10
Oct
08

Cultural Self-Criticism: Escaping from Fear Fascism

I just finished writing in my previous post about distinguishing between Amerikkka and America, and about that American “underground” that is essentially a counterculture whose virtues include strong self-criticism, rehumanization of ways of perceiving Others, greater empowerment of disadvantaged communities, personal decolonization, to name only a few. Moments afterwards, I found the following comment posted at The Washington Monthly, an example of cultural self-criticism of Amerikkkan cultural and ideological confinement. By criticizing the confines and challenging the narrowing paramters of authorized thought practice, the writer implies a poetic vision of an alternative America.

While the rest of the world looks on in horror and with dread, Americans are too feverish with the taint of Republican hate to be able to understand the poison being fed directly into their hearts and minds.

It is nothing less, nor much different than the march of descent into full blown Nazi-ism. We already are a nation acting on a steady diet of fear and suspicion. We favor hate speech and divisiveness over civil discourse and the classic virtues. We are a brutal, violent people who fanaticize and adulate war in professional sports, computer games and throughout all modes of entertainment – TV and movies in particular.

We are a primitive tribal nation in how we wear symbolic uniforms: sports team colors, gang colors, religious colors, school colors.

We idolize the fiction of the independent self-reliant pioneer all the while stepping on those around us to get ahead.

We are a nation of gluttons, taking and ruining much more than our fair share of energy, food, goods and services for only those of us who grab enough of the pie to stake a claim.

We are a heartless and brutal nation, allowing millions to go hungry, without shelter, without healthcare, without clean water, clean air and uncontaminated soil here and hundreds of millions more around the world.

We subsidize predatory private, for-profit industries that benefit only a very few at the expense of almost all of us.

We trample the few of us who act ethically in unethical situations by whistle-blowing, and we turn our backs on them and leave them to die. (Whistle blowers die very early deaths after ruined lives by all statistics and anecdotes).

We torture.

We are racists and bigots.

We are incurious and ignorant.

We stigmatize those who are vulnerable and who “aren’t like us.”

This nation has no claim to any moral high ground.

It has sunk so low that the horizon is high above us all.

And we failed to protect our constitution, our government and our way of life.

We did this all by ourselves.

A salute to the commenter who reminded us that McCain personally dropped bombs on innocent Vietnamese civilians, and has the support of his political culture’s doublethink in portraying Obama as a terrorist, or as a terrorist’s best friend.

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2 Responses to “Cultural Self-Criticism: Escaping from Fear Fascism”


  1. 1 omgdidisaythat
    October 10, 2008 at 7:44 am

    I would say quite assuredly that they are not Nazis. Fascists yes, Nazis no.

    I only point out the difference, and there is one because it is always easy to shrug off an allegation that is not true.

  2. October 10, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for the visit and the comment. I understand your point, and some might argue that the distinction might be a fine one to make, or that in actual practice the two walked hand in hand, and so on. I think the writer is using American expressions that can be understood by American readers more easily, and the prevailing American view of the political spectrum is typically one that is based on right wing assumptions to begin with (hence, liberal encompasses socialist and communist, and the centre is well right of centre). To say something jarring about the right, one has to write in extreme terms, otherwise the writer is dealing with a society where “liberal” is used an insulting accusation, while “conservative” tends to escape any popular criticism. Otherwise, yes, I see your point, you could not use this writing to teach Political Science.


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