Yes, the U.S. is probably a fascist country

Fascism is a slippery word. We generally agree that Hitler and Mussolini were fascist, but to say what it is that actually constitutes fascism is to venture into less well-agreed upon territory. Further, even the approach that would consider labeling the U.S. fascist deserves caution:

Calling the Bush administration fascist promotes a distorted picture of U.S. politics or history. In some versions, the f-word is essentially a scare tactic to rally people behind Democrats such as John Kerry, whose 2004 campaign literature urged that we “keep 95 percent of the Patriot Act and strengthen the rest.” In other versions, the charge of fascism reflects conspiracy theories that the Bush administration itself somehow orchestrated the September 11th attacks.

Even when it’s coupled with a deeper critique of the U.S. political system, the claim of impending fascism lumps together radically different forms of right-wing authoritarianism under one label. This confusion hurts our ability to develop clear and effective anti-right-wing strategies.[1]


In the foregoing, Matthew Lyons is at least right about “lump[ing] together radically different forms of right-wing authoritarianism under one label.”[2] It happens that conservatism is the specialty I’ve settled on in my doctoral work, and I’ve come to understand conservatism as authoritarianism[3] and to identify seven different ‘species’ of conservative thought,[4] many of which come into play with an analysis of U.S. fascism. I will disagree, however, with Lyons’ defense of the Bush administration (and the U.S. government) against fascism:

In contrast to fascism, the Bush administration represents a much more conventional form of capitalist authoritarianism. Bush has significantly eroded the liberal-pluralist political system by increasing state repression, claiming a presidential blank check to ignore the law, and promoting an atmosphere of political conformism and national siege mentality. Some pro-Bush factions promote populist hostility toward so-called liberal elites. But the Bush regime is in fact controlled by traditional political elites within established institutions — it lacks fascism’s totalitarian mass mobilization, promotion of a new outsider elite, and vision of sweeping cultural and political change. Even in the crisis atmosphere following the September 11th attacks, President Bush urged people to live their lives as normally as possible. And while fascism challenges capitalist control of the state and attacks bourgeois values such as individualism and consumerism, the Bush administration is solidly and unambiguously pro-capitalist.[5]

First, I would have to point out that it is not at all clear what a “conventional form of capitalist authoritarianism” would be. There is the classical liberalism as described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, which capitalist libertarians claim to resurrect.[6] There is the regulated capitalism largely associated with the New Deal as Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to rescue capitalism from its own excesses.[7] There is a compact of somewhat shared prosperity that arose in the 1950s and 1960s. There is the neoliberal emphasis on so-called “free” trade, deregulation, and trickle-down policies that have devastated workers.[8] Last, there is the emphasis adopted by the George W. Bush administration that committed the U.S. to a policy of rewarding savings in order to provide investment capital, further exacerbating neoliberal oligarchic tendencies.[9] Finally, Lyons seems to overlook neoconservatism, which not only sees neoliberalism as a morality system,[10] but whose adherents rose to power in the Reagan administration,[11] which radically changed the tone of U.S. governance and set the stage for all that has happened since.

In what may be the most widely seen (at least on the left) article on the topic of whether the U.S. is slipping into fascism, Sara Robinson writes,

The word [fascism] has been bandied about by so many people so wrongly for so long that, as Paxton points out, “Everybody is somebody else’s fascist.” Given that, I always like to start these conversations by revisiting Paxton’s essential definition of the term:

“Fascism is a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline.”

Elsewhere, he refines this further as

“a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

Jonah Goldberg aside, that’s a basic definition most legitimate scholars in the field can agree on, and the one I’ll be referring to here.[12]

I don’t know who ‘most legitimate scholars’ are, but the definition Robinson attributes to Paxton seems to invoke, first, traditionalist conservatism, which explicitly and deeply distrusts democracy. Russell Kirk, for instance, writes repeatedly of the squire (landlord) and the parson (pastor) at the center of society and opposes universal suffrage.[13] Christopher Olaf Blum writes more specifically of the squire as a member of nobility.[14]

At first blush, this anti-democratic sentiment may seem contrary to, at least as Robinson renders it, the elaborated part of Paxton’s definition, which seems to invoke authoritarian populism (in its present incarnation, the Tea Party) with its hyper-patriotism and, thence, one might expect, democratic values. As we shall see, however, there are numerous anti-democratic right-wing efforts under way which in fact may be attributed principally to authoritarian populists. When Paxton refers to “nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites,”[15] he seems to refer to their strained collaboration with functionalist conservatives, who are necessary to get anything done.[16]

As for “obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood,”[17] this invokes both traditionalist conservatism and authoritarian populism. Traditionalists Richard Weaver[18] and T. S. Eliot[19] share an image of society in decay as their values, which we cannot be sure were ever widely held, face challenge.

