Tuesday, April 21, 2009

shut up, fascist


Once upon a time, some friends and I decided it was really funny to teach little kids to say "Shut up, fascist!" when upset, rather than the typical little-kid epithets like "butthead" or "poopface." So I think it really amusing that "fascist" is now the schoolyard taunt of choice for Republican buttheads like Saul Anuzis.

The actual, historical horrors of real fascism notwithstanding, it speaks to the abysmal lack of direction and message of the Republican Party that they've resorted to the kind of semi-educated name-calling typically reserved for sullen teenagers. Did Obama revoke their facebook privileges or something? But here's the kicker. Anuzis doesn't even know or care what the difference is between the old standby of calling a liberal a "socialist" and his new, hip, punk rock "fascist" label:

“We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Mr. Anuzis said. “Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”

Well... yes, because there are several nations that have adopted some form of socialism that actually, well, works for them. Socialism, in and of itself, is not a "bad thing" with the "negative connotation" it had 20 years ago, because in those 20 years, socialism has become a base from which to build a viable government in many parts of the world. Fascism is still thought of as a bad thing, because (as anyone with wikipedia access would know), nearly every example of it in action has resulted in the slaughter of thousands, forced labor, and government-sanctioned violence. Italy, Spain, Germany... the list goes on. Fascism is the worst kind of human behavior, brought to a vast scale by the worst kinds of human fears.

And at the risk of oversimplifying, it would seem that accusations of fascism would be more appropriately directed toward an administration of obsessive nationalism, oppressive religious leanings, sexism, racism, secrecy, state-sanctioned torture, corporatism, militarism, isolationism, surveillance and cronyism. I'm sure you can think of a recent one.