Chris Hedges Original

Trump’s Barrett Nomination Another Step Toward Christian Fascism

All fascist and totalitarian movements paper over their squalid belief systems with the veneer of morality.
Art by Mr. Fish, original to Scheerpost

By Chris Hedges / Orginal to Scheerpost

The Christian Right is content to have the focus on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett revolve around her opposition to abortion and membership in People of Praise, a far-right Catholic cult that practices “speaking in tongues.” What it does not want examined is her abject subservience to corporate power, her hostility to workers, civil liberties, unions and environmental regulations. And since the Democratic Party is beholden to the same donor class as the Republican Party, and since the media long ago substituted the culture wars for politics, the most ominous threat Barrett’s appointment to the court represents is going unmentioned.

All fascist and totalitarian movements paper over their squalid belief systems with the veneer of morality. They mouth pieties about restoring law and order, right and wrong, the sanctity of life, civic and family virtues, patriotism and tradition to mask their dismantling of the open society and silencing and persecution of those who oppose them. This is the real game being played by Christian fascists, which since the early 1970s have been building institutions with tens of millions in corporate donations to take power. Donald Trump, who has no ideology, has allowed the Christian Right to fill his ideological void. He is the useful idiot. And the Christian Right, awash in money from corporations that know their real political intent, will mobilize in this election to use any tool, no matter how devious, from right-wing armed militias to the invalidation of ballots, to block Joe Biden and Democratic candidates from assuming office. The road to despotism is always paved with righteousness. This was as true for Soviet communism as it was for German fascism. And it is true in the United States.

Capitalism, driven by the twin obsessions of maximizing profit and reducing the cost of production by slashing worker’s rights and wages, is antithetical to the Christian Gospel, as well as the Enlightenment ethic defined by Immanuel Kant. But capitalism, in the hands of the Christian fascists, has become sacralized in the form of the Prosperity Gospel, the belief that Jesus came to minister to our material needs, blessing believers with wealth and power. The Prosperity Gospel delights the corporations that have carried out the slow-motion corporate coup. This is why large corporations such as Tyson Foods, which places Christian Right chaplains in its plants, Purdue, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Warehouse, along with many other corporations, pour money into the movement and its institutions such as Liberty University and Patrick Henry Law School. This is why corporations have given millions to groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to campaign for Barrett’s appointment to the court. Barrett has ruled consistently in favor of corporations to cheat gig workers out of overtime, green light fossil fuel extraction and pollution and strip consumers of protection from corporate fraud. The watchdog group Accountable.US found that as a circuit court judge, Barrett “faced at least 55 cases in which citizens took on corporate entities in front of her court and 76% of the time she sided with the corporations.”

Her version of Catholicism is at odds with most of the positions championed by Pope Francis and traditional Catholic teaching on women’s rights, voting rights, immigrant’s rights, health care and environmental protections. The Pope calls on the downtrodden to change the world economic order and denounces what he terms a “new colonialism” imposed by “the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor.” He speaks of the “sacred rights” of labor, lodging and land. He says the unfettered pursuit of money is “the dung of the devil” and castigates industrial nations for exploiting the raw materials and labor of the developing world.

“This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable; laborers find it intolerable; communities find it intolerable; peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable.”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has repeatedly warned that time is running out to save the planet from perhaps irreversible harm to the ecosystem. “Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change,” the pope has stated, decrying a system that “has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature.”

“This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable; laborers find it intolerable; communities find it intolerable; peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable,” he said.

Barrett’s religiosity, like that of other Christian fascists, is in the service of almost everything the pope condemns.

These corporations don’t give a damn about abortion, gun rights or the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. But like the German industrialists who backed the Nazi Party, they know that the Christian Right will give an ideological veneer to ruthless corporate tyranny. These corporations view the Christian fascists the same way the German industrialists viewed the Nazis, as buffoons. They are aware that the Christian fascists will trash what is left of our anemic democracy and the natural ecosystem. But they also know they will make huge profits in the process and the rights of workers and citizens will be ruthlessly suppressed.

If you are poor, if you lack proper medical care, if you are paid substandard wages, if you are trapped in the lower class, if you are a victim of police violence, this is because, according to this ideology, you are not a good Christian and not blessed by God. In this belief system you deserve what you get. There is nothing wrong, these homegrown fascists preach, with the structures or systems of power. It is the mantra of self-help that made gurus like Oprah and Tony Robbins rich dressed up as the voice of God.

“The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.”

Joseph Goebbels

The Christian fascists, allied with organization such as The Federalist Society, have appointed two Supreme Court justices – Gorsuch and Kavanaugh – as well as nearly 200 other judges with lifetime appointments to lower federal courts during the Trump administration. They claim to be strict “originalists.” Originalists argue that the meaning of the constitutional text is fixed and immune to interpretation. Originalists denounce jurists that argue that the Constitutional law should respond to changing circumstances and values. The Originalists already have five Federalist Society Supreme Court justices. Barrett would be the sixth (two of whom, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, were supported in the nomination process by Joe Biden).

The legal calculus for the Christian Right no longer revolves around the concept of universal human rights but around the tenants of “Bible-believing Christians” who supposedly authored the Constitution. Huge segments of the population are stripped of moral worth and legal protection. This process is incremental and often unseen. As the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels understood: “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.”

