Abortion Chris Hedges Christian Nationalism Original

Hedges: Fascists in Our Midst

Supreme Court rulings, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade, herald the ascendancy of Christian fascism in the United States.
Original illustration by Mr. Fish — “Elephants in the Womb”

By Chris Hedges / Special to ScheerPost

The Supreme Court is relentlessly funding and empowering Christian fascism. It not only overturned Roe v. Wade, ending a constitutional right to an abortion, but ruled on June 21 that Maine may not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program. It has ruled that a Montana state program to support private schools must include religious schools. It ruled that a 40-foot cross could remain on state property in suburban Maryland. It upheld the Trump administration regulation allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to female employees on religious grounds. It ruled that employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at religious schools. It ruled that a Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia could ignore city rules and refuse to screen same-sex couples applying to take in foster children. It neutered the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It watered down laws allowing workers to combat sexual and racial harassment in court. It reversed century-old campaign finance restric­tions to permit corpor­a­tions, private groups and oligarchs to spend unlim­ited funds on elec­tions, a system of legalized bribery, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. It permitted states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. It undercut the ability of public sector unions to raise funds. It forced workers with legal grievances to submit their complaints to privatized arbitration boards. It ruled that states cannot restrict the right to carry concealed weapons in public. It ruled that suspects cannot sue police who neglect to read them their Miranda warnings and use their statements against them in court. Outlawing contraception, same-sex marriage and same-sex consensual relations are probably next. Only 25 percent of those polled say they have confidence in Supreme Court decisions.

I do not use the word fascist lightly. My father was a Presbyterian minister. My mother, a professor, was a seminary graduate. I received my Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister. Most importantly, I spent two years reporting from megachurches, creationist seminars, right-to-life retreats, Christian broadcasting networks and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with members and leaders of the Christian right for my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” which is banned at most “Christian” schools and universities. Before the book was published, I met at length with Fritz Stern, the author of The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the German Ideology, and Robert O. Paxton, who wrote The Anatomy of Fascism, two of the country’s most eminent scholars of fascism, to make sure the word fascist was appropriate.

The book was a warning that an American fascism, wrapped in the flag and clutching the Christian cross, was organizing to extinguish our anemic democracy. This assault is very far advanced. The connecting tissue among the disparate militia groups, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion activists, right-wing patriot organizations, Second Amendment advocates, neo-Confederates and Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol on January 6 is this frightening Christian fascism.

Fascists achieve power by creating parallel institutions – schools, universities, media platforms and paramilitary forces – and seizing the organs of internal security and the judiciary. They deform the law, including electoral law, to serve their ends. They are rarely in the majority. The Nazis never polled above 37 percent in free elections in Germany. Christian fascists constitute less than a third of the U.S. electorate, about the same percentage of those who consider abortion to be murder. 

This flagrant manipulation of law was displayed in two of the most recent Supreme Court decisions, where those who support this ideology have a five to three majority, with the less extremist Chief Justice John Roberts often adding a sixth vote. In overturning Roe v. Wade, the court, in a six to three decision, argued that states have the power to decide whether abortion is legal. The same court conversely came down against “states’ rights,” in striking down strict restrictions on carrying concealed firearms.  

What the ideology demands is law. What the ideology opposes is a crime. Once a legal system is subservient to dogma an open society is impossible.  

Blow by blow autocratic power is being solidified by this monstrous Christian fascism which is bankrolled by the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism. It looks set to take control of the U.S. Congress in the midterm elections. If Trump, or a Trump-like clone, is elected in 2024, what is left of our democracy will likely be extinguished.

These Christians fascists are clear about the society they intend to create.

In their ideal America, our “secular humanist” society based on science and reason will be destroyed. The Ten Commandments will form the basis of the legal system. Creationism or “Intelligent Design” will be taught in public schools, many of which will be overtly “Christian.” Those branded as social deviants, including the LGBTQ community, immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims, criminals, and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will be silenced, imprisoned, or killed. The role of the federal government will be reduced to protecting property rights, “homeland” security and waging war. Most government assistance programs and federal departments, including education, will be terminated. Church organizations will be funded and empowered to run social-welfare agencies and schools. The poor, condemned for sloth, indolence, and sinfulness, will be denied help. The death penalty will be expanded to include “moral crimes,” including apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy, and witchcraft, as well as abortion, which will be treated as murder. Women, denied contraception, access to abortion, and equality under the law, will be subordinate to men. Those who practice other faiths will become, at best, second-class citizens. The wars waged by the American empire will be defined as religious crusades. Victims of police violence and those in prison will have no redress. There will be no separation of church and state. The only legitimate voices in public discourse and the media will be “Christian.” America will be sacralized as an agent of God. Those who defy the “Christian” authorities, at home and abroad, will be condemned as agents of Satan.

