January 8, 2007

Have we been scared off using the word "fascist?"

Salon has an interview with Chris Hedges, author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.

Q: You say they would like to impose a totalitarian system. How much of a conscious goal do you think that is at the upper levels of organizing, with, say, somebody like Rod Parsley?

A: I think they're completely conscious of it. The level of manipulation is quite sophisticated. These people understand the medium of television, they understand the despair and brokenness of the people they appeal to, and how to manipulate them both for personal and financial gain. I look at these figures, and I would certainly throw James Dobson in there, or Pat Robertson, as really dark figures.

I think the vast majority of followers have no idea. There's an earnestness to many of the believers. I had the same experience you did -- I went in there prepared to really dislike these people and most of them just broke my heart. They're well meaning. Unfortunately, they're being manipulated and herded into a movement that's extremely dangerous. If these extreme elements actually manage to achieve power, they will horrify [their followers] in many ways. But that's true with all revolutionary movements.

The core of this movement is tiny, but you only need a tiny, disciplined, well-funded and well-organized group, and then you count on the sympathy of 80 million to 100 million evangelicals. And that's enough. Especially if you don't have countervailing forces, which we don't."


Kris Weinschenker said...

The premise of this book is ludicrous. The rising tide of American Fascism is hardly confined to the political right.

Left-wing special interest groups and judges as just as responsible.

Streak said...

I saw your comment over at Carlos's blog too. Frankly, as I said there, I hope that this book is off the mark as well. I don't want to believe that my evangelical friends and family are sympathetic to rising Fascism. But the connections between these movements and their political/corporate friends are troubling.

You listed others who you think are fascist, but the fact remains, preachers like Rod Parsley and James Dobson (not technically a preacher) have a literal "bully pulpit" that those others lack. Parsley alone is a scary individual. Have you ever watched his "sermons?" They are a textbook case in emotional manipulation, and I think are the opposite of what the Gospel suggests.

ubub said...

What's happening on the left? Did I miss a meeting?

Can Leftists even be fascist? Totalitarian, certainly, but I think by defintion, not fascist.