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Scouted: The Reality of Red-State Fascism

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  • The Fool
    The Reality of Red-State Fascism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Year s end is the time for big
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 7, 2005
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      <<http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/red-state-fascism.html>>

      The Reality of Red-State Fascism
      by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.


      Year's end is the time for big thoughts, so here are mine. The most
      significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely
      unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state
      bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the
      Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist
      nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the
      circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and
      adores the central state, particularly its military wing.

      This huge shift has not been noticed among mainstream punditry, and hence
      there have been few attempts to explain it � much less have libertarians
      thought much about what it implies. My own take is this: the Republican
      takeover of the presidency combined with an unrelenting state of war, has
      supplied all the levers necessary to convert a burgeoning libertarian
      movement into a statist one.

      The remaining ideological justification was left to, and accomplished by,
      Washington's kept think tanks, who have approved the turn at every
      crucial step. What this implies for libertarians is a crying need to draw
      a clear separation between what we believe and what conservatives
      believe. It also requires that we face the reality of the current threat
      forthrightly by extending more rhetorical tolerance leftward and less
      rightward.

      Let us start from 1994 and work forward. In a stunningly prescient memo,
      Murray N. Rothbard described the 1994 revolution against the Democrats as
      follows:

      a massive and unprecedented public repudiation of President Clinton, his
      person, his personnel, his ideologies and programs, and all of his works;
      plus a repudiation of Clinton's Democrat Party; and, most fundamentally,
      a rejection of the designs, current and proposed, of the Leviathan he
      heads�. what is being rejected is big government in general (its taxing,
      mandating, regulating, gun grabbing, and even its spending) and, in
      particular, its arrogant ambition to control the entire society from the
      political center. Voters and taxpayers are no longer persuaded of a
      supposed rationale for American-style central planning�. On the positive
      side, the public is vigorously and fervently affirming its desire to
      re-limit and de-centralize government; to increase individual and
      community liberty; to reduce taxes, mandates, and government intrusion;
      to return to the cultural and social mores of pre-1960s America, and
      perhaps much earlier than that.

      This memo also cautioned against unrelieved optimism, because, Rothbard
      said, two errors rear their head in most every revolution. First, the
      reformers do not move fast enough; instead they often experience a crisis
      of faith and become overwhelmed by demands that they govern "responsibly"
      rather than tear down the established order. Second, the reformers leave
      too much in place that can be used by their successors to rebuild the
      state they worked so hard to dismantle. This permits gains to be reversed
      as soon as another party takes control.

      Rothbard urged dramatic cuts in spending, taxing, and regulation, and not
      just in the domestic area but also in the military and in foreign policy.
      He saw that this was crucial to any small-government program. He also
      urged a dismantling of the federal judiciary on grounds that it
      represents a clear and present danger to American liberty. He urged the
      young radicals who were just elected to reject gimmicks like the
      balanced-budget amendment and the line-item veto, in favor of genuine
      change. None of this happened of course. In fact, the Republican
      leadership and pundit class began to warn against "kamikaze missions" and
      speak not of bringing liberty, but rather of governing better than
      others.

      Foreshadowing what was to come, Rothbard pointed out: "Unfortunately, the
      conservative public is all too often taken in by mere rhetoric and fails
      to weigh the actual deeds of their political icons. So the danger is that
      Gingrich will succeed not only in betraying, but in conning the
      revolutionary public into thinking that they have already won and can
      shut up shop and go home." The only way to prevent this, he wrote, was to
      educate the public, businessmen, students, academics, journalists, and
      politicians about the true nature of what is going on, and about the
      vicious nature of the bi-partisan ruling elites.

      The 1994 revolution failed of course, in part because the anti-government
      opposition was intimidated into silence by the Oklahoma City bombing of
      April 1995. The establishment somehow managed to pin the violent act of
      an ex-military man on the right-wing libertarianism of the American
      bourgeoisie. It was said by every important public official at that time
      that to be anti-government was to give aid and support to militias,
      secessionists, and other domestic terrorists. It was a classic
      intimidation campaign but, combined with a GOP leadership that never had
      any intention to change DC, it worked to shut down the opposition.

      In the last years of the 1990s, the GOP-voting middle class refocused its
      anger away from government and leviathan and toward the person of Bill
      Clinton. It was said that he represented some kind of unique moral evil
      despoiling the White House. That ridiculous Monica scandal culminated in
      a pathetic and pretentious campaign to impeach Clinton. Impeaching
      presidents is a great idea, but impeaching them for fibbing about
      personal peccadilloes is probably the least justifiable ground. It's
      almost as if that entire campaign was designed to discredit the great
      institution of impeachment.

      In any case, this event crystallized the partisanship of the bourgeoisie,
      driving home the message that the real problem was Clinton and not
      government; the immorality of the chief executive, not his power; the
      libertinism of the left-liberals and not their views toward government.
      The much heralded "leave us alone" coalition had been thoroughly
      transformed in a pure anti-Clinton movement. The right in this country
      began to define itself not as pro-freedom, as it had in 1994, but simply
      as anti-leftist, as it does today.

