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"Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?"

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Posted

It would be easy to transition to Fascism in America. Trump of course claims that his proposals to monitor Muslims, shut down the Internet, or suppress certain political groups are perfectly Constitutional. People will reply, "But what about the Supreme Court?" Well, the number of Judges on the Supreme Court can be altered by a simple law passed by Congress. The number "nine" is neither mandated by the Constitution, not has it always been nine. So assuming the present House, and an increase of six in the Senate, such a restructuring could easily be done. No Amendment necessary. So we'd have a Fascist Supreme Court telling us, that in time of war these are perfectly legal steps. Indeed, Congress could, AGAIN, by a simple majority suspend Habeas Corpus, although I doubt that would be necessary.

A Constitution is only as strong as those ready to defend it. Otherwise, it's just a piece of paper.

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Posted (edited)

Having tried to promote a discussion on American politics in Chato's other thread, which appears to now be generally ignored (without ignoring Michael S Pearl's response), I am going to throw in my immediate view (as a non-violent revolutionary viz-a-viz Tolstoy - perhaps Ghandi - and Paul Feyerabend) on immigration.
In an ideal world society, there would be no national boundaries. OK, so let us move from an unattainable society (as described by William Morris, for instance, in "News From Nowhere" for instance), to present realities.
My immediate reaction to any immigration/refugee problem is to say that people should stay where they are, no matter their circumstances. If their country disintegrates into civil war, they should stay within their own boundaries and do the best they can to survive, and hopefully resolve the conflict. Isn't that what happened during the American Civil War? Where did refugees go then!?
If their own country declares war on another country, or is invaded by another country, they stay where they are and try to survive (become soldiers or resistance fighters if so inclined). I guess I need not cite the experiences of millions during WW1 and WW2.
Therefore what is motivating the present refugee crisis? Surely it has to be that the refugees, and in peace time the immigrants, think they are going to get a better life in another country. Perhaps they should talk to the millions of Americans who are already on the poverty line, and exist only on social services.
Donald Trump should begin to espouse some revolutionary philosophies (beyond what he has already done!). However, it is all academic, Hillary Clinton is going to  be the next US president.

Edited by Mathsteach2
spelling correction

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Posted (edited)

Interesting article on why Fascism is rising.

Its argument, in a summary:

Fascism first emerges in stages. The first stage is stagnation, when economic inopportunity creates a feeling of injustice. Prosperity declines and society fights over who gets their share. That leads to the second stage of fascism: demagoguery. Both the left and the right grow more extreme, shattering the center, creating room for a new politician who combines the worst of both extremes - a socialist for certain people, and nationalist who privileges the blood of people over resources. And he claims prosperity belongs only to the people. The third stage is tyranny, and the finally, self-destruction. 

Who's polishing the brass on the TItanic? :lol: 

Edited by The Heretic

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Posted

Interesting article on why Fascism is rising.

Its argument, in a summary:

Fascism first emerges in stages. The first stage is stagnation, when economic inopportunity creates a feeling of injustice. Prosperity declines and society fights over who gets their share. That leads to the second stage of fascism: demagoguery. Both the left and the right grow more extreme, shattering the center, creating room for a new politician who combines the worst of both extremes - a socialist for certain people, and nationalist who privileges the blood of people over resources. And he claims prosperity belongs only to the people. The third stage is tyranny, and the finally, self-destruction. 

Who's polishing the brass on the TItanic? :lol: 

 

Interesting article on why Fascism is rising.

Its argument, in a summary:

Fascism first emerges in stages. The first stage is stagnation, when economic inopportunity creates a feeling of injustice. Prosperity declines and society fights over who gets their share. That leads to the second stage of fascism: demagoguery. Both the left and the right grow more extreme, shattering the center, creating room for a new politician who combines the worst of both extremes - a socialist for certain people, and nationalist who privileges the blood of people over resources. And he claims prosperity belongs only to the people. The third stage is tyranny, and the finally, self-destruction. 

