You may have noticed a sickening smell wafting through the lands of the free and the homes of the brave. The sickening smell of tyranny and cowardice has seemingly put a spell on politicians, pundits, and much of the population. The cowards quiver in fear and beg the iron barbs of the state to tear human beings to shreads and beg for protection against sinister brown skinned foriegners. They hype up terrorist threats everywhere and massacre civilians in Islamic countries and then spew hatred about the threat of Islam.
This isn't the first time that the smell of fascism has hypnotized masses of people.
In 1933 somebody set fire to the home of Germany's Parliment, the Reighstag. A month prior to that event, Adolph Hitler had gained power. The fire itself was far less significant than how that fire was used, politically, by Adolph Hitler. Immediately following the razing of this building, Hitler removed any teeth that may have existed in law that could be used to protect human rights and liberties. He inacted the Decree Against Treason as well as The Decree on the Protection of People and State.
On September 11, 2001, the twin towers were demolished and the Pentagon was hit, killing thousands of people. As a result of this, the American state responded with The Patriot Act. A number of Prime Ministers marched in step, rather zombie-like.
The perpetrators of these crimes, both the fire in the Reighstag and the attack on the twin towers, provided a pretext for the destruction of legal principles that are the defining characteristic of free societies. They helped provide the necessary conditions to build a fascistic state.
The Spirit of Fascism
It may be argued that bona fide fascism requires certain attributes and what is happening now doesn't quite cut it. But what is hapening now has the smell and the taste of the spirit of fascism. Terror Law supporters may argue that Hitler despised Jews or that other speciific characteristics make Hitler's fascism different than whats happening now. At the same time, the zombies support the arbitrary detention of Arabs for security reasons. We must look a little deeper and find the common sentiment beneath both these particular displays of racism. We will notice a strong sense of nationalism, xenophobia, as well as a desire for increased security and state power.
The spirit of fascism grows from fear and mass hysteria. It is a sentiment that holds a rigid ideological line and takes aim at differences and dissent. It is a spirit that wants, above all, control. The underlying hypothesis is that those with power have it because they are superior to those that do not and that those with the power have a paternalistic right to arbitrarily control and to punish their underlings. Individually, fascists adore their superiors and despise those they perceive as weak. The fascist spirit is the ultimate coward. It will turn in its neighbour and it will step on a victim. It will smile at power and spit on human needs. It does not tolerate the reality that humans are quirky, funny, unpredictable, and lovable. It is a spirit with no sense of humour.
Fascism has powerful natural enemies such as rationality and justice. Human beings are also natural enemies of fascism. They must be manipulated into its acceptance. It's power does not come from rational or caring human beings. It's father is violence and its mother is fear. Fascism imposes the arbitrary will of the most violent leader over everybody else. Prototypes of fascism are criminal gangs and state dictatorships. It's worst enemy is light and it thrives in the shadows. The light of rationality will burn away its irrational hatred and aggression. Its champions are children of pathological fear turning them into racist inhumane tyrants. They build concentration camps and murder people indiscriminately.
Modern civilizations have suffered and continue to suffer tremendous growing pains. But their have been some remakable developments and achievements in this process, not least of which is the development of rationality as the foundation of authority. Prior to this, monarchs or clergy could arbitrarily impose their will over society. They could decide that so and so should be locked away, tortured, or killed on a whim. They could decide that war should be waged on another country. They would sacrifice many of their own subjects to kill citizens of another land. A law that would suit the ambitions of the monarch or the upper classes would simply become law. But this is an aberration and alien to our collective human soul. The spirit of democracy is not.
The spirit of democracy is very old and if we really examine it, we will notice that it is a characteristic of primitive hunter gatherer societies. It has never been snuffed out through the ages by brutal tribal chiefs, ruthless kings, or tin pot dictators. It remained alive through human decency and has gained legal legitimacy in the light of rationality. Even in the darkness of the middle ages, the magna carta was born from a feud between an English king and his barons. That document gave law an air of rational legitimacy. And as societies developed, laws became increasingly subservient to the spirit of rational authority. The constitutions and charters that define modern states are rooted deep inside human rationality. We have become accustomed to and have taken for granted the expectation that laws, as well as our rights and freedoms, are securely attached to those roots. We have come to expect to be protected by legitimate legal principles from the arbitrary dictates of those with financial or military power.
