March 30, 2013

Crisis: Wolin on fascism + Greenwald on the Surveillance State


1.  Sheldon Wolin: A kind of fascism
    is replacing our democracy
2.  Glenn Greenwald on
"Challenging the US Surveillance State"
About ME/CFS


Yesterday I wrote about Sheldon Wolin on inverted totalitarianism; today my topic is another brief article by professor Wolin from 2003, published briefly before he became 81. Part of my text and my links and my notes are the same as yesterday, since they provide the same background to the same man and the same subjects, but my quotations and comments are not:

1.  Sheldon Wolin: "A kind of fascism is replacing our democracy"

I mentioned Sheldon Wolin, an American political scientist, who is meanwhile in his 90ies, yesterday and also said you can see him interviewed by Bill Moyers here:
Late last year I formulated a number of hypotheses about what I called "corporate fascism + the surveillance state" abbreviated "CF+SS", that seem to have interested very few:
Indeed, I suspect this may have irrated some of the Dutch "social scientists" that follow my sites (without having the guts of ever mailing me, and quite possibly "borrowing" from me without attribution), for their attendance to my site has fallen [1].

I was quite pleased to find out that there is a man like Sheldon Wolin in the US, about whom I do not know much, but who clearly has brains and guts. Yesterday I mentioned, linked and quoted his
Today my subject is a brief article he got published a few months after the previous one, also in 2003:
I quote:

No administration before George W. Bush's ever claimed such sweeping powers for an enterprise as vaguely defined as the "war against terrorism" and the "axis of evil." Nor has one begun to consume such an enormous amount of the nation's resources for a mission whose end would be difficult to recognize even if achieved.

Like previous forms of totalitarianism, the Bush administration boasts a reckless unilateralism that believes the United States can demand unquestioning support, on terms it dictates; ignores treaties and violates international law at will; invades other countries without provocation; and incarcerates persons indefinitely without charging them with a crime or allowing access to counsel.

I quite agree and note this is from nearly 10 years ago, during which time the situation has grown much worse:

First, the economic crisis was added in 2008 - but nothing effective was done against it, while it seems to have been used on purpose to destroy or undermine or cow the middle class; and second, Obama was elected in 2008, and did nothing effective against the totalitarian tendencies I cannot believe he did not know were mentioned by professor Wolin, Gore Vidal, Noam Chomsky, and others. Instead, under Obama the powers of the US state grew, and grew illegally, against the rulings of the US Constititution, as Obama also must know very well indeed, as a former professor of constitutional law.

So the situation now is much worse than it was in 2003. As to the "war on terrorism": As I explained in 2005 in Dutch [2]
this was a fraudulent pretext to vastly increase the powers of state terrorism from the start, and it still is. (I repeated it in the crisis series 7 years later.)

Professor Wolin continued the above quotation as follows - and I also provide links to the original of his
"Inverted Totalitarianism" and my comments on that:

The drive toward total power can take different forms, as Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union suggest.

The American system is evolving its own form: "inverted totalitarianism." This has no official doctrine of racism or extermination camps but, as described above, it displays similar contempt for restraints.

It also has an upside-down character. For instance, the Nazis focused upon mobilizing and unifying the society, maintaining a continuous state of war preparations and demanding enthusiastic participation from the populace. In contrast, inverted totalitarianism exploits political apathy and encourages divisiveness. The turnout for a Nazi plebiscite was typically 90 percent or higher; in a good election year in the United States, participation is about 50 percent.

Indeed, and it is noteworthy that Stalin, except perhaps towards the very end of is life, was not an antisemite, or a racist, and also noteworthy that while Hitler had concentration camps from the start, that clearly had the purpose of terrorizing the population over which he ruled, the extermination camps were started in 1941.

I considered the widespread apathy in the face of much evil, cruelty and evident state terrorism earlier this year
and while this has probably many reasons, one important cause that effects almost everyone born since 1960 in Western Europe and the US is that they have been "educated" on a daily diet of TV, have for the most part been more poorly educated than their parents and grandparents, and have heard, seen and read more advertisements, public relations, and lies and exaggerations of many kinds than any generation before them.

Professor Wolin continued

Another example: The Nazis abolished the parliamentary system, instituted single-party rule and controlled all forms of public communication. It is possible, however, to reach a similar result without seeming to suppress. An elected legislature is retained but a system of corruption (lobbyists, campaign contributions, payoffs to powerful interests) short-circuits the connection between voters and their representatives. The system responds primarily to corporate interests; voters become cynical, resigned; and opposition seems futile.

While Nazi control of the media meant that only the "official story" was communicated, that result is approximated by encouraging concentrated ownership of the media and thereby narrowing the range of permissible opinions.

