Tuesday, March 06, 2007

American Fascists

This book is probably more appropriately called CHRISTIAN American Fascists, as that is the topic at hand. If one skips over to Amazon, the usual one star reviews can be found, which a book like this always attracts. Many of the arguments against this book - if the reviewer has even read the book that is, and not just following what his pastor or someone like Rush told him - deal with the fact that the author is talking about the extreme cases. Well, of course he is. These people don't represent the majority of Christians, and Dominionists don't even represent the majority of the religious right, and that is the thrust of this book - that the vanguard of fascism elsewhere never needed a majority and that they seized power because there was little serious response from the mainstream liberal societies, and that therefore these people in the far religious right represent a very real threat to our liberal society and "way of life". These people don't want a reasoned debate, they want to demonize their opposition and many of them would just like to seize power and install a theocracy, and in fact, view the very idea of the "marketplace of ideas" and dissent as treasonous and/or heresy (which is probably why they can't really grasp science all that well). This isn't a conspiracy theory, many in this group have expressed their thoughts on this - you can see footage of one of these "Christian" "leaders" demanding just this sort of thing in The God That Wasn't There or in The Power of Nightmares.

I hope the many conservative critics of this book are correct and I hope the author is wrong. The very recent history has shown that we at least seem to have a temporary reprieve from the advance of these nutjobs - with all the scandals last fall and the decisive defeat of many of the nuttier politicians that are under the sway of these people - e.g., Santorum (although it looks like Fox News has employed that evil, evil man). The problem with most critics of this book is that they denounce the author as someone from the "far left" - apparently "far left" means anyone that criticizes even the craziest among Christians, Republicans, or in the Bush clan. This author has religious bona fides and if any of these goofballs calling him "far left" had bothered to look into that, they wouldn't have tried tarring him with that label.

As I read along and the author painted a picture of these people living in little hermetic bubbles of alternate realities and entire parallel systems, I had to step back and just think about that. Just reflect on this, and what comes to mind is that famous quote that an unnamed Bush staffer gave that was dismissing the "reality-based community". A religious right wingnut can home school his children and indoctrinate them into his worldview, listen to all right wing radio on Clear Channel, or tune into all Christian radio, or watch only Fox News and the Christian television. It's getting even more ridiculous, though: they are trying to construct an alternative "science" (too bad it's really only a political movement and meets no requirements of science at all) in ID, or in critiques of stem cell research and even are so hateful and ill-informed that they come down against HPV prevention.

They even have to construct their own realities on the internet via Conservapedia and CreationWiki, apparently because reality offends them so even on the intertubes - apparently there is a godless communist conspiracy (probably even "sekulur hyooomanist") to use C.E. and B.C.E. instead of the B.C. & A.D., which requires a response to the "liberal" Wikipedia. They even created their own version of Linux.

These people are really embarrassing to sentient beings everywhere, and I can't help but think that if these people get power that we'll have our own version of Lysenkoism in the U.S. - politically correct "science", politically correct "history", etc...Orwell, call your office.

As an aside - to provide some levity, I checked out Bill Maher's "I'm Swiss" DVD from the library around the time when I was reading this book - in there, he was moaning about Christians that prefix something they are about to say with, "well, I'm a Christian..." as if that is a trump card they can throw down that demonstrates how just and moral they are, which of course it doesn't. Other commentary about "moral" Christians were in there, but I really remembered that comment, as I know exactly what he's talking about there, and it's very annoying. If Equal Time laws ever get re-enacted, I hope that Christian radio and television is forced to run Bill Maher, Penn Jillette, etc., commentary as a counterbalance. That'd make my day. :)

Anyway, go read the book, it's really quite good, even if it contains some rather terrifying notions. If you aren't aware of what the Dominionists are and what they are up to, it will open up your eyes.

UPDATE: I went surfing to some favorite sites after writing this, and stumbled across a story on evangelicalright.com talking about TheVanguard.org - talk about an interesting choice of a name!!! VANGUARD? Oh, man.

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