The line between freedom and tyranny
If we examine the line that seperates fascistic or arbitrary power from legitimate rational authority, we will notice that we have recently slipped across to the other side; to the side of arbitrary tyranny. What we have taken for granted has been betrayed and we have been betrayed. What is truly remarkable is the ease with which this has taken place and that very few have even noticed. Unlike the blunt edged fascist battering rams of Hitler or Pinochet, these crypto fascists are relatively subtle and slippery.
What makes this betrayal so very bitter is that we have collectively suffered and fought for such a long, long time to develop and preserve basic human rights. We have suffered the unplesant trepidation of living amongst known criminals and have allowed dangerous people to inhabit our commuities for the greater good; the good of freedom. We have collectively chosen not to live in a predictable and locked down society. We live with crime as well as unpredictable and unpleasant behaviour. We have fought and died in wars to defend and preserve our basic freedoms. And now the authorities are locking people up and shooting and bombing people that are completely innocent. Their rationale: that they want to protect society from terrorism.
Here is the line between freedom and tyranny: We cannot act against people before they commit the crime. We cannot detain or kill people to prevent them from acting. We have to wait until the crime is commited and we have evidence of the crime or the planning (intent) of the crime. We need the evidence.
And, no country can wage war on another. The waging of war is a crime that contains within it, all war crimes.
We have crossed that line into the world of tyranny. One act of terrorism and the Disneylike facade of capitalist states is ripped away, exposing a rusty iron skeleton and razor wire.
Most recently the media has been buzzing about Tony Blair's defeat over the Terrorism Bill. This media distraction places all our attention on the politics of popularity and partisian intrigue. It removes our attention from the fact that Blair did not lose at all. He got his Terrorism Bill through. He was apparently adament about allowing authorities to detain suspects for 90 days with no evidence or charges; they settled for 28 days. What is more significant than that number is that the bill effectively outlaws dissent. For instance, it makes illegal the "glorification" of the preparation of terrorist acts. This is not within the realm of rational law by any stretch of the imagination. It is subjective enough to grant the state a free hand to arrest people for dissent. Prior to this, Tony Blair was spending much time with the media warning of the dangers of extremism. Extremism again is one more example of language that is subjective enough to be meaningless and as a result, paving the way for arbitrary state power. The spirit of fascism relentlessly seeps through all the cracks and the holes that riddle the minds of the daft cowards. Blair is not alone with this. The other states that have enacted anti terror legislation have also criminalized dissent.
This bill is built upon the backs of over 100 peices of legislation put in place to make sure Britons are safe from terrorism.
There is something well rooted in stupidity about believing that legislation can be passed that will protect citizens from terrorism. If terrorists want to poison water, shoot up shopping malls, or wear suicide vests in English or American crowds, there is no legislation that can stop that. These draconian laws have been passed in western democracies such as Germany, France, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Canada, the United States and Sweden. Tony Blair is not stupid and neither are the rest of those that are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that our basic freedoms are stripped away. The fact that all these countries are passing quite similar 'anti terror' laws is cause for suspicion and alarm. This is not just a matter of abstract laws that might be abused some time in the future. The Americans have started operating concentration camps complete with torture, secrecy, and arbitrary detention.
Before 9 11 happened, there was massive and unprecedented dissent against capitalism. This was unlike the protest movements of the 60's. In the 60's there were protests against the war or for civil rights. But now the protesters were marching against capitalism. These protests were a reaction against globalization. Not only that, the size and the organization of the protests were quite impressive. These protests and this movement was organized and energetic. Organizing and mobilization can easily be facilitated now with new technology and the internet. Revolution could come out of the blue with speed never before imagined. The sense of control they had enjoyed with spinless drones on mainstream media lulling the crowd into a fog of runaway brides or the latest gossip on the rich and famous has slipped away. Now, information is spreading like wildfire and alternate news organizations are sprouting everywhere. Dissent is growing everywhere as the masses reach out to share ideas and real news. A genie has escaped its bottle and there is no way to get it back in.
And it is this reality, not Bin Laden, that has the cowards shaking in their cowardly boots. The cowards are doing their utmost to create more Bin Ladens and more terrorism to turn our reality into a fascist nightmare in order that they may live according to the standards they have grown accustomed to.
(This article has been posted at MCW News)