June 11, 2010
In his book Friendly Fascism, author Bertram Gross argues that when fascism comes to America it will be “friendly” and lack the overt brutality of the classic varieties of German and Italian fascism.
Richard Nixon once said that average American is like a child in the family.
Nixon was merely expressing the dominant opinion of the ruling elite who consider us contemptible children in need of adult supervision. Hitler, too, considered the German people children in need of adult supervision.
For the elite, a political activist is the worst sort of unruly child, one that directly challenges the authority of the father who represents the state. In order to modify the behavior of a rebellious child the state must instill fear. It must intimidate but — as Gross noted — it must do this with a friendly face. It must uphold the pretense of “democracy.” A frog must be boiled slowly.
“No truly sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to shatter the facade of democratic institutions,” wrote Murray B. Levin.
In the once great United States, circa 2010, the state, the father authoritarian figure, does not generally send Gestapo thugs in leather trench coats at three o’clock in the morning to the doorstep of those bold enough to challenge the authority of the state. It may send a SWAT team of trained killers after a suspected drug dealer, but this is the exception and not the rule.
Naked brutality is reserved for al-Qaeda patsies, Iraqi children, Afghan wedding parties, Pakistani villagers, and on occasion those of us who directly challenge the state through armed resistance and self defense. Ed Brown, Randy Weaver’s wife, David Koresh and the incinerated children of Waco come to mind.
In the video below, agents of friendly fascism — who resemble a insurance salesman and his dowdy wife — visit a woman in Austin, Texas, and attempt to ask a few friendly questions about her rebellious behavior during a pro-Palestinian demonstration. Her rebellion did not consist of bomb-making or even inappropriate jokes about the president. Her crime was to display organized outrage over the murder and mistreatment of an entire people, a crime supported by and paid for by the U.S. government.
The FBI agents asked: Did she know anybody who would engage in violence or property damage? In other words, does she admit to being a terrorist and does she know of any terrorist plots ongoing?
At first glance, this line of questioning seems patently absurd. But it has a deeper purpose unstated and denied by the FBI — to inculcate fear of the state and intimidate and modify the behavior of an unruly and rebellious child. It is a routine designed to shut down opposition and discourage troublemakers from exercising their First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Government will decide what is appropriate and what verges on a crime against the state. The First Amendment now has circumscribed areas of practice surrounded by men in black ski masks and Darth Vader storm trooper uniforms.
The intimidation process did not work on this brave woman. She knows her rights and she was not afraid to tell the FBI in a polite way to shove it where the sun does not shine.