How did the historians of Weimar Germany and Nazism, the professors of Holocaust studies, the sociologists and the religious scholars manage to miss the rise of our homegrown Christian fascism? Immersed in the writings of Hannah Arendt, Raul Hilberg, Saul Friedländer, Joachim Fest, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Theodor Adorno, they never connected the dots. Why didn’t church leaders thunder in denunciation at the grotesque perversion of the Gospel by the Christian fascists as they sacralized the get-rich-with-Jesus schemes of the prosperity gospel, imperialism, militarism, capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and other forms of bigotry? Why didn’t reporters see the flashing red lights that lit up decades ago?

Most of those tasked with reporting on and interpreting history, social movements and religious beliefs have failed us. They spoke about the past, vowing “Never again,” but refused to use the lessons of the past to explain the present. It was not ignorance. It was cowardice. To confront the Christian fascists, even in universities, meant career-canceling accusations of religious bigotry and intolerance. It meant credible threats of violence from conspiracy theorists who believed they were called by God to murder abortion providers, Muslims, and “secular humanists.”

It was easier, as many academics did in Weimar Germany, to believe that the fascists did not mean what they said, that there were strains within the movement that could be reasoned with, that opening channels of dialogue and communication could see the fascists domesticated, that if in power the fascists would not act on their extremist and violent rhetoric.  With few exceptions, German academics did not protest the Nazi assumption of power and the wholesale dismissal of their liberal, socialist, and Jewish colleagues.

Although my book was a New York Times best seller, Harvard told my publisher it was not interested in my appearing at the school. I gave a lecture on the book at Colgate University, where I had earned my undergraduate degree, organized by my mentor Coleman Brown, a professor of ethics. I held a seminar, also organized by Coleman, with the professors of philosophy and religion after the talk. These professors wanted nothing to do with the critique. When we left the room, Coleman muttered, “the problem is they do not believe in heretics.”

I was asked in 2006 to speak at the inauguration of the LGBT center at Princeton University when I was the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies. To my dismay, the faculty facilitators had invited representatives from the right-wing Christian student group who see any deviation from heterosexuality as a psychological and moral abnormality. Christian fascist pastors in Texas and Idaho, who have driven countless young people struggling with their sexual identity to suicide, have called for the execution of gay people as recently as a few days ago.

“There is no dialogue with those who deny your legitimate right to be,” I said, looking pointedly at the LGBTQ students. “At that point it is a fight for survival.”

The faculty member organizing the event leapt from her chair.

“This is a university,” she said to me curtly. “Your talk is over. You can’t say those kinds of things here.”

I sat down. But I had made my point.

All those tasked in our society with interpreting the world around us forgot, as philosopher Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies, that “unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

These scholars, writers, intellectuals, and journalists, like those in Weimar Germany, bear much of the blame. They preferred accommodation over confrontation. They stood by as the working class was stripped of rights and impoverished by the billionaire class, fertilizing the ground for an American fascism. Those who orchestrated the economic, political, and social assault are the major donors to the universities. They control trustee boards, grants, academic prizes, think tanks, promotion, publishing, and tenure. Academics, looking for an exit, ignored the attacks by the ruling oligarchy. They ascribed to the Christian fascists, bankrolled by huge corporations such as Tyson Foods, Purdue, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Warehouse, attributes that did not exist. They tacitly gave the Christian fascists religious legitimacy. These Christian fascists are an updated version of the so-called German Christian Church, or Deutsche Christen, which fused the iconography and symbols of the Christian religion with the Nazi party. The theologian Paul Tillich, the first non-Jewish German professor to be blacklisted from German universities by the Nazis, angrily chastised those who refused to fight “the paganism of the swastika” and retreated into a myopic preoccupation with personal piety.

Victor Klemperer, stripped of his position as a professor of Romance languages at the Technical University of Dresden when the Nazis came to power in 1933 because he was Jewish, mused in his diary in 1936 what he would do in post-Nazi Germany if  “the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands.” He wrote that he would “let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders…But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lamp posts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.”

Fascists promise moral renewal, a return to a lost golden age. They use campaigns of moral purity to justify state repression. Adolf Hitler, days after he took power in January 1933, imposed a ban on all homosexual organizations. He ordered raids on homosexual clubs and bars, including the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, and the permanent exile of its director, Magnus Hirschfeld. Thousands of volumes from the institute’s library were tossed into a bonfire. This “moral cleansing” was cheered on by the German public, including German churches. But the tactics, outside the law, swiftly legitimized what would soon be done to others.

I studied at Harvard with theologian James Luther Adams. Adams was a member of the underground anti-Nazi Confessing Church in Germany led by the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. Adams was arrested in 1936 by the Gestapo and expelled from the country. He was one of the very few to see the deadly strains of fascism in the nascent Christian right.

“When you are my age,” he told us (he was then 80), “you will all be fighting the Christian fascists.”

And here we are.

