Universal fascism, freedom betrayed: 

What is Mr. Bush doing in your name?

Craig B Hulet?

07/30/03: A true believer doesn’t ask any questions. A true believer accepts no answers from others. A true believer believes in what he believes, believe it or not. Mr. Bush may be one of these, he has stated it this way: "I believe what I believe and I believe what I believe is right." He has in fact hinted that his wars in the Middle East are Holy Wars. Israeli paper Harretz says that according to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, Bush told him, "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them." (Source: Al Harretz, 06/26/03, Israel).

I do not know if he really believes all this, or even believes what he says he believes. Nobody really knows anyone this deeply. But what we are hearing when he makes these kinds of statements: "Wherever you go, you carry a message of hope - a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘To the captives, "come out," and to those in darkness, "be free.""; this is what he told U.S. troops on May 1st when he declared "we won." Soldiers have unique ways of responding to combat; in Vietnam, where I both served in combat and protested the war simultaneously without ambiguity, we just said it was just FUBAR. You may translate it freely. But nevertheless we must listen to what Mr. Bush says and take him at his word. We must read what his closest advisors think about and how they formulate policies. It is, in the end, what these elite "think" that causes them to "do."

In every age...the ultimate sources of war are the beliefs of those in power:

their idea about what is of most fundamental importance

and may therefore ultimately be worth a war.

-- Evan Luard, International War

Maybe one of the elite themselves put it best on the subject of Empires and their vulnerability, when Charles A. Kupchan stated "I use the term elite and decision makers synonymously to refer to those individuals responsible for formulating and implementing foreign and defense policy. To study their motivations and beliefs offers the most direct and accurate means of tracing the key considerations that shape policy."

(The Vulnerability of Empire, 1994, Cornell, Page 5, Footnote 9)

Certain, less credible and sometimes downright ugly progressive leftists used to regularly attack anyone who spoke of these elites and outlined the "who’s who" of political misdeeds and policy and, indeed, smeared them as conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites (terms used synonymously by the left); they always charged these analysts with being "on the far-right." According to postmodern post-Marxist thought one must confine your analysis to an institutional one whereby individuals are never culpable but act in the flow of consciousness that comes with institutions and presumably the buildings. They are no longer heard from these days because what was warned of by such analysts who always knew and understood what Messrs Luard and Kupchan knew and understood, are the only ones who have been consistently correct, prolific in their prophetic analyses for two decades, and stand alone once again in their analysis.

We are now entering the age of Empire once again, the age of not just any typical empire, not a Roman imperial project as the Romans themselves benefited by Rome. No, this American-led (militarily) but Western (Northern/Western) commercial empire, and all empires are commercial, is a corporate empire. Corporatism is its fundamental ideology, not religion, not nationalism (though nationalistic rhetoric must be used on the ignorant masses that know little of such things), but a new secular religion with mammon as its god, free markets (read managed competition between only the largest monopoly enterprises) and democracy as its shill, its cover, its myth. Freedom for the Iraqi people, while freedom slips away in America, in Great Britain, in every nation on earth?

Rudolf Giuliani, the mayor of New York, delivered his last mayoral speech in St Paul’s Chapel, close to the 9/11 site of the twin towers, saying in part, "All that matters," he claimed, "is that you embrace America and understand its ideals and what it’s all about. Abraham Lincoln used to say that the test of your Americanism was ... how much you believed in America. Because we’re like a religion really. A secular religion." Precisely put, though Lincoln didn’t say the last two lines, Giuliani did.

What is this secular religion? It certainly is not Christianity, Christianity is but the foil, a warm blanket of for the itching ears of simpletons on both the right and left. The Left, because as true believers too, they fear a rebirth of Christian inquisitional fervor (an angst they should beware of) and the Right, because they are true believers and choose to believe the leaders who speak their language (their angst is really anomie as Emile Durkheim understood so well). Mr. Bush has both highly religious sects in the palms of his hands; with this kind of political propaganda and rhetoric one could say, "he owns them." The left fears what isn’t even their real enemies; the Right believes they are safe because "they believe" Mr. Bush (Hannity, O’Rielly, Savage and Limbaugh, etc.) represents their views and hopes, dreams and hates: they are, both sides, wrong and Bush knows this all-too-well. Bush may be neither a Christian nor a conservative. He is something all-together different; something the world hasn’t seen for many decades, but all-together dangerous and maybe worse than history portends. Yes, for the true believers of the Left, there are much worse things than your skewed view of a Christian conservative. And for Christians on the Right, your views are not held in esteem at this White House. There is a not-so-new breed in charge these days.

