Monday, July 26, 2004

Fascism, again

From me last week:

I know you think I'm crazy when I compare President Dipshit and his Administration to Nazis and that they will do something to affect the elections in November to their benefit. I did that here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Via Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway from Asia Times:

Groupthink and the slide into fascism
By Ritt Goldstein

On July 8, Asia Times Online broke the story (Patriotic pride and fear) of how noted Canadian psychologist Daniel Burston (two PhDs from Canada's York University and a widely acclaimed author) perceived a broad retreat into "social fantasy systems" and "socially patterned defects" as explaining much of the Bush administration's decision-making. He observed for ATol that such flaws bring those involved to "act in ways which - from an outsiders perspective - look insane". On the following day, July 9, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the United States' justification for the Iraq war, claiming an erroneous "groupthink" was to blame, and coincidentally highlighting the validity of Burston's observations.

Groupthink is defined as "a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action". In other words, retreat into a "social fantasy system" allowed "socially patterned defects" to flourish within the group's members.

[. . .]

In an October 2003 article titled "Cheney's hawks hijacking policy", this journalist revealed that former senior Pentagon staffer Lieutenant-Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski (retired) described "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress", adding that "in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board". Planned and deliberate lies were told in order to manipulate Congress and the American people purposefully, effectively, and criminally, undercutting the very foundations of US democracy.

[. . .]

While groupthink is undoubtedly to blame for the Iraq war's false premises, the full implications of the "groupthink" that occurred, as well as that which is ongoing, appear to have yet to emerge.

Highlighting a disturbing reality, Burston had noted parallels between the social psychology of the present and that of the 1930s.

In a further parallel to the 1930s, on July 9 the conservative Chicago Sun-Times (one of the United States' top 50 papers) ran a commentary on US fascism, stating that "fascism' is not an exaggeration", and adding that anyone who doubted this "doesn't know what fascism is". It went on to note: "Some liberals suggest that the administration is capable of canceling the November election on the grounds of national security if it looks like Bush would lose. I doubt this." But on July 11 and 12, news of the administration seeking legal authority for just such an election postponement - a delay in the November election for national-security reasons - widely broke.

Burston had said he believed the US could be poised "on the verge" of a corporate fascism, and eminent political scientist Dr Michael Parenti (Yale PhD in political science and author of 18 books) spoke similarly. And indeed, the slippery slope of "groupthink" in effect provided the basis for the psycho-dynamics dominating the rise of 1930s fascism, its proponents of a "new order" perceiving endless lies, propaganda, repression, mass violence, and even mass murder as legitimate means to what they perceived as their "noble" ends, versus tragic and criminal delusions. Students of history will note the "groupthink" evidenced in Germany's 1930s mass rallies at Nuremberg, though the realization of what was then occurring didn't fully emerge until the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals of the 1940s.

[. . .]

Full story.

My grandparents, my aunts, and my mom lived through World War Two Germany. If Bush gets reelected, be afraid . . . be very afraid.

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