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Facism in driver’s seat in America

Liberals, sometimes called progressives, are sometimes accused of being Socialists by Conservatives. Conservatives making this claim believe that social welfare programs were carried too far. They believe that freeloading has become hereditary.

On the other hand, liberals sometimes accuse conservatives of fascism for carrying capitalism to the extreme.

As a self-proclaimed progressive, I examined the literature to see what kind of evidence would indicate that our democracy might be acquiring fascist tendencies. Fascism is defined as an unchecked rule by a class of the privileged, rich in power, with a full-scale assault on the poor and working people.

One of the sources that I examined was “The Rise of Fascism in America” by Gary Alan Scott. Following are points that he and other writers on fascism cite:

Actual control of the state will pass to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons. The span of wealth has increasingly moved to the top one or two percent. Inequality becomes the rule and continues to increase.

No one outside the privileged circle is allowed to substantially influence state policy. With the large contingent of big money lobbyists in Washington, D.C. and Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which struck down provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that prohibited unions and corporations from making independent expenditures and electioneering communications, this seems to be well underway.

One sign of fascism is an impoverished educational system. What is the area of social services that we cut first? We, very early, cut our teaching staffs in our attempt to balance our budgets.

The public is less informed because corporate media is devoted profit.

Have you noticed how far the American Legislative Exchange Council progressed with state legislation before it was reported by MSNBC and how advertising is an increasing part of every television program we watch?

American corporate businesses have grown larger and more monopolistic, made possible by deregulation and repeal of anti-trust laws. Huge cartels dominate. Wal-Mart is still growing and now the large drug company, CVS, has moved into Duluth and Superior. As big business and big money moves in, competition declines.

Big business does all it can do to sour the people on government. Government is the bad guy — the inefficient one, until they have to seek government welfare to bail out the banks too big to fail.

Robert O. Paxton, a Columbia University historian, has published papers in the Journal of Modern History and a book, “Anatomy of Fascism.” He claims there are five stages in the process of a government becoming fascist. I was impressed most by a concluding statement he made, “We’ve arrived. We are now parked in the exact spot where our best experts tell us that full-blown fascism is born. Every day that the conservatives in Congress, the right wing talking heads, and their noisy minions are allowed to govern the country is another day where we’re slowly creeping across the final line beyond which, history tells us, no country has ever been able to return.”

He may well (hopefully) be wrong. College professors are not prodigious, but it reminded me of the Republicans who publicly stated their role was to see that nothing is accomplished until President Obama is defeated.

Glenn Greenwald in his book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some,” made an impressive closing: “Inequality warps the law into a devastating tool used to entrench privilege, entitlement and unearned wealth.”

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@