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How Fascism Came to America (2)

March 16, 2016

With our WABACstory Machine (thanks to Mr. Peabody and Jay Ward Prods.) we remember that the English colonies were business ventures, intended to be profit-making, and intended to be nationalistic monopolies. They were owned by corporations, such as the East India (Tea) Company that was formed by Queen E 1. The owners and leaders of the corporations and their colonies were aristocrats. By the mid-18th century, owners had become filthy rich, conducting an international trade of North American raw materials, English manufactured goods, Asian teas and spices, and African slaves.

After all, given what is observably negative in human nature (shadow and such) and behavior, if you were told that today there was a country that was so wealthy that it was called Eldorado, what would you guess would happen there? Right. Lots of corruption, exploitation, and inequality of distribution of wealth and power. It comes with the territory.  Probably the rise of a ruling class, and maybe even a ruler.

So if you were told that a monarch and her/his aristocracy were colonizing a continent that had incredible natural resources (the wood, alone, was invaluable, especially to an empire) and a sparse population of technologically less advanced people who could be eliminated; and that, on another continent those aristocrats were able to provide themselves with amazingly cheap labor; and that their mythology laid the cultural basis for legal determination of their (divine) right to do anything to anyone if it advanced their superior culture, you would fear the worst.

Such characters and conditions are givens of our plot.

By 1700 there was an aristocratic class in mid-NA; and there ensued a struggle over the nature of aristocracy, in which persons with a more positive vision of human nature and potential tried to divert divine approval from the right of kings to a broad idea of the “gentleman” based on human rights, inherent nobility of character, and steadfast work. In their view, government not only secured order, it secured universal rights, and it was available to its owners, “the people” (represented by their most noble gentlemen), for improvement of their general lot. By 1780 they had put such a scheme in place, mostly on paper.

By 1865, with horrific expenditure of blood, they expanded the scope of who was considered human to include people who did not descend from British aristocrats and yeomen, and eventually even women and children. But a lot of people never bought into that idea.

That horrific bloodshed also established the conditions for the creation and concentration of remarkable wealth. So next let’s remember the triumph of the Robber Barons and the KKK, from the Civil War to the Great Worldwide Depression. Within that depressed economy, totalitarians seized the governments of Germany, Italy, and Russia. Some Americans supported those rulers, and some American businessmen made fortunes by serving them industriously. Some supporters were leftists; but the businessmen were nouveau riche aristocrats (thinking of Bush and Koch family trees) who liked the idea of government owned by their kind.

And then? And then? From the defeat of Italian fascism, German Nazism, and Japanese hegemonic militarism, America emerged more powerful and wealthy than ever.  But America was also safe again for its fascists (by any other name, such as John Birch or Libertarians—“license they mean, when they cry liberty”—Milton) to begin their counterattack against the egalitarian philosophy of governance, the constraining policies of TR, and the expansion of economic security and human rights by FDR.

In an article in 1946, Vice President Henry Wallace described those postwar American fascists.

So now we’ve reached my personal memory and participation. On page 3 of this episode I’ll begin imagining the process by which fascism (American-style) became triumphant.

[Pages one  and three of this episode.]

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