Victor Klemperer, who was dismissed from his post as a professor of Romance languages at the University of Dresden in 1935 because of his Jewish ancestry, astutely noted how at first the Nazis “changed the values, the frequency of words, [and] made them into common property, words that had previously been used by individuals or tiny troupes. They confiscated words for the party, saturated words and phrases and sentence forms with their poison. They made language serve their terrible system. They conquered words and made them into their strongest advertising tools [Werebemittle], at once the most public and most secret.” And, Klemperer noted, as the redefinition of old concepts took place the public was oblivious.

These Christian fascists understand the deep sickness that infects American society. They know how to exploit the moral and physical decay, as well as the despair it causes, to lure its followers towards their brand of tyranny. They are not wrong when they lambast the cruelty, corruption, emptiness and hypocrisy of the ruling elites, especially the liberal elites. They are not wrong when they mock cultural relativism, the idea that good and evil, right and wrong, truth and untruth, do not exist. It is part of the sad irony that the Christian Right effectively exploits this cultural relativism to seize power. The failure of the liberal Christian Church to denounce the Christian Right as heretics, in the name of tolerance and cultural relativism, has given the Christian fascists religious legitimacy. At the same time, the Christian Right seeks to delegitimize the liberal church as apostates. History has shown that it is unwise to tolerate the intolerant.

The Christian fascists, like all fascist movements, creates its own truth. It discredits verifiable fact, science, law and rationality. It promises a new, glorious world of moral renewal and prosperity. It promises a creator who will carry out miracles for believers and for America. It calls on followers to abandon the world of cause and effect and replace it with a world of magic. The reality-based world, as in all totalitarian movements, is snuffed out.

The Trump administration has implanted Christian fascists in senior positions of government, including Mike Pence to the vice presidency, Mike Pompeo to secretary of state, Betsy DeVos to secretary of education, Ben Carson to secretary of housing and urban development, William Barr to attorney general, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the televangelist Paula White to his Faith and Opportunities Initiative. Trump gave the Christian Right veto and appointment power over key positions in government, especially in the federal courts. Almost all of the judges he has appointed were selected by the Federalist Society and the Christian Right. Many of the extremists who make up the judicial appointees have been rated as unqualified by the American Bar Association, the country’s largest nonpartisan coalition of lawyers.

Trump has embraced the Islamophobia of the Christian Right to ban Muslim immigrants and roll back civil rights legislation. He has made war on reproductive rights by restricting abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood. He has degraded LGBTQ rights. He allocated federal money to Christian charter schools. He has ripped down the firewall between church and state by revoking the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches, which are tax-exempt, from endorsing political candidates. His Christian Right appointees, including Pence, DeVos and Pompeo, regularly use biblical strictures to justify an array of policy decisions including environmental deregulation, war, tax cuts and the replacement of public schools with charter schools, an action that permits the transfer of federal education funds to private “Christian” schools.

The Christian fascists are not finished. Brick by brick they are building a Christian fascist state. Barrett fills one more hole in the wall. They will do this with or without Trump.


[Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for Scheerpost every two weeks. Click here to sign up for email alerts.]

Chris Hedges
Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. 

Copyright 2020 Chris Hedges.

59 comments

  1. Succinct and brilliant as always, Chris. Ever since reading your book “American Fascists” I have encouraged people around me to pay attention to this movement and its increasing power within corporate and government ranks; the agenda being the Corporate power masked by the culture wars. But my experience with their refusal to take this seriously proves the quote you cited from Goebbels : “The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.”
    Keep writing and being one of our very best writers and Prophets.
    Thank you!

  2. The Democratic party will aid the Christian fascists in their tasks. The faux ‘resistance’ from the ‘centrist’ clown car will play its role as the Washington generals, getting ‘dunked on’ relentlessly by an intellectually feeble, double-chinned marble-mouthed Mitch McConnell ramming through endless federal court nominees with a rubber stamp from Chuck ‘Wall Street’ Schumer, the almost 90-year-old Dianne Feinstein, and Dick ‘center right-wing’ Durbin.

    Add ‘abolishing the supreme court’ to the list of demands in the general strike.

    1. McChinless’s tactics only SEEM beyond Wall-St-Chuck & his pals. Actually the record has repeatedly shown that the Neoliberal Dems want the same power and money that the R’s have. I am getting so tired of seeing my Senator, Dick Durbin, do nothing, while the US Treasury is looted. In the CARES ACT ~ $12 Trillion was transferred from the 99% to the few. That was GREATEST theft in US history. It was nauseating to behold a unanimous Senate cheering this theft on and Pelosi forcing the House-vote. All our representatives shouting, “OMG, the Collapse of Capitalism is imminent–again!!!”

      We SO need a party of the people!!!

      1. It is worst than that amount stolen. Pre-COVID the amount was 21 trillion dollars in money. Matt Taibbi wrote a great articles on this on the Pentagon side, but it is both the Pentagon and the HUD with unaccountable money in the trillions. The researchers are Professor Skidmore and Mrs. Fitts: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikoff/2018/07/21/is-our-government-intentionally-hiding-21-trillion-in-spending/#33dce754a73f.