Who's polishing the brass on the TItanic? :lol: 

,I have no disagreement with the above. But your post disagrees with your old posts on this thread.

The Middle Class is a vanishing species, although of course members don't like to think of themselves as being part of the "poor." The poor to some members of the Middle Class, get what they deserve.

Here are some interesting numbers. More then 50 percent of Working Americans make less then 30K a year. 38 percent make less then 20K. I would call this a situation ripe for Fascism. And it's hard to choose which one of the Republican Candidates are pushing harder for such a development. All of them have tax plans which lower the taxes on the rich, and cut programs for the Middle Class and poor. That alone of course is just one aspect of the question. The other aspects they make perfectly clear.

On the other hand the last person in the world that someone can call a "demagogue" is Bernie Sanders, a man a touch to the right of Franklin Roosevelt.

BTW - My numbers above don
't come from the Daily Kos.

https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2014

 

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Posted

My immediate reaction to any immigration/refugee problem is to say that people should stay where they are, no matter their circumstances. If their country disintegrates into civil war, they should stay within their own boundaries and do the best they can to survive, and hopefully resolve the conflict. Isn't that what happened during the American Civil War? Where did refugees go then!?

But why should people stay where they are? What is the sense of should in your remark? Is it a moral should? If so, what is its basis?

 

With regards to the American Civil War, apparently there were indeed refugees. In particular, see the "White Dissidents" and the "Confederates" section here regarding refugees during the war, and see here for information about some who left the South after the war.

 

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Posted

And another thing --

Therefore what is motivating the present refugee crisis? Surely it has to be that the refugees, and in peace time the immigrants, think they are going to get a better life in another country. Perhaps they should talk to the millions of Americans who are already on the poverty line, and exist only on social services.

I guess this can be approached empirically, but, of course, the empirical investigations would themselves have to be analyzed. In any event, I do not have the impression (based upon admittedly limited direct personal experience) that immigrants to the U.S. (both legal and illegal) are bound for long (if at all) to or attracted by the possibility of government welfare provisions. In fact, I have had the impression that most immigrants come here with - and are dedicated to - a strong work ethic which they more often than not succeed in turning into a far improved quality of life.

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Posted

Indeed, it is my experience that first generation immigrants to America are often more "american" than those born in America, due to a higher work ethic and greater commitment to American values. 

:cheers: 

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Posted

My immediate reaction to any immigration/refugee problem is to say that people should stay where they are, no matter their circumstances. 

I assume you have in mind here some form of dual duty: to not be a burden on others if this can be avoided, as well as to contribute to achieving a better state rather than moving to another. Like Michael, though, I am not sure what the imperative could be to have to do either.

To take the latter first: suppose, for example, that I have dual nationality. I may decide that I prefer to live in B rather than A, so I move to B. Since I have the legal right to do so, I doubt that anyone would claim that I ought to stay in A to contribute to social or other problems rather than give up on them and move to B where I can of course do the same. Even if I stay in A and have no legal status in B, it would not follow that I am obliged to address social ills unless there exists some imperative to do so, regardless of problems elsewhere. Perhaps we could argue that such an imperative always exists by virtue of being a citizen, but we can probably agree that not everyone acts in accordance with this. In that case, why should we hold the refugee to a different standard?

What changes if A is Syria and I am at risk of death if I stay? I probably have no legal right to move to B, but this lack is typically an accident of birth rather than a moral shortcoming. If I should stay in Syria and fight, why should everyone not stay where they were born and work to improve their community? This hypothetical imperative probably holds at a micro level also: why should I be allowed to leave the village of my birth to pursue opportunities in a city rather than stay to contribute to the development of the village?

