Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The "red-state bourgeoisie" pursue the Franco Way 

I'm not even sure where to begin with this post. So I guess I'll begin right here with this most recent item below which is posted to Digby's place: See Digby/The Last Temptation
With their usual up-is-downism, these are the same guys who claim that frivolous lawsuits are killing America. Evidently, it's only frivolous if somebody has been disabled for life. It's perfectly acceptable to use the courts to quell dissent.

Matt calls it Putinization. Neiwert calls it psuedo-fascism. I call it Republican totalitarianism. Whatever you call it, it's long past time that we started to speak out clearly about what is really happening here. Interestingly, some of the most pointed criticism of this nature is now coming from the right:

A reader alerted me to this fascinating article from this month's American Conservative in which yet another conservative goes off the reservation and utters the F word.

[SNIP] Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, “Today’s Conservatives are Fascists.” Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of “fascism with a democratic face.” His fellow libertarian, Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, wrote a year-end piece called “The Reality of Red State Fascism,” which claimed that “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.”

Ok, I guess that's as good a place to start as any. I pointed out this Raimondo column in a post I wrote about Paul Craig Roberts on Jan 19, 2005. Some of you may remember it. If not, and you'd like to read what I wrote then, it's here: Midnight In America.

In any case, what I wrote then isn't particularly important to this post aside from congratulating the Paul Craig Robert's and the Lew Rockwell's for finally emerging from whatever cloud cuckooland they were inhabiting. I don't buy Rockwell's contention that "the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed." It certainly has'nt gone unremarked or unnoticed by many on the Left (including readers and writers here) for almost thirty years. But it's nice to see guys like Lew finally figuring it out for himself. Better late than never.

I also don't completely buy Rockwell's rosy good old days characterization of the "red-state bourgeois", whatever that is, as some kind of tragic lost innocence gone astray. Spare me that. Ok.

All that aside I'd like to get my two cents in here on what it is I think we have with respect to this New Order which seems to have arrived. And since I've been harping on this topic here and there since I began posting at Eschaton nearly two years ago I'd like to at least briefly summarize my thoughts on the matter.

Essentially, I'm gonna tell ya what I call it. Not that most people give a flying hot god-damned what I have to say on this matter - I suspect they do not - but that's ok too. I'll throw it out there for Corrente readers to make of it what they will.

Putinism. Psuedo-fascism. Republican totalitarianism.
What I think we have here - where we have arrived at - what I call it - is a stepping stone on a long path to some form of something very similar to Gen. Francisco Franco's Spain.

Francoism: A kind of hokey-pokey dance and high wire balancing act of varying right-wing ideologies and interests.

From populist nationalist right wing organizations, conservative Christian churches and ministries, and elitist (often laissez-faire "libertarian") corporatist special interests, to the Pax American power of the military industrial complex and the neoconservative movement today, this entire "fusion" of rightist interests resembles the key foundational elements that revolved around Franco's regime. Franco managed to position himself as a kind of central pivot orbited by multiple powerful like minded right wing ideological players.

Representative groups that played influential roles in Franco's Spain, and their current compares, included:

Falangists (fascism and radical pseudo-populist right wing nationalists) - Here you have what can be compared to todays radical "pseudo-fascist" populism of, lets say, the wing-nut radio right. Including some of the populist nationalist Christian Nation howlers, Neo-Confederates, Worldnut Daily types. And so on. Take a look at The American Falangist Party website if you like. You'll easily recognize what you'll find there. (URL: www.falange.us/faq.htm).

Monarchists/Militarists/Theocrats - Support for a constitutional monarchy was popular with many members of the military and those powerful moneyed elitists who argued for greater economic "liberalism". But not popular with Franco or the nationalist right wing factions and the conservative Catholic Church who saw messy representative democracy (and any kind of liberalism) as a danger to it's conservative traditionalist and nationalist theo-fascist styled patriarchal order. Franco was essentially a right wing military dictator. An authoritarian (and the object of heroic national renewal, strenght, and traditional grandeur, etc...), so any threat to that position was unacceptable to Franco himself. However, following WW2, as Falangist party favor waned due to the world's revulsion at Nazi fascism, Franco's alignments would ultimately be forced to adopt more a "liberal", "fee-market", economic stance in order to keep Spain engaged with the rest of post war Europe and America. Here you can make a similar compare to the strenght of the neoconservative, corporatist, militarist alignment. Throw in the ultra-conservative Opus Dei technocrat Catholic capitalistist intellectuals and you have the elitist "success" church (retaining conservative religious cultural values), meets corporatist business, meets militarist security state relationship, you see in America today.

So you have a kind of fusionist arrangement of pseudo-fascist nationalism and imperialistic glorification, ultra conservative religious traditionalism or fundamentalism, militarism, and corporatist elitist monarchism all orbiting a heroic figurehead. Sound familiar?

And, like most pseudo-fascist authoritarian ultra-conservative religious and corporatist elitist coalitions, liberalism, and "the left", as embodied in popular representative democracy, such as the one we thought we had in this country for a long time, are percieved as the ultimate enemy of the nation and the state. Aping the usual pre-WW2 conspiratorial boogeymen of fascist causes Franco would pose liberals, left secular so-called decadent culture, and representative democracy, alongside communism, as one of the greatest threats to Spains future.

That's where I think we may be in America toady. Especially when compared to old New Right alignments and the evolution of the conservative right-wing movement in this country since at least the late 1970's. With obvious refinements and updates of course. Except today, the kind of dictitorial authoritarian power once held by Franco alone, is more cooperatively distributed among the neoconservative clique and militarists and powerful multi-national corporatists. And their sympathetic elites. The decorative cultic figurehead we call a "leader" and embodied in the GOP and currently represented by president George W. Bush is relegated essentially to little more than a useful celebrated master of ceremonies. Or, the show-girl who jumps out of a cake from time to time. Wearing a cowboy hat and clutching a fourth of July sparkler and a bottle full of charismatic corn-fire and singing God Bless America. Love it or leave it.

Of course the morons of the land (for example, the "red-state bourgeoisie", to borrow a term), love it. It's like an endless stag (or halftime) party with beer and bunting and explosives and good old fashion Jesus shouting so called traditional 'Murican "family values". Give em a chance to hoot and holler and whoop it up and to essentially make a good deal of grunting noises on behalf of Jesus and bunting and explosives and boobies in general and they'll be eternally grateful at least from a practical useful idiotic perspective. They don't care who baked the cake or why there is some clown jumping out of it waving a bottle of moonshine around as long as its a good show and they're on the right side of the winning team and there's a big parade paid for by the bossman with plenty of saluting and marching about and everyone pretending that they'll be headed off to church services in the morning. It's an old story.

So thats it. Thats what it is. To me. In some context or another. I think. But who knows, maybe I'm just completely full of shit. I hope so. And I'm just kind of flinging this stuff out there at this point. So, if this hasn't been as carefully articulated as it should be, I apologize. Please let me know if you think I'm thrashing around in the weeds here.

In any case I think there is a lot more that can be said about this down the road and I'll try to throw up some more on this topic as soon as I can. There is just too much of it to run through in a single blog post. Like I said, I wasn't even sure where exactly to start with this one. And now I'm not sure how to end it. The fun never ends.


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