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Copyright © 2007 riceNpeas

Where is the line drawn between Neo-Conservativism and Fascism? And just how far off are the initiatives of the Bush Administration from those of the Third Reich?

The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary defines the word fascism as: “a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.”

Neo-conservativism, which originated in the 1960’s in response to the newfound uprising of extreme liberalism, has taken route in today’s political arena at a level of unparalleled dimensions. A look at the policies and initiatives of neo-conservative governments reveals their hidden agenda, which are not too dissimilar from those of Nazi Germany.

The Administration currently in power is, by far, the most conservative government to ever hold US office. The Bush Administration’s policies of tax breaks for the wealthiest citizens of the country clearly demonstrate a strict division between classes, and hence, races. But the domestic racism and classism is child’s play compared to its fervent and manipulative demonization of Islam. When George W. Bush addressed the world on television, declaring the Iraqis “haters of freedom” and furthermore claiming that “God” sent him to attack Iraq, the propaganda machine took flight. Just as Adolph Hitler implemented ludicrous stereotypes to turn the Jews into his scapegoat, so has Bush stirred up hatred and fear amongst the American public toward the so-called “terrorists” and their still-uncovered “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” While its racism is nowhere nearly as blatant as that of the Third Reich, government-projected racism emerges today in a devious and much more subtle manner. From random searches at airports to the active police suspicions based on the cloth covering one’s head, the discrimination is beyond evident. Despite cautious warnings regarding tolerance toward “those Muslims who aren’t terrorists,” Islamophobia in America is at an all-time high.

The current initiatives of the US against socialist movements throughout Latin America demonstrate its fascist approach to foreign policy. From the more-than-half-century-long economic genocide the US has launched against Cuba to the recent demonization of Hugo Chavez by politicians and the media, the US agenda is clear: crush anyone who refuses to conform to its clever masquerade of “democracy.”

Media control was a huge part of Hitler’s campaign; not to be outdone, media control has been fully utilized by the US Establishment. The major US media outlets are owned, operated, controlled, and censored by a dozen or so very powerful corporations who have an invested interest in the politics of the conservative right. Through this vein, journalists are no longer journalists, but trained actors reading from a script of propaganda designed to brainwash the public into pride for nation and unfaltering belief in their government. Independent media initiatives which succeed in causing even the slightest rock of the boat face the harsh and swift retaliation of the Administration. Independent film-maker Michael Moore recently sent out a letter to the members of his mailing list, discussing the obstacles with which he was faced prior to the premiere of his most recent film, Sicko. In that letter, he stated:

Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, launched an investigation of a trip I took to Cuba to film scenes for the movie. These scenes involve a group of 9/11 rescue workers who are suffering from illnesses obtained from working down at Ground Zero. They have received little or no help with their health care from the government. I do not want to give away what actually happens in the movie because I don't want to spoil it for you (although I'm sure you'll hear much about it after it unspools Saturday). Plus, our lawyers have advised me to say little at this point, as the film goes somewhere far scarier than ‘Cuba.’ Rest assured of one thing: no laws were broken. All I've done is violate the modern-day rule of journalism that says, ‘ask no questions of those in power or your luncheon privileges will be revoked.’

This preemptive action taken by the Bush Administration on the eve of the Sicko premiere in Cannes led our attorneys to fear for the safety of our film, noting that Secretary Paulson may try to claim that the content of the movie was obtained through a violation of the trade embargo that our country has against Cuba and the travel laws that prohibit average citizens of our free country from traveling to Cuba. (The law does not prohibit anyone from exercising their first amendment right of a free press and documentaries are protected works of journalism.)

I was floored when our lawyers told me this. ‘Are you saying they might actually confiscate our movie?’ ‘Yes,’ was the answer. ‘These days, anything is possible. Even if there is just a 20 percent chance the government would seize our movie before Cannes, does anyone want to take that risk?’ Certainly not. So there we were last week, spiriting a duplicate master negative out of the country just so no one from the government would take it from us. (Seriously, I can't believe I just typed those words! Did I mention that I'm an American, and this is America and NO ONE should ever have to say they had to do such a thing?)

Indeed, the rights of private citizens of the United States have been more than infringed upon since the events of 9/11. With the passing of the fascist Patriot Act, US citizens are subject to random search and seizure, violation of privacy, and other legal rights. But the most terrifying of these acts comes in the form of practices that the world thought dead after the Japanese-American concentration camps of the 1940’s were exposed: the capture and retention of Muslims, indefinitely and without trial, at Guantanamo Bay.

This neo-conservative government is frightening, not just because of its likeness to fascism, but, moreover, because of its success in masquerading as the forefront of democracy. But perhaps most terrifying is the successful manipulation of duping the public into believing that they truly have a “free press.”

1st July 2007

Neo-Conservativism: Fascism Re-Branded?
By Jill A. Bolstridge