      There are many good reasons to be anti-leftist, but let us revisit what
      Mises said in 1956 concerning the anti-socialists of his day. He pointed
      out that many of these people had a purely negative agenda, to crush the
      leftists and their bohemian ways and their intellectual pretension. He
      warned that this is not a program for freedom. It was a program of hatred
      that can only degenerate into statism.

      The moral corruption, the licentiousness and the intellectual sterility
      of a class of lewd would-be authors and artists is the ransom mankind
      must pay lest the creative pioneers be prevented from accomplishing their
      work. Freedom must be granted to all, even to base people, lest the few
      who can use it for the benefit of mankind be hindered. The license which
      the shabby characters of the quartier Latin enjoyed was one of the
      conditions that made possible the ascendance of a few great writers,
      painters and sculptors. The first thing a genius needs is to breathe free
      air.

      He goes on to urge that anti-leftists work to educate themselves about
      economics, so that they can have a positive agenda to displace their
      purely negative one. A positive agenda of liberty is the only way we
      might have been spared the blizzard of government controls that were
      fastened on this country after Bush used the events of 9-11 to increase
      central planning, invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and otherwise bring a form
      of statism to America that makes Clinton look laissez-faire by
      comparison. The Bush administration has not only faced no resistance from
      the bourgeoisie. it has received cheers. And they are not only cheering
      Bush's reelection; they have embraced tyrannical control of society as a
      means toward accomplishing their anti-leftist ends.

      After September 11, even those whose ostensible purpose in life is to
      advocate less government changed their minds. Even after it was clear
      that 9-11 would be used as the biggest pretense for the expansion of
      government since the stock market crash of 1929, the Cato Institute said
      that libertarianism had to change its entire focus: "Libertarians usually
      enter public debates to call for restrictions on government activity. In
      the wake of September 11, we have all been reminded of the real purpose
      of government: to protect our life, liberty, and property from violence.
      This would be a good time for the federal government to do its job with
      vigor and determination."

      The vigor and determination of the Bush administration has brought about
      a profound cultural change, so that the very people who once proclaimed
      hated of government now advocate its use against dissidents of all sorts,
      especially against those who would dare call for curbs in the
      totalitarian bureaucracy of the military, or suggest that Bush is
      something less than infallible in his foreign-policy decisions. The
      lesson here is that it is always a mistake to advocate government action,
      for there is no way you can fully anticipate how government will be used.
      Nor can you ever count on a slice of the population to be moral in its
      advocacy of the uses of the police power.

      Editor & Publisher, for example, posted a small note the other day about
      a column written by Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, in which he
      mildly suggested that the troops be brought home from Iraq "sooner rather
      than later." The editor of E&P was just blown away by the letters that
      poured in, filled with venom and hate and calling for Neuharth to be
      tried and locked away as a traitor. The letters compared him with
      pro-Hitler journalists, and suggested that he was objectively
      pro-terrorist, choosing to support the Muslim jihad over the US military.
      Other letters called for Neuharth to get the death penalty for daring to
      take issue with the Christian leaders of this great Christian nation.

      I'm actually not surprised at this. It has been building for some time.
      If you follow hate-filled sites such as Free Republic, you know that the
      populist right in this country has been advocating nuclear holocaust and
      mass bloodshed for more than a year now. The militarism and nationalism
      dwarfs anything I saw at any point during the Cold War. It celebrates the
      shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new
      ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the
      US is God marching on earth � not just godlike, but really serving as a
      proxy for God himself.

      Along with this goes a kind of worship of the presidency, and a
      celebration of all things public sector, including egregious law like the
      Patriot Act, egregious bureaucracies like the Department of Homeland
      Security, and egregious centrally imposed regimentation like the No Child
      Left Behind Act. It longs for the state to throw its weight behind
      institutions like the two-parent heterosexual family, the Christian
      charity, the homogeneous community of native-born patriots.

      In 1994, the central state was seen by the bourgeoisie as the main threat
      to the family; in 2004 it is seen as the main tool for keeping the family
      together and ensuring its ascendancy. In 1994, the state was seen as the
      enemy of education; today, the same people view the state as the means of
      raising standards and purging education of its left-wing influences. In
      1994, Christians widely saw that Leviathan was the main enemy of the
      faith; today, they see Leviathan as the tool by which they will guarantee
      that their faith will have an impact on the country and the world.

      Paul Craig Roberts is right: "In the ranks of the new conservatives,
      however, I see and experience much hate. It comes to me in violently
      worded, ignorant and irrational emails from self-professed conservatives
      who literally worship George Bush. Even Christians have fallen into
      idolatry. There appears to be a large number of Americans who are
      prepared to kill anyone for George Bush." Again: "Like Brownshirts, the
      new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his
      policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy."

