"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Second Coming--of the Fascists

Carl Kaestle argues in Pillars of the Republic that there are three interwoven and mutually-supportive components that shaped the American ideology in the early 19th Century: capitalism, protestantism, and republicanism. The growing fascist ideology in America today is a cancerous version of that same 19th Century ideology: capitalism has become a corrupted market manipulation based on unrestrained greed; protestantism, an oppressive Calvinist othodoxy operated by corrupt and hateful oligarchs who prey on the poor and the ignorant and the indoctrinated; and republicanism, now an autocratic and jingoistic authoritarianism aimed at iron-fisted
order. Look no further than than the corrupt voucher plan being bought in Utah: see Kevin Franck's post here.

And then read this book:
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The f-word crops up in the most respectable quarters these days. Yet if the provocative title of this exposé by Hedges (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)—sounds an alarm, the former New York Times foreign correspondent takes care to employ his terms precisely and decisively. As a Harvard Divinity School graduate, his investigation of the Christian Right agenda is even more alarming given its lucidity. Citing the psychology and sociology of fascism and cults, including the work of German historian Fritz Stern, Hedges draws striking parallels between 20th-century totalitarian movements and the highly organized, well-funded "dominionist movement," an influential theocratic sect within the country's huge evangelical population. Rooted in a radical Calvinism, and wrapping its apocalyptic, vehemently militant, sexist and homophobic vision in patriotic and religious rhetoric, dominionism seeks absolute power in a Christian state. Hedges's reportage profiles both former members and true believers, evoking the particular characteristics of this American variant of fascism. His argument against what he sees as a democratic society's suicidal tolerance for intolerant movements has its own paradoxes. But this urgent book forcefully illuminates what many across the political spectrum will recognize as a serious and growing threat to the very concept and practice of an open society. (Jan. 9)

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