The billionaire class, while sometimes socially liberal, dispossessed working men and women through deindustrialization, austerity, a legalized tax boycott, looting the U.S. Treasury and deregulation. It triggered the widespread despair and rage that pushed many of the betrayed into the arms of these con artists and demagogues. It is more than willing to accommodate the Christian fascists, even if it means abandoning the liberal veneer of inclusiveness. It has no intention of supporting social equality, which is why it thwarted the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. 

In the end, even the liberal class will choose fascism over empowering the left-wing and organized labor. The only thing the ruling oligarchy truly cares about is unfettered exploitation and profit. They, like the industrialists in Nazi Germany, will happily make an alliance with the Christian fascists, no matter how bizarre and buffoonish, and embrace the blood sacrifices of the condemned.   


NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

Chris 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 show The Chris Hedges Report.

62 comments

  1. What else is new, Chris. Same thing happened in the antebellum period when finally things erupted and we had the Civil War. It was largely the churches that justified slavery and the tug of war between clerics who followed the golden rule and those who followed the money went on for 30 years until the election of Lincoln sparked the conflagration.

  2. In my eyes the liberal class is just as fascist as the christian fascists, just in their own demented way. With a populace of ignorant, programmed and brainwashed sheep incapable of critical thought or action, we are at the mercy of madmen and psychopaths, christian or otherwise.

    I see no daylight, only evil bastards everywhere.

    1. The public has been drinking from the Kool Aid fountain of Freedom and Democracy for decades and can’t tell an oligarchy from a hole in the ground.
      Is there hope for the future? I doubt it…

    2. I agree. I can’t read Hedges anymore without assuming he’s of the mockingbird flock. This article is downright hyperbolic. It feeds pmc fears of rural working people- and I say that as someone who doesn’t associate with “christian” fundamentalists, including genetic relatives who are the most dishonest, hypocritical, hateful humans I’ve known- but something more is happening here. The recent deluge of liberal articles and books (Thom Hartman’s latest for example) about the “coming civil war” seem to want to provoke bs class-based fear. Frankly, I’d rather listen to right-wing “nutters” on CHD TV (Financial Rebellion, for example) discuss Global Man’s controlled demolition of the dollar-based global economic system and what we can do about it than anything Hedges writes nowadays. I’m so sick of hearing that the political class of western nations are stupid. NO. They’re the puppets of billionaires who are manufacturing technofeudalism and very few people will call that out. Some right-leaning religious nutters are and I don’t disagree with them about this much.

  3. “Original minds are not distinguished by being the first to see a new thing but instead seeing the old, familiar thing that is overlooked as something new”. Nietzsche.

    Set it up. Drive & divide society. Watch it tear itself apart. Ride to the gaslight ‘rescue’ with military force. Start war. Guilt-shame *ALL MEN* into military uniform upon mobilisation. Globally. Simple. It’s all been done before. As such, regardless of pretext US/UK (& beyond) militarisation is inevitable. #TickTockTroops

    ‘Early Warning Signs of Fascism: The #MeToo (& LGBT) Truth of Rampant Sexism’ (2020) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-1Y2

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (*free download*)

    1. Middle class liberals seem to have slept through recent decades. We’ve been pointing out the move to fascist rule at least since Reagan in the 1980s. The Dem Party got onboard in the 1990s. (Good ol’ bipartisanship.) The former Dem voting base has been deeply divided, pitted against each other, for years — middle class vs. poor, workers vs. those left jobless, further split by race and the key leading issues. What is it, that some just don’t “get?”

      1. The Democratic party has changed. They are no longer the Party of the Poor and Working Class. As Matt Taibbi recently noted in a discussion with Ben Shapiro (for which both were castigated by their “bases”), almost all the richest voting districts in the US vote Democrat. They are the Establishment and have quickly become used to squashing dissenting opinions and meteing out different types of justice for their supporters and their opponents.
        While I believe in my body, my choice for both abortion and vaccine mandates, even Ginsberg was not happy with the Roe adjudication process by SCOTUS. She felt the state legislatures should have been involved. As Hedges surely knows, despite the popularity of the Roe decision, legally it stepped on states’ rights (Tenth Amendment), which could have been overcome by federal LAW. Yet another Scheerpost article by Margaret Kimberley noted that Obama had made the campaign promise to codify Roe into federal law, but walked away from that once elected (Democrats NEVER resolve important election issues; otherwise what would they run on?)
        SCOTUS’s “reversal” of Civil Rights Act, as Hedges also surely knows, had at its heart the fact that the Jim Crow South was gone; the obvious solution to this was to expand the Civil Rights Act to ALL states; surely racism should be illegal nationally? Or does Hedges think the NorthEast should be immune to their racist history?
        Hedges may be a fascist preacher, as he projects for other “men of the cloth”, but in our evidence-free post-truth world, the “faith” of many seems in consensus views with no dissent allowed. The pendelum has swung back a bit to religion (of all sorts) protectionism in SCOTUS, but not so far as to be a major social problem for all but the least tolerant