      In short, what we have alive in the US is an updated and Americanized
      fascism. Why fascist? Because it is not leftist in the sense of
      egalitarian or redistributionist. It has no real beef with business. It
      doesn't sympathize with the downtrodden, labor, or the poor. It is for
      all the core institutions of bourgeois life in America: family, faith,
      and flag. But it sees the state as the central organizing principle of
      society, views public institutions as the most essential means by which
      all these institutions are protected and advanced, and adores the head of
      state as a godlike figure who knows better than anyone else what the
      country and world's needs, and has a special connection to the Creator
      that permits him to discern the best means to bring it about.

      The American right today has managed to be solidly anti-leftist while
      adopting an ideology � even without knowing it or being entirely
      conscious of the change � that is also frighteningly anti-liberty. This
      reality turns out to be very difficult for libertarians to understand or
      accept. For a long time, we've tended to see the primary threat to
      liberty as coming from the left, from the socialists who sought to
      control the economy from the center. But we must also remember that the
      sweep of history shows that there are two main dangers to liberty, one
      that comes from the left and the other that comes from the right. Europe
      and Latin America have long faced the latter threat, but its reality is
      only now hitting us fully.

      What is the most pressing and urgent threat to freedom that we face in
      our time? It is not from the left. If anything, the left has been solid
      on civil liberties and has been crucial in drawing attention to the lies
      and abuses of the Bush administration. No, today, the clear and present
      danger to freedom comes from the right side of the ideological spectrum,
      those people who are pleased to preserve most of free enterprise but
      favor top-down management of society, culture, family, and school, and
      seek to use a messianic and belligerent nationalism to impose their
      vision of politics on the world.

      There is no need to advance the view that the enemy of my enemy is my
      friend. However, it is time to recognize that the left today does
      represent a counterweight to the right, just as it did in the 1950s when
      the right began to adopt anti-communist militarism as its credo. In a
      time when the term patriotism means supporting the nation's wars and
      statism, a libertarian patriotism has more in common with that advanced
      by The Nation magazine:

      The other company of patriots does not march to military time. It prefers
      the gentle strains of 'America the Beautiful' to the strident cadences of
      'Hail to the Chief' and 'The Stars and Stripes Forever.' This patriotism
      is rooted in the love of one's own land and people, love too of the best
      ideals of one's own culture and tradition. This company of patriots finds
      no glory in puffing their country up by pulling others' down. This
      patriotism is profoundly municipal, even domestic. Its pleasures are
      quiet, its services steady and unpretentious. This patriotism too has
      deep roots and long continuity in our history.

      Ten years ago, these were "right wing" sentiments; today the right
      regards them as treasonous. What should this teach us? It shows that
      those who saw the interests of liberty as being well served by the
      politicized proxies of free enterprise alone, family alone, Christianity
      alone, law and order alone, were profoundly mistaken. There is no proxy
      for liberty, no cause that serves as a viable substitute, and no movement
      by any name whose success can yield freedom in our time other than the
      movement of freedom itself. We need to embrace liberty and liberty only,
      and not be fooled by groups or parties or movements that only desire a
      temporary liberty to advance their pet interests.

      As Rothbard said in 1965:

      The doctrine of liberty contains elements corresponding with both
      contemporary left and right. This means in no sense that we are
      middle-of-the-roaders, eclectically trying to combine, or step between,
      both poles; but rather that a consistent view of liberty includes
      concepts that have also become part of the rhetoric or program of right
      and of left. Hence a creative approach to liberty must transcend the
      confines of contemporary political shibboleths.

      There has never in my lifetime been a more urgent need for the party of
      liberty to completely secede from conventional thought and established
      institutions, especially those associated with all aspects of government,
      and undertake radical intellectual action on behalf of a third way that
      rejects the socialism of the left and the fascism of the right.

      Indeed, the current times can be seen as a training period for all true
      friends of liberty. We need to learn to recognize the many different
      guises in which tyranny appears. Power is protean because it must
      suppress that impulse toward liberty that exists in the hearts of all
      people. The impulse is there, tacitly waiting for the consciousness to
      dawn. When it does, power doesn�t stand a chance.


      -------
      Larry Brennan - Bush said he hit the Trifecta last time. What do you call
      it when four of your horses come in?

      Ellen - The Apocalypse?

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    • Gary Denton
      ... I have been noticing that what I consider true conservatives and real libertarians are more fearful of the dangers of this current jingoistic statism of
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 8, 2005
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        On Fri, 7 Jan 2005 22:17:13 -0600, The Fool <kneem@...> wrote:
        > <<http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/red-state-fascism.html>>
        >
        > The Reality of Red-State Fascism
        > by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
        >

        I have been noticing that what I consider true conservatives and real
        libertarians are more fearful of the dangers of this current
        jingoistic statism of the GOP.leaders than the typically disorganized
        Democratic Party. Kerry was, of course, the wrong candidate to
        attract much support from these strongholds of fiscal responsibility
        and liberty.

        Gary "anti-authoritarianism" Denton
        http://elemming2.blogspot.com
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