Fascism** engulfs nations by different routes. It can come by military
conquest and overthrow of a democratically elected government, as in Franco
Spain. It can come by conversion of a Constitutional Monarchy, with the acquiescence
if not the open support of the monarch, as in Italy and Japan. It can come in
a Constitutional Democracy through the on-the-surface legal use of Constitutional
processes by a political party that first takes control of the executive branch
and then proceeds to establish its dictatorship. The prime example of this is
of course Nazi Germany (see my columns, “Bush is Not Hitler, I and the
two-part Reichstag Fire/9-11 series). Unless the Georgites are somehow stopped,
the United States will become the second major historical example of this route
History teaches us that in a Constitutional Democracy, such as the German Weimar
Republic of 1919-1933, a party or a political movement intent upon establishing
a fascist dictatorship must first gain control of the executive branch of the
government. To be able to establish full control over all the organs of the
state over the long run they must then deal with the other two branches of the
government, the legislative and the judicial. They must also deal with the single
most important organ of civil society outside of government that, functioning
properly, is essential to the continuance of Constitutional Democracy: the free
communications media. A free press (in the generic sense of the term) is anathema
to fascism. In fact, the latter cannot exist in the presence of the former.
For at the center of the fascist approach to dealing with public information
is the Big Lie Technique, something a free press will always eventually give
the lie to.
An essential element of Georgite Republicanism has been the campaign to both
devalue and take over the independent judiciary, especially at the Federal level.
The tools are first a constant propaganda campaign that the judiciary is “overstepping
its bounds,” is “legislating from the bench,” is “standing
in the way of the will of the people,” is “in need of being reigned
in.” Second, is the political campaign to remove a variety of major political-social
issues from the jurisdiction of the bench through a variety of means. Third,
there is the direct route of putting an ever-increasing number of Georgite judges
on the bench. (Think the classic movie, “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
It was about the trial not of any famous Nazis but of a group of senior judges
who were adjudged to have been active collaborators and promoters of the Nazi
form of “justice.”) Prominent Georgite appointees at all three levels
of the Federal bench are outstanding examples of the use of this tool. In a
variation fro the Nazi example, in the US the first step taken within institutions
of the Federal government was the takeover of the legislative branch by proto-fascists.
That started with the “Gingrich Revolution” of 1994.
Interestingly enough the element essential to the eventual fascist takeover
in the U.S. that has been in place the longest is the Republican assault on
the independent media. It began symbolically with the famous Nixon quote after
his loss in the California governor’s race in 1962. He said to the media
at the press conference after his concession speech “Now you won’t
have Nixon to kick around any more.” Nixon clearly made those media elements
that reported facts about him and his doings into “the enemy.” He
was an early developer of the classic Republican Rightist tool of attack on
the media: don’t respond to the message; kill the messenger. The Georgites
have developed this technique to a very high level of sophistication.
Reagan used lying, intimidation, charm. His constant message, through the media
to a gullible public taken in by a combination of his charm and his underlying,
but clear racism, was “don’t trust them; trust me.” A constant
message of O’RHannibaugh from the Reagan/Bush I era has been that the
“mainstream media are all ‘liberals,’ and never tell you the
truth.” George Bush obviously cannot stand the media personally. Then
Rove makes sure that they are both shut out and intimidated to the greatest
extent possible, while his boss goes “over their heads to connect directly
with the people” (through those oh-so-carefully stage-managed “town
Where does the appointment of Fox "News" Channel (F"N"C)
propagandist Tony Snow as White House Press Secretary fit into all of this?
It has aroused much comment. For example, very early on, the Center for American
Progress drew attention to the fact that for some time now Snow has been a critic
of Bush, from the Right. The question was raised, how does that make sense,
how could Snow do the job, which supposedly includes defending the President?
