The etymology of the word “morbid” is the Latin word morbidus meaning disease. Let us consider the particular disease that grips America right now. Students of Germany in the early part of the Great Depression (1929-1934) might recognize the conditions for a Fascist democratic coup that took place in that period. Here are some of the symptoms:
Paranoia-The Wall Street Journal reports that if you had been savvy enough to invest in an Armageddon portfolio this year you would be sitting pretty.
It is the ultimate bunker portfolio.
Amid the market tumult, a handful of stocks have seen their share prices ratchet up to record highs in recent weeks. And many of them are connected by a curious, if disconcerting, thread: Between them, they provide an investor with essentials for any respectable fallout shelter—makers of bottled water, canned goods, dehydrated broth, gas masks and auxiliary generators.
As with the Goldline Scams, Beck and the end of the world brigade that are pushing the notion, that Spam is the protein source of the future, is part of a completely dystopian fantasy that I think bears little touch with reality but feeds the all important “fear quotient” that is so necessary to fascist politics. A strong man is needed in a time of chaos.
Ignorance-As Timothy Egan so eloquently wrote last week, we are entering cloud cuckoo land.
A growing segment of the party poised to take control of Congress has bought into denial of the basic truths of Barack Obama’s life. What’s more, this astonishing level of willful ignorance has come about largely by design, and has been aided by a press afraid to call out the primary architects of the lies.
The Democrats may deserve to lose in November. They have been terrible at trying to explain who they stand for and the larger goal of their governance. But if they lose, it should be because their policies are unpopular or ill-conceived — not because millions of people believe a lie.
The second element of fascist strategy is The Big Lie. First perfected in 1933 by Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels— “In that position, he perfected the “Big Lie” technique of propaganda, which is based on the principle that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses.” (Wikipedia ).
As Jane Mayer pointed out, The Big Lie and the Tea Parties are financed by Billionaires like David Koch and Koch Industries, that have thrived on Republican government corporate welfare and radically lowered taxes, during the Reagan Bush Era.
The combination of fear and the gullibility to believe The Big Lie, as the Germans, Italians and Spaniards all learned in the depths of a depression, is a lesson we need to avoid here. I still don’t know what Glenn Beck really did last weekend. It was a real curveball. And Beck has studied Orson Welles his whole life. (His production company is named after Welles’s company, Mercury). And Welles knew from the night War of the World’s terrified America, that the the national combination of paranoia and a Big Lie (the Martians were invading New Jersey) can panic Americans into really morbid symptoms. Last Weekend might be just the first act of Beck’s three act play.