Transcript: 3 Branches of Government, Ur-Fascism, Bush & Savage, Jan 30 2007
"The founders of this country believed it's all about communities; it's all about us together. We are a nation of barn builders. And to say, "Ah, you know, it's all mine". No, I'm sorry. You're the product of a public education system. You didn't die of cholera because we collectively chlorinated your water. I mean, we are a society here."
3 Branches of Government, Ur-Fascism, Bush & Savage, January 30 2007
The founders and framers; the founders of this country and the framers of the constitution, had this very clear vision of three branches of government that were co-equal. Now, the first among equals was the one that was the most responsive to the people, that is, Congress; it's directly elected by us.
The second among equals was the presidency. It's not directly elected by us; it was elected by a council of wise elders who were selected by the states. And in the early days, the states could select that council of wise elders, otherwise known as the Electoral College, any way they wanted. This was based on the old Saxton [Saxon - ed.], prior to the Norman Invasion, prior to 1099 in England [1066 - ed.], based on the way the Saxon Kings were picked in what is now the British Isles. This goes back to the Old Whig histories that Jefferson was so fond of. So, the second among equals, the president.
And the third among equals was the Supreme Court, which we borrowed in large part not just from the court system of England but also from the Iroquois Confederacy. Interestingly though, among the Iroquois, only women could be on the court. But nonetheless, the idea was that the laws would be made by the legislative branch representing the will of people and then there had to be another branch of government that was also the servant of the people that would make sure that the laws were executed. In other words, that would carry out the will of the legislature, that would run the police forces, that would be that the commander in chief of the army, that would that would see to it that the nation was defended, that would put into place any agencies that government, that the legislature decides to put into place in order to do those core things that are enumerated; those 6 core items that are listed in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States; to:
"establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".
Well, I would suggest that we're seeing in antithesis of this now. It's a headlong rush, just an absolute headlong rush, and one that frankly has some significant dangers associated with it.
You know, Umberto Eco came up with his fourteen, he called it Ur-Fascism, eternal fascism, fourteen dimensions of it. Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt by Umberto Eco.
He says the first feature were Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition. By the way, Chris Hedges has a new book called American Fascism: The Christian Right and the War on America. I just spent about a half hour with him. A brilliant, in fact he was on this program last week, brilliant guy. A graduate of the Harvard Divinity School, and he and I both identify ourselves as Christians and are both horrified by these guys. I call them Christianists; very, very different thing and that's what George Bush is about. Number one; a cult of tradition. Fourteen elements of fascism.
Number two: traditionalism implies rejection of modernism.
Number three: rationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake. See, I'm telling you, this is what we're seeing in this, in what is happening with the executive order published last week in the Federal Register. This is where I started, actually, with this thing, and I'm going to come back to it, is this story in the New York Times today by Robert Pear about how George Bush has decided to increase the power that he as president has over whether or not he's going to enforce any laws that Congress makes; over whether or not the regulatory agencies that Congress brings into being are going to do the things that he wants or not, rather than what Congress wants.
Number four in Umberto Eco's fourteen points of fascism; Ur-Fascism: the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.
Number five: Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity. He says, "Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference". The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition. A little off the topic here but good point.
Number 6: Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. I would submit to you that one of the reasons that Bush feels that he can grab power like this is because there is widespread fear in the United States. There is a sense, a feeling of disconnect. 26 years of a Conservative war on the middle class in America declared by Ronald Reagan in 1981. He kicked it off by firing the PATCO, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Association; the PATCO workers. And it's gone downhill ever since, from free trade agreements to the 1986 amnesty for illegal aliens, the continuous increase in the labor force thus driving down the cost of labor. Alan Greenspan, 1997, telling the Wall Street Journal that he felt that one of his jobs as Chairman of the Fed was to maintain a certain minimum level of worker insecurity. That insecurity is played on very, very adequately by the demagogues and it's one of the reasons I think frankly that many Americans are willing to allow, tragically, but willing to allow Bush to grab as much power as he wants.
Number seven from Umberto Eco: To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. It's all about the nation, right.
Number eight: The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies. You ever hear the cons talk about the 'liberal elites, the limousine liberals'? This is fascist talk.
Number nine: For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle. Forget about peace. Forget about those high words of Dwight Eisenhower and Jack Kennedy about peace. Let's bring peace to the world, no, no, no, no. It's about struggle. "We're going to get the guys who did this to us". Consider for a moment Michael Wiener. Michael Wiener is a talk show host in San Francisco, nationally syndicated. He goes by the name Michael Savage, taking on Bernie Sanders. Here is, this is just a great example of what I'm talking about here.
SAVAGE: So, this guy Saunders goes up, Bernie Sanders -- Saunders, is it? Or Sanders? What is his name? He's a complete and total lunatic... So, here's Vermont socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, the commie from Brooklyn, and a voice on him, like -- this guy was like a ward chairman for a democrat in the 1930s he sounds like, or an ILGW low-level hack. He sounds like he could have been like Barbara Boxer's father. Listen to clip one.
SANDERS [audio clip]: We have got to address the reality that, in the United States today, we have by far the most unfair distribution of wealth and income of any major industrialized country -
SAVAGE: Kiss my behind, you psycho.
SANDERS [audio clip]: -- and that we have a moral obligation -
SAVAGE: Screw you, you jealous loser.
SANDERS [audio clip]: -- and we have a growing gap between the rich and the poor -
You get this? You get this? This is a talk show host. I mean, this is the world view of these frankly terrified conservatives in America and they are being whipped into more and more fear by these modern day Father Coughlins who are, well, here, just a few more seconds of it:
SAVAGE: Go to hell. How's that? Go to hell. I worked all my life for what I have and you'll have to kill me to get it from me, you rat… Listen to this dirty socialist in clip two.
SANDERS [audio clip]: How often do we hear people say, "USA, number one"? And I share that sentiment. Unfortunately, in terms of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, we are also number one -
SAVAGE: Oh God!
SANDERS [audio clip]: -- and that is not being number one.
SAVAGE: Go to hell. How about going to hell? Get him out. Get him off my headphones.
There. You see? You get the point here? It's all about me. It's not about us. This is the fundamental difference between the conservative and the fascist world view, frankly, and the progressive or liberal world view on which this country was founded. The founders of this country believed it's all about communities; it's all about us together. We are a nation of barn builders. And to say, "Ah, you know, it's all mine". No, I'm sorry. You're the product of a public education system. You didn't die of cholera because we collectively chlorinated your water. I mean, we are a society here.