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Thread: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

  1. #1
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    Default Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Fintan O'Toole wrote this yesterday in The Irish Times:


    “To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we are living with is pre-fascism.
    It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.
    Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.
    One of the basic tools of fascism is the rigging of elections – we’ve seen that trialled in the election of Trump, in the Brexit referendum and (less successfully) in the French presidential elections. Another is the generation of tribal identities, the division of society into mutually exclusive polarities.
    Fascism does not need a majority – it typically comes to power with about forty percent support and then uses control and intimidation to consolidate that power. So it doesn’t matter if most people hate you, as long as your forty percent is fanatically committed. That’s been tested out too.
    And fascism of course needs a propaganda machine so effective that it creates for its followers a universe of “alternative facts” impervious to unwanted realities. Again, the testing for this is very far advanced.
    But when you’ve done all this, there is a crucial next step, usually the trickiest of all. You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery.
    Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages from breaking windows to extermination.
    People have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group.
    It is this next step that is being test-marketed now. It is being done in Italy by the far-right leader and minister for the interior Matteo Salvini. How would it go down if we turn away boatloads of refugees? Let’s do a screening of the rough-cut of registering all the Roma and see what buttons the audience will press. And it has been trialled by Trump: let’s see how my fans feel about crying babies in cages. I wonder how it will go down with Rupert Murdoch.
    To see, as most commentary has done, the deliberate traumatisation of migrant children as a “mistake” by Trump is culpable naivety. It is a trial run – and the trial has been a huge success. Trump’s claim last week that immigrants “infest” the US is a test-marketing of whether his fans are ready for the next step-up in language, which is of course “vermin”.
    And the generation of images of toddlers being dragged from their parents is a test of whether those words can be turned into sounds and pictures. It was always an experiment – it ended (but only in part) because the results were in.
    And the results are quite satisfactory. There is good news on two fronts. First, Rupert Murdoch is happy with it – his Fox News mouthpieces outdid themselves in barbaric crassness: making animal noises at the mention of a Down syndrome child, describing crying children as actors. They went the whole swinish hog: even the brown babies are liars. Those sobs of anguish are typical of the manipulative behaviour of the strangers coming to infest us – should we not fear a race whose very infants can be so devious?
    Second, the hardcore fans loved it: Fifty-eight percent of Republicans are in favour of this brutality. Trump’s overall approval ratings are up to 42.5 per cent.
    This is greatly encouraging for the pre-fascist agenda. The blooding process has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up. Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think the unthinkable.
    So what if those black people drown in the sea? So what if those brown toddlers are scarred for life? They have already, in their minds, crossed the boundaries of morality. They are, like Macbeth, “yet but young in deed”. But the tests will be refined, the results analysed, the methods perfected, the messages sharpened. And then the deeds can follow."
    Let us protect our freedom with all our democratic power, and continue to be brave with everything we must face.”

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/f...flow-1.3543375
    Yma o hyd

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Good article, thanks.

    O'Toole has written a lot in the Guardian recently about the madness of Brexit, especially in relation to Ireland. He seems to have his finger on the pulse.
    It’s really hard to define ‘virtue signalling’, as I was saying the other day to some of my Muslim friends over a fair-trade coffee in our local feminist bookshop. (Lucy Porter 2018)

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Both Australian majors have been 'trialling' some of this on Manus and Nauru Islands, supported likely by the majority of the population havig been conditioned over the last several years. And the Right have their prospective demagog in the person of a man called Peter Dutton who is following the agenda to the letter.
    Here cue Niemoller.

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    It's almost as if Fukuyama was wrong about "the end of history".

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Quite useful analysis. Brilliant, really.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Yep. Sadly, it's perceptive and well written.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    "The problem with the progressives and liberals right now is that they are still treating this situation like we are in a state of normalcy."
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    You seen the box office numbers for “The Purge”?

    License to kill? Sweet. It’s like the crusades, or something. Wait, the crusades were when Jesus defeated Santa Claus and Buddha in hand to hand combat, right?

    We like to pretend we aren’t savage apes...

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Karma for the invasion of Iraq...

    Does anyone else think that Donald resembles Saddam?

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    You seen the box office numbers for “The Purge”?

    License to kill? Sweet. It’s like the crusades, or something. Wait, the crusades were when Jesus defeated Santa Claus and Buddha in hand to hand combat, right?

    We like to pretend we aren’t savage apes...

    Peace,
    Robert
    I saw the trailers for 'The Purge' years ago, and understood that Art was imitating Life.

    There is no horror that people won't revel in, if they think they're justified.

    Pinochet, Pol Pot, Stalin . . . all second-raters compared with the potential of Trump.

    There are more firearms than people in this effed-up little 'republic'.

    Fully 25% of the electorate believes that the Constitution is an evil tool of oppression.
    Rattling the teacups.

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    A thing the article didn't mention but got close to by mentioning the normalizing of the outrageous, is the chronic stress of living with trmp in situ, and all that implies, but also the notion that we have been inundated by his outrages and those of the ensuing reverberations amongst the idots and deplorables and the lying news, yada yadad, daily for long enough now that we have tmrp-fatigue syndrome. trmp-fatique syndrome comorbid with a national infection of Rhole incumbency.

    That essay in the OP is scary. It has been this scary for a while, and it keeps being scary because all the same stuff that happens when they turn out like the holocaust, is happening right now and the trmp-the anti-christ is the nexus and the proximate cause.
    I don't care to know what the tough do when the going gets tough.

    I am interested in what the enlightened do.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    If it goes on long enough Jim it becomes "normal", people rationalise, you can see it happening. Cannot end well.

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Hitler wasn't Hitler until he became Hitler.

    Oh wait, you mean it can happen even without Hitler?
    He's a Mexican. -- Donald Trump.
    America cannot survive another four years of Barack Obama. -- Governor Chris Christie (R) New Jersey
    It wasn't racism, it was an attack on Christianity. -- Fox News
    Crying white mothers are ratings gold. -- National Rifle Association

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    Default Re: Fintan O;Toole on the rise of Fascism.

    Moreso Mussolini than Adolf

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