Thomas Frank depicts authoritarian populists as having been victimized by economic globalization, so-called “free” trade, and neoliberalism but accepting all this as “just business,” and as disdainful of intellectuals and big city culture.[20] I hope I’m not stretching Frank’s point too far to suggest that this backlash against intellectuals, government, and big city culture may stem from a sense of humiliation. Kim Messick points to a crucial element:

This series of equations — self with community, community with nation — underlies, I believe, the characteristic elements of the Tea Party’s vision of politics. In the quotation above, [Glenn] Beck makes explicit the identification of “our country” with what we “believe,” such that a change in our “ideas” must prompt the question, “Who are we?” It never occurs to him that America might be seen as a prolonged argument about which ideas we should adopt, or that even when we agree on what these ideas are (liberty, say, or equality or fairness), we tend to disagree about exactly what they mean. In Beck’s mind, those whose definition of freedom differs from his own — who don’t take it to mean that we “make … our own way in life” for instance — aren’t advocates of an alternative notion of freedom; they’re simply people who don’t understand what “freedom” is. Because Beck’s community — the Tea Party community — is normative for America as a whole, its vocabulary is the standard reference for all political actors. Their lexicon is our dictionary. Anyone whose usage differs from theirs literally speaks a foreign tongue.[21]

In short, for authoritarian populists, it is inconceivable that people should be, aspire to be, or hold values different from themselves. That there is value in education, that a big country might require a big bureaucracy to administer it, that the ‘common sense’ capitalism they would engage in with each other might be in any way problematic on a larger scale or for people other than they perceive themselves to be simply blows right over their heads. And, that any of that might be true thus becomes an attack upon themselves. This is what lies behind the accusation that white working class people vote against their own interests or, instead of lashing out at their true oppressors, the big businesses that have replaced their well-paying manufacturing jobs with poorly-paying service level jobs, adopt a false consciousness and lash out at other subaltern people whom they perceive as being in competition for what jobs remain.[22]

I call that an accusation, because as Frank observes, Democrats usually identified as being on the left have in fact repeatedly betrayed the working class, thus, to some degree, bringing the curse of authoritarian populism upon themselves.[23] As Chris Hedges explains a “yearning for fascism,”

The Democrats and their liberal apologists are so oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country that they think offering unemployed people the right to keep their unemployed children on their nonexistent health care policies is a step forward. They think that passing a jobs bill that will give tax credits to corporations is a rational response to an unemployment rate that is, in real terms, close to 20 percent. They think that making ordinary Americans, one in eight of whom depends on food stamps to eat, fork over trillions in taxpayer dollars to pay for the crimes of Wall Street and war is acceptable. They think that the refusal to save the estimated 2.4 million people who will be forced out of their homes by foreclosure this year is justified by the bloodless language of fiscal austerity. The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die.[24]

Similarly, Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree explain,

The rugged individual and family model values preached by the religious right reflect the larger phenomenon of a Christian fundamentalism that some see dangerously reminiscent of the association between the Christian Church and Nazi Germany. The teachings speak of the relationship between an economically declining lower middle class and a leader who offers them a scapegoat and a promise to establish a new and better world, preserving the old values of God, country and shared community purpose. The elite network of the Christian Right—a network that benefits from support of the political, economic, and military institutions it promotes—has connected with the dispossessed of Middle America through the demonization of minorities and immigrants and promises of retribution and of salvation. Under the guise of representing the mainstream of America, they promote a radical ideology that is in important ways closer to fascism than to Christianity.[25]

George Seldes, writing in the immediate aftermath of World War II and largely about corporate corruption in the Depression era, quotes Franklin Delano Roosevelt saying, “That, in its essence, is fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.”[26] Seldes’ own distinction between those corporate managers he called “reactionaries” (who seem very much like today’s neoliberals) and fascists rests on how far they are willing to go in enforcing (their own) extremely expansive view of “property rights.” If, according to Seldes, they are willing to resort to violence—a coup, perhaps, as Seldes reports some sought to organize early in FDR’s presidency—to achieve their ends, they are fascist. Anything less and they are merely reactionary.[27]