        Add to this the ‘09 bailout and the CARES act – criminals are running the country.

  3. True enough about one wing of the U.S. ruling class. But right now the big majority of the ruling class and the establishment are behind Biden, not Trump. Joe is getting most of their donations, and many endorsements from generals and ex-generals, foreign service personnel, officers in the FBI and the intelligence agencies, etc. The U.S. ruling class is not yet ready for fascism, nor does it want its top executive to be the feckless, incompetent, eccentric, and unhinged Trump.

    1. If Mussolini’s definition of fascism is any indication, that it’s really just corporatism, then Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and the rest of the Democratic establishment are full-on fascists. Why? Because they are ruthlessly pro-corporate and anti-worker, which are incredibly true.

      Fascism has been slightly redefined in America to mean an ideology of heartless cruelty, or more accurately overt authoritarian, but those aspects are peripheral IMO. One can be a fascist yet be polite, rational, well-mannered, even personable. It’s the policies that really count, and that being the case the Democrats are ‘less fascist’ only in mannerism and tact. Obama did a lot of disastrous pro-corporate things, and did absolutely nothing when it came to all the school and mass shootings and the Flint water crisis. Yet he’s somehow not a fascist because he was so cool, collected and intelligent-sounding.

      We have to really go back and look up what fascism really was. Frankly I don’t consider the Republicans as fascists; I think they’re Nazis due to their blend of corporatism and Christianity as Hedges correctly stated above.

  4. “The road to despotism is always paved with righteousness. This was as true for Soviet communism as it was for German fascism.”

    Straight out of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s playbook, and of the FBI and CIA. James Burnham would have been so proud of such ignorant ahistoricism.

    1. Why? I think Hedges is dead-on. Piety and righteousness are the last refuge of a scoundrel, no matter the cut and color of her/his cloak.

      1. Like all liberals, Hedges equates the USSR with Nazi Germany with his paraphrase of the saw, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’. One first might ask, however, which examples of ‘righteousness’ did Hedges have in mind from the Nazi program of genocidal extermination to support his preposterous claim?

        Anyone can be ‘dead on’ about the horrors surrounding us, but Hedges’ ahistorical outlook of moral categories spoil much of the topical information that he does provide. Not only can’t he explain exactly how or why the USSR could mobilise itself and lose ~30,000,000 lives in defeating the Nazis; or why the capitalist ruling classes universally much prefer fascism to communism; or why the Bolshevik revolution occurred at all and why it was an inspiration for workers movements internationally. Even at the height of Stalinist repression, the purges, show trials, executions, torture, labour camps, corruption and so on, politically conscious workers and leftists the world over still rightly defended the USSR, despite its Stalinist degeneration, against capitalist counterrevolution, which always cloaks its predation in those righteous watchwords, ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, ‘liberty’.

        As is the habit of most liberals (and preachers), Hedges’ often bolsters his positions with quotes from moral or political philosophers and far less often cites historians who trouble themselves with material reality. His anti-communist worldview has never gone beyond quoting Eugene Debs or Rosa Luxemburg as a left cover for his thoroughly bourgeois outlook that ‘Lenin was a psychopath, which ‘produced’ Stalin who was no different from Hitler’. Of course all this serves to conveniently expunge the diametrically opposed social systems underpinning Stalin versus Hitler, supposedly created by the ‘same’ righteousness.

        Consequently, Hedges neatly fits the mold of the anti-communist Cold War ‘leftist’ so assiduously cultivated by the CIA’s Congress for Cultural Freedom. Through the lens of both a minister of religion and bourgeois journalist, all totalitarianisms are the same, and most of Hedges’ pieces are certainly chock full of piety and righteousness. Yet it would also be unfair to condemn him as a ‘scoundrel’ just yet.

    2. to your reply/comment below, perhaps you should venture to write a column or 2 to help us.
      Please, we need all the succinct guidance possible rather than find it buried in a comment section of an unfortunately obscure website .

  5. I am disappointed in Hedges’ absence of voice on the issue of women’s rights, which were thoughtfully, intelligently discussed in his 2017 interview with Maya Dillard Smith and Mary Lou Singleton on the topic of female erasure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1_5mgFNYkE

    The rote mention in the above article on the degradation of LGBTQ rights is one example where this trans-lobby narrative is normalized into the realm of civil rights. The trans-lobby is a product of end-stage capitalism in our patriarchal society — and a decidedly sexist, misogynist and homophobic movement that seeks to erase the legal existence of women and women’s sex-based rights, seeks to bring conversion therapy in through the back door, and seeks to destroy the hard-fought protections of women and children from male-bodied violence. Those of us who are fighting this movement are being silenced and censored. I hope that Hedges will use the power of his voice to raise the profile of this issue.

    1. “only in amerika is the father vestigial; the amerikan mind and conscience is feminine”. Geoffrey Gorer. “only in USA has the dignity of the father cease to exist”. Horkheimer/Adorno
      “amerikans r farcical when it comes to money and force majeure–the 2 things they worship..” Gore Vidal. “the only God in amerika is money”. Malcolm X
      “the authority of money destroys the authority of the father”. I Mezsaros
      “patriarchy”? in which nation will u hear this? in USA—already a matriarchy…where feminized males retrieve drinks for females, females take the initiative and they run amerika—opposite of all nations I Live /have lived in—Masculinized amerikan females per Arlie Hochschild….have u ever lived in a civilized nation?