On the former implied duty, this seems to rest on an empirical case: if I am a net contributor to my new home, I am not being a burden. I think it is fair to say that immigrants are standardly held to be net contributors from the available research, so the threat is instead couched in terms of the potential dilution of national (or even local) identity and the overwhelming of social services by refugees who do not eventually become citizens.

On this view, though, the latter is addressed by the net contribution, so the problem is with identity. However, identity is fluid and, in the earlier hypothetical case, no one questions my having a dual identity and taking the legally guaranteed opportunity to develop one at the expense of the other. We can perhaps say that this works at an individual level, but that too many people moving at the same time will threaten the stability of the identity at question; yet it is difficult to see why this concern outweighs, say, the threat to life that a refugee faces. More importantly, I think we use identity as a means of delegitimising the movement of people, so that immigration to the US from Ireland due to famine is culturally enriching in a way that the movement of Syrians somehow cannot be.

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Posted

Indeed, it is my experience that first generation immigrants to America are often more "american" than those born in America, due to a higher work ethic and greater commitment to American values. 

:cheers:

Absolutely. And those "American values" are typically transmitted in the American myth which, although it is certainly subject to change or different emphases over time and in differing contexts, is a good means of highlighting particular social values while at the same time serving as a constant reminder of how the nation, the society is always falling short of manifesting those broad ideals.

 

Those of a particular sort of religious bent are inclined to sense the American myth in terms of Judaeo-Christian values (with which the myth is compatible to a significant extent), but the values that can be found in that myth have also been found appealing despite (or because?) the fact that those values are acceptable without need of theological reference. Some poor may always be with us, and still a core concern of the American myth has always regarded the matter of how even the poor can have access to opportunity for improving their lots. Of course, politics operating as it does, or politicians operating as they do (and likely always have), the myth gives an easy way of verbally seeming dedicated to the mythic American ideals while, in practice, operating with other interests and goals in mind.

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Posted

The fact that the poverty line is preferable to what the refugees have gone through in their own countries might say a little as to why they decided to move. 

If staying and fighting would put a man's family in danger, and running away is the best apparent way to ensure their survival, who is anybody to tell that man that it's right that he fight, and wrong that he run?

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Posted

An interesting discussion on refugee's. Of course it should be on its own thread and not on this one.

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Posted

I am trying to copy and paste from WordPad, without success. The technicalities of the WWW, not only defeat me, but I am rapidly beginning to lose interest in this workings of the devil! (Teilhard de Chardin  acknowledged and excepted!!).

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Posted

Something must be wrong with your computer, because I can write in a word program and then copy the contents, and paste them in a thread. 

 

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Posted

I am trying to copy and paste from WordPad, without success. The technicalities of the WWW, not only defeat me, but I am rapidly beginning to lose interest in this workings of the devil! (Teilhard de Chardin  acknowledged and excepted!!).

I have no idea what the problem is, but you can just go ahead and post as you have been, and I'll edit the posting to add the copied and pasted text from your rtf file.

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Posted

I do not know what I am doing!! God bless!

American politics3.rtf

And below is the text:

-------

It appears that my idealism is being compounded with my realism!

 

Jesus, when He looked at a Roman coin, said we should give to Caesar what is his, and give to God what is His. I will add the other notable directive (from somewhere!) that when in Rome we should do as Rome does!

 

Michael suggested that when I used the word "should", that we should all stay where we find ourselves, then perhaps there was a moral imperative implied. However, as individuals, we "should" all be free to do whatever we want, but also be directed by Jesus's command that we should do unto others only what we would have done to ourselves.

 

My idealism rests on a world society without government and therefore there would be no national boundaries. Movement of people would be totally unrestricted. My realism rests on the fact that we do have governments, and therefore nation states, and national boundaries. In this thread I am trying to be realistic, not idealistic, but I Do not want to compromise my idealisms in conversation.

