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      Freedom, Fascism, Deception, and Rationality

                                                                                                          Earth Manifesto Insights

                                                                                                              Dr. Tiffany B. Twain  

                                                                                                             September 2005

Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."  Our greatest protection from the tyranny that is subtly encroaching upon us is NOT in the defensive and offensive weaponry that we amass, but rather, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "in the preservation of the spirit that prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere."  When we allow freedoms to be taken away and the rights of others to be trampled upon, we embark on a slippery-slope course that facilitates rigidity of culture, anti-democratic suppression of opposition, intolerance of deviation from doctrine, and blind obedience to authoritarian rule.

The unsustainable credit-driven boom and speculative excesses of the 1920's led to the severe economic depression of the 1930's.  During those challenging times, very high unemployment led to extreme social unrest and a natural appeal of fascism, which is an "idealistic" extreme right-wing political philosophy that promises security, stability, certainty, identity, and the insidious illusion that the common people share power with the controlling elite.

Fascism uses people's fear of internal and external threats to gain power.  The fascism of Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy was discredited in World War II, at a terrible worldwide cost of about 50 million dead.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks greatly empowered a "neoconservative" agenda, which parallels the fascist model in its methods of obtaining, expanding, maintaining and abusing power.  The Project for a New American Century is the figurative Mein Kampf of the neoconservative movement.  It masquerades as an idealism that essentially advocates an aggressive Manifest Destiny doctrine of American supremacy.  It says that worldwide domination is the best way to make the world safe for American principles and interests and global capitalism.  It is unfortunately a doctrine that in practice posits that almost any means is justified to accomplish its ends, no matter how harmful, unethical, immoral, anti-democratic, dangerous, or destructive these means are to people and the future and the physical environment upon which we depend.

Our government and its right-wing cronies can be seen to be effectively channeling the salient characteristics of proto-fascist regimes.  To wit, they:

 (1) hype up patriotism and nationalism;

 (2) sow fear of an illusive enemy;

 (3) aggressively ramp up military spending;

 (4) pander to the corporate elite;

 (5) suppress the power of organized labor;

 (6) allow business and political bribery and corruption;

 (7) control the mass media;

 (8) use relentless political spin, propaganda, secrecy, and disinformation;

 (9) use smear campaign tactics and election fraud;

 (10) obsess over crime and harsh punishment;

 (11) effectively attack human rights and the sovereignty of other nations;

 (12) reduce civil liberties under the guise of protecting national security;

 (13) embrace capital punishment and allow torture of prisoners;

 (14) portray themselves as staunch defenders of religion;

 (15) advance policies that are sexist, anti-abortion and homophobic;

 (16) capitalize on alienation and divisiveness;  and,

 (17) disdain intellectuals and liberals and scientific understandings and the arts.

One of the most significant characteristics of an authoritarian society is its willingness to distort the truth and to simultaneously suppress dissent.  History has shown that the greater and more one-sided political power becomes, the more inevitable it is that scandal, corruption and the abuse of power arises.

Ideas have great potential power.  The pen is occasionally mightier than the sword, and more enlightened progressive ideas must eventually gain sway over wrong-headed neoconservative doctrines.  My hope is that these Evolutionary Understandings and the whole Earth Manifesto will come to be seen as a powerful force that help counter the wrong-headed ideas of neoconservatism.  These writings are what I personally hope will spark an intelligent and dramatic revolution in thinking and action in the United States, and contribute to a needed positive transformation in our societies.

What will it take to shake the U.S. loose from its domination by greedy and reprehensible vested interests that are creating severely myopic government?  How can we reduce the profligate waste of taxpayer funds on pork-barrel projects?  How can we stem the flow of red ink?  How can we make our society more long-term oriented?  How can we change our society in positive way, and prevent it from being so socially irresponsible, ruthlessly partisan, dangerously anti-progressive, smugly self-righteous, and hypocritically religious in an unchristian kind of way?  How can we create a society that does not use terrifying fear-mongering tactics, and that is not so aggressively militaristic and eager to allow war-profiteers to make money at the expense of fairer goals?  How can we find a way to make our economy less dishonestly misleading and ecologically foolish?

