The Serialization of: The 15% Solution: Author’s Preface, Part 3.
This is the fourth installment of the previously announced serialization of my book, The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022 (https://www.amazon.com/15%25-Solution-Steve-Jonas/dp/0984026347/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475792455&sr=1-1&keywords=The+15%25+Solution). It is the second half of the second half of the Preface that I wrote in my own voice for the current (third) version of the book, which was originally published in 1996. The balance of the book, beginning with the next installment after this one, is written in the voice of its fictional author "Jonathan Westminster" (a play on the name "Jack London," author of the dystopic novel from a century ago, "The Iron Heel").
A note from the actual author (that is myself, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH). Please note that this chapter was actually written in 1994-95. The similarities between the politics of the Republicans and of the Democrats then and in recent times are NOT purely coincidental.
An Increasing Focus on Homophobia
Homophobia and its political consequences are very important in the ideology and subsequent policies of the Republican-Christian Alliance of the book. First, as noted, in "2005" the Alliance puts into the Constitution (!) the notion that homosexual behavior is a matter of choice (chapter 7). In "2009", the President, under his emergency powers, declares homosexuality to be a crime (chapter 11). Finally, in "2020", with an active rebellion underway, the regime begins the "Second Final Solution," in which that "scourge upon society" on which all the people's troubles are blamed, are now to be arrested and sent to passive extermination camps (chapter 18).
How far-fetched is this scenario? Well, at some time during the first two years of the G.W. Bush Administration, when Trent Lott was Senate Minority Leader, he said words to the effect that homosexuality is a sin and therefore evil, because the Bible says so. This man was the third-ranking leader of the Republican government at the time. A 2003 Bush nominee for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Attorney General of Alabama Bill Pryor, in a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, at one time compared homosexuality with necrophilia, bestiality, incest and pedophilia. In April, 2003, Rick Santorum, when he was the third highest ranking Republican in the United States Senate, compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. Pres. Bush's response to this statement was that he (Bush) was tolerant of a range of views on social questions. That range apparently didn't include the view not held by Sen. Santorum that homosexuality, regardless of origin, is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle, protected by the Constitutional right to privacy (declared by the Supreme Court in "Griswold" to be found under the Ninth Amendment). More recently, former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann allowed that “If I was elected God for a day homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted” (31). Mr. Neumann was a Republican candidate for the Senate from his state in 2012.
The Creation of the “American Faith Party”
Which leads us to what Howard Fineman, in 2012 a liberal (hardly radical) commentator for MSNBC and Editorial Director of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group would say the following in March 2012 (32):
“The signs are numerous, but it's still easy to miss the big picture: that the GOP now is best understood as the American Faith Party (AFP) and its members as conservative Judeo-Christian-Mormon Republicans. The basement of St. Peter's is just one clubhouse.
" ‘There has never been anything like it in our history,’ said Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. ‘God's Own Party' now really is just that’. . . .
“The American Faith Party is a doctrinally schizophrenic coalition bound by faith in the power of biblical values to create a better country; by fear of federal power, especially that of the federal courts and President Barack Obama and his administration; and by fear of rising Islamic political power around the world.
“The AFP unites Catholic traditionalists who especially revere the papal hierarchy; evangelical, fundamentalist and charismatic Protestants; some strands of Judaism, including those ultra-orthodox on social issues and Jews for whom an Israel with biblical borders and a capital in Jerusalem is a spiritual imperative, not just a matter of diplomatic balance in the Middle East; and Mormons, who ironically aren't regarded as Christians by most other members of the coalition. Romney, a devout Mormon, is their man.
“The four still-standing Republican presidential candidates are all AFP members in good standing on most of the party's key agenda items. The GOP platform is sure to feature all of them, including opposition to [legal] abortion and gay marriage; measures to counter what Republicans regard as attacks on religious liberty [sic]; expressions of fear about the extent of federal power, especially from the courts, on social and medical issues; libertarian economic policies that limit regulation and taxes (for religious conservatives and economic libertarians share a common enemy: government); denunciations of Islamic political power; and support for Israel. (Ron Paul is a dissenter on the last two points.)