Most other definitions of fascism I’ve seen are more complicated. Laurence Britt identifies fourteen hallmarks: 1) “Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.” We might say this crosses a line from patriotism into chauvinism. Britt continues, “Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.”[28] It’s hard to see how the U.S. had not crossed this particular line in the wake of 9/11, but since Barack Obama’s ascendance to the presidency, and the polarization (albeit between one brand of right-wing authoritarianism and another slightly more extreme brand of right-wing authoritarianism) in U.S. politics that has predominated since, unity can now be said to have evaporated. Still, those I label authoritarian populists would certainly seem to pass this test.

2) “Disdain for the importance of human rights.”[29] This seems particularly prevalent among conservatives, many of whom subscribe to a notion of natural right (yes, conservatives usually refer to it in the singular form), a concept they seem to think so obvious in its meaning as not to require definition. So naturally, it’s not at all clear that they agree as to what it means. I think, but cannot be sure, that for traditionalist conservatives, natural right refers to property rights and a right to participate in the marketplace.[30] I would expect that capitalist libertarians and neoconservatives would probably share that view.

The emphasis on so-called natural right comes at the expense of a somewhat broader notion of human rights, in which the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[31] codified into international law[32] with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[33] and the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),[34] comprise a mere beginning.[35] That the U.S. has failed to ratify the ICESCR immediately suggests diminished human rights in the country, manifest with high unemployment, stagnant or declining wages, degrading employment practices, expensive higher education, and diminished labor unions (see #10, below).

3) “Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.” Britt explains that the identification of these “enemies” and “scapegoats” distract public attention from and shift blame for other problems.[36] The U.S. seemingly always has “enemies” and “scapegoats,” whether they are people of color, undocumented migrants, Muslims, “Socialists,” “Communists,” “Liberals,” labor unions, or the poor. A point of recognizing authoritarian populism, currently visible as the Tea Party, is to understand that their characteristic binary between “us” and “them” dates back at least to the U.S. Revolution.[37]

4) “The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.” Britt explains that this is tied in with nationalism (see #1, above) and appears in disproportionate budget allocations to the military. “Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it,” Britt writes, and the military “was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.”[38] Again, the U.S. easily qualifies, with a defense budget that dwarfs other nations, estimated at nearly $1 trillion, a number which “will turn out to be a conservative figure.”[39] This is compounded by militarization of the police.[40]

5) “Rampant sexism.” Britt points to sexist, homophobic, and anti-abortion policies.[41] In the U.S., the battle goes on, but people of non-heterosexual sexual orientations have won hard-fought gains. But it is also apparent that this battle is part of a social conservative legacy which seeks to control women’s bodies in order to preserve white male hegemony. It dates back at least to the immediate post-Civil War era.[42] A rising tide of abortion restrictions[43] coupled with open advocacy across the political spectrum for abstinence-only sexuality education and restrictions on access to and even for a right for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception[44] leaves little doubt that women are expected to produce babies. That they are less valued for anything else appears in their ongoing battle for equal pay,[45] a battle in which the disparity with men has been mitigated to some degree with a reduction in men’s pay.[46] Finally, that we live in a rape culture[47] imposes practical limits on women’s freedom and consigns women to the second-class status that Britt cites as a criterion.[48]

6) “A controlled mass media.”[49] My mother was a newspaper reporter for many years. It’s a job she wouldn’t have stuck with if she didn’t feel she had freedom to report fairly and I’m sure that many reporters would say something similar.

While there are exceptional cases, as with coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks exposing domestic spying,[50] a lot of media scholarship, however, tells a different story. Some of this appears in rushed reporting under deadline. It’s often easier to get information from purportedly authoritative sources, that is, powerful sources than it is from groups or people who lack the organizations that elites have at their command. But as well, journalism has been a means of access to power for wealthy owners, powerful people have multiple means of leverage over news organizations and multiple means of retaliation for reporting they disapprove of, and reports are produced under often-unchallenged ideological constraints. Media consolidation has meant increasing corporate conglomerate control which raises serious doubts about editorial freedom. News seems to be a construction, not just “what I say it is,” as David Brinkley may have remarked, but rather what news organizations, each looking over their shoulders at each other, collectively, and under the influence of political and economic authority, agree it is.[51] Finally, freedom of the press in the United States is under an unprecedented attack as courts demand that reporters expose confidential sources and the Obama administration cracks down on whistle blowers and leaks.[52]

