Social Structure, Fascism, Entertainment, Blogs and....

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 at 09:27 AM

I can't help it, I keep seeing parallels between the rise of Fascism in Germany in the 1930s and what we're experiencing in America today.  That's "parallels," not "an exact replica," but the parallels are strong enough to bother me.

This is all triggered by a 12-18-05 NY Times Book Review piece by Brian Ladd, reviewing the book "The Third Reich in Power," by Richard J. Evans.

The portion of the piece that got me thinking is:
"Replacing most forms of social life with new, Nazi-themed activities, they left citizens with no place to share heretical thoughts.  The result was a nightmare version of a normal modern society, with popular entertainment manipulating public enthusiasms and hatreds, and the government intruding into intimate matters of the mind and body while demanding an end to the coddling of the weak."

What's similar here and now?  I'd say "Popular entertainment manipulating public enthusiasms and hatreds." and "demanding an end to the coddling of the weak."

The phrase about popular entertainment is particularly troubling if, as I do, you consider Fox News, O'Reilly, Coulter, Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity, and the other mountain-sized  mouths of the right to be public entertainment.

That means we have the mainstream entertainment world manipulating the "public enthusiasms" with stories of movie stars, mansions, millionaires, and moronic gossip, while we have the political entertainment outlets doing their best to manipulate public hatreds. It's no longer acceptable for the right to stir up hatred of Jews, and Black people are pretty much off limits, but they always have gays, abortionists, and liberals.  After all, don't those groups kill babies, engage in unholy sexual behavior, and want to kill Christmas?

The concept of no longer "coddling the weak" also seems to me to be, if not rampant, at least on the rise in our society.  Check out O'Reilly and Barbara Bush on the Katrina victims.  Or the ever-spreading idea that the poor deserve to be poor somehow, that it's almost unholy to be poor, and certainly unholy to "steal money from the wealthy" to support the poor.  No, no, trickle down is all the poor deserve, if that.

Thank God there are some differences between the Nazi Germany described in the review and America now.  Prime among those differences is that, largely thanks to the internet and blogs, we so far have plenty of places to express our heretical thoughts. And there are even a few signs that the mainstream media is finally willing to express an occasional heretical thought or two.

Three cheers for heresy, three cheers for contrarians.  Without which and whom we'd probably all have rigid hair like the televangelists, armbands adorned with voracious eagles, and a charming assortment of polished leather outfits from which to choose as we got dressed for church and the after-church "love the state" rally.