“All the candidates, including Paul, adhere to the AFP's central operational tenet: that professing your own faith -- once verboten in American politics -- is a necessary precondition to being taken seriously.
“In the American Faith Party, in other words, every day begins with a prayer breakfast, a public ritual that used to occur only once a year.”
In this book, I refer to the next stage of development of the Republican Party, going into the (projected) election of “2004,” as the “Republican-Christian Alliance” (see chapter six). According to Mr. Fineman, it now exists in reality.
Fascism and the Trajectory of the Republican Religious Right
Since the principal focus of this book is on how the Republican Religious Right would come to create fascism in the United States, I feel that it is important to present the definition of fascism that I use here. The bulk of this section is taken from Appendix II, “The Nature of Fascism and Its Precursors,” supposedly written by “Dino Louis” in “1998”. At this time (2012) the word “fascist” is not used in certain left-wing circles. It is thought to be too over-used, too out-of-date, too devoid of meaning, too nasty, too emotional. At the same, it is hurled around by right-wingers to describe certain social polices promoted by liberal Democrats. In that case, it is highly misused by people who do not have the foggiest notion of what forms of government the word describes that actually existed over time.
In the book, I project that in "2048", were a real equivalent of “Jonathan Westminster” to be writing, when describing the economic and political system which existed throughout the period “2001-2023,” first in the old United States and then in the apartheid- state the New American Republics (NAR, see Chap. 13: “White,” “Negro,” “Indian,” and “Hispanic”), the words "fascist" and "fascism" would generally not be used.
However, it should be understood that with few exceptions the Republican Religious Right leadership and its successors in both the old United States and New American Republics would vehemently deny that they were fascists, and would strongly shy away from ever using the term to describe themselves or any of their activities. They would, of course, continue to use it to describe the Resistance. Perfect Orwellianism.
Even at the height of the projected NAR's racist oppression of the non-white peoples of the Second, Third, and Fourth Republics, and violent repression of dissent and resistance within the White Republic itself, even at the time of the most extreme concentration of power in the hands of the Executive Branch of the NAR and the substitution of the rule of men for the rule of law, and even with the perpetuation of one-party (American Christian Nation Party, the ACNP, the successor to the Republican Christian Alliance) government, in my projection the Right would pursue the fiction that it was following the precepts of Democracy and was the protector of traditional American freedoms.
Even after it would have used the Constitutional Amendment process in the most grotesque way to make the original U.S. Constitution a mere shadow of its original self, the Republican Religious Rightists would claim that they were doing nothing more than protecting the traditional "American way of life." And they shunned the use of the term "fascism" even at the risk of alienating some of their projected strongest, and most violent, supporters from the traditional U.S. Far Right, groups and organizations that proudly labeled themselves "Fascist" and "Nazi."
But the ACNP leadership would persist in this policy to the very end. It was the natural outgrowth of a fashion broadly used by Republican Religious Right during the Transition Era, of racists claiming they were not racists, anti-Semites claiming they were not anti-Semitic, misogynists claiming they were not anti-female, xenophobes claiming they were not xenophobic, Islamophobes claiming they were not Islamophobic, and homophobes claiming they were not homophobic. Mindspeak again.
It was a peculiar tactic bred of a time just before the commencement of the projected Transition Era in 1980 when in fact prejudice of most kinds was considered by most people to be nasty stuff. The tactic, as we can see today, has served a very useful purpose for the Republican Religious Rightists because many of their opponents were drawn into useless, distracting, no-win "yes-you-are, no-I'm-not" arguments, rather than discussing and exposing the true policies and desired social outcomes advocated by the Right-Wing forces, regardless of how they characterized themselves. In Westminster’s time, the phrase "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck" would most certainly characterize the approach of most historians to the study of the period 1980-2022.
And so, here is a working description of fascism as Westminster would most likely understand it (drawn from the book’s Appendix II).
A Definition of Fascism
Fascism is a political, social, and economic system that has the following baker's dozen plus one of major defining characteristics:
1. There is complete executive branch control of government policy and action. There is no independent judicial or legislative branch of government.