 

Back then to American politics. Reading this thread, and its links, there seems to be a suggestion that there may be a repetition in the USA of facism, similar to the rise of Nazism in the 1930's. Hitler was democratically voted into power, and then eventually achieved dictatorship based on his racist and supremacist ideas. If Trump became the next US President, then I agree we might be on that slippery slope, but that is not going to happen. I have confidence in the ordinary American voter for them to see the slope.

 

The existence of national boundaries (Trump's Mexican wall!) has to be addressed. Whilst they remain, border controls are inevitable, and each country will decide on the nature of those controls, ultimately backed up by physical force. The USA claims to be an open and free society and in many ways it is for those living within its borders, but there the rhetoric ends.

 

quote

 

This reminds me very much of the standard argument for conscription, heavily promulgated during WW1. That is, if you do not enlist, what would you do if enemy soldiers burst into your home and raped your wife and murdered your children? This is the reality to which I refer, and thousands responded and gave their lives.

 

Quote

 

I disagree Chato, if refugees and boundary issues are addressed, this appears to be a very relavent input to a discussion about about presidential candidates, and the so-called protocols of American politics. I say again, Hillary Clinton is going to be your next US president.

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Posted

 

 

I disagree Chato, if refugees and boundary issues are addressed, this appears to be a very relavent input to a discussion about about presidential candidates, and the so-called protocols of American politics. I say again, Hillary Clinton is going to be your next US president.

Whether a country accepts or refuses to accept refugee's has little or nothing to do with what it's ruling political system is. My country, is slowly being taken over by Corporations and Banks. The establishment Democrats have not opposed this policy, as they once did. on the other hand, they oppose the mechanics of Corporate rule. The Republicans on the other hand have now come out openly for such a State, obfuscating this with appeals to the most basic fears inherent in Human Nature. People like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, are now openly calling for violations of the Constitution. Naturally, they do this in the name of "preserving freedom." But Fascism has always been a Populist Right Wing Ideology.

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Posted (edited)

 

The main problem with the argument “for” or “against” fascism is that the word fascism is a moving target. Even Mussolini did a piss-poor job defining it. Different groups call the other fascist whether liberal or conservative. But mostly WWII influenced our definition of fascism, which really defined it pretty narrowly AND made it an almost universally distasteful form of government. So, the only persons who would openly call themselves fascists would be crazy, fringe-types. It still exists, but its unnamed apparently, regardless of whether or not it fits the definition.

Edited by chad3006

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Posted

This being a philosophy site, it is quite acceptable to question the meaning of the words we use. Until chad3006 raised this issue, it seems we have all been using the word as if we had all agreed as to its preferred meaning. I am quite comfortable with a dictionary definition: "A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism".


As I have said, I am trying to be a realist. We do have governments, we do have nation states, and therefore we do have national boundaries, ultimately defended by military force (Tolstoy). My contribution here is to express my concerns that the USA is on the slippery slope towards this type of government, and I made two statements in my last post about which I now have some reservations.


I am beginning to lose faith in the majority American electorate. Trump appears to be appealing to a populace (that is, the ignorant, prejudiced and corporate) voter, and reading the whole of this thread again makes me think that they may well succeed democratically. Someone said Americans get the politicians they deserve.


My second statement said that Hillory Clinton would become the next president, but it seems she is beginning to struggle. Trump may well get in - "Heil Hitler!". Being now in my seventies, I really couldn't care less, but I feel the need to keep my mind active and occasionally contribute to discussions here. I will certainly try to avoid eristic exchanges, which seem to, unfortunately, occasionally creep into this site.

(Copy and paste from WordPad has worked now, with my new laptop!)

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Posted

Here's a video to help define fascism and how to deal with it.

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Posted

Many thanks (seriously) for the comic strip, chad3006, I enjoyed watching it but I have to say I gave up reading comics at 10 years old with The Dandy and The Beano (UK). I read mostly science fiction through my teens, and then, regrettably, gave up all fiction until now, in my seventies. Video games totally bore me!