  6. It’s like the corrupt hillbilly from Louisiana, Jimmy Swaggart, but she even lacks his charisma, just has a chilling, creepy Stepford Wife robotic obedience to the corporate masters. There is something that mesmerizes the masses in much pain and suffering by hearing the soothing words that “Hay Un Remedio”!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hZ-J_ShSSQ

    1. Since there are no mountains in Louisiana, and hillbillies refer to mountain people, how can Swaggart be a “hillbilly?” Perhaps it would be more correct to call him a “redneck,” since he’s not a Cajun “coon ass.”

  7. Evil charts its course though the souls of the faithful.

    There is hope for a sinner but not a pious man.

    1. Why can a pious man not be a sinner? The whole point of Christ’s death on the cross was to absolve humanity of its sins, pious and sinner, alike.

  8. And what about us Australians, we don’t even get a vote in the US elections, but we have to cop all the US neoliberal shit that is dished out, as our sycophantic moronic leader, Scott Morison rings Trump up to get his latest marching orders.

    1. There are home-grown neo-Liberal movements and leaders throughout the world. The US didn’t invent them, and not everything bad in the world is the USA’s fault.

      1. But when you have a country whose currency is the world reserve currency, its corporations can put up shop anywhere, and also has by far the largest global military in world history, it’s safe to say that country is at fault for a supermajority of it.

    2. Sorry about that, mate. If I could make the Great Orange Goblin and the corporate christian tyranny he serves disappear, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  9. I just posted this comment on the Mint Press News publication of this article:
    He’s not wrong; as for alleged ‘gospel truth(s)’ ~ that’s a matter for perspicuous historians and adequate scholars of Gnostic esotericism, not polemicists. I’d recommend the work of Daniel Boyarin in that respect; Professor of Talmudic Culture, Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley. Truth is not (only) a matter of passionate belief. Passion may be honest, but it does not necessarily distinguish fact from phantasy. I’d recommend Catherine Nixey’s The Darkening Age ~ the Christian Destruction of the Classical World, as a suitable corrective to passionate misdirection and the potential intoxication of fictional beliefs. It should probably be pointed out that the phrase …tenants of “Bible-believing Christians”…ought to read ‘tenets’ a common enough error; I noticed Chris mis-using the word in a recent On Contact episode. Perhaps someone should alert him to this.

  10. Dear Mr. Hedges,
    While I agree with most of you article, I’m not quite sure how to understand the “failure of the liberal Christian Church to denounce the Christian Right as heretics”. To my knowledge, there is neither a “Christian Church” nor a “liberal Christian Church”, but a plethora of churches (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox etc.), all of whom have their liberal and less liberal currents (and many of whom consider each other as heretics). And the Christian Right itself also spans across denominational differences. I just don’t see who would have been in a position to make such a denouncement you’d have liked to see, and how.

    By the way: The German word in the Klemperer quote should be spelled “Werbemittel”.

  11. May I be allowed to correct a spelling mistake: The German word for advertising tools is “Werbemittel”.

    1. I don’t consider it a necessity. Perhaps the belief is such is why everything is so screwed up.

  12. I think Chris Hedges is among our finest, most clear-thinking commentators. (A portentous statement, fraught with peril, but true). Although I do agree with his thesis here, (that fascism is rising, and that Christian ‘extremists’ are a major faction behind this dangerous rise), it is tragic, to a less-biased observer, (than him), that like the Marxist-inspired Identitarian Socialist Left he represents, he is willfully blind to the naked fascism rising on the Left.

    There is no sign here that he even makes any attempt here, at all, to be ‘objective’, or to ‘see’ a bigger picture than the myopically biased one he presents here, which, of course, serves his OWN ‘religious’ identity cult ideology.

    In full spite of the considerable degree of ‘wisdom’ that Mr. Hedges has gathered, he exposes its limits, at the very point at which he abandons objective ‘journalism’ to proselytize for his OWN ideological belief system, at the point at which he abandons his own moral principles to claim ‘righteousness’, at the point that he expresses his contempt for other people’s deeply held moral beliefs, he makes of himself just another stupid black iron pot expressing his self-righteous moral contempt for any black iron kettles adhering to the ideological cult religiosity of THEIR own black iron belief systems.

    Mr. Hedges writes:

    “All fascist and totalitarian movements paper over their squalid belief systems with the veneer of morality. They mouth pieties about restoring law and order, right and wrong, the sanctity of life, civic and family virtues, patriotism and tradition to mask their dismantling of the open society and silencing and persecution of those who oppose them”.

    It’s stunning to witness that such a brilliant writer could be so willfully blind that he would fail to ‘see’, even as he wrote them, the immense, and VERY obvious, irony in his own words. He clearly fails, (pretty much completely), to understand the magnitude of our predicament, as we, the Common People, are forced to witness various totalitarian factions, including the blatantly Stalinist (politically correct) Identitarian Left, vie with one another for power?

