October 12, 2005
Still More Lapham Gold

Lewis Lapham does it again (via our good friends at Cursor).

I quoted him over a year ago:

…undeterred by circumstance, well pleased with his persona as the last, best hope of mankind, the President smiles his spendthrift and self-congratulating smile and bets another Marine division on the chance that it will save Mel Gibson’s Jesus from a mob of bearded terrorists in Najaf. I can understand why some people might find the performance terrifying, also why some other people might see it as darkly comic, but what I don’t understand is why anybody continues to think that the man knows what he is doing.

Now Gilles d’Aymery of Swans Commentary fame has scanned in another gem by the man Molly Ivins calls the best essayist in the country. He’s riffing on a ten-year-old piece by Umberto Eco, which includes this bit from Franklin Roosevelt (November 4, 1938):

But I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, then Fascism and Communism, aided, unconsciously perhaps, by old-line Tory Republicanism, will grow in strength in our land.

Lapham writes so beautifully and thinks so deeply that it’s impossible to characterize, let alone summarize, an essay of his. All I can do is offer a quote and recommend the entire thing. It’s not particularly long.

As set forth in Eco’s list, the fascist terms of political endearment are refreshingly straightforward and mercifully simple, many of them already accepted and understood by a gratifyingly large number of our most forward-thinking fellow citizens, multitasking and safe with Jesus. It does no good to ask the weakling’s pointless question, “Is America a fascist state?” We must ask instead, in a major rather than a minor key, “Can we make America the best damned fascist state the world has ever seen,” an authoritarian paradise deserving the admiration of the international capital markets, worthy of “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind”? I wish to be the first to say we can. We’re Americans; we have the money and the know-how to succeed where Hitler failed, and history has favored us with advantages not given to the early pioneers.
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Posted by Chuck Dupree at October 12, 2005 01:27 AM
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The cronyism, which has even become obvious enough for our mass media, is, of course, one of the symptoms of a fascist state. The people are served only by coincidence, that is, if their interests happen to coincide with the interests of the state its personal and corporate cronies. Bush's downfall may be that he is an ineffective fascist, so that even the corporate supporters of his fascist rise to power, may have to dispose of him.

For that matter, you will never hear a Clinton, either one, making an essential critique of the fact that the state is owned by corporate America. Bill seems to think that he can save us by extracting a few million here and there from the corporate elite. As America and the world burns, he and Hillary will still be smiling, feeling our pain.

Anyone, such as a Kucinich, who questions the fundamental nature of our current fascist reality, does not have a chance in hell of leading this country.

The people don't have much of a perceived choice. They will ride this corporate beast to hell.

Greenspan said something incredible recently as he praised the flexible nature of our economy. He opined that our unemployment rate is lower than Europe's because it is so easy to lay people off, hire them back again, and them lay them off. It is wonderful, fleixble system, even if the person at the bottom, or even in the middle, might be unemployed much of the year. And all the analysts smiled.

And what, really, is the economy? It has nothing to do with real people; it has to do with the gross number, the median number, the average numbers, the numbers that matter to the rich and the corporate elite.

We are plundered daily, and our leaders care not a wit. And what of the people?

Posted by: tstreet on October 12, 2005 10:39 AM

Yes, t, and Greenspan was delighted with the huge numbers of people enrolling in community colleges to try to pick up a new skill. If only he'd try it himself!

So I flipped channels and heard the president's panel on tax deform explain the proposed new 40% sales tax.

Posted by: Joy on October 13, 2005 10:36 AM
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