White House and White Presidents,

They think they cannot fail,

To Mesmerize and Synthesize,

Democracy for sale.

(Human, All-Too-Human; A Nietzschean Retrospective 1999)

Neo-conservatives are what they euphemistically called themselves decades ago these men that surround Mr. Bush, that he seems to like so much, certainly listens to too much to his own future demise. They are neither conservative nor is even one of them a Christian. Recently the iconoclast Congressman Ron Paul (I admit we are very old friends though I am likely no longer welcome in his presence) gave a speech on the floor of Congress, an empty room as with most Special Order speeches, and had this to say of the neo-cons beliefs after pointing out their past leftist affiliations: "More recently, the modern-day neo-cons have come from the far left, a group historically identified as former Trotskyites."

Many neo-cons now in positions of influence in Washington can trace their status back to Professor Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago. One of Strauss’ books was Thoughts on Machiavelli. This book was not a condemnation of Machiavelli’s philosophy. Paul Wolfowitz actually got his PhD under Strauss. Others closely associated with these views are Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, Robert Kagan, and William Kristol. All are key players in designing our new strategy of preemptive war. Others include: Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute; former CIA Director James Woolsey; Bill Bennett of Book of Virtues fame; Frank Gaffney; Dick Cheney; and Donald Rumsfeld. There are just too many to mention who are philosophically or politically connected to the neo-con philosophy in some varying degree.

Mr. Bush now brags he has appointed twenty of these die-hards to his administration. Here is brief take on what most of them believe to one degree on another:


    • They agree with Trotsky on permanent revolution, violent as well as intellectual.
    • They are for redrawing the map of the Middle East and are willing to use force to do so.
    • They believe in preemptive war to achieve desired ends.
    • They accept the notion that the ends justify the means—that hardball politics is a moral necessity.
    • They express no opposition to the welfare state.
    • They are not bashful about an American empire; instead they strongly endorse it.
    • They believe lying is necessary for the state to survive.
    • They believe a powerful federal government is a benefit.
    • They believe pertinent facts about how a society should be run should be held by the elite and withheld from those who do not have the courage to deal with it.
    • They believe neutrality in foreign affairs is ill advised.
    • They hold Leo Strauss in high esteem.
    • They believe imperialism, if progressive in nature, is appropriate.
    • Using American might to force American ideals on others is acceptable. Force should not be limited to the defense of our country.
    • 9-11 resulted from the lack of foreign entanglements, not from too many.
    • They dislike and despise libertarians (therefore, the same applies to all strict constitutionalists.)
    • They endorse attacks on civil liberties, such as those found in the Patriot Act, as being necessary.
    • They unconditionally support Israel and have a close alliance with the Likud Party.

They have always been a very small minority but they are intelligent and prolific in their writing and their, well, let us call it what it is, their "agitation" for power: "They agitated for their beliefs for decades through publications like The National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Public Interest, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and the New York Post, their views only gained momentum in the 1990s following the first Persian Gulf War—which still has not ended even with removal of Saddam Hussein." They became convinced that a much more militant approach to resolving all the conflicts in the Middle East was an absolute necessity, and they were determined to implement that policy.

As Ron Paul pointed out succinctly "multiple think-tanks and projects were created to promote their agenda. A product of the Bradley Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) led the neo-con charge, but the real push for war came from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) another organization helped by the Bradley Foundation. This occurred in 1998 and was chaired by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. They urged early on for war against Iraq, but were disappointed with the Clinton administration, which never followed through with its periodic bombings. Obviously, these bombings were motivated more by Clinton’s personal and political problems than a belief in the neo-con agenda." (Source:

Michael Ledeen though may be the signal source to beware: his books included Universal Fascism, Freedom Betrayed, and The War Against the Terror Masters. Here is a taste of Ledeen:

Ledeen believes man is basically evil and cannot be left to his own desires. Therefore, he must have proper and strong leadership, just as Machiavelli argued. Only then can man achieve good, as Ledeen explains: "In order to achieve the most noble accomplishments, the leader may have to ‘enter into evil.’ This is the chilling insight that has made Machiavelli so feared, admired and challenging…we are rotten," argues Ledeen. "It’s true that we can achieve greatness if, and only if, we are properly led." (Ibid.)

