Transcript: Thom Hartmann talks about fascism. 07 Dec '09.
Okay, I want to just, I want to channel the Vice President of the United States to you for just a moment and then pick up your phone calls here. Back in 1944, because, and I think this is apropos of today because what’s happened is in ’44, we were in the early stages of the beginning of the New Deal era when the middle class got strong and America became strong and the Fascists, that is the corporatists, the people who wanted to merge corporations and state interests, the Fascists were a minority in the United States, a very small number. And keep in mind, this is 1944, this is toward the end of World War II, this is Vice President Henry Wallace and the New York Times wrote him, wrote a letter to him asking him if he would quote “write a piece answering the following questions. What is a fascist? How many fascists have we in the United States? How dangerous are they?”. This is the New York Times asking the sitting Vice President this question.
And Henry Wallace replied. He said, and this is the piece he wrote for the New York Times, in 1944. He said, "The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis", that would be, you know, Japan and Germany. "The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."
Does this sound prescient of Fox News to you? This is the Vice President of the United States in 1944. He said, "If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power …" Now, I’d like you to think about Blackwater or about Halliburton, the company that was nearly bankrupt when Dick Cheney left them because of his stupid purchase of an asbestos company, I think it was WR Grace, and the huge liabilities, all these huge bankruptcy, you know, all these law suits and things. My dad was one of the ones that sued them, I’m quite familiar with this. Their stock was tanking and Halliburton got all these federal contracts and all of a sudden now they’re doing very well, thank you very much. In fact they moved to Dubai.
Anyway, “If we define an American fascist,” this is the Vice President of the United States in 1944 in the New York Times, "If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. … They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead."
"If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. … They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead." American fascists, Vice President Henry Wallace wrote in the New York Times in 1944, “ American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists”, Cartelists, these guys who form the cartel, “the deliberate poisoners of public information.” You get this?
He says Fascism’s greatest threat to the United States will come after the war and will manifest itself within the United States itself. He said, “The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination”.
He said, "The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy". And here’s the kicker. Henry Wallace, Vice President of the United States, in the New York Times, answering the question, 'do we have fascists in the United States?' "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection." Sound familiar?
"The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people", he says. "Democracy to crush fascism internally must ... develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."
And what Reagan started was the, you know Jude Wanniski, we’ve talked about this the two Santa Claus theory, what Reagan started was the bankrupting of America, as David Stockman candidly pointed out back in 1980… what, 3? That they wanted to run up a debt so big that the Democrats would not be able to spend money on social programs. That in fact the debt would be so big that the government would have to start turning things over to private industry. It would have to start selling off big chunks of the government.
This is fascism. And here it is. In America. Now.
Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.
For more on this topic read Thom's article, The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here".