This can be augmented by having "homeland security" envelop the entire nation with a maze of restrictions and by instilling fear among the general population by periodic alerts raised against a background of economic uncertainty, unemployment, downsizing and cutbacks in basic services.

As I quoted and said repeatedly:

"You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time."
-- Lincoln

Then again, in a postmodern democracy, you only need to fool the majority of the badly educated to run what is effectively a disguised dictatorship.
-- Maarten Maartensz

Then again, power is like gas: It tries to occupy all available space, so I would not be amazed at all if state power will soon start to show a far more terrorist face than it has so far, as indeed has been happening already with the clothes and weapons of part of the US police.

Even so, as in Stalin's Soviet-Union, there may be retained a semblance of democracy, with regular elections from state-approved politicians, also because the surveillance state that meanwhile has been surrected, for which also see section 2, will be able to repress any and all opposition, also without this ever becoming mentioned in the state-controlled media.

There is more by professor Wolin that applies specifically to the US, but the following has turned out to hold for parts - at least - of Western Europe as well:

In institutionalizing the "war on terrorism" the Bush administration acquired a rationale for expanding its powers and furthering its domestic agenda. While the nation's resources are directed toward endless war, the White House promoted tax cuts in the midst of recession, leaving scant resources available for domestic programs. The effect is to render the citizenry more dependent on government, and to empty the cash-box in case a reformist administration comes to power.
There are benefit cuts for the poor and unemployed in Europe now as well, while the taxes on the ever poorer middle classes are raised to pay for the crisis, while  the rich managerial classes still take home their millions of yearly salaries plus perhaps millions of bonuses as if there is no crisis, no moraity, and no justice, and as if greed of the rich is good, while the masses of the unemployed and ill suffer.

Finally, while professor Wolin may have hoped for "
a reformist administration", and while Obama promised change, what he delivered was more of the recipe Bush Jr. followed, in part even by the same men Bush Jr. employed, though indeed with another style of rhetorics - "Yes, we can!" - for what were essentially the same policies, that seem to be directed by lobbyists for corporations or the military-industrial complex rather than by honest politicians.

2.  Glenn Greenwald on "Challenging the US Surveillance State"

I mentioned
Glenn Greenwald and his column On Security and Liberty in The Guardian repeatedly, and found there a link to a good speech of his in June 2012 precisely on the threats the surveillance state aka postmodern state terrorism aka inverted totalitarianism aka a new kind of fascism - choose your own favorite terms, as long as you are free to do so.

Here he is as found at the end of his recent "Domestic drones and their unique dangers". The talk is from June 29, 2012, and good, courageous and clear, and has the title "Challenging the US Surveillance State":

Also in the context of my note [1], retained from yesterday, about my Dutch generation of traitors of civilization and education [3] and in view of my courageous parents and grandparents: Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges, mentioned yesterday, strike me as very intelligent and very courageous persons, who have few likes and deserve much support.

[1] Another reason may have been that I have been quite unfriendly about social psychologists. Well comrades: I think the lot of you should not be in a university (unless you can prove your IQ is higher than 140, and I cannot believe more than very few of you qualify); you are - as long as you don't have the courage and the brains to speak up about the current crisis - part of the problem that maintains the crisis; and I also admit I deeply despise the class of moronic and parasitic quasi-intellectual to which you nearly all belong, whose members  had the impertinence of scolding me many times for "a fascist" and "a terrorist" because I was not, as many of you pretended to be, a marxist, and also had the courage of saying so, even while I was ill and knew I would be discriminated for it. Indeed, none those who scolded me thus, with sadistic glee, protected by belonging to groups of quasi-radicals, who then had the power in the Universxity of Amsterdam, knew that - unlike each and all of you - I come from a genuine marxist revolutionary family. Also, you were nearly all then, as you nearly all are now, impostors, frauds, pseudo-scientists, both morally and scientifically. Compared to my parents and grandparents, who risked their lives in the communist resistance against the Nazis, most of you are sick cowards; compared to me, most of you are morons and ignoramuses.

[2] I have fast internet only since the summer of 2009. Before that, my internet connection was by a slow and expensive phone-modem depending on the Carlos Slim company of the "Dutch" KPN. This is a pity: I probably would have learned more than I did if I had acquired fast internet sooner.

[3] I think the linked piece may have pissed off quite a few of the pseudo-progressive traitors of my generation, many of whom have been parasiting in the Dutch universities for decades. Well, there is more on them here, here and here - for example - and the only reason I am not sharper about this lot of rot is that I want to avoid problems with these rotters to save what little energy I have on other Dutch rotters.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate
search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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