    He wants us to choose Stalin over Hitler? … Hmm … As just a dumb common man, (among the Common People), I’m gonna have t’ scratch my head awhile on that one. Mr. Hedges. (Thanks for the suggestion, though).

    The extreme Christian Right may indeed be dangerous, but to the majority of the nation’s yeomen folk, to the majority of us Common People, the Right is no more (nor any less) dangerous, not one whit, than Mr. Hedges’ cherished Identitarian Stalinist Left.

    Just to repeat one time, (for emphasis), to us common folk, there is no more dangerous totalitarian faction in this nation than the Politically Correct Identity Politics American Left. These people are clearly, (to people tryin g to be rational), ‘crazed’. They have clearly drunk the kool-aid of a cult ideology, and are clearly under the influence of their unrestrained, and completely irrational, mob emotions.

    Let’s just change a few words from Mr. Hedges’ myopically biased and religiously self-serving quote above:

    “All fascist and totalitarian movements paper over their squalid belief systems with the veneer of morality. They mouth pieties about social justice, right and wrong, and, above all, the sanctity of politically correct, and blatantly racist, and blatantly sexist, Identitarian Rights, to mask their dismantling of the open society and silencing and persecution of those who oppose them,”

    “Cancel culture” anyone,? As we, the Common People, watch our nation ruled by the Mass Media-fueled hysteria of rival mobs?

    Does Mr. Hedges think that this naked fascism from the ‘religious’ cult that comprises the extremist ‘abolish the police’ Identitarian Bolshevik Left, seems more preferable to us Common People, than that from the opposing religious cult of Christian extremism?

    Well, as I read this article, and see him behave like a stupid black iron pot, condemning the black iron kettle, for being black, it seems obvious than despite whatever wisdom Mr Hedges has “gathered from coincidence”, like ole Baby Blue, he does not even begin to understand the events happening around him.

    He’s a keenly brilliant observer of general conditions. His analysis of Capitalism is laser sharp. But he obviously cannot “see himself as others see him”. (R Burns).

    Only self-awareness can save us. Mr. Hedges’ myopic self-serving bias only exposes the limits of his. As a ‘public intellectual’, he embarrasses himself here, as he reveals himself to be, in full spite of the wisdom he has to offer, a major part of the problem, rather than any part of the solution.

    Folks is jes’ folks, Mr. Hedges. From where I sit, (out here groveling among the Common Folk), you sure look like just another poor dumb human to me, (just like me). As such, as just another dumb creature, (like me), your arrogantly overbearing self-righteousness is EVERY BIT as distressing and dangerous, and EVERY BIT as morally ugly, as ANY emanating from the Right.

    Us Common People are caught between a deadly dangerous rock, and a fatal hard place. Stalin or Hitler? Uhhhh … I’ll get back t’ ya on that, Mr. Hedges. me and some other folks are trying to work out some sane/coherent alternatives.

    Caliban

    (R Zwarich
    Bent Birch Farm)

    1. identitarian politics is fascist—the opposite of Stalinism…likley u are amerikan and believe your fake academics: “technicians that serve power that have a thin understanding of everything”. R Hofstadter
      I do not

      1. Thank you to Yuri for ‘splaining’ things to me. In her or his neat little ‘belief system’, which she or he apparently has all worked out in her or his mind, “fascism is the opposite of Stalinism”. (Perhaps this is written in a Little Booklet Yuri carries?)

        So … “Identitarian politics is [sic] fascist”, (Yuri’s own premise), “the opposite of Stalinism”. Ohh … Well … Okey doke, then … Yuri clearly ‘hath spoken’.

        I would ask good citizen Yuri, (my good fellow-citizen of the world): When we simplify reality’s complexities so we can understand the ‘whole thing’ easier, past a certain point, do we actually increase our understanding much at all?

        The ‘exact’ meaning of the term ‘fascist’ is very clear in Yuri’s rigid explanation of his version of ‘reality’ to himself, but among many the meaning of ‘fascist’ remains rather more ‘fluid’ (shall we say?). It is yet ‘under discussion’.

        Copied and pasted from an online dictionary:

        “Identitarian
        relating to or characteristic of a politics in which the political interests of a particular racial, ethnic or national group are given priority ”

        “Fascist
        INFORMAL: someone who forces people to obey them and does not allow any opposition to what they do or say”

        Let’s see if I’ve got this right, (I lost my copy of the Yuri’s Little Booklet so long ago).

        ‘Identity Politics’ is a leftist thing, which is the opposite of Identitarian Politics, which is a fascist thing, and in Yuri’s nice neat little reality, blatantly racist Identitarian Politics is completely different than EQUALLY as blatantly racist Identity Politics, even though they both look and sound pretty much EXACTLY the same to adherents of neither cult-like belief system.

        Perhaps the hob-nailed jackboots of Hitler’s ‘secret police’ had a different feel on people’s cheeks than the steel hobnails in the jackboots of Stalin’s ‘secret police’? Were the millions murdered by Stalin, (Holodomor, anyone?), less dead that the millions murdered by Hitler? Stalin’s ‘secret police’, the NKVD, were somehow more gentle as they went about their business than the Gestapo? How about the East German Stasi? I guess they weren’t fascists either? They were “the opposite of fascists”?

