Home > Uncategorized > Stupidity in the service of fascism – posted 5/7/2022

Stupidity in the service of fascism – posted 5/7/2022

Our politics keep getting more backwards and stupid. I will give my examples but these are just a small sampling on what could be a much longer list.

  • The Florida Department of Education is banning dozens of math books because they contain questions and exercises based on critical race theory. This is a head scratcher. Hello, but math and critical race theory do not exactly go together. They are like apples and oranges. Next thing you know, Florida will be banning math books for mention of Bigfoot.
  • Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has been saying women who have abortions were manipulated into it by Satan. Greene says Satan promised women they would be married if they did his bidding, abortion-wise. She has also said the Catholic Church is run by Satan. Say what you will about Greene but she does have a hotline to Satan. Beelzebub is apparently whispering in her ear.
  • During confirmation hearings, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) falsely accused new Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson of giving child pornographers unusually lenient sentences and soft treatment. Republicans pushed the nonsensical narrative that anyone who supported her confirmation was sympathetic to pedophilia. It is telling they felt compelled to adhere to a Q’Anon story line.
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s press secretary, Christina Pushaw, described his anti-gay “Don’t say gay” law as “the Anti-Grooming Bill”. She tweeted that if you are against the bill “you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children”. The obsession with grooming is also pure Q’Anon conspiracy theory. What’s next: accusing Democrats of practicing witch craft?
  • CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, is holding its upcoming conference in Hungary, a country that has undermined democracy, curbed free media and dispensed with judicial independence. The keynote speaker of the CPAC Conference will be Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a long-time supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. CPAC is enamored with Orban’s attacks on LGBTQ rights as well as his immigration hardline. This is a kind of anti-democratic handwriting on the wall, showing a fawning admiration for authoritarianism.
  • Reported by Hugo Lowell of the Guardian, the Justice Department has alleged that Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers militia, was trying to reach former President Trump on January 6 to allow his group to forcibly stop the transfer of power to Joe Biden. The call to a Trump confidant who remains unidentified occurred after the Capitol was stormed. With others from the Oath Keepers leadership, Rhodes made the call on speaker phone and implored the person to get Trump’s authorization. Rhodes had quick reaction forces with guns and ammunition near the capitol. The Trump confidant who Rhodes contacted refused his request to speak with Trump. Rhodes is charged with seditious conspiracy because of his role on January 6.

I am sure there are those who will object to the characterization of these examples as backwards or stupid. As pointed out by Steven Nadler, stupidity is not the same as ignorance or incompetence or folly. Nadler writes:

“Stupidity is a kind of intellectual stubbornness. A stupid person has access to all the information necessary to make an appropriate judgment, to come up with a set of reasonable and justified beliefs and yet fails to do so.”

The examples I cited might appear to be random and disconnected but I would suggest they reflect a process of intellectual and political degeneration. Unfounded accusations of grooming or pedophilia are vicious name-calling. This is not your grandfather’s Republican Party. We have been witnessing the transformation of a formerly conservative party into a fascist cult.

Americans generally do not pay that much attention to politics and, by and large, they are failing to see the fascist threat. Republicans aren’t just accepting another different set of ideas. Their thinking is clouded by disinformation, conspiracy theories, hate and fear. They want to go back to a magic time (“Make America Great Again”) that never existed. Alexander Hemon writes:

“Fascism’s central idea, appearing in a small repertoire of familiar guises, is that there are classes of human beings who deserve diminishment and destruction because they’re for some reason (genetic, cultural, whatever) inherently inferior to “us’.”

Fascists think the inferior group contaminates the nation or the white race. They see the supposedly inferior group as destroying our culture.

This is exactly the approach the Trump cult is taking to immigrants. This goes back at least to Trump’s June 2015 ride down the golden escalator when he tagged Mexicans as “bringing drugs” and as “rapists”. He wanted “a total and complete shutdown on Muslims entering the U.S.”. Trump called Latinos “animals” and “invaders”.

Trump’s message has been simple: we must take action or perish as a nation. Fascism is less a set of beliefs than a set of actions to fight. It is not just about owning the libs. It is about hurting people you hate. A sense of grievance and scoring-settling permeates MAGA. Chauncey de Vega put it this way:

“Fascism is an anti-human philosophy. It channels death. It is “masculine” in the most crude, negative, regressive, destructive and dangerous sense of that word. It embraces, encourages and endorses violence and views compromise, intellect and reason as “feminine” weakness.”

I found it revealing that according to former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Trump wanted to deploy the military in Washington D.C. to shoot those demonstrating and protesting the murder of George Floyd. While not all Republicans are members of the Trump cult, they are now the dominant faction.

The mass media has minimized and tried to normalize the Republican Party’s new incarnation. It would be a grievous mistake if Democrats underestimate the Trump cult. They won once already. They consistently push a disproven Big Lie and they organized a coup to topple democracy. They lost but got over 74 million votes in 2020.

This threat is deadly serious. It is Democrats versus fascists now. As with abortion rights, if given the chance, fascists will roll back the clock on a wide range of human rights. All who care about democracy must realize this is no joke.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Pat Dawson
    May 8, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    We live in very scary times where we might well find ourselves living under a Christian theocracy and no say in our government. People don’t seem to realize how much is at risk.

  2. May 11, 2022 at 3:06 am

    While I agree with Jon Baird’s assessment of the unhinged fascist character of the Republican Party, I disagree with his statement that “It is the Democrats versus the fascists”. The Democrats have no intention of fighting their “Republican colleagues”; they are too afraid of arousing the masses against the devastating social inequality in the US (&worldwide) …
    Why have they allowed Trump, who openly sought to overturn an election, to go free? Why will they not oppose the destruction of the right to abortion, and the many rights of the Fourteenth Amendment bound up with it? Why have the Democrats declared “Over” a Pandemic which has killed – and continues to kill – over One Million people? Why can they unanimously come up with tens of billions of dollars for war, but nothing for disease and conditions of life?
    It is because they are like Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum, two sides of the same coin. Like the Republicans, they defend the private ownership of society’s wealth and resources. Like the Republicans, they defend the nation-state and the right of US imperialism to wage war on defenseless populations. The Democratic Party is the party of the Oligarchy, no less than Republican Party. It is the party of “Pretend,” which sheds crocodile tears over the fate of workers as they impose devastating conditions; the Republican Party is the party of the openly fascistic. I support the WSWS because it turns to the working class as the only social force which can stop the descent to war and fascism.

    • May 12, 2022 at 12:22 am

      Hi Het, thanks for your comments. That is like a discussion I have participated in for the last 50 years. I am very unhappy with the Democratic response on a wide range of issues. That is something I plan to write about next.

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