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Monday, February 04, 2008

World: Slipping Into The Fascist State

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Unlike parodist Jonah Goldberg, we do not throw the term "fascism" around lightly. Like the estimable Dorothy Parker, we would like to throw it aside with great force. Preferably into the rubbish pile of history.

Our dictionary defines fascism as:
NOUN: 1. often Fascism a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government. 2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.
Over in the U.K., Scotland Yard is, presumably at the bequest of the authorities, engaged in electronic eavesdropping of a Labour Party MP whose sole claim to their attentions appears to be a boyhood friendship with an imprisoned constituent who is
accused of running a US-registered website in the late 90's that raised funds for the Taliban and for Chechen militants. He is being held by British authorities pending deportation, although there are no charges against him in that country.
The MP in question, Sadiq Khan, is an activist lawyer who had brought a series of controversial malpractice cases against London police. Khan has campaigned actively against the extradition.

We posit that the actions taken against Khan constitute suppression through terror and censorship, given that the bugging apparently
... violates a long-standing official policy against eavesdropping on members of Parliament.
If there are no charges in the U.S. against the imprisoned constituent Babar Ahmed, why is the British government attempting to deport him? Where are they deporting him? To the U.S.? Have they tried him in a court of law? Of what crimes has he been found guilty?

These questions trouble us. If we are not a nation of laws, if we do not respect our own laws, then what are we?

The movement from democracy and a rule of law to fascism, dictatorship, and a rule of men is a slow slide, not a rapid change. Germans would have risen as one against Hitler if he had immediately proposed a move from a nation grounded in law to a fascist dictatorship. The Munich Beer-Hall Putsch proved that, despite a disillusioned and beaten populace, mass confusion, poverty, and the bleak aftermath of defeat in war, people would not willingly renounce their civil liberties and accept an outright dictator. It took nearly a decade of lies, manoeuvering, chicanery, and an election before the fascistic Nazis could come to power.

We have lived through eight years of rule by an individual with all the mental wherewithal of a shrub. The UK has had his lapdog equivalent in Tony Blair. If we are to halt the slide towards fascism, we - all of us - must speak up and act as best we can.

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