No no no no no no NO!

11 08 2009

People in favor of health care reform are not fascists.

People opposed to health care reform are not fascists.

President Bush was not a fascist.

President Obama is not a fascist.

Governor Palin is erratic, thoughtless, and ignorant. Not a fascist.

Karl Rove is manipulative, smug, and truth-impaired. Not a fascist.

Benito Mussolini: fascist.

Adolph Hitler: fascist.

Francisco Franco: fascist.

Fascism: (from the Latin fascis, or bundle) a movement which arose in Italy, designed around the notion of the corporate (as in corporeal) state, such that the unity of the state is comparable to the unity of the body, in which each member has a specific role to play, subordinate to the whole. It is not necessarily anti-semitic nor blood-obsessed, but, given its emphasis on the superiority and unity of the state, those designated as in any way opposed to or a drain on the health of the corporate body will be considered an enemy to be expelled or eliminated. It is a movement opposed to Modernity (as a set of ideas based on individual reason, liberty and equality), although it often makes claims of its unique ability to move society forward, into a more spiritual and robust future, and led by a strong and visionary leader. In both theory and practice it is militaristic, anti-rationalist, and often mystical, and tends toward approval of spontaneous outbursts of violence against enemies.

So is there no reason to be concerned about the rhetoric those who claim that Obama is a nazi-fascist-communist, or about the violence of some of that rhetoric? After all, members of Congress have received death threats, Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs have ‘joked’ about poisoning Nancy Pelosi’s wine and staking Howard Dean, and it is not too much to note that the election of an African-American man has undone more than a few people.

But pissed-off and violent ignoramuses do not a fascist movement make. Yes, they can do great damage—see Timothy McVeigh, or Eric Rudolph, Paul Hill, or the murderer of George Tiller—but one doesn’t have to be a fascist to do great damage.

That’s the point, isn’t it? There are plenty of people who are not fascists who are nonetheless threats.

Most, however, are not even threats. Some, like Beck and Palin, are twits. Some, like Gingrigh, are opportunists. Some—such as those who don’t want government interfering with Medicare—are uninformed.

But some just don’t like the plan. And they get to say so.

Dissent is patriotic—remember?