7) “Obsession with national security.”[53] Given an incident in which, in a long-shot hope of capturing Edward Snowden, U.S. allies forced a Bolivian jet to land and submit to a search in Austria,[54] in combination with numerous other hysterical remarks by politicians and the invasions of personal privacy that Snowden exposed, any defense against a claim that the U.S. government is obsessed with national security is surely unsupportable.[55] But as well, we have the increasing attacks on freedom of the press (see #6, above), which are all conducted in the name of national security.

8) “Religion and ruling elite tied together.”[56] Many of the attacks on women (see #5, above) in the U.S. are rationalized using a right-wing interpretation of Christian doctrine. Though few social conservatives would count Barack Obama as one of their own, and in what, in hindsight, progressives should have taken as a heads-up that Obama was also not of their own, Obama had a homophobic right-wing pastor give the benediction at his 2009 inauguration.[57] Obama has since provoked resistance from right-wing Christians over a birth control mandate in his health care law, but the fact that courts, including the Supreme Court, have favored religious exemptions is no defense of the U.S. government. While these cases amount to a weighing of religious freedom rights against rights to health care, the courts are ruling in favor of corporations, which cannot themselves attend church, effectively allowing corporate managers to impose their religious preferences on their employees,[58] which is to say now that right-wing Christian corporate managers have privileges that are unlikely to be accorded to managers of any other religion.

9) “Power of corporations protected.”[59] Among the more curious neoliberal ideas is that corporate monopolies are benign, while labor unions form a monopoly that must be eliminated. In general, the (property, understood as including money) rights of the wealthy have been expanded and protected from a series of government intrusions, while the power of the wealthy has been expanded through an increasing faith in the so-called “free” market, not just in economics but in other areas of life, and with an assumption that increased savings (in practice, significantly possible only for the wealthy) would strengthen the economy.[60] Courts have contributed as well. While the Citizens United decision has rightly attracted considerable ire, an article in Mother Jones points to a two hundred year history in which the Supreme Court has made corporate personhood a reality with a long series of decisions.[61] Since it is the wealthy who can afford to control corporations, it is the wealthy whose influence is enhanced.

10) “Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.”[62] Capitalist libertarians tend to view the labor market as a level playing field. As Paul Krugman put it, “anyone who has ever held a job in the real world — or, for that matter, seen a Dilbert cartoon — knows that it’s not like that,”[63] Max Weber pointed out, roughly ninety to one hundred years ago, that an economic system of exchange inherently privileges whomever has the greater power to say no, at the expense of whomever has the lesser power. Further, these advantages and disadvantages are cumulative,[64] inherently leading to wider social inequality. This inequality has come to be seen as a necessary incentive for the “job creators,”[65] but on the other side, labor is horribly abused,[66] undermining any claim that many workers have any power in relation to their employees whatsoever.

11) “Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.”[67] One part of this is that facts—real facts, not just the superficial quantitative “facts” that often further afflict the afflicted and further comfort the comfortable—often challenge elite and colonial privilege.[68] Such facts are thus intolerable and a cultural preference for quantitative data[69] enables a practice of education which is too often about reproducing, rather than challenging, the power relationships of the status quo.[70] The intellect is now to be directed to producing not art for art’s sake, but intellectual property for the marketplace,[71] while universities increasingly hire not well-paid tenure-track professors, but instead, adjuncts, who make barely anything at all and whose tenuous employment arrangements encourage  a silencing of nonconformist views.[72]

12) “Obsession with crime and punishment.”[73] Crime rates have dropped, but politicians hype fear of crime, and people have not felt safer.[74] This exists in a curious dynamic with a demonization of the poor (see #3, above) in which people stigmatize the poor because they suspect that many poor people are criminals, and therefore will not support policies to relieve poverty,[75] which itself is a major cause of crime.[76] A rush to ‘close cases,’ combined with a number of investigative and judicial failings in finding truth, contributes to many wrongful convictions.[77] Incarceration not only damages individuals but their families and communities, contributing to poverty and desperation,[78] and thus must be a factor in undermining the effectiveness of efforts to reduce crime. For ideological reasons, we cannot address the actual causes of most crime and we pursue people, whether in fact guilty or innocent, with a vindictiveness that is less concerned with truth than with locking someone up—as evidenced by sky-high incarceration rates[79]—or putting someone to death. This pursuit, therefore, is not about justice, but rather about a refusal to acknowledge human need. I don’t see how this can be said not to be both delusional and obsessive.

