More on the return of Fascism

It appears that the Bush administration is following the Third Reich playbook word for word. I had thought it was accidental, but now I think there may have been some notes taken when these guys studied Hitler's control of the masses.

Ken Silverstein at has a very interesting look at the tactics used to convince the public that war is in their interest. He quotes a post-war interview with Hermann Goering, speaking about how a democracy can work like a dictatorship, in which the following was said:

"...All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

One thing that has always bothered me is the psychology of how this kind of mind control works on so many people. Is it lack of education? That hardly seems to be the case, to which those of us with Bush apologist friends and families can attest. I can think of many highly educated people who buy the "war is patriotic" bullshit. Is it fear? That certainly appears to explain a lot of it, but it doesn't work on all of us. There must be other factors.

Why are some people apparently predisposed to being moved by symbols of patriotism, while others are able to critically analyze the words and symbols used by these leaders?

Rhetorical devices have always held a special interest to me, and nowhere are they more evident than in the matters of state. The one institution that can compete on this front is religion. Rhetoric drives religion, especially modern incarnations of it, and keeps followers in line. It is very easy for a modern religious leader to invoke the terms "blasphemy", "immoral", "secular", etc. to draw lines of distinction between their particular brand of righteousness and the rest of the world.

Is it a coincidence that many of those who are most likely to follow the patriotic, jingoistic march to war, are also very likely to be unquestioningly religious? I am certainly not suggesting a causal relationship between religion and warmongering (although that could be the subject of a future post). Rather, I believe it helps to explain the psychology of a war-supporter, who believes that questioning our glorious wars is unpatriotic. They believe that we are inherently on the side of good and, therefore, whoever we are fighting is on the side of evil. Bush acknowledged this dichotomy when he (in)famously said that you are either with us or you are with the terrorists.

Well, this is my little aimless rant for the day.

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