nor state, but culture,
civilization,economics, morality, law, art, entertainment,
and so on”….
continuous “state of emergency” is required for the
type of leadership advocated by Schmitt and Strauss. In 2002,
pointed out how this continuous state of emergency works:
notable precursor in this field of para-legal ‘biopolitics’,
in which administrative measures are gradually replacing the
rule of law, was Alfredo Stroessner’s regime in Paraguay in
the 1960s and 1970s, which took the logic of the state of
exception to an absurd, still unsurpassed extreme. Under
Stroessner, Paraguay was – with regard to its Constitutional
order – a ‘normal’ parliamentary democracy with all freedoms
guaranteed; however, since, as Stroessner claimed, we were
all living in a state of emergency because of the worldwide
struggle between freedom and Communism, the full
implementation of the Constitution was forever postponed and
a permanent state of emergency obtained. This state of
emergency was suspended every four years for one day only,
election day, to legitimise the rule of Stroessner’s
Colorado Party with a 90 per cent majority worthy of his
Communist opponents. The paradox is that the state of
emergency was the normal state, while ‘normal’ democratic
freedom was the briefly enacted exception. This weird regime
anticipated some clearly perceptible trends in our
liberal-democratic societies in the aftermath of 11
September. Is today’s rhetoric not that of a global
emergency in the fight against terrorism, legitimising more
and more suspensions of legal and other rights? The ominous
aspect of John Ashcroft’s recent claim that ‘terrorists use
America’s freedom as a weapon against us’ carries the
obvious implication that we should limit our freedom in
order to defend ourselves. Such statements from top American
officials, especially Rumsfeld and Ashcroft, together with
the explosive display of ‘American patriotism’ after 11
September, create the climate for what amounts to a state of
emergency, with the occasion it supplies for a potential
suspension of rule of law, and the state’s assertion of its
sovereignty without ‘excessive’ legal constraints. America
is, after all, as President Bush said immediately after 11
September, in a state of war. The problem is that America
is, precisely, not in a state of war, at least not in the
conventional sense of the term (for the large majority,
daily life goes on, and war remains the exclusive business
of state agencies). With the distinction between a state of
war and a state of peace thus effectively blurred, we are
entering a time in which a state of peace can at the same
time be a state of emergency.
Law School professor Scott Horton
notes that Schmitt’s philosophy formed the basis of the
famous torture memos:
exactly did [Department of Justice torture memo author John]
Yoo come up with the analysis that led to the purported
conclusions that the Executive was not restrained by the
Geneva Conventions and similar international instruments in
its conduct of the war in Iraq? Yoo’s public arguments and
statements suggest the strong influence of one thinker: Carl
Perhaps the most significant German international law
scholar of the era between the wars, Schmitt was obsessed
with what he viewed as the inherent weakness of liberal
democracy. He considered liberalism, particularly as
manifested in the Weimar Constitution, to be inadequate to
the task of protecting state and society menaced by the
great evil of Communism. This led him to ridicule
international humanitarian law in a tone and with words
almost identical to those recently employed by Yoo and
several of his colleagues.
this, Yoo’s prescription for solving the “dilemma” is also
taken straight from the Schmittian playbook. According to
Schmitt, the norms of international law respecting armed
conflict reflect the romantic illusions of an age of
chivalry. They are “unrealistic” as applied to modern
ideological warfare against an enemy not constrained by
notions of a nation-state, adopting terrorist methods and
fighting with irregular formations that hardly equate to
traditional armies. (Schmitt is, of course, concerned with
the Soviet Union here; he appears prepared to accept that
the Geneva and Hague rules would apply on the Western Front
in dealing with countries such as Britain and the United
States). For Schmitt, the key to successful
prosecution of warfare against such a foe is demonization.
The enemy must be seen as absolute. He must be stripped of
all legal rights, of whatever nature. The Executive
must be free to use whatever tools he can find to fight and
vanquish this foe. And conversely, the power to prosecute
the war must be vested without reservation in the Executive
– in the words of Reich Ministerial Director Franz
Schlegelberger (eerily echoed in a brief submission by Bush
Administration Solicitor General Paul D. Clement),
“in time of war, the Executive is constituted the sole
leader, sole legislator, sole judge.” (I take the
liberty of substituting Yoo’s word, Executive; for Schmitt
or Schlegelberger, the word would, of course, have been
Führer). In Schmitt’s classic formulation:
“a total war calls for a total enemy.” This is not to say
that in Schmitt’s view the enemy was somehow “morally evil
or aesthetically unpleasing;” it sufficed that he was “the
other, the outsider, something different and alien.” These
thoughts are developed throughout Schmitt’s work, but
particularly in Der Begriff des Politischen (1927), Frieden
oder Pazifismus (1933) and Totaler Feind, totaler Krieg,
totaler Staat (1937).
careful review of the original materials shows that the
following rationales were advanced for decisions not to
apply or to restrict the application of the Geneva
Conventions of 1929 and the Hague Convention of 1907 during
the Second World War:
(1) Particularly on the Eastern Front, the conflict was
a nonconventional sort of warfare being waged against a
“barbaric” enemy which engaged in “terrorist”
practices, and which itself did not observe the
law of armed conflict.
(2) Individual combatants who engaged in
“terrorist” practices, or who fought in military
formations engaged in such practices, were not entitled
to protections under international humanitarian law, and
the adjudicatory provisions of the Geneva Conventions
could therefore be avoided together with the substantive
(3) The Geneva and Hague Conventions were
“obsolete” and ill-suited to the sort of
ideologically driven warfare in which the Nazis were
engaged on the Eastern Front, though they might have
limited application with respect to the Western Allies.