13) “Rampant cronyism and corruption.”[80] The power of corporations and the wealthy (see #9, above), particularly with regard to the Citizens United ruling is inseparable from suspicions of corruption.[81] Montana’s history[82] led it to (unsuccessfully) challenge the decision.[83] “Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court’s decision in Citizens United … make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,’” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in counterpoint even as she granted a stay of the law that the Supreme Court ultimately overturned.[84]

But the old-fashioned “campaign contribution” is far from the only way in which crony capitalism and corruption operate. Neoliberal deregulation has enabled “regulatory capture,” in which government agencies that are supposed to monitor and regulate industry instead facilitates violations, by looking the other way, accepting industry claims at face value, or softening regulations and their enforcement. This has only been most visible with the financial collapse that began in 2007 and with the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[85]

Neoconservatives in the Bush administration had a sweet arrangement with Blackwater that often evaded the usual bidding rules for federal contracts[86] and is usually taken only as one of the more egregious examples.[87]

Finally, there is corporate welfare, sometimes subsidizing favored industries,[88] sometimes meant to attract industry to a particular state or locality,[89] but has also recently come to refer to minimum wage laws that allegedly enable corporations to save money by evading costs for health insurance and living wages.[90]

14) “Fraudulent elections.”[91] Some on the left claim that George W. Bush “stole” the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004. This may be hyperbole, but the dispute over “hanging chads” and a Supreme Court decision halting a recount in Florida in 2000 and an allegedly intentional shortage of voting machines producing long lines in foul weather in Ohio cities in 2004 followed by allegations that ACORN, a now defunct non-profit, “stole” the election for Obama in 2008, hardly point to a properly run electoral system. Further, ongoing right-wing efforts to disenfranchise voters, particularly ex-felons and people of color, by removing them from the voter rolls and requiring identification[92] were followed by right-wing criticism when, finally, international monitors appeared to observe elections in 2012.[93]

We cannot say that all of Britt’s criterion are fully met. As a historian pointing to several fascist precedents (not just Italy and Germany), Britt himself does not say how many must be met for a system to be judged ‘fascist,’[94] but we have seen interplay among the criteria that suggests a systemic effect, and I have been analyzing these criteria reductively, an approach which is of limited value where complexity theory applies. What emerges may be fascist or it may be something else, but it probably is fascist when we account for all the actors on the scene.

