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Notes on Obama & Liberal Fascism

I'm getting a lot of email about Obama's candidacy and how it plays into my book. I think there's a lot one could say about it, though I haven't really thought it all through yet. The beauty of Hillary Clinton's "politics of meaning" was that there's an enormous paper trail â€" a book even â€" to work with. I've read bits of The Audacity of Hope, but none of the rest of Obama's stuff. Anyway here are some notes to ponder and elicit feedback. It's a bit choppy, but so be it.

I think the most obvious place to start is whether Obama is promoting something like a political religion. The messianic nature of Obama's campaign has been noted by many for a long time now. He often sounds like he's reviving the social gospel. There's even a website called "Is Barack Obama the Messiah?"

Many of the tropes of a political religion/liberal fascism are evident. He exalts unity as it's own reward. His talk of starting new and starting over often sounds like more than merely "turning the page" on the Bush-Clinton years. It sounds a bit like starting at Year Zero.

But what I find most intriguing is his rhetoric of destiny and "choseness." He often makes it sound like he has been selected by forces of providence or God or simply history for this moment. He is, in Oprah's words, "The One." But even more interesting, he tells voters they are the ones. “This is it,� Obama proclaimed on Super Tuesday. “We are the ones we've been waiting for, we are the change that we seek.� That’s pretty oracular stuff.

Tellingly, "we are the ones we've been waiting for" is some Native American spiritualism warmed up for New Age audiences.

It's also telling that this divinization of the masses and/or the movement has a long pedigree, going back at least to the French Revolution. The Jacobins claimed that the French Nation represented the new "chosen people." The Italian Fascists said the same thing about the Italians. The Nazis believed likewise about the Germans. The Bolsheviks, too, believed in their own predestination of sorts in that they believed the cold impersonal forces of history had conspired to produce the vanguard of the proletariat, or something like that, which had been vested by History with mission to create a new utopia. "On earth,� John Reed wrote of the Bolsheviks, “they were building a kingdom more bright than any heaven had to offer, and for which it was a glory to die.�

Indeed, this sense that "this is our momentâ€? and that “we are the change that we seekâ€? seems to be hardwired into all of the political religions. Albert Beveridge at the Progressive Party Convention â€" where the crowd sang "We Will Follow Jesus" with Teddy Roosevelt's name replacing Jesus' â€" proclaimed “God has marked us as His chosen people, henceforth to lead in the regeneration of the world.â€?

As I discuss at length in the book, totalitarianism was for Mussolini a way of uniting businesses, classes, regions, religions, institutions and people from “all walks of lifeâ€? â€" in Obama’s words â€" in a common cause for the common good. These segments of society would band together, like sticks around the fasces. This was a sacred, spiritual, calling. “Fascism,â€? Il Duce declared time and again, “is a religion.â€? And the animating dogma of that faith was that if we’re all in it together there’s nothing we can’t do. Everything in the state, nothing outside the state.

Such a vision is comforting because it plays upon man’s inherent desire to belong, to be protected by his fellow man and his community. “Strength in numbers� is the narcotic of all populists, the logic of all “people powered movements� as leftwing bloggers like to say (though for reasons that defy easy analysis, the left has mastered the art of casting itself as the voice of the dissidents against the oppressive, stultifying “herd mentality� even as it places the group at the top of its hierarchy of political aesthetics). This is the motivating passion behind the fascist quest for order.

Sometimes it sounds like Obama wants to talk about God's plan when he's talking about his own campaign for a New Order. But most times, you can see that he wants to stay on the secular side of the divide â€" where his white base resides â€" but without giving up the prophetic vision. He wants to persuade his followers, and perhaps himself, that he is elect, but he cannot do so without religious language.

This reminds me of a passage from Eugen Weber’s brilliant Varieties of Fascism:

“…part of the confusion over the true character of Fascism comes from its advocacy of ‘order’ â€" a term we generally associate with conservatism or reaction. But Fascist order envisages not the status quo â€" or the status quo ante â€" but a more or less definite order of its own. The Fascist leader, now that God is dead, cannot conceive of himself as the elect of God. He believes he is elect, but does not quite know of what â€" presumably of history or obscure historical forces. The elect of God establishes or guards God’s order; the Fascist leader seeks a similar justification â€" but in the absence of ultimate authority, the order is one that he defines himself…â€?

The word order is a fossil of its living self today. Beyond academia and bromides about “law and order� nobody uses it or appreciates its full connotations. We should spend a moment excavating it.

Today, liberals do not use the word “order.â€? They say “securityâ€? â€" economic security, social security, health security â€" but the meaning is largely the same. All of the liberal arguments about globalization, job security, free trade, free markets and the like promise to increase a sense of safety, of belonging. There is nothing wrong with security, of course. But, we should take liberals at their word when they say this enterprise is not “conservative.â€? They do not want to restore the security of tradition, the order of old arrangements. They want to design a new “socialâ€? security grounded in progressive principles. This is the desired system that a politics of meaning is supposed to deliver.

For example, Obama says people want a spiritual community:

They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. They’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to themâ€"that they are not just destined to travel down that long highway towards nothingness.

For Obama the salve of salvation can be found not in scripture but in politics and political action under the transcendent banner of "unity":

If enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hourâ€"the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.


Joe Knippenberg, reviewing Obama's statements on religion writes:

Obama speaks as if the first move of someone faithful to God’s word is to call for government action, not to act directly through his or her own charitable efforts. Those who don’t engage in political action of the sort he approves are apparently hypocrites, satisfied with mere words. His religious commitments are a kind of conversation-stopper, as the late Richard Rorty once said.