Ron Paul analyzes this as meaning, "In other words, man is so depraved that individuals are incapable of moral, ethical and spiritual greatness, and achieving excellence and virtue can only come from a powerful authoritarian leader." Paul then asks what we all should be asking today, "What depraved ideas are these to now be influencing our leaders in Washington?" (Ibid.)

"Lying is central to the survival of nations and to the success of great enterprises, because if our enemies can count on the reliability of everything you say, your vulnerability is enormously increased....Look at the map of the world: national boundaries have not been drawn by peaceful men leading lives of spiritual contemplation. National boundaries have been established by war, and national character has been shaped by struggle, most often bloody struggle."

--Michael Ledeen

Now this does not mean that the rhetoric of Christian fundamentalism is not used, indeed, Leeden sees it as necessary, not that it be true, but as a tool of control and electoral ambitions, fear and justification to the ignorant masses of the Left and the Right. Yes, the Left must believe what Mr. Bush says as much as the Right (which does in fact often agree) believe they want to believe in what Mr. Bush says. Think about it for a moment, give some reflection to the conceptual nuance when Mr. Bush stated, about his job as President: "I’m not about nuance." Nothing could have been more pregnant with nuance than that very statement.

As Ledeen pointed out in his book, "Without fear of God, no state can last long, for the dread of eternal damnation keeps men in line, causes them to honor their promises, and inspires them to risk their lives for the common good....Without fear of punishment, men will not obey laws that force them to act contrary to their passions. Without fear of arms, the state cannot enforce the laws…to this end, Machiavelli wants leaders to make the state spectacular." And then add this to the stench of Ledeen’s version of Machiavellianism: "Dying for one’s country doesn’t come naturally. Modern armies, raised from the populace, must be inspired, motivated, indoctrinated. Religion is central to the military enterprise, for men are more likely to risk their lives if they believe they will be rewarded forever after for serving their country." Ron Paul was right to rebut this nonsense with the following "This is an admonition that might just as well have been given by Osama bin Laden, in rallying his troops to sacrifice their lives to kill the invading infidels, as by our intellectuals at the AEI, who greatly influence our foreign policy." (Ibid.)

Ledeen writes of a fortuitous event (1999): "…of course, we can always get lucky. Stunning events from outside can providentially awaken the enterprise from its growing torpor, and demonstrate the need for reversal, as the devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 so effectively aroused the U.S. from its soothing dreams of permanent neutrality." So the neo-cons got their fortuitous event as they put it, in 9/11! And Pearl Harbor was a good thing?

Ledeen has gained notoriety in recent months for the following paragraph in his latest book, The War Against the Terror Masters. In what reads like a prophetic approval of the policy of chaos now being visited on Iraq, Ledeen wrote,

Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.

In his book, Universal Fascism, published in 1972, Ledeen makes it even clearer what his basic beliefs are. That work starts with the assertion that it is a mistake to explain the support of fascism by millions of Europeans "solely because they had been hypnotized by the rhetoric of gifted orators and manipulated by skilful propagandists."... "It seems more plausible," Ledeen argued, "to attempt to explain their enthusiasm by treating them as believers in the rightness of the fascist cause, which had a coherent ideological appeal to a great many people." For Ledeen, as for the lifelong fascist theoretician and practitioner, Giuseppe Bottai, that appeal lay in the fact that fascism was "the Revolution of the 20th century." Ledeen supports de Felice’s distinction between "fascism-movement" and "fascism-regime." Mussolini’s regime, he says, was "authoritarian and reactionary"; by contrast, within "fascism-movement," there were many who were animated by "a desire to renew." These people wanted "something more revolutionary: the old ruling class had to be swept away so that newer, more dynamic elements—capable of effecting fundamental changes—could come to power." (Source: John Laughland, lecturer and a trustee of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group; June 30, 2003, The American Conservative Flirting with Fascism: Neocon theorist Michael Ledeen draws more from Italian fascism than from the American Right.)


