A commenter in
It was that last bit that made me shiver.
I would estimate that I know less than a damn thing about the most prudent and ethical steps towards recovery, but for all the inhumane realities of capitalism in action, most of us do agree that at the end of the day, some semblence of a free market is our best bet by a mile. So here’s my confusion; if the defining quality of a free market is that all ventures must be allowed to sink when they sink if the goal is to maintain a healthy economy, might someone throw me a bone on what it is we’re doing right here? And if we’re finally going to acknowledge a collectivist bent in our policy, what exactly does it mean for all of this money to get funneled into bloodless corporate infrastructures instead of
Oh, that’s right, we were talking about facism.
Don’t laugh—what if, in retrospect, we look back at this as one of our very first doses of ‘penicillin’? What if this is the ostensibly innocent start to a series of divisive maneuvers made to purge the American ‘body’ of an undesirable population?
Considering that it’s the upper/middle class will be most acutely affected by this crisis, it isn’t so far out. While the reverberations of a collapsed economy will inevitably change all of our lives, by definition, the working poor do not have 401ks. They do not have stock portfolios, nor diversified retirement funds that have or will soon evaporate before their eyes. Significantly, with the fiscal resources and privilege to do so, this is also the most educated population, the most liberal population, and consequently, the population with the luxury of time and resources necessary for artistic innovation. That’s sort of a funny thing, because art, you must understand, happens to be the scourge of fascism.
Walter Benjamin first wrote about political aestheticization, which offers (
Sounds familiar. Play along for a second and let’s imagine how this might unfold.
The fascistic aesthetic looked to achieve a tyrannical cultural narrative with lines and angles as inflexible and harsh as the above painting by Depero. By exploiting the uncertainty of liberalism and exploding all language and discourse with an
→ First, create a deeply suspicious environment for communication and information (
→ A sustained hostility for what is said will eventually be subsumed by a hostility for how it’s said, meaning language itself. It’s unlikely there will be an effective action to mobilize on the community level (peaceful protests
→ Populations start to fragment regionally first, feeling alienated from their “fellow countrymen” (
The tyranny of this solitude or metaphoric ‘atheism’ is crushing. Enter fascism, stage right. With the understanding that it had been an excess of truths that had started this conflict (they know because they made ‘em up themselves!), the case is made for just one lone, irrefutable, unbending path to divinity. It does not take long before every neighborhood starts looking like the
As nuance is not especially valued in the fascist aesthetic, the persuasion would be in the simplicity; all the hand-wringing liberal anxieties would be razed with no remorse, leaving inarguable solutions to what were once protean philosophical dilemmas. In effect, their game plan wouldn’t be pretty, but it’s probably familiar:
Corporate subsidies and tax breaks in the name of “
I may only be playing around, but it’s not really very funny. It’s not some cloying, exaggerated catchphrase, or a painted Hitler mustache on the lip of a dopey-looking W; the climate of discourse, media and speech we are living in suddenly demands a little gravity given to what was once a throwaway charge, a little firecracker to ruffle republican panties. There’s been a shift. Whether the neocons are creeping towards a fascist state or just tearing pages from its playbook, something is happening, this is happening. We all feel it. The dissonance created by this purported