(4) Application of the Geneva Conventions was not in the
enlightened self-interest of Germany because its enemies
would not reciprocate such conduct by treating German
prisoners in a humane fashion.
(5) Construction of international law should be
driven in the first instance by a clear understanding of
the national interest as determined by the executive.
To this end niggling, hypertechnical interpretations of
the Conventions that disregarded the plain text,
international practice and even Germany’s prior practice
in order to justify their nonapplication were entirely
(6) In any event, the rules of international law
were subordinated to the military interests of
the German state and to the law as determined and stated
by the German Führer.
The similarity between these rationalizations
and those offered by John Yoo in his hitherto published
Justice Department memoranda and books and articles is
light, take another look at this Nazi propaganda poster branding
America as a “terrorist” because of its “culture”:
Schmitt was … marked by a hatred of America that bordered on
the irrational. He viewed American articulations of
international law as fraught with hypocrisy, and saw in
American practice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries a menacing new form of imperialism (“this form of
imperialism… presents a particular threat to a people forced
in a defensive posture, like we Germans; it presents us with
the greater threat of military occupation and economic
exploitation” he writes in 1932 …. He saw in the peculiarly
American notion of consensus-democracy an unsustainable
foolishness, and in the Jeffersonian vision of small
government with a maximum space for individual freedom a
threat to his peculiar Catholic values.
views on international humanitarian law have absolutely
nothing to do with the Founding Fathers. They are a cheap,
discredited Middle European import from the twenties and
thirties. Viewed this way, it becomes increasingly clear
where they would lead us.
A Perennial Problem
might be tempting to blame the implementation of Schmitt and
Strauss’ ideas on George W. Bush alone, this is not borne out by
the historical record.
Dick Cheney dreamed of giving the White House the powers of a
decades before Bush became president. Likewise, indefinite
detention, widespread spying on Americans, war throughout the
Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan, the Patriot Act,
militarization of the police, and most of the other Bush-era
abuses were launched or contemplated
long before Bush was sworn in.
the demonization of the enemy through dishonest means has been
going on for
thousands of years.
Strauss/Schmitt policies are being faithfully continued by
president Obama – a supposed liberal.
President Obama … says that he can kill [any American
citizen without any charge and] on his own discretion. He
can jail you indefinitely on his own discretion.
The government uses arbitrary, shifting definitions of
enemies. For example, while Al Qaeda has been our “mortal
enemy” since 9/11 …
now they are our close ally. Yet the government might
label anyone anywhere in the world terrorists if they
do what we do … without our permission. And
government agencies under the Obama administration are
labeling the most mundane, normal American behavior as
federal government under Obama used such brutal violence to
break up the Occupy protests (see this,
this) that the Egyptian military used the crack down on
justification for the murder of protesters in Tahir Square,
there is overwhelming evidence that the U.S. is quickly drifting
into tyranny. See
argue that the problem of tyranny goes beyond Obama, or the
Neocons or Strauss or even Schmitt.
problem is that
4% of the the population are psychopaths. Unless people
evolve to the point where they can spot the
sociopaths in our midst, we will continue to be controlled
by them, and to suffer at their hands.
Why We Are Drifting Towards Fascism (And What
We Can Do About It)
Ultimately, we are drifting towards fascism because the majority
of people aren’t standing up for ourselves. We are letting the
authoritarians have their way.
news is that the longest-running sociological study ever shows
25% of people are authoritarians. And most people are
is that we have
overwhelming numbers (and see
If we worked together we would win.
not be victims to the psychopaths who would want to control us.
evolve and empower ourselves.
deeper level, if we are disconnected from out own thoughts, our
own feelings and our own soul, then we will look to others to
tell us what to do. We will follow the strong leader protecting
us from imagined crises and made up enemies, as advocated by
Schmitt and Strauss.
re-connection with ourselves, our communities and our souls will
act as antibodies to the insane ramblings of those who would
manipulate us in order to gain total control over society and to
carry out their infantile fantasy of destroying all enemies.
Strauss, Yoo and all of the other boneheads who have adopted a
crazed disconnection from reality are
worshippers of “thanatos” … the “drive towards death”
diagnosed by Freud and others. Many of them
write lustfully about the beauty of the noble death on the
lies in reconnection with the beauty of the everyday: the beauty
of nature, of lovers, of children, of community, of an
intellectual insight, of a brilliant engineering breakthrough,
of a life of service, of art, of quiet prayer and meditation.
We need to
reconnect with the beauty of life … and the fact that
deep down inside (despite different clothes, languages and
customs) everyone’s blood is red, and everyone wants the same
basic things: a little food, a little comfort, a little love, a
end, the brutal murderers and tyrants are children.
Real men stand up to fascism.
stupid and cowardly … and willing to follow the
authoritarian leader into the depths of hell. On the other
hand, real courage and strength comes from
love for life and passion.
may be contagious. But
courage is contagious as well. And as scared as we may be
of the powers-that-be,
they’re even more terrified of us.
courage are the antitodes: they are what make us fully human,
and able to defeat the psychosis of Schmitt, Strauss and the
perennial crazies who would crush humanity.
article was originally posted at
Scroll down to add / read comments
Support Information Clearing House
Search Information Clearing House