THE FOURTEEN CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM
IDENTIFICATION OF ENEMIES/SCAPEGOATS AS A UNIFYING CAUSE
When in Doubt, Blame Gays and Lesbians
With Assistance from
A defining characteristic of fascism is the manner in which it singles out minority groups for deliberate persecution. Whenever fascists decide to test the water, when they want to see how much they can get away with, they invariably begin with a chosen minority or minorities, inflicting their abuse on a specific group or groups before they, the fascists, brutalize society as a whole.
Historically speaking, in western, Christianized nations, the two groups most frequently singled out for abuse are Jews and homosexuals. That doesn't mean that other groups aren't targeted. On the contrary. In Nazi Germany the list of victims included Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Russians, Poles, Czechs, Communists, Socialists, defiant Christians, and just about anyone else who the Nazis regarded as either racially or ideologically impure. Essentially a right wing phenomenon, fascism has traditionally denigrated Socialists as Communists, Liberals as Socialists, as if in its own ignorance Fascism/Nazism could not, or perhaps would not, understand that there were distinct differences between the three.
As a gay, 23-year-old white male I understand well the consequences of right wing persecution and the right wing penchant for violence against those who it seeks to oppress. Some of you are probably familiar with the fact that I was beaten outside the apartment complex where I lived in 2003. My attackers were a gang of self-declared "Christians," who, during the course of the beating, informed me that "Jesus hates fags." Unfortunately for my attackers I survived the experience to talk about it, and like those who have survived past attempts at persecution, the new and improved Daniel Gallagher has adopted a "never again" attitude.
I won't deny that the present wave of fascism, the one which emanates from the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and its Radical Christian Right supporters has selected a wide and varied group of minorities to persecute: mainstream Christians, liberals, human secularists, Muslims, foreigners--anyone and everyone who the Radical Christian Right imagines to be a potential threat. But, as a gay male I feel better qualified to speak about my own persecution and the persecution of gays and lesbians. It isn't that I am unsympathetic to the distress of others. It's just that I, like most individuals can speak more comfortably about personal experiences, about the things I see and hear happening to the gay community at large. And if you want the honest to God truth, my observations are beginning to ring some alarm bells.
In his lurid, often sociopathic political treatise/autobiography, Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler ranted obsessively about his favorite scapegoat, the Jews. "Was there in any form of filth or profligacy, particularly in cultural life, without at least one Jew involved in it?" Hitler asked. "If you cut even cautiously into such an abscess you find, like a maggot in a rotting body, often dazed by the sudden light a [Jew]." In a similar vein, Hitler denigrates Jews as being "cold hearted, shameless, and calculating." At other times he obsesses over the idea of Jews seducing Christian girls.
I mention this, not to offend our Jewish readers, but to demonstrate the striking similarities between Nazi German hate speech of the 1920s, 30s and 40s and the virulent, gay bashing that we see in the Radical Christian Right of contemporary America.
*FACT: Nazi propaganda associated Judaism with everything from gambling and prostitution to communism and international crime. Today the Radical Christian Right, through extremist, Orwellian-named organizations like The Family Research Council and Focus on the Family, equates the entire gay and lesbian community with everything from pedophile attacks on boys to kleptomania to murder. Just as the Nazis associated Jews with racial inferiority and sexual perversion, modern, American hate mongers associate gays with everything from incest, prostitution, and sadism to bestiality, pedophilia, masochism, and necrophilia.
*FACT: In a similar vein, the Radical Christian Right has obsessed over gays and sexually transmitted diseases. Referring back to Mein Kampf, Hitler rants for page after turgid page about the evils of syphilis. Along with Judaism, Communism, and rabid German Nationalism, it's a topic that obsessed the Austrian psychopath to no end. Smearing your intended victims as somehow diseased or deserving of disease is a classic, hate mongering tactic, and the fascist mindset of the extreme elements of the Republican Party displays the same kind of sick preoccupation with venereal disease whenever it attempts to discuss the topics of gay marriage, civil unions, and gay rights in general.
Not that the rhetoric they employ is always consistent. On one hand the far right argues that marriage and monogamy are good things because (in addition to providing a stable framework in which to raise children) marriage and monogamy also prevent the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. But then, the Radical Christian Right reveals a truly genocidal nature and does everything in its power to deny gays and lesbians their rights, and by extension, protections which come through marriage. In many ways this is a continuation of the attitude (problem) which prevailed during the 1980s when the Reagen Administration seemed confused and irritated by frequent demands for funding increases for AIDS research. The attitude at the time (and now) was that AIDS was a punishment from God; it was killing the right kinds of people (gays, blacks, and drug addicts), so why ruin a good thing?