        Do tell … Good citizen Yuri. Do ‘splain s’more.

        Hmm…These people who think they are being clever when they spell Amerika, (yea, we did it in the 60s, too, when we were kids and believed many strange things), certainly can PERFECTLY understand this complex advanced ‘logic’ that makes THEM, somehow magically, miraculously, (I s’pose we could say, this is religion, after all, they ‘believe in’ their convoluted ideology with passionate conviction) … they themselves (they believe) are ‘the opposite of everything bad’, no matter WHAT they say or do. THEIR racism is GOOD racism! By God! ..(er.. marx?) … Cue the ‘iron’ fist of pretended left-wing power ‘thundering’ on on the table … as the Marxist/Socialist American Marionette Left thunders on through their pathetically clownish hypocrisy …

        The deadly fatal foolishness of such ‘conviction’, of black pots and black kettles holding their noses as high as they can, as they denounce one another with all the raging hatred they can muster from their aroused passions, was exactly what I was trying to get people to ‘see’, (as exampled by Chris Hedges’ behavior’, in the voice in which he speaks in the essay here under discussion).

        Am I American?

        Well … I’m sure the heck NOT Amerikan …

        And where does our good citizen Yuri hail from? (note that good citizen Yuri, after denouncing the concept that she or he could possible be ‘identitarian’, she or he then immediately slings a personal insult, (as we apes have always slung our feces), meant to injure my own ‘identity’, (in this case my nationality).

        Ahh …. Irony is wherever we find it, isn’t it, good citizen?

        Am I American? Hmm … Not such an easy question, eh? … On my father’s side, his folks were born in a village of Ukrainians, in a region of Ukrainians, in what was then Austria, (as the borders in that region were always pushing back and forth). ‘Zwarich’ is also a polish name, but my people were Ukrainians. I spent a lot of time, as a boy, living in a family that spoke no more than ‘pid’gin’ English, as a second language.

        On my mother’s side, I bear the name Owen, a Celtic (Cymru) name. Her father came from way down deep in a place called The Ozarks, way down in the wild hills and forests of Missouri. The population of the local town, Houston, Mo, less than half a days ride in the wagon from the Owen farm, had reached 2100 souls by the 2010 census. When my grandfather was born, just a few years before Geronimo died, Houston was a small village. The general store owner. A few magistrates, maybe. The school marm. Their families. A blacksmith. etc. The Sheriff probably needed an office whenever he came to town. No US Marshall likely ever passed that way. It’s hard to imagine that lodgings were even available in town. When my grampa was a boy, visitors didn’t much come through Houston.

        Houston, Missouri, about as far out in the wilds of the Ozark forests and hills as it was possible to be, was nonetheless much like the village that my Ukrainian grandparents were born into, a small simple place where human life was about as simple as human life ever gets. .Folks ’round such parts tend t’ be the hardest of hard scrabble. Their hands are hard and tough as shoe leather, men and women both. In their narrow eyes is an understanding of ‘survival’ that many never come to know much about.

        They had ALL fled starvation in ‘the old country’. They were all motivated by desperation. They left their homes and families to embark on a dangerous voyage, with no idea how they would survive when they arrived.

        Both my father’s parents, and my mother’s grandparents, had arrived at the same port in the US, but maybe 60 or 70 years apart. All were fleeing deadly danger. All were simple peasant folk just trying to survive.

        My father’s people settled in the urban east, in Roxbury, in Boston. As a young child, I remember their house at the top of Highland Park Ave. The kitchen stove burned wood or coal. It also heated the top floor of the old two-decker. To take a bath, you had to build a fire under the rusty iron water tank that was elevated near the ceiling, beside the kitchen stove. I remember my Dji-Dji plopping a headless chicken in the sink, for my Babi to pluck and cook for the soup. I remember how the burning feathers smelled, as she removed an iron cover from the stove top, and singed the down off the bird carcass.

        Those people taught we things, and ways, that many children are not so fortunate to learn. I learned to ‘see’ through other eyes besides my own.

        My Grampa Owen 5took me into the woods. On long hikes through brush and field. He taught me to think like whatever creature we were hunting, to ‘see’ through eyes not even human. I saw him shoot a hawk out of the sky, in a boastful moment, with a .22 pistol. I saw him weep at his deed, his heart in genuine pain, with the magnificent creature’s wings spread out across his knees, as he knelt to do his penance. “Oh, geezus crist …”, he said, his voice aquiver, “I never thought I could really hit it. don’t yoju EVER forget you saw me do this, Ramone … You HEAR? … I killed this bird for no reason. It was better than me. It only killed to eat”.

        No, good citizen Yuri. I am NOT ‘Amerikan’?

        You?

  13. I wanted to read Chris Hedges’ take on Amy Barrett and maybe learn more about her. Out of 1,779 words the only thing close to a fact (not opinion) that Hedges writes about Barrett is that “Many of the extremists who make up the judicial appointees have been rated as unqualified by the American Bar Association”.

    When Barrett was nominated to the 7th Circuit in 2017 she was given a WQ, well-qualified rating by the ABA. Hedges hedges his claim against Barrett by writing “many of the extremists” so technically he can say Barrett isn’t included in this group of ‘many’, but clearly that is what he is implying.

