I want to talk about fascism. I don’t wish to degenerate into the swamp of Nazism or the bark of far left anarchy, both of which create a full-circle paradigm where such extremism meets and becomes exactly the same thing. No. I want to talk about the more subtle, creeping fascism that seems to be overtaking not just our American lives, but every corner of the whole world.
So terrorism, which has existed for a long, long time, has grown more prominent in our minds. It isn’t just September 11–although for Americans that brought the point home–but it is ever since the development of increasingly destructive weapons. There has never been an invention that humanity has created that some haven’t figured out a way to misuse and exploit. I will leave that alone for now when thinking about what might coming in the future.
But the point I would like to make is more sociological–psychological–than political. It is an important thing to consider–know your enemies–when blindly fighting against our own fear.
‘Terrorism’ has a deeper meaning than some lunatic blowing up a bus or a maniac gunning down as many people as possible before he turns the gun on himself. We have random stabbing sprees, attempts to poison the air we breathe and the desperate attempts to politically gain the upper hand by acquiring weapons of mass destruction that are intended to be used.
But terrorism is about spreading terror. The death counts are just a tool in achieving this end. Terror. Absolute horror. Fear seeping into the bloodstream of a culture. It makes people change, it makes them harder and colder and less generous or sympathetic and draws them in to protect and care about only that very tiny portion of the world that we know. And for all the jingoistic blathering about ‘America First!’ or ‘Romania First!’ or ‘Australia First!,’ ad infinitum, the vast majority of those citizens do not care about their nation or patriotism or fighting for a just and equal world. No. It is about protecting their home. If every other person on the block should fall victim to the apocalypse, just so long as your house stands and your family is safe, then things are going to be all right.
Of course they won’t be all right. In the moment the attack might end, there is that relief that none of you are dead. But then you open the door . . . the world is gone. How will you survive? And imagine being around the same people every day, all day long, with nothing to do but live. How long with that stay peaceful?
And important point to consider (and after this we will return to a more formal discussion of ‘fascism’) is that terrorists, themselves (except the lone shooter nuts, perhaps), do not consider themselves to be evil. They are setting out to purify the world, to save it. They see some kind of biblical or otherwise evil overtaking the world, an idea of sin or blasphemy or something that will one day soon bring dire results unless some brave soldier is willing to give their life in order to save humanity. They are very righteous in their cause, as all fanatics are. But they are not evil as we consider it, some dark lord in a pit of fire laughing at your suffering. I would even imagine that there are moments of guilt for the terrorists as they see they are killing children and those too weak to fight back. There will always be that lingering question, that second of doubt, before the training in dehumanization restores the faith. This is perhaps the most important point to consider when battling terrorism. For some it is revolution. For some it is about fixing and then creating a new world.
But Fascism is really all consuming. It is a movement born out of fear–from terror. It is about getting stronger (the citizens are told), about taking a more direct, offensive approach (and that can be taken in any of the numerous meanings of the word ‘offensive.’) But it is also about the narrowing of control into one central order, about the abandonment of individual rights for the so-called greater good. It is about promises that cannot be kept and the lies used to back up those promises until society has changed so much that there is never any going back. It is, for those steeped in conspiratorial thinking, the formation of A New World Order, about secret societies influencing everything that happens in the world. Only it isn’t the Illuminati or the Freemasons or the Elders of Zion or any other mythic idea that never really had any power. No. It is international business. It is worldwide governing bodies. It is the agreements of strong dictators on the kind of world they want to rule. It is a king giving his daughter to another king and forming an alliance by blood, to keep the power in the family.
This is not meant as a warning. This is my explanation of where we are headed.