*FACT: In Nazi Germany Jews were frequently condemned because of their alleged financial success and higher levels of education. Today the fanatical core of the Republican Party (which seems to have a phobic reaction when it comes to funding higher education) complains bitterly because gays and lesbians are highly educated and make decent livings. Ironically, this argument comes from the same Social Darwinists who routinely condemn the idea of class warfare, but who, in their rabid attempts to demonize the people they love to hate, have adopted the very class warfare rhetoric which they so stridently and hypocritically condemn. Go figure.
*FACT: Early on, the German Nazis frequently claimed that the Jews not only controlled the banks, but the German media as well. Now fast forward to the year 2005. Today the Radical Christian Right tells us that in addition to Jews, gays and lesbians are in full control of Hollywood, radio, and television. Unless of course you're listening to Christian broadcasting or the AM, Rush Limbaugh hate band--in which case you're confronted with a nonstop flow of anal retentive drivel which sounds as it were penned by the likes of Paul Josef Goebbels.
*FACT: During the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, German Nazis routinely condemned all Jews as "Christ-killers." Some things never change. The Radical Christian Right is still virulently anti-Semitic, but it also spews paranoid drivel about the alleged role that Gays and Lesbians are playing in a New Age Satanic plot designed to corrupt our youth, destroy our schools, and take over the world. Never mind the obvious self judgment on the part of the Radical Christian Right, the truth of the matter is that many gays and lesbians (present company no longer included) have accepted the Bible as the inspired word of God and are seeking a closer relationship with their maker: not to mention and open, accepting atmosphere in which to peacefully worship without fear of harassment or the threat of physical abuse.
*FACT: Nazi propaganda often referred to Jews as rats and vermin. Today delusional clergy men and vociferous hate groups denigrate gays and lesbians as "rats" and "evolutionary mistakes."
*FACT: German Nazis were genocidal in the extreme. Their blood soaked atrocities are a well known part of the historical record. Few, however, are familiar with the insane ranting of Paul Cameron, who, in 1983 had advocated the extermination of homosexuals. Two years later, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Cameron attempted to put his remarks in a more acceptable context: "Unless we get lucky in the next three or four years one of the options discussed will be the extermination of homosexuals," said Cameron. In subsequent years Cameron was thoroughly discredited, his so-called research debunked, but yet the Radical Christian Right continues to use his deluded drivel to further its incredibly oppressive agenda.
*FACT: Homosexuals are frequently accused of wanting to persecute or harass Christians, or of wanting to give AIDS to Christians. This type of rhetoric is highly similar to the kind of twaddle that the German Nazis spread about their Jewish victims, but if you want to take a look at who the real culprit here you only have to look at the Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kansas, and its moronic leader, the "Reverend" Fred Phelps, who travel around the country attending public events such as funerals and graduations where they spew anti gay slogans. Their latest tactic--attending the funerals of young American Soldiers who were killed in Iraq, because Phelps and his merry band of borderline psychotics are convinced that young soldiers are being killed because America has embraced a pro-homosexual agenda. Yeah. Right. And to make the situation even more bewildering, Cameron once considered himself a (conservative) Democrat--that despite the fact that his foolish attitudes on everyone from Gays and Jews to Mister Rogers put him squarely in the Republican Religious Right. Go figure.
I'm sure that the Radical Right "Christians" who are reading this will, as usual, attempt to claim that this is an attack on their religion, when, in fact it is not. I am merely condemning those who would wrap a fascist agenda in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy and call it Americanism. I'm sure our little effort here will be countered with half-baked conspiracy theories and cooked social research from just about ever right wing site imaginable. And I'm even more certain that the Radical Christian Right will turn around and accuse us of persecuting Christians.
Well, if that's their delusion of the month they can believe it. They can wallow in it. They can set it to music and sing it from the choir come this Sunday if that's what turns them on. The only thing I would add is this:
For the most part America is a tolerant society. Most people have open minds when it comes to the subject of equal rights for gays and lesbians, gay marriage not withstanding. And it is perfectly allowable to point out fascism when we see it.