  1. [1]Matthew N. Lyons, “Is the Bush Administration Fascist?” New Politics 11, no. 2 (2007): http://newpol.org/node/189
  2. [2]Matthew N. Lyons, “Is the Bush Administration Fascist?” New Politics 11, no. 2 (2007): http://newpol.org/node/189
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Defining conservatism,” April 12, 2013, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2013/04/12/defining-conservatism/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The Quixotic Quest to Comprehend Conservatism, Part 1,” May 16, 2014, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2014/05/16/the-quixotic-quest-to-comprehend-conservatism/; David Benfell, “The Quixotic Quest to Comprehend Conservatism, Part 2,” May 29, 2014, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2014/05/29/the-quixotic-quest-to-comprehend-conservatism-part-2/
  5. [5]Matthew N. Lyons, “Is the Bush Administration Fascist?” New Politics 11, no. 2 (2007): http://newpol.org/node/189
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The Quixotic Quest to Comprehend Conservatism, Part 1,” May 16, 2014, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2014/05/16/the-quixotic-quest-to-comprehend-conservatism/
  7. [7]Alan Nasser, “The Threat of U.S. Fascism: An Historical Precedent,” Common Dreams, August 2, 2007, http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/08/02/2933
  8. [8]Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010); Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012).
  9. [9]Daniel Altman, Neoconomy: George Bush’s Revolutionary Gamble with America’s Future (New York: Public Affairs, 2004).
  10. [10]Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Irving Kristol’s Neoconservative Persuasion,” Commentary 131, no. 2 (2011): 25-29.
  11. [11]David Benfell, “The Quixotic Quest to Comprehend Conservatism, Part 2,” May 29, 2014, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2014/05/29/the-quixotic-quest-to-comprehend-conservatism-part-2/
  12. [12]Sara Robinson, “Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?” Alternet, August 6, 2009, http://www.alternet.org/story/141819/is_the_u.s._on_the_brink_of_fascism
  13. [13]Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, 7th ed. (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2001).
  14. [14]Christopher Olaf Blum, “On Being Conservative: Lessons from Louis de Bonald,” Intercollegiate Review 41, no. 1 (2006): 23-30.
  15. [15]Sara Robinson, “Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?” Alternet, August 6, 2009, http://www.alternet.org/story/141819/is_the_u.s._on_the_brink_of_fascism
  16. [16]David Benfell, “The Quixotic Quest to Comprehend Conservatism, Part 1,” May 16, 2014, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2014/05/16/the-quixotic-quest-to-comprehend-conservatism/
  17. [17]Sara Robinson, “Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?” Alternet, August 6, 2009, http://www.alternet.org/story/141819/is_the_u.s._on_the_brink_of_fascism
  18. [18]Richard M. Weaver, Visions of Order: The Cultural Crisis of our Time (Louisiana State University, 1964; Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1995).
  19. [19]T. S. Eliot, Notes Toward the Definition of Culture (1948; repr., London: Faber and Faber, 1962).
  20. [20]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2005); Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right (New York: Metropolitan, 2012).
  21. [21]Kim Messick, “The Tea Party’s paranoid aesthetic,” Salon, August 10, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/08/10/the_tea_partys_paranoid_aesthetic/
  22. [22]Raymond A. Morrow with David D. Brown, Critical Theory and Methodology (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1994); Scott Sernau, Worlds Apart: Social Inequalities in a Global Economy, 2nd ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2006).
  23. [23]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? (New York: Henry Holt, 2005); Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right (New York: Metropolitan, 2012).
  24. [24]Chris Hedges, “Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?,” Truthdig, March 29, 2010, http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/is_america_yearning_for_fascism_20100329/
  25. [25]Marc Pilisuk and Jennifer Achord Rountree, “Divine Politics and Warning Signs of Fascism,” in Who Benefits from Global Violence and War: Uncovering a Destructive System (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008).
  26. [26]George Seldes, 1000 Americans: The Real Rulers of the U.S.A. (New York: Boni and Gaer, 1948; Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive, 2009), 6.
  27. [27]George Seldes, 1000 Americans: The Real Rulers of the U.S.A. (New York: Boni and Gaer, 1948; Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive, 2009); see also Alan Nasser, “The Threat of U.S. Fascism: An Historical Precedent,” Common Dreams, August 2, 2007, http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/08/02/2933
  28. [28]Laurence W. Britt, Facism anyone? Free Inquiry 23, no. 2 (2003), http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm
  29. [29]Laurence W. Britt, Facism anyone? Free Inquiry 23, no. 2 (2003), http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm
  30. [30]David Benfell, “The Quixotic Quest to Comprehend Conservatism, Part 2,” May 29, 2014, https://parts-unknown.org/wp/2014/05/16/the-quixotic-quest-to-comprehend-conservatism/
  31. [31]Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations, December 10, 1948, http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
  32. [32]Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Human Rights Law, 2013, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/InternationalLaw.aspx
  33. [33]International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), United Nations, December 16, 1966, U.N.T.S. 171.
  34. [34]International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, December 16, 1966, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm
  35. [35]In this broader thinking, self-actualization is a recurring theme. See, for examples, David P. Barash and Charles P. Webel, Peace and Conflict Studies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002); Maria Pia Lara, Moral Textures: Feminist Narratives in the Public Sphere (Berkeley: University of California, 1998); Martha C. Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2011).
  36. [36]Laurence W. Britt, Facism anyone? Free Inquiry 23, no. 2 (2003), http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm
  37. [37]Chip Berlet, “Taking Tea Parties Seriously: Corporate Globalization, Populism, and Resentment,” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 10 (2011): 11-29, doi: 10.1163/156914911X555071
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Author: benfell

David Benfell holds a Ph.D. in Human Science from Saybrook University. He earned a M.A. in Speech Communication from CSU East Bay in 2009 and has studied at California Institute of Integral Studies. He is an anarchist, a vegetarian ecofeminist, a naturist, and a Taoist.

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