2. There is no Constitution recognized by all political forces as having an authority beyond that claimed, stated, and exerted by the government in power, to which that government is subject. The rule of men, not law, is supreme.
3. There is only one political party, and no mass organizations of any kind other than those approved by the government are permitted.
4. Government establishes and enforces the rules of "right" thinking, "right" action, and "right" religious devotion.
5. Racism, homophobia, misogynism, and national chauvinism are major factors in national politics and policy-making. Religious authoritarianism may be part of the package.
6. There is no recognition of inherent personal rights. Only the government can grant "rights." Any "rights" granted by the government may be diminished or removed by it from any individual or group at any time without prior notice, explanation, or judicial review. Thus, there is no presumed freedom of speech, press, religion, or even belief, automatically accompanying citizenship. There are no inherent or presumed protections against any violations of personal liberty committed by law-enforcement or other government agencies.
7. Official and unofficial force, internal terror, and routine torture of captured opponents are major means of governmental control.
8. There are few or no employee rights or protections, including the right of workers to bargain collectively. Only government-approved labor unions or associations are permitted to exist, and that approval may be removed at any time, without prior notice.
9. All communications media are government-owned or otherwise government-controlled.
10. All entertainment, music, art, and organized sport are controlled by the government.
11. There may or may not be a single charismatic leader in charge of the government, i.e., a "dictator."
12. The economy is based on capitalism, with tight central control of the distribution of resources among the producers, and strict limitations on the free market for labor (as noted above).
13. The fascist takeover of the government of a major power always leads to foreign war, sooner or later.
14. Built as it is on terror, repression, and an ultimately fictional/delusional representation of historical, political, and economic reality, fascism is inherently unstable and always carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. To date, such seeds have always sprouted within a relatively short historical period of time. Retiring a deeply entrenched fascist regime is no easy task, however, as modern history has shown.
Some Final Thoughts
Many books have been written about the Republican Religious Right in general and the Christian Right in particular and what they stand for, and how their ideology stands in complete contradiction to the fundamental principles of the U.S. Constitution and indeed our whole national multicultural, multiethnic, and multi-religious history and tradition. They range from Rob Boston's Why the Religious Right is Wrong to Sara Diamond's Roads to Dominion, to Frederick Carlson's Eternal Hostility, to Sean Faircloth’s Attack of the Theocrats! How the Religious Right Harms Us All- —and What We Can Do About It.
This book is different. This book projects what things might actually look like, what actually might happen, should the Republican Right take over, fully, and as I have said above, do exactly what they have already told us they would do were they to take full power (and are already doing to some extent with their partial power, especially at the state level). Think Mein Kampf. Hitler said exactly what he would do, were he to take power. Few other than his committed far rightists and his Storm Troopers paid any attention. It is actually scary to me as I re-read this book to see the number of events, speeches, doctrines, and policies that seemed so far-fetched when I originally wrote it and published it in the mid-90s actually happening, being made, and being implemented.
As Jonathan Westminster himself puts it (in "2048"):
“Many books have been written about the Fascist Period. In fact, it has been estimated that if not for the chronic paper shortage, in the 25 years since the Restoration more books would have been written about both the Period and the Second Civil War than had been written about slavery and the First Civil War in the 100 years following the latter's conclusion. Many of these books have been devoted to detailed historical descriptions of the events, monumental and not so monumental, that took place during the time. Some of the more important ones are cited in the reference lists for this book.
“However, as noted, this book has a rather different perspective from that of a conventional history book. I want people living now to know, not in detail about the depredations wreaked on our economy, polity, and society by the Fascists (although those are covered in outline), not about the defeats the Constitutionalist forces endured at first and the detailed story of their eventual victory, not about the widespread environmental degradation at all levels that took place and from which we are still struggling to recover, but rather about how easily the forces of Republican Religious Right took over, how step by step they created Fascism by apparently legal means, how precious and at the time unappreciated our Constitutional Democracy was, and what must be done, even now, to defend it and eventually transcend it toward a far more real form of egalitarian power.”
1. Stevens, W.K., "Scientists Say Earth's Warming Could Set Off Wide Disruptions," New York Times, September 18, 1995, p. 1.