This video is, of course, a piece of total fiction, along with Superman and Batman etc. The idea of the all American hero is appealing, and in reality they do exist - I always wear a poppy on Armistice Day in the UK - in memory of all who died during the wars.


However, and there is a reference in this thread to the existence of evil either in all of us, or an objective evil, and since we know that racism and other prejudices do exist, often overtly, then it may be that should fascism surface in the USA, it may take a war to defeat it. It certainly took WW2 to defeat it in the 1940s.


There are many people with the thug mentality, even in the police and armed services, therefore, as has already been said, it would be quite easy for fascism to arise in the USA. The equivalent of the Nazi SS and storm troopers would be created, and American super-heroes would be reduced to resistance fighters, or they would leave, as many Germans did so in the 1930s. Are we confident that the so-called American democratic process would avoid this?

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Posted

In conversation with friends here in Barbados, they are suggesting that there has been no response so far to my last post because I have hit a nail on the head, and Americans are not prepared to defend their propensity towards evil which may result in a movement towards fascism in their government, supported by the populace mentality to which I have already referred.


Please note that my posts are entirely in response to the title of this thread, so I am sure on this site I will not be criticized for expressing some concern about American voters and their politics. I ask again, will the establshed democratic process of the USA avoid the situation which provided Hitler in the 1930s his rise to power? We are saying here in Barbados that if Trump becomes the USA president, then it may take a war to defeat his position.

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Posted

I am realising that this thread was started really as a joke! The lack of responses to my last post tell me this, and it seems fascism (as defined by my dictionary quotation) is never going to happen. Thank goodness for that!

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Posted

Many thanks for your two links, Michael S. Pearl. There is plenty of reading there, especially if we include the embedded links in each article.


The one which attracted me immediately was from your second link, and questioned whether or not Donald Trump was a fascist. It seems to me that this thread is not concerned with that. The title is very clear, "Does Fascism lurk around the corner for the US?", with no reference there to Donald Trump, and I am therefore ,trying to stick to this topic of the thread.


May I suggest that we are apparently obsessed with the  media presentations of the American political process, and Trump is captivating a lot of it! What I am trying to focus on is whether or not the machinery and protocol of the American political process, complicated as it is which may be to its advantage, is sufficiently robust and mature to avoid the catastrophe of the governments of Germany and Italy in the 1930's? If it is not, then the inherent evil in all of us could well manifest itself in a democratically elected government.


Once overt authoritarianism is in power, all moderate and liberal people will acquiesce to it, and thug mentality will predominate in millions, giving rise to a fascist state with imprisonment or worse for the objectors, unless they go to war against it. This is the scenario I paint in response to the thread title. I hope and pray that sufficient numbers of us have learnt from history that this will not occur, but dare I hold my breath?

 

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Posted

What I am trying to focus on is whether or not the machinery and protocol of the American political process, complicated as it is which may be to its advantage, is sufficiently robust and mature to avoid the catastrophe of the governments of Germany and Italy in the 1930's?

The complexity of the American system is not sufficient to guarantee that worrisome proclamations (such as Trump's) could never be translated into government action. Comparisons to the Fascist governments in Germany and Italy, however, do not strike me as useful. I understand that such comparisons arise from the title of this thread. If there are any useful comparisons, I expect that they would regard not Fascist ideologies (whatever those may be), but, rather, similarities between conditions that give rise to a worsening of the political domain.

 

Once overt authoritarianism is in power, all moderate and liberal people will acquiesce to it, and thug mentality will predominate in millions, giving rise to a fascist state with imprisonment or worse for the objectors, unless they go to war against it.

The interesting authoritarianism is not the top-down variety; the interesting authoritarianism is that which appeals to a number of people sufficient to effect increased authoritarianism in government: the bottom-up variety.

How do opponents of any elected authoritarianism-inclined regime know when "to go to war against it" as distinguished from continually objecting to and (let us say) non-violently fighting it?

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