Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Long US March to Christo-Fascism: Part I

Note: This is Part I of a three-part series intended as a broad rather than deep overview of the Christo-Fascist Right's rise to near-domination of US government. Each of its links leads to a world of other links from which the range of individuals, families, businesses, and organizations which comprise it can be identified and explored. The reach and power of the Christo-Fascist Right should horrify every sentient American. This series will be updated and revised as information and time are available. Part II. Part III.

As we are reeling from this week’s revelations about Blackwater, not to mention other monumental developments of the last six years, many wonder how in the hell we got here.

It will take time to tell the whole story—this overview doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive—but while the rest of America was focused elsewhere, a fluid coalition of secular economic and political conservatives, cultural/religious conservatives, and other hard rightwingers launched two brilliant, loosely coordinated strategies to seize control of the country for the Right. The secular strategy came from the establishment. The cultural/religious one originated at the grassroots. Both eventually attracted followers at all levels. This takeover began in earnest in the early 1970s.

For 30 years, the Right has branded the New Deal as "communism" and the sixties a wholesale assault on decency. What actually happened in the sixties was that “the new generation”—now aging Boomers—saw certain dominant but fundamental and entrenched American values as they are, and we challenged them. Numerous radical thinkers on the Left (radical = root, fundamental) had said it all before in miles of manifestos, but Charles Reich preached it to the suburbs in his best selling The Greening of America (1970):

The logic and necessity of the new generation -- and what they are so furiously opposed to -- must be seen against a background of what has gone wrong in America. It must be understood in light of the betrayal and loss of the American dream, the rise of the Corporate State of the 1960's, and the way in which that State dominates, exploits, and ultimately destroys both nature and man. Its rationality must be measured against the insanity of existing "reason" -- reason that makes impoverishment, dehumanization, and even war appear to be logical and necessary. Its logic must be read from the fact that Americans have lost control of the machinery of their society, and only new values and a new culture can restore control. Its emotions and spirit can be comprehended only by seeing contemporary America through the eyes of the new generation.

By the mid-60s, building on the Enlightenment, the nobler tendencies of populism, the labor movement, and New Deal forebears, and working both in and outside the system, we had begun to change the nation. What stunned the Right were gigantic waves of reform to US government, law, culture, religion, and business. All were fueled conceptually and politically by thousands of little-known and famous radical-to-liberal "micro-projects," like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, and Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed, and by the much larger civil rights, labor, and anti-war movements.

These waves took their main visible form as Medicare and Medicaid (1965), The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a host of consumer protections, environmental safeguards, workplace regulations, think tanks, publications, and nonprofits. These continued over the coming decades to empower minorities, women, workers, and the elderly, and even began to lift up the unemployed poor.

Meanwhile, we also forced Americans to see, beneath the veneer of flags and rhetoric, the lies and devastation of war and the corruption of the “military-industrial complex" that Republican President Dwight Eisenhower so presciently warned us about:
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together

What we accomplished was not too shabby. Be proud, sisters and brothers of the Left. Be damned proud.

Turns out it wasn’t drugs, sex, or hair that galvanized powerful stakeholders in a full-scale, brilliant, long-term reactionary war. It was, above all, what was framed as the new generation's “frontal assault on free enterprise”―ironically an assault grounded, among other sources, in profound regard for the US Constitution.

In the 1970s two camps emerged, each bitterly opposed to the nation’s movement toward its constitutional potential—a Liberal society with at least some of its most cannibalistic capitalist tendencies at least somewhat constrained by tax and regulatory policy. [Continued in Part II.]