More on concerns about fascism as national expectations crushed

Today, the government admitted that the 4th quarter Gross National Product fell at an annual rate of 6.2%, not 3.8% as earlier reported. Such a miscalculation of that scale is rare and it is an example of what we need to avoid at this time.

I don’t have the feel for how Japanese fascism got going that I do for German and Italian. It’s hard to miss how World War I raised national expectations and then crushed them. When it comes to the bitterness of fascism, we’re lucky a smaller portion of Amerikans made that scale of sacrifices in Iraq and to some extent, Amerikans’  belief that they are winning the Iraq War has a silver lining, because Amerikans also believe that the war was not worth it despite being won. The silver lining is that something bad happened, but there is less bitterness about it. It’s only a silver lining and not the main story, because believing that they won a war clears the way for another.

When the Depression hit in 1929, Mussolini and Hitler were already on the scene ready to benefit. What had been ordinary nationalism became embittered and radical oppressor nationalism called fascism. Impressive sociology says we won’t get the Mussolini and Hitler mindset again because of the long-extinct influence of agrarian elites. Living in our day, I’m not so sure there is not an equivalent source of influence possible that did not exist in Hitler’s day. So it’s a question of taking chances.

If the government is going to do a $3.5 trillion budget to psych the markets, perhaps we could do without rhetoric calling it the Super-Duper Amerikan-Dream-Fixer-Upper of Can-Do-Its. At this moment, the negative 6.2% growth rate already means some people’s patriotic or nationalist hopes about the united $tates are being crushed. The answer is not to raise more vague hopes to be crushed and embittered. Even if Obama can keep a lid on things for a few years, we don’t want to risk this Depression’s being the World War I of a future fascist upsurge.



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