How, my fellow Americans, can we have fallen prey to political leadership that is so pathetically wrong-headed and divisive and disingenuous and dishonest and corrupt?  What happened to the Republican decency that fifty years ago stood for integrity, pragmatism, and thrift?  Why has it become sidetracked from its commitment to healthy community and broad-minded education?  Why has it abandoned the idea that

we must build and maintain a sound physical infrastructure?  What about the important value of peaceful coexistence?  

How have we let today's deceptive rhetoric become dominant?  I refer to the rhetoric that says:  Be optimistic and have faith -- trust us! -- let business regulate itself;  just shop and consume more for economic good times;  support tax breaks for the rich so that they will trickle down to the poor;  there is no need to balance our national budget, or to pay as we go;  polluters should not be required to pay for clean-up costs for the pollution that they cause;  and let's not harm our economy or the outlook for jobs no matter what impact this policy has on the environment, on workers' health, on resource depletion, or on the degradation of public lands.

How has it come about that we give Big Business ever increasing subsidies and tax breaks, and let it externalize so many healthcare and environmental costs onto society?  Why do we let logging and mining companies have greater access to exploit our National Forests?  Must we let mining companies drill for oil and gas on all our public lands?  Why do we let the tiny snowmobile industry have such easy access to use their noisy, wildlife-upsetting, polluting vehicles in Yellowstone National Park?  Should we not pause and consider the common sense in using up natural resources at the fastest possible rate?

Should we embrace scientific understandings, or go along with those who say that we cannot afford to do anything about greenhouse gas emissions and environmental toxins?  Can we not find something more intelligent and effective than abstinence-only programs?  Must we not take a longer view of the dangers caused by rapid population growth?  Our President is not God-approved, and he sure doesn’t represent any sane idea of father-know-best.  What’s with the cowboy mentality, the dangerous "Bring 'em on" attitude?  Shouldn’t we challenge fundamentalists who want to teach our children the narrow conceptions of Intelligent Design rather than the elegant and evidence-supported understandings of evolution?  When will we officially to reject the extreme prejudices of some against lesbians and gay men?  Can we not have more a more reasoned and intuitive approach to dealing with ecological challenges like deforestation, fresh water waste, damages to fisheries and coral reefs, and the like?

Why can we not embrace a more christian attitude of loving our neighbors, or at least sensibly having a Golden Rule live-and-let-live attitude?  Can we not once and for all enshrine the separation of Church and State in our Bill of Rights, and prevent the pious fundamentalists from proselytizing for Jesus in our schools?  Can we not prevent people from being malicious toward those who do not share our self-righteous beliefs?  Can we not officially accept that our nation’s ideals include compassion, honor, noble purpose, and generosity, and not selfish righteousness, arrogance, bullying, special privileges, envy, fear, distrust, hatred and violence?

It is up to all of us to help figure out what we can do to best address these deceptive ideas, and the daunting issues we face.  We must drum up a groundswell of cultural creativity, effective advocacy, and mainstream support to help actualize better strategies to ensure that our societies progress in wholesome, sustainable ways.  

Our one-party federal capitol, Washington, D.C., must be told that American citizens demand better.  We must cease being blinded by the right, and courageously embrace constructive, progressive change!

At a minimum, we should all consume more responsibly.  We must not support extremism.  Let us collectively engage, mobilize, and strive to influence political decisions on local, state, and national levels.

Write to your Senators or Representatives asking that they enact bipartisan initiatives that create fairer, more far-sighted policies emphasizing greater environmental and social well-being.  Or send a letter to your local newspaper urging others to repudiate Big Government intrusiveness, budgetary wastefulness, obscene pork-barrel deficit spending, or whatever issues concern you the most.  Tell them how you feel about misguided domestic or foreign policies, or aggressive militarism, or regressive social policies, or initiatives that restrict women’s prerogatives, or ultraconservative judicial nominations, or right-wing extremism.  Help derail the irresponsible and unsustainable juggernaut of radical ultraconservatism!

Thanks for considering these ideas!  Whatever efforts you make to help create positive change in the world, it is important for our democracy.  Our children, and theirs, will appreciate any intelligent course adjustments that we make, and the sooner we make them, the better!

                                     --- Dr. Tiffany Twain