2. Center for Biological Diversity, Endangered Earth, Winter, 2012.
3. Specter, M., “The Climate Fixers,” The New Yorker, May 14, 2012
4. McKibben, B., “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719.
5. Lizza, R., “The Second Term: What Would Obama Do if Re-elected?” The New Yorker, June 18, 2012, p. 44.
6. Phillips-Fein, K., Invisible Hands, New York: WW Norton, 2009, p. 254.
7. ibid., Introduction.
8. The Nation, “Islamophobia: A Double Issue,” July 2/9, 2012.
9. Turley, J., http://jonathanturley.org/2012/05/22/american-taliban-pastor-worley-and-how-to-solve- the-homosexual-problem/.
10. Cooper, A., “360,” CNN, May 28, 2012.
11. Wikipedia, “Social Fascism,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_fascism.
12. Jonas, S., “The Imperative of the Republicans' Rightward Imperative,” Published on BuzzFlash@Truthout on Thu, 02/09/2012 [not copyright]. URL: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13269. (For the specific references in the quoted version here, see the column as published.)
13. The Progress Report, "Rick Santorum's Most Outrageous Campaign Moments," Jan. 5, 2012.)
14. Jonas, S. “The Triumph of Cheneyism,” BuzzFlash@Truthout, 11/03/11, http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13119.
15. Pollitt, K., “Ron Paul’s Strange Bedfellows,” The Nation, Jan. 23, 2012, www.thenation.com/article/165440/ron-pauls-strange-bedfellows
16. Rich, F., “Nuke ‘Em,” New York (magazine). June 25 – July 2, 2012, p. 37.
17. Jonas, S. “Ask Newt Gingrich,” Published on BuzzFlash@Truthout on Tue, 12/13/2011 - 2:09pm [not copyright], URL: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13203. (For the specific references in the quoted version here, see the column as published.)
18. ibid., “Rick Santorum, Front-Runner --- For 2016,” Published on BuzzFlash@Truthout on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 1:34pm [not copyright], URL: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13320. (For the specific references in the quoted version here, see the column as published.)
19. ibid., “Eleven Questions for Sen. Santorum,” Published by BuzzFlash@Truthout on Fri, 02/24/2012 - 10:06am. URL: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13344. This column also appeared on The Greanville Post, http://www.greanvillepost.com/2012/02/23/ask-senator-santorum/. (For the specific references in the quoted version here, see the column as published.)
20. ibid., “Mitt Romney’s Issues (that He Doesn’t Want Discussed), Published on BuzzFlash@Truthout on Thu, 05/24/2012 - 12:36pm.URL: http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13515 (For the specific references in the quoted version here, see the column as published.)
21. Rich, Frank, "Who in God's Name is Mitt Romney?" New York Magazine, Jan. 29, 2012.
22. The Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
23. Tarisco, V., "Former Mormon: What American Need to Know About Mormonism," Alternet.org, March 26, 2012.
24. Kantor, J., "Romney's Faith: Silent but Deep." The New York Times, May 19, 2012.
25. Mitt Romney Press, May 12, 2012.
26. Corn, D., “Buchanan Wins in New Hampshire,” The Nation, 3/11/96.
27. Wilentz, S. "From Justice Scalia: A Chilling Vision of Religion's Authority in America," New York Times, July 8, 2002, p. A19.
28. Chernus, Ira, “Scalia and a Supreme Being,” rd magazine: Politics, February 13, 2008, http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/70/scalia_and_a_supreme_being.
29. Haaretz, "'Road Map a Lifesaver for Us,' PM Abbas Tells Hamas," June 26, 2003, quoted in Floyd, C., "Global Eye --- Errand Boy," June 27, 2003, http://www.tmtmetropolis.ru. Haaretz also has its own website, on which this material appeared.
30. Wikipedia, “David Barton,” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David Barton
31. Human Rights Campaign PAC, “If he were God, gays wouldn’t exist,” www.hrc.org, March 29, 2012.
32. Fineman, H., “Rise of Faith within GOP Has Created America’s First Religious Party,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/republican-party-religion-first-religious-party_n_1322132.html
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