In answering that question and indeed establishing a broad understanding of
the meaning of the appointment, it first comes down to defining exactly which
job Snow was hired to do. First: let us consider what the job is surely not,
based on how the various Georgite operatives occupying the position have handled
it up to now. The job is surely not to answer questions forthrightly, honestly,
and openly. It is surely not to establish a cooperative relationship between
the White House and the media. It is surely not to increase the amount of information
made available to the American people about the Executive Branch of their government,
how it operates, and what it is doing.
If we know what it is not, just what is it? There is a series of answers to
that question, not all of which will be covered in this space. But in my view
it is important to understand that the choice of Snow is neither accidental
nor foolish, in terms of the march towards fascism. It does represent a significant
ramping up of the attack of the independent media, with the ultimate objective
of destroying it that is essential if the goal of establishing fascism is to
be achieved. It helps to understand this appointment if it is seen in that context.
1. First, Snow is to revive the old CNN political show “Crossfire,"
where yelling and screaming was substituted for rational discussion and disagreement
over significant political issues. Reduce reporters to jelly by yelling at
them, literally or figuratively, whether they yell back or not, is job one.
2. Further demean and disdain the media, treating them as
untrustworthy and unimportant. Obfuscate, conceal, distract, distort, and
lie, with more skill than any previous holder of the position. Step one is
the proposal to eliminate or curtail the televising of the daily media briefings.
3. Begin the merger of the Privatized Ministry of Propaganda,
of which the F"N"C is the prime property, into the government.
4. Mollify the right-wing base by having a “Bush critic"
in place, a highly visible one. Doing so also makes Bush appear as if he can
be subject to criticism, while all the while he is being pushed towards even
more far-out positions that in his gut he would actually like to take, but
has not yet taken publicly (e.g., his sudden conversion to the “English-only”
version of the old British drinking song known since 1804 as the Star Spangled
5. Snow is not a “newsman." He is a voice of
Radical Right-wing Republicanism. Hiring him clearly demonstrates what the
Georgites think that “news" is all about --- as made so clear every
day by the F"N"C (which I do watch, folks): PROPAGANDA.
The Volkischer Beobachter (the Nazi Party’s daily “newspaper")
is right around the corner.
* Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
** My short definition of fascism: ““Fascism is
a politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control
of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent
judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the
people who run the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single
national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political,
religious, and ideological opposition to it; and total corporate determination
of economic, fiscal, and regulatory policy.”
Dr. Steven Jonas is a contributing author for The Political
He is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY)
and author/co-author of over twenty books. Dr. Jonas is one of America's most
perceptive Democratic political analysts.
In his book The New Americanism, Dr. Jonas presents his proposal for that
“new vision and mission” for the Democratic Party that so many,
for so many years, have been urging it to find. A new vision and mission are
obviously needed with increasing urgency as with increasing speed and determination
the Georgites drive our nation towards frank theocratic fascism. Dr. Jonas finds
the needed vision and mission in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
New Americanism: How the Democratic Party Can Win the Presidency is
available from Amazon.com (go to "Books;" enter the title) and BarnesandNoble.com
He is also the author of The 15% Solution: A Political History of American
Fascism, 2001-2022. Under the pseudonym "Jonathan Westminster" this
book was originally published in 1996. It was republished with a New Introduction
in 2004. Under Georgite rule, the “fictional non-fiction” scenario
of this work of “future history” is, most unfortunately, becoming
all too real, now almost day-by-day. The 2004 edition is available at www.barnesandnoble.com
(search with the book title) and www.xlibris.com
(click on “Bookstore,” then “Search” with the title).
Both versions are available at www.amazon.com (go to "Books;" search
with the title).
Dr. Jonas is also a Contributing Editor for the Weblog http://planetmove.blogspot.com/,
produced by The Planetary Movement Ltd. UK (http://www.planetarymovement.org/),
TPJ's own Michael Carmichael, President and Chief Executive Officer, a Contributing
Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century, POAC, http://www.oldamericancentury.org/,
on which his TPJ columns appear regularly, and a columnist for the webmagazine
on which short(er) Commentaries are published once a week or so.. By invitation,
Dr. J's TPJ columns are also posted periodically on the weblog Thomas Paine's