"...fascism nevertheless constituted a political revolution in Italy.

For the first time, there was an attempt to mobilize the masses

and to involve them in the political life of the country."


Indeed, Ledeen criticizes Mussolini precisely for not being revolutionary enough. "He never had enough confidence in the Italian people to permit them a genuine participation in fascism." As John Laughland tirelessly pointed out, "He [Ledeen] writes that people around Berto Ricci—the editor of the fascist newspaper L’Universale, and a man he calls "brilliant" and "an example of enthusiasm and independence"— "called for the formation of a new empire, an empire based not on military conquest but rather on Italy’s unique genius for civilization. … They intended to develop the traditions of their country and their civilization in such a manner as to make them the basic tenets of a new world order." Ledeen adds, in a passage that anticipates his later love of creative destruction, "Clearly the act of destruction which would produce the flowering of the new fascist hegemony would sweep away the present generation of Italians, along with the rest." And Giuseppe Bottai, to whom Ledeen attributes "considerable energy and autonomy," was notable for his belief that "the infusion of the creative energies of a new generation was essential" for the fascist revolution. Bottai "implored the young … to found a new order arising from the spontaneous activity of their creation." (Ibid.)

What are we to make of all this? Is this just the isolated mad ramblings of an overwrought mind, an intellectual masturbatory rant the likes we would expect from Michael Savage rather than an American Enterprise Institute intellectual? I fear we must take this all-too-seriously. There are many books out these days which describe (like never before) what happened in Weimar Germany in the inter-war years of 1919-1933. There is much to ponder from authors like Detlev J.K. Puekert,1 Zeev Sternhell,2 Sebastian Haffner,3 and the masterwork of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen,4 who, each in their own way, their own research or memoirs, finds the German people of the inter-war years, like the American people today post 9/11, seemingly, willingly prepared to throw away liberty, the U.S. Constitution, be harangued by a president whose language increasingly fills {mine if not

yours) my ears with a Towering Babel of rant, obfuscation and mediocrity; language better suited to a lower ranking non-commissioned officer. Come-on? "Bring ‘em on!"

This is not the language of a statesman but a tyrant; language of "you’re either with us or against us." This is language not befitting a free republic based upon democratic principles and liberty; a nation founded upon dissent and discourse not defamation and vitriol. But like it or not, left or right, free or bond this is the language of the new world order. The language based upon specific ways of viewing the world; of beliefs and ideology; of irrational power and infantile perspective. This is the language of permanent wars; preemptive and gratuitous slaughter. As Ron Paul pointed out in his recent speech, "It is getting more difficult to get fair and balanced discussion on the issues, because it has become routine for the hegemons to label those who object to preemptive war and domestic surveillance as traitors, unpatriotic and un-American. The uniformity of support for our current foreign policy by major and cable-news networks should concern every American." (The hegemons, I might add, have been recently called by William Safire "The Four Horsemen" [Viacom, Disney, Fox, and GE/NBC] most appropriately I think.5 )

And now, this is my country, your country if you are an American reading this. Empire is incompatible with a free Republic. And it is time we ask, "Mr. Bush, what are you doing in our names"?

This country still allows open discourse—

though less everyday—and

we who disagree should push the discussion and

expose those who drive our policies.

--Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX)

(End 07/30/03)


1  The Weimar Republic: the Crisis of Classical Modernity, and  Inside Nazi
Germany: Conformity,  Opposition and Racism in Everyday life.
2  Neither Left nor Right
3  Defying Hitler A Memoir
4  Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust
5  Source: Washington, Bush's Four Horsemen By William Safire   7/24/03

Craig B Hulet was Special Assistant to Congressman Jack Metcalf (Ret.) and is author of the new book The Hydra of Carnage: Bush’s Imperial War-making and the Rule of Law: An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire, 2002; The Artful Nuance Press)

Mr. Hulet can be reached through or

Copyright 2003 The Artful Nuance

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