This reminds me of perhaps my favorite vignette from the book:

Walter Rauschenbusch offers the best short explanation of the Social Gospel for our purposes. A professor at the Rochester Theological Seminary and a onetime preacher on the outskirts of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, the slender clergyman with a thin goatee had become the informal leader of the movement when he published Christianity and the Social Crisis in 1907. “Unless the ideal social order can supply men with food, warmth and comfort more efficiently than our present economic order,� he warned, “back we shall go to Capitalism . . . ‘The God that answereth by low food prices,’ � he boomed, “let him be God.’"

In other words, God had chosen his preferred economic system, and any religious faith, doctrine or revelation that suggested otherwise must be false. God is a socialist, dagnabit, and if a God who isn't a socialist speaks to you in a small, still voice, turn your back on Him. The state, according to Rauschenbusch was "the medium through which the people shall co-operate in their search for the kingdom of God and its righteousness.�

In my book I concentrate on Hillary Clinton's "village" and her Politics of Meaning. But it seems to me that Obama is every bit the practitioner of his own politics of meaning and his own conception of a village-like community.

Anyway, this is all just a jumble of thoughts. But that’s sort of why this blog exists. More thoughts to come, I’m sure, as it looks like Obama isn’t going anywhere.

From: Jonah Goldberg
 

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Yeah... REAL riled up queen! :roll:

Liberal fascism is an oxymoron... just like conservative intellect. :D :D :D

It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that you somehow feel it's wrought with deep philosophical relevancy though. clown: clown:
 

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A perfectly acceptable analysis Bonzo. I might not agree 100%, but it does appear the nuances are there.

Webo, do you have any ACTUAL information to share, or are you just a nasty mouth these days?
 

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Jonah Goldberg..................... :lol:

Whale bait himself, the doughy pantload, demon spawn of Lucianne......... :roll:

This is what the right is reduced to ?
A bunch of sophist fallacy and dubious connections tenuously made from wisps of thread ?
I knew they were hard up for 'ideas' and 'thinkers' , but I didn't think they were THAT hard up.
Guess the party is truly in shambles at this point.
:mrgreen:
 

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This is what the right is reduced to ?
A bunch of sophist fallacy and dubious connections tenuously made from wisps of thread ?
I knew they were hard up for 'ideas' and 'thinkers' , but I didn't think they were THAT hard up.
Guess the party is truly in shambles at this point.
As long as Al Franken calls the left side of the aisle home, I would call it a draw.
 
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Boy.....aren't you just full of yourself. When you said: "I'm getting a lot of email about Obama's candidacy and how it plays into my book" How it plays into your book??? Like you're going to have some major impact to the presidential election. :roll:

However, I do respect the time, energy and the thoughts you put into your writings. One thing it does tell me is that people are thinking about Obama very seriosly (whether good, bad or indifferent). He gets the peoples attention. I've seen more writings about this person than any of the other candiates on this website alone. clap:

He is by no means the second coming of christ (almost like you're trying to portay him that way). That's a little extreme don't you think. :shock:

He hasn't spoken to god, like our current president quoted a while back. I could be wrong....maybe it was god spoke to him. conf:

One more thing.....BONZO...."Stay away from the light, the light is bad"!!! :lol:
 
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DBAppraiser said:
Boy.....aren't you just full of yourself. When you said: "I'm getting a lot of email about Obama's candidacy and how it plays into my book" How it plays into your book??? Like you're going to have some major impact to the presidential election. :roll:

I think that is part of the cut and paste article. wink:
If it was....I apologize. It was quite lengthy.
 

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Liberal Facism has a ring of reality to it. Especially if you watch them in action at a lecture they don't like.
 

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Eh by gum these Righties must be getting worried.

Come October they will be booking themselves into rehab clinics until the vote is over. :lol:
 

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sir john said:
Eh by gum these Righties must be getting worried.

Come October they will be booking themselves into rehab clinics until the vote is over. :lol:
I guess I/they don't want to live in a country like Great Britain.

The people backing Hillary may not jump on Obama's bandwagon. They may decide McCain is the better choice. At this point in the game, polls are no where near a reflection of the actual outcome. It's easy for Obama to play the victim of Hillary, but when Obama has to face the disabled Veteran, the tables may just get turned.
 

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One socialist barks at the crowd and th eothe bites the author of the article. Niether can dispute any of the content.

All is well in the world.
 

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FS I still think McCain is too old for the job, I did not want a religious guy in the job. The only reason I see that Huck is staying in the race is that he hopes that McCain will croak it and leave the field open to him. Altho he will not say so.

I have been against Hillay from the start.

As for Obama as one old black lady said on our TV, "I was going to vote for Hillary but after Bill mentioned colour then I decided to vote for Obama but cannot see White America letting him live to be made President."
 

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If this were 30 years ago, I might agree on McCain's age. With improved health care and longevity in the last few decades, I'm not concerned about McCain being too old.

I've spent the majority of my adult life working with the elderly in one form or another and from my perspective, they're the only ones who "get it" most of the time. Unless they have a socialist mindset such as yours, in which case we should just try to humor them. :mrgreen:
 

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You must address their well being too fs. Double or triple the dose of prune juice in Sir John's case and some others with the same affliction.
 

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Jabba, there is something out there that works far better than prune juice, as I found out yesterday by accident. For Valentines day I bought some sugar free chocolates...

OMG! Do not eat that stuff! I will not go into the aweful details, just take my word for it.
 

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lol. I am a type 2 so I know about sugar free. But just why would you buy sugar free Chocolate? Hell if you're gonna sin you might as well enjoy it.
 

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Supposedly, it has 27 grams of carbs and you only have to count 2 of them. That's because the laxative effect takes care of the other 25 I guess!

Anyway, that stuff should be sold with carbon credits. Husband says he was cold all night because the blankets kept floating off.
 
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