We are not obliged to tolerate would be tyrants and we do not, repeat not, have to keep our minds so open that our brains fall out.
By Adolf Hitler
The complete original version as published by
Houghton Mifflin Company in 1939
United States Holocaust Museum
Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945
Matthew Shepherd Online Resources
Nazi Anti-Jewish Speech vs Religious Anti-Gay Speech
The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews
New Israel Holocaust Memorial Honors Gay Victims
March 16 2005
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
"The Truth About Reagen and Aids"
By Michael Bronski
Wikipedia Article about Fred Phelps
Sexual Orientation: Science, Education, and Policy
RACIAL PROFILING: CODE WORD FOR RACISM
By Brandon and Jeffrey
In the 1960s Lyndon B Johnson incurred the wrath of Conservative Southern Democrats by supporting the civil rights movement; specifically the Voting Rights Act. Admittedly, Johnson was a piece of self-centered work, a flawed, even power hungry individual (though a rank amateur when compared to George W. Bush), but his stand against right wing bigots was an honorable and a productive one. Few pieces of legislation have been as effective and as beneficial as the Voting Rights Act. And what was the Republican response? In the years after the Johnson Presidency, Richard M. Nixon and his merry band of authoritarian cronies decided that they would play the proverbial race card and divide the south along racial lines. In a stunning display of bigotry, the party of Lincoln decided to embrace hate-mongering, southern racists and religious fanatics who had routinely stood in the way of equal rights for Black Americans.
Now fast forward to August 2006. Only hours after Great Britain thwarted a pending terrorist attack, the right wing bigots on AM hate radio and the Reich Propaganda Cable bands were advocating--get this--a policy of racial profiling for Muslims. Allow me to repeat that: a policy of racial profiling for Muslims.
Call me naive, but isn't that a little like trying to use a fly swatter to diagnose a case of Scarlet fever?
Will somebody--anybody--please be so kind as to tell the incompetents who compose this Administration that Muslims come in all varieties and colors, from the very liberal Sufis, to the very repressive Fundamentalists; to the very white to the very dark; and everything in between? Indonesian Muslims probably tend to be Asians. European Muslims probably tend to be white. Many American Muslims are probably black. And those are--at the very best--the broadest of generalizations. There are as many shades of Islam as there are Muslims. Like Christianity, Islam is a global religion, there are adherents in every country on the face of the earth. But for some reason, right wing pundits like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannitty assume (incorrectly) that if we profile young males ages 16 to whatever with brown skin that we will win the war on terrorism.
Hello! Excuse me! Earth to Reich wing pundits. Terrorists are adaptable. That probably hasn't crossed the collectivist mind of the far right because the extend of their imaginative powers lends itself to three basic tactics: smear, attack, and go on the offensive--whether they have their facts straight or not. This may come as a shock and a revelation to the Authoritarian Bush Administration and it's authoritarian, lemming-like followers, but Muslims are not as foolish as the congenital imbecile who they re-selected to power in the year 2004. If this country begins to profiling based on some delusional preconception of what a Muslim should look like, the terrorists will only recruit Muslims from outside the Middle East who do not fit the racist, preconceptions and delusions of the racist right. If racist, white pundits on TV and Radio believe that clean shaved white people in Western clothing are above suspicion, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the terrorists will recruit clean-shaved Muslims in Western clothing to carry out future attacks. Indeed, Anne Coulter may well get one of her wishes. They may indeed shave their beards and adopt western habits--although not for the purposes that she might like. Instead of shaving their beards and becoming Christians, they may well shave their beards, blend in, and adopt western habits and customs to confuse American intelligence. And while we're at it, who in the hell said that all Muslims wear facial hair? While I was in college I knew plenty of American-born, Muslims who had converted to Islam, but who never wore beards and moustaches. Talk about a foolish preconception on the part of our leaders.
Once again the Republicans have proven that they are unfit to lead the war on terrorism. I'm sure that you have heard the Shrub's remarks about how we have to defeat the terrorists in Iraq so that they won't follow us over here. (Which reminds me--that old wine has been put into so many new bottles by now that it must be as flat a Welch's Grape Juice!). Instead of waging a war of choice, it seems to me that the Bush Administration should be fighting terrorism in the same way that the Federal government fights organized crime. Instead of waging a bloody war and trampling on American civil liberties here at home they should be engaging in selective policing and surveillance directed against people based on behaviors and psychological profiles--not the color of one's skin.
