In need to find something?
Custom Search
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Friday, May 19, 2006

Merrily skipping down the path towards Fascism

Technorati tags: , , ,

In doing the research for myAsylum's Da Vinci Code post yesterday, I came across a discource on Fascism in relation to the Opus Dei movement.

The article, entitled What is Fascism was written by Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, in Boston. While Berlet's article centers around the definition of Italian Fascism and similarities that Fascism has with Nazism, Walski couldn't help but notice some disturbing similarities with the politi-social environment here and now Malaysia.

As you read the rest of the post, ponder for a moment what similarites you see (or don't see).

First, Berlet states that Fascists particularly loathe "the social theories of the French Revolution and its slogan: 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity' ", and goes on to elaborate the three slogans and what the Fascists find loathesome (emphasis by myAsylum):

*** Liberty from oppressive government intervention in the daily lives of its citizens, from illicit searches and seizures, from enforced religious values, from intimidation and arrest for dissenters; and liberty to cast a vote in a system in which the majority ruled but the minority retained certain inalienable rights.

*** Equality in the sense of civic equality, egalitarianism, the notion that while people differ, they all should stand equal in the eyes of the law.

*** Fraternity in the sense of the brotherhood of mankind. That all women and men, the old and the young, the infirm and the healthy, the rich and the poor, share a spark of humanity that must be cherished on a level above that of the law, and that binds us all together in a manner that continuously re-affirms and celebrates life.

Berlet then lists several characteristics where Fascism and Nazism are similar (or where they differ); and this is where it gets a little more interesting. The text in this color is by myAsylum, pointing out Walski's own observations. (the 11 characteristics and more in the full post)

1. Nationalism and super-patriotism with a sense of historic mission.
The idea of patriotism, vis-a-vis Malaysia, always implores the love and devotion of the Government, as opposed to the proper definition of patriotism (which is the love and devotion to one's country)

2. Aggressive militarism even to the extent of glorifying war as good for the national or individual spirit
This, thankfully, we don't have at present - but is what the U.S. is experiencing.

3. Use of violence or threats of violence to impose views on others
Flashback last Sunday in Penang; while the disruption was not Government sponsored, there are allegations that the police were in collusion with the mob of protesters. This is not the first time a mob (purportedly acting on behalf of "the people" have disrupted peaceful discussions, solely to suppress a differing point of view from being discussed. In other words, using (or threatening to use) violence to impose their view on others.

4. Authoritarian reliance on a leader or elite not constitutionally responsible to an electorate
Sound familiar? In Walski's opinion, the attempts to impose moral policing and the authority of the religious departments border on this characteristic of fascism

5. Cult of personality around a charismatic leader
This, in fact, underlines the foundation of our entire political party system, if you were to ask Walski

6. Reaction against the values of Modernism, usually with emotional attacks against both liberalism and communism
There are enough similarities here in recent events. Liberal = Bad... etc. Or how advancement of the arts "damages" culture (yes, we had to find a way to fit AA in this post!)

7. Exhortations for the homogeneous masses of common folk to join voluntarily in a heroic mission; often metaphysical and romanticized in character
IMHO UMNO/BN uses a hell of a lot of this type of rhetoric, particularly when talking to their grassroots support

8. Dehumanization and scapegoating of the enemy; seeing the enemy as an inferior or subhuman force, perhaps involved in a conspiracy that justifies eradicating them
Same observation as in comments to point #7 - but echoed by many others in positions of authority (i.e. not necessarily only the elected officials)

9. The self image of being a superior form of social organization beyond socialism, capitalism and democracy
Self-evident in certain aspects of political rhetoric from certain "green" parties calling for Islamic statehood

10. Elements of national socialist ideological roots, for example, ostensible support for the industrial working class or farmers; but ultimately, the forging of an alliance with an elite sector of society
In the local context, this would probably be identifying with a certain politically well-connected bunch, big business in particular

11. Abandonment of any consistent ideology in a drive for state power
While the Government has laid out (several) long-term ideological targets, these frequently get side-tracked for the sake of political expediency

Now, Walski is no political scientist, but as a thnking citizen, there are just way too many similarities to brush off as being coincidental. Mind you, Malaysia is not unique in having a sociopolitical climate that can be identified as fascist. The same could be argued about the United States of America, today, under Dubya. And many other so-called democracies.

So, what do you, dear reader of myAsylum, think? Is Malaysia slipping towards fascism? Or is Walski thinking too damn much?

Or, worse, are we already there?