Fox News has a new boy, Glenn Beck. His raw enthusiasm is enough to tire an elephant and his messianic intensity can only be tolerated in short doses. He is very much like a high-power fluorescent light, in other words he gives you an instant headache.
On one occasion recently I happened to go to that channel inadvertently but before I could escape I had to endure the spectacle of poor Glen in tears. It immediately put me in mind of Hillary Clinton at New Hampshire; you can cry your way to victory. The contestants on American Idol try it every week. I wish I had the tissue concession for that show!
I recently had the misfortune to catch Glenn, by mistake of course, and this time he was frothing at the mouth about fascism and on a later show trooped-out Thomas Paine to lecture us on the error of our ways. Anyway Glenn thinks we are on the fast track to fascism but as usual, like global warming, we have time to turn back the tide. In this case it means drinking tea.
The last time I saw anything as barking-mad as this was when Hannity did his Obama Chronicles. I think Glenn feels he has to out-Hannity, Hannity. The strange thing is FNC has an ultra-right image. You might imagine they would welcome the return of the Fuehrer. Some of their regular contributors, Laura Ingraham comes to mind, would look quite smart in an SS uniform. Ann Coulter on the other hand looks as if she just escaped form Belsen and could put on a few pounds but her views on the Jews would lead us to believe that, in fact, she was a guard and not a prisoner.
Another thing that makes me a little narked about the FNC anchors, such as O’Reilly and Hannity is that they declare themselves to be capitalists. I have news for them; Rupert Murdoch is the capitalist, they are the lackeys. Capitalists control the means of production and use them, without conscience, to do whatever they please. If on the other hand they said that they supported the idea of a free-market economy as opposed to a planned economy that would make a little more sense. But I don’t think these guys are in the sense business.
Glenn goes to great lengths to illustrate how much a fascist country the USA has been in the past as if it’s a secret. The rest of the world has despised the USA because of their fascist activities for the last sixty four years. Until now America, and especially Fox News, have been promoting the idea that America is the only free country in the world. Why the change? Only a few weeks ago FNC had Obama as the new Stalin, taking the USA to the unimagined horrors of communism.
Maybe we have to define fascism and then it would be easier to see if the USA is really going there and if it is such a bad thing. Fascism definitely is a form of totalitarianism; elections are out. Communism which is often touted as a form of totalitarianism usually does have elections; admittedly only with one candidate. There are constitutional monarchies like the UK and they do have elections and there are other monarchies like Saudi Arabia and they don’t have elections.
Fascist states need to have a single strong leader as do monarchies. So what is the difference between a fascist state and a monarchy? In a monarchy the leadership is usually inherited and as such has some legitimacy but in a fascist state the leadership is usually seized and as such is seen as illegal. But if we were to say we are fighting for democracy and we will oppose any state that opposed democracy we will be in for a very long fight indeed. I imagine that less than half the countries of the world could be said to be democratic and less than half the world’s population live in a democracy.
The history of the USA goes back the days of colonialism and it was the British who were the first ones to bring slaves into America and the first ones to slaughter the native population. You see, when you think of it, Britain was a fascist state long before Germany. The only difference being that Britain had a king instead of a dictator. Britain turned the world map red and even after they lost the American colonies they still had India, Canada, Australia, most of Africa and a few dozen other countries.
Yes Britain pioneered techniques of enslavement as the Nazis did with the Poles and the Czechs, and genocide, as the Nazis did with the Jews. Now you could say that the American war of independence was a wonderful thing because it broke the tyranny of a monarch, but slavery and genocide continued after the tie with Britain had been broken.
Of course more recently the US government put the US citizens of Japanese descent into concentration camps and napalmed the hell out of a completely innocent country. The recent invasion of Iraq wasn’t entirely democratic and the self-righteous fervor with which America feels that it can enforce democracy on unwilling countries reminds me of the British missionaries in Africa. And of course we all know that as late as the 1960s there was systemic and legal prejudice against those of a darker skin colour.
So the USA already has a pretty good start towards being a fascist nation and Glenn Beck agrees with me. But is that a bad thing? If Glenn doesn’t like the idea of fascism what does he like? I don’t think anyone on FNC would model America on any other country; the European countries are ‘namby-pamby’ socialist disaster zones and you couldn’t even begin to think that the USA would want to copy Cuba. Does Glen want to turn back the clock to the good old days? The sad truth is that the clock can never be turned back. The USA has a now totally different demographic to what it had in the 50s or 60s. And if Glen’s main problem is fascism, America was a lot more fascist then than it is now.
All the dudes on FCN want small government. Well I can tell you that democracy and small government do not go together. In a democracy any worthless individual can make trouble about anything. There is an enormous controversy about gay marriage and this leeches millions of dollars out of the economy that might be spent on schools and hospitals. That is only one example, there are many others. In Saudi Arabia homosexuals are executed, no money wasted debating gay marriage, abortion or anything else.
If we evaluate America carefully we can note that it has an enormous foreign debt, a high crime rate, many homeless people and a huge drug problem. Recently there has been a disastrous economic collapse caused by moral bankruptcy originating in the educated classes. In fact one prominent American has been jailed for masterminding a $50B Ponsi scheme. The USA is not Utopia, not even close.
However America does have an alter ego to follow. If we look South, no not to Mexico, a little farther South, let’s look at Nicaragua, Panama or Guatemala. Yes! this is suitable role-model for the States. The USA could become a banana republic. In fact I think it’s more than half way there already. It is already impoverished, corrupt and a republic. The $4T budget for this year would easily buy a lot of crumpled linen suits, grubby panama hats and nasty cigars. The ladies could soon learn to wear a flower in their hair and swing their hips as they walk.
Now of course the term banana republic is invariably a misnomer, they are not republics. They usually have a corrupt dictator. They definitely have small government; in fact they don’t have any government. It’s a pity that their fetid jails are packed with pasty-skinned dissidents but there’s always a price to pay whatever route you take.
So Glenn, if you can clear the tears from your eyes for a moment, and control your pathetic sobbing, can you tell us the non-fascist, small-government Utopia America can aspire to. Is it Saudi? Is it Nicaragua? Is it USSR? Is it Cuba? Or is it never-never land?