For all intents and purposes, organizations like Al Qaeda are nothing more than over-glorified, but very dangerous, crime syndicates. They operate in the same manner as the mafia--as an illegal corporation, as a hierarchical organization often based on family ties and relationships. They conduct business in secret. They launder money. They often hide behind legitimate businesses or form phony front organizations. Instead of waging a war of mass destruction in Iraq, instead of treating the Constitution as if it were just a "god damned piece of paper" the proper way to fight an organization like this is to infiltrate the organization itself, to plant moles who will work their way up the hierarchy into trusted positions. That accomplished the mole then begins to collect information. And once that information is acted upon your terrorist organization will be severely crippled. When the FBI fights the mafia it doesn't bug the telephone of every living and breathing American. When the FBI combats organized crime it doesn't ask for a small army of National Guardsmen to attack an entire American city. Hell no. They concentrate on the matter at hand. They get warrants for selective wire taps and other forms of surveillance. The FBI does not automatically assume that every Italian is a member of the mafia, but for some reason, the Bush regime wants to play it both ways. On the one hand it wants to tell Muslims that we are not a hateful nation. But then the Administration sits back and says nothing while right wing pundits act on Administration talking points.
I don't know about you, but in the last few weeks I have been both sickened and disgusted by conservative sociopaths who have openly called for the eradication of all Muslims . On other occasions these demented son of bitches have had the audacity to suggest that the life of an American or an Israeli is more valuable than an innocent Lebanese civilian. Are we really supposed to believe that this isn't racist? Let's not forget that shortly after 911 Osama Bin Laden issued a statement in which he defended the killing of innocent civilians because, in his warped manner of thinking, civilians elected the politicians who created Mideastern policy.
It seems to me that both, Osama Bib Laden, and professional hate mongers on the right are working under the same belief systems, differing only in the name by which they bastardize the Lord God whenever they utter His name. Both have justified the deaths of innocent civilians, both have called for the eradication of large numbers of people, and both revealed a hatred and a stupidly which falls short of what any normal American would refer to as fully human. It's almost as if the parts that would make these people--Bin Laden, Bush, Limbaugh, the late mister Zarqawi, ad infinitum--fully human are missing. That something has gone terribly wrong in those jiggling masses of putrid slime that they laughingly call gray matter.
In closing I would like to add just one more thing. Prior to 911 the most devastating terrorist attack in this country was committed by a deranged white man named named Timothy McVeigh. The two culprits who murdered 13 people and wounded 21 more at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, were not named Mohammad or Abdul--they were named Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold--which, according to my ear sound more English and German than Syrian or Iranian. Another individual has openly called for the killing of Americans, for a total war which would result in the "cleansing of the United States." This individual is not of Mideastern Heritage and he is not a Fundamentalism Muslim. Rather, his name is William Pierce , and he is an American born resident of West Virginia; perhaps you heard of him--he authored the infamous Turner Diaries and he was the inspiration for Timothy McVeigh's deadly attack upon the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma. Indeed, there are scores of skinheads, Nazis, Klansmen, and Christian Identity crackpots who pose a serious threat to this country, but the Bush-following psychopaths don't want to talk about them because (a) they are white and (b) they come from the same side of the political spectrum as the Republican Party.
Which reminds me: The Islamic Fascists (an ironic term coming from someone who seems to despise liberty as much as Bush) come from the right side of the political spectrum: the same side as the Radical Christian Right. And that is a fact that our wonderful conservative media failts to mention whenever it repeats right wing prevarications and distortions.
So when the racist right in this country wants to tell you that we have to profile young male Muslims between the ages of 16 and 45, just try to remember that they don't know diddly squat when it comes to fighting terrorism. And they know even less when it comes to issues about race, equality, and Constitutional protections.
"You Can't Fight Terrorism With Racism"
By Colbert I. King
Saturday July 30 , 2005
Racial Profiling: Old and New
Talk Left: The Politics of Crime
Study: "Racial Profiling Exists and is Ineffective Against Crime Control"
September 25, 2003
Wikipedia Article about "Organized Crime"
See Section titled "Nontraditional Organized Crime"
(se also the links to terrorist organizations and Al Qaeda)
Wikipedia Article about "Columbine High School Massacre"
Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network
Extremism in America/William Pierce
The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh
By Gore Vidal