Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Heresy in America

A friend Woodchips asked us what we thought of Chris Hedges' recent article decrying evangelical Christianity as a fascist ploy.

Oh bah.

Chris Hedges is one of those St. Johnny come-latelies who read Thucydides at age 40 and then "discover" all sorts of neat and nifty insights which they sagaciously blab about in Jane Fonda style to gaping groupies. He is part of a coterie of "liberal" mutual back-scratchers and self-promoters. As a whole, they are the prime products of America's dismal, dysfunctional educational system, given to emitting such blooping barbarities as, "I just had an epiphany!!!" Oh wow... [FN-1]

Hedges latest opus on "Christian Fascism" is a case in point.

First off, it is hand-me down material. He ought to at least give credit to Upton Sinclair who --- back in the Thirties -- coined the bon mot that when "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." Snore.

Secondly, these morons -- including Sinclair -- are too scrambled-brained to figure out that the coming of fascism to America would be a good thing. For them, "fascism" serves as the bete noire in a neo-manichean weltanschaunng. It is the Big Yuk Icky Poo of all phoochies. In truth, fascism is very simply the "middle way" between true socialism and true liberalism (capitalism). It posits neither laissez faire nor the abolishment of classes but rather the cooperation between classes in a coordinated scheme of collective and mutual responsibilities. Bismarck came up with the idea. Croley cribbed it (The Promise of American Life (1909)) Teddy ran with it (Osawatomie, Kansas), FDR Calvinized it and Hitler melded it with Pan German jingoism. But from the point of view of political economies, it is all the same thing.

By its very nature, fascism entails a high degree of police power (aka state regulatory power) -- what the GOP bitches and moans over as "gubmint intrusion". They key is how to exert police power over the economy, zoning and like matters without intruding on privacy and political/religious/cultural expression. For a while, the USA, whose fascism was lite opera rather than Wagner, probably did the best job of modulation.

There were some systems, notably Franco's Spain, which looked fascist but really were not. They looked fascist because they spoke the same kind of cultural nationalism that Germany and Italy were speaking, because they were all allied against Soviet Communism and because they all repressed opposition. But Franco's Spain, "betrayed" the Falange (the "National Syndicalists") and ended up simply a reactionary military dictatorship, with virtually none of the social safety net that characterized Germany or even Italy .

What morons like Hedges do, is to adopt without knowing or understanding the communist/socialist critique of fascism as being a "degenerate form" of capitalism. What communists meant was that fascism represented capitalism in its death throws -- a rear-guard action designed to placate the masses with social benefits (false embourgeoisement is the technical term) while holding onto the essentials of capitalist privilege. The communists were not "opposed" to fascism. They welcomed it in so far as it represented what they felt was a necessary historical progression away from liberalism. They opposed it in so far as fascist regimes repressed them and insofar as fascism promoted itself as a permanent socio-economic solution. They just as much opposed the so-called "social democrats" or reformist socialists whom Lenin scathingly called "social chauvinists". FN-2

Third. What Hedges (and Sinclair) fail to understand is that "Christian Fascism" came to America on the fucking Mayflower. It is what this country is about and it is why FDR had to Calvinize his varietal fascism with recourse to a fog of homiletic tissue about liberality towards the deserving poor.

It's pretty simple, actually. The individualism and subjective refuge Hedges blabbers about is the damn essence of the Protestant Heresy. Pope Benedict criticises the Lutheran "mistake" as an interiorization of faith which, properly speaking, is essentially and necessarily social. De Tocqueville critcised the phenomenon as "individualism" -- a word he coined and which he did not intend as a compliment. Marx criticised the same attitude as a Robinsonnade which he says is the hobby-horse of capitalist apologetics: me, my hatchet and the wilderness... blah blah blah.

The idea that "God leads me to my wealth" is hardly a new thing. It is what this America is about. The whole country is simply "Satan's Synagogue" (Sahagun's apt phrase for the heretical "reformists"). It is collectively steeped in the atomization of self and self-delusions. In this respect there is no difference between evangelical fundamentalists and their dialectical opponents, the advocates of Foetus Flush and Self Realization. The reason the country is mired in a so-called "culture war" is that has fallen into the pit of self-love,

" .... l'amour de soi-même, et de toutes choses pour soi ; il rend les hommes idolâtres d'eux-mêmes, et les rendrait les tyrans des autres si la fortune leur en donnait les moyens ; .... On ne peut sonder la profondeur, ni percer les ténèbres de ses abîmes. Là il est à couvert des yeux les plus pénétrants ; il y fait mille insensibles tours et retours. Là il est souvent invisible à lui-même, il y conçoit, il y nourrit, et il y élève, sans le savoir, un grand nombre d'affections et de haines ; il en forme de si monstrueuses que, lorsqu'il les a mises au jour, il les méconnaît, ou il ne peut se résoudre à les avouer." ( La Rochefoucault, Maximes)

Who also said, aptly enough, that youth thinks of itself as "free and natural" when it is in fact no more than "ignorant and ill-polished". I've liked La Rochefoucault since I was 19. Maybe Hedges and his groupies will get around to discovering him one day.

©WCG, 2012.


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