  14. There is no such thing as a ‘naked fascism rising on the left’. Fascism, by definition, is on the right. Look it up, it’s right there in black and white. Fascism’s counterpart on the left is called Socialism. If there are those who were considered left but who are now engaging in fascist ideology, then they are no longer left. People aren’t locked on to one side or another you know.

    This isn’t arrogance, it’s historical political fact.

    1. Copied and pasted:

      fascism noun
      fas·​cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi- \

      Definition of fascism

      1; often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
      2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control
      early instances of army fascism and brutality
      — J. W. Aldridge

      end dictionary quote. … https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism

      Can our good citizen cite where Merriam Webster defines ‘fascism’ “on the right”, as “historical political fact?

      Shall I copy and paste from other dictionaries? There are any number at our fingertips.

      The sharp steel hob-nails likely felt quite as terrible on soft human cheeks, whether from the Gestapo, or Stalin’s dread NKVD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD

  15. “They will do this with or without Trump.”

    The Neo Progressive fantasy that Trump doesn’t matter, of which Hedges’ pile of demagogic bile above is prime example, is central to their alternative political narrative. The problem, of course, is that it is completely and utterly false, and regurgitating it 5 weeks before a presidential election is reckless and brazenly irresponsible.

    The simple truth is that without Trump there are no Pence, DeVose, Pompeo, Barr, and the rest of the ‘fascists’ Hedges lists above, and they, as well as the slide toward fascism Trump, his GOP, cult followers and they represent would be gone with him as well.

    Christian fundamentalism, both inside and outside the Supreme Court, is a conservative/Republican problem, not a general one, and its remedy is simple, obvious, easy and immediate, namely voting for a Democrat president and Senators!

    1. If you look farther into his writings, you will see that Hedges shows that the problem is not Trump. Instead, it is the collapse of the Neoliberal-Corporate state. Trump and those he brought with him into the Executive are merely a symptom of the rot and decay of the Vulture-Capitalist “System” that pervades the world today.

      1. Hedges’ writings presumes the collapse of the so called Neoliberal-Corporate state, but nowhere in his writings does he “show” it.

        In any event, I fail to see the relevancy here, since the text is about Christian / conservative fascism.

        If what you are trying to say is that Christian fascism is not an exclusively conservative issue, than you simply make my case for me, and exemplify the ignorance-inducing properties of Hedges demagoguery and propaganda.

      2. Ed Homeier is correct here. Hedges has, multiple times, stated that Trump is the symptom and not the core problem. He’s been saying this since January 20, 2017, if not prior. Neoliberalism has been alive and well since the 1970s if you count the Trilateral Commission.

        As far as “showing” the neoliberal corporate state, I can only analogize my recent viewings of CGI videos of the real-time Titantic sinking. In these re-enactment videos, it was clear that, aside from 20/20 hindsight, that the Great Ship, which was billed as a ship that even God couldn’t sink, the voyage was clipped to sinkage upon the iceberg’s impact. J. Bruce Ismay, the ship’s owner, scurried around upon impact telling passengers to take this seriously and to get off (something that was incredibly telling of the mentality of the largely wealthy passengers), and roughly halfway through the captain, Edward Smith, decreed that the ship was unsalvageable and commanded everyone to focus on abandonment. It was clear on multiple points that the Titantic was doomed and there was zero saving it. Fast-forward to today, and the (admittedly British) Titantic might be the sole omen for the US. Are we past the point of salvageability? Much like Sodom & Gomorrah, are there those of us worth saving? Keep in mind that in the Bible, God was more than willing to save S&G if there were more than 5 or so good people. But there weren’t, so he got the 5 or so good out of there so he could destroy it due to unspeakable wickedness. Which is completely understandable for a twin-city that is lost and reprobate. (this is where I’d love to hear last week’s SI guest, Rabbi Lerner’s input).

        If we’re to analogize America to the Titanic, where are we in the throes of the demise? When we hit the iceberg? When people got on lifeboats to survive (many are across the world have renounced their citizenship to save themselves)? When we snapped in half all of a minute prior to our final watery grave? I dunno. I do know that America is at least somewhat unlike any other empire in world history. It’s crystal clear that the empirical version of America is on the downslide, it’s just a matter of when and not if.

        To me, it’s clear that it’s been “shown” that America is collapsing. Whether you point to the rising China, or to the severe weakening of the US Dollar, which happens to be the world’s reserve currency, or to the unwinnable wars that we’re embroiled in. Most, if not all, empires throughout world history has gone through one or more of these stages, perhaps other that I haven’t mentioned.

        This has zero to do with domestic Christianity and how it’s expressed. But it has everything to do with Global American Collapse. These issues transcend mere religion, and take on much larger proportions. Far larger. And when that goes, so does the domestic.

        (please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors. I’ve had a bit more bourbon than I’m used to. C’est la vie. My sincerest apologies).

    2. hahahaha – errrr ya Dick Durban -“we can’t stop the nomination”
      hey vote blue no matter who – you’re a corporate party representing the same interests as the republicans.
      The record proves you wrong.
      Stop watching Rachel Maddow and read ‘Democracy Incorporated’

      Stack the court or get rid of it.
      Liberals meh…

      1. Ah!

        A direct voice from the Hedges’ virtual universe!

