Friday, March 04, 2016

America as Weimar. Anschluss for Canada?

It's a development that's been predicted with dread for some time - the end of constitutional democracy in America and the rise of a post-constitutional, authoritarian and fascist state. It's a descent patterned on the demise of Germany's Weimar Republic. Of course it could never happen. Of course plenty of Germans said the same thing and came to regret it.

Chris Hedges says it begins with seismic demographic unrest now underway in his homeland.

There are tens of millions of Americans, especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on them by college-educated elites from both political parties: Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.

These Americans want a kind of freedom—a freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like “nigger,” “kike,” “spic,” “chink,” “raghead” and “fag.” They want the freedom to idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their cryptofascism. They want the freedom to celebrate historical movements and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy. They want the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And they want the freedom to revel in hypermasculinity, racism, sexism and white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state.

The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game by anointing Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. She epitomizes the double-dealing of the college-educated elites, those who speak the feel-your-pain language of ordinary men and women, who hold up the bible of political correctness, while selling out the poor and the working class to corporate power.

The Republicans, energized by America’s reality-star version of Il Duce, Donald Trump, have been pulling in voters, especially new voters, while the Democrats are well below the voter turnouts for 2008. In the voting Tuesday, 5.6 million votes were cast for the Democrats while 8.3 million went to the Republicans. Those numbers were virtually reversed in 2008—8.2 million for the Democrats and about 5 million for the Republicans.

Donald Trump rebukes his critics in the establishment Republican ranks by insisting that he, the Donald is growing the GOP ranks. He is bringing in new supporters and he alone will get enough Americans out to vote Republicans to reclaim the White House. All they'll have to do is sacrifice liberal democracy, the constitution and the rule of law.

Chris Hedges thinks Richard Rorty's prediction in his 1998 book "Achieving our Country" is coming to pass:

'...members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

'At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen.'

Oh, my goodness. I just thought of something. If this is America's Weimar moment, what does that mean for Canada? Will we become America's Austria? Is there Anschluss in our future?


Meanwhile, a new survey seems to support Hedges' dark outlook. The poll identified the two most common factors in Trump supporters - an appetite for authoritarianism and a fear of terrorism. Hint: might be time to invest in that jackboot factory.


Pamela Mac Neil said...

I finally found your blog Mound. Progblog only shows the the first 2 pages so your blog cannot be accessed from there. Finally, which I should have done sooner, I just googled you.Your question, Is there Anschluss in our future? I think indeed there is. Judging by the present governments stand on CETA and its ISDS clause we're ripe for the picking. Freelands spin that this deal is gold plated, tells me that she and her government will be ratifying the TPP also with useless amendments to the the TPP's ISDS clause. I think the libs also showed their hand when they voted for the conservative motion to disapprove of any organization, group or individuals supporting BDS against Israel.I guess violating the Charter of Rights and Freedom is not an issue.I really see the Libs doing what the US wants with their Neoliberal agenda. It's early days, but I don't think sovereignty means much to this government. Glad I found your blog.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Pamela. Lorne, Owen and a few others are still hanging in at Canadian Progressives. No idea when Scott Tribe is going to get ProgBlog up again but the delay isn't encouraging. It's going on two weeks now for something that should have been fixable in a day or two. He stopped making any mention of ProgBlog on his Facebook page several days ago. Those of us who go back to the days of Liblogs know these aggregators come and go.

Like you, I've found this government pretty disappointing on the big-ticket items. They'll go after the low-hanging fruit readily enough but fail to show any spine on the Saudi war wagon deal, BDS and now on climate change and pipelines. I stayed with the Libs from Pierre Trudeau on but I couldn't stay after Ignatieff came in and today I'm glad I moved to the Greens.

crf said...

On the anschluss, this book by Diane Francis (a long time National Post columnist) came out a few years ago (I have not read it):

I think the constituency for that idea, even at the height of Stephen Harper's reign, has always been very small.

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not sure Francis' book was more successful than Ignatieff's biography of his maternal ancestors, the Grants. Let's hope she wasn't counting on the royalties. Even Conrad Black ridiculed her arguments for unification. Now that we see what remains of America's democracy at the edge of an extremist abyss her position is preposterous.

Toby said...

I alternate between Canadian Progressives and Progressive Bloggers. They take turns failing their RSS feeds.

As to Anschluss, I have long believed that if Canada was to try to keep a critical resource such as oil, uranium or water for internal consumption only that the Marines would be up here to save us. A people that would overturn a foreign country for bananas, as the US did with Guatamala, would have no reservations about storming Canada. I suspect Eisenhower made that clear to Deifenbaker over the Arrow.

Anonymous said...

for a while now I've thought that the u.s. is Canada's only real potential threat; as the effects of climate change roll on and Canada in inundated with American immigrants, refugees (will they be heading to Mexico?! I don't think so.) and visitors that never seem to leave, we're going to have a sizable number of u.s. citizens that will need to be 'protected' by the homeland. an anchluss, or more likely Sudetenland style development is entirely possible.