        “The record proves you wrong.” ???

        How do you expect to be taken seriously when spewing such nonsense?

      2. HAHAHA! That reply just reaks of the meritocracy that corrupt corporate democrats like you represent.
        You’ve been owned, centrist cry baby. Go cry to Neera Tanden

      3. And more of the same ….

        Another Neo Progressive left-ish troll baby: nothing to say, so they shout in UPPER CASE ! ! !

  16. The Pope has no standing to criticize. Whether it’s overpopulation, overconsumption or both, the go-forth-and-multiply ethos of the Catholic Church , which disdains any form of birth control, is anathema to sustaining Mother Earth…

  17. Elections have consequences. One big one is the appointment of federal judges. It is a bit comical for a Presbyterian (whose members are 92% white) preacher to harangue SCOTUS which has been 33% Jewish (less than 2% of the US population) and 66% Catholic (22% ) for as long as most can remember. Adding a super conservative Catholic who is a corporate toady is quite typical, and in keeping with the lack of diversity this institution evidently requires. Surely it is the least diverse of any government branch. The Rich will get their tax cuts and their handouts (Obama made Bush’s temporary tax cuts permanent, and gave $29 Trillion to Wall Street– Levy Economic Institute) no matter who is President. Would be nice to see the Democrats attack her abominable record; of course it would have been nice to see them attack Kavanaugh’s abominable record as well, but our politicians and their donors love these corporate toadies! Instead they will engage in kabuki theatre which is frankly all either party has nowadays, devoid of principle, just chasing (NEVER RESOLVING) Election issues.

    1. Thanks for your remarks! IMO, you are exactly correct. If only the vast, rich media would ignore the theater and get to the heart of the many serious problems this culture confronts…. oh wait, that can’t happen…

  18. The October 4, 2020, the day before this article was published, Pope Francis released his latest encyclical – Fratelli Tutti. The encyclical promotes more human fraternity and solidarity. It condemns the use of capital punishment and racism while encouraging immigration, interreligious relations, the dignity of women, liberty, equality, and fraternity. It condemns war, noting that a “just” war is practically impossible.

    As regards to the economy, the Pope warns against selfishness, financial speculation, and the reliance on “market freedom”. He denounces the “dogma” of neoliberalism and the notion that the market can resolve any societal problem. There is a right to property, but this right “can only be considered a secondary natural right” to that of human dignity.

    This is current Catholic teaching and is not what Ms. Barrett espouses, with the possible exception of the need to abolish capital punishment.

  19. zwarich=amerikan as cherry pie—-tibya ponyamiash?
    obviously entirely oblivious re the peculiar amerikan national character…and certainly entirely ignorant re” Stalin…clearly u believe fake anglo academics that mischaracterize the USSR and Stalin…admired by Merleau-Ponty, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Zinoviev, H Bruce Franklin, etc
    as Zinoviev wrote 20 years ago, “world domination manifests itself as an intellectual or if u prefer a cultural diktat. this is why the amerikans have so zealously tried to bring down the intellectual and cultural common denominator of the entire world down to their own level. try to convince an amerikan that their values will destroy Russia–you will not be able
    astaroghna

    1. Well … It sure feels like Yuri is slinging insults again, but since it is unintelligible, (tybia ponyamiash? astarogahna? Okey doke, cowboy), I will simply thank her or him for graciously providing more ‘splaining.

      Everything seems cleared up now. Nice to have encountered you.

      Caliban

      1. Folks-working class mom here who needs info how to try to reach Hedges (followed writings/speeches/lectures for years) or obtain advice here. Son, 21 grads this May from Lower 48 private college but grew up subsistence lifeways bush Alaska, is tribal enrolled. Dad is still in Alaskan Native village. I have guided him so far to miracle of obtaining history degree, native scholarships, native national youth groups. He was far from guidance counselors who were familiar with Indigenous opportunities. We need advice for Graduate school and I want to point toward community with some Native professors/centered curriculum and/or Progressive in semi urban environment. His upstate rural NY college was solid for transition from off road Alaska but average Euro-centered, capitalistic values. It is 20% minority but zippo Indigenous. Got to keep him grounded in right values before gobbled up by mainstream culture. He is more extroverted when has Native folks around like himself as they reflect his remote village upbringing. Folks from all backgrounds raised on road system don’t always have that core. He is soccer player who also is away climate chaos is changing life in Alaska for relations. Maybe ASU Tucson? WA state? Ana bassee’

    1. Sex? O geez …

      C’mon … Can people really have so little self-awareness? (Take away food, water, and shelter, and see how long people still feel horny .. sheesh).

      C’mon, good citizen Ms. Watson. Do you not know how this sounds? Are you so crass and crude, so completely lacking in imagination, in your obviously ‘first world’ reality, that you cannot even imagine REAL human suffering?

      Believe me, good citizen. If you are ever deprived of food, water, and shelter, you will not be ‘receptive’. No tickle ‘down there’ will disturb you when the wolf growls ever more insistently from your belly.
      Caliban

  20. Eileen McGlynn
    Northern Arizona U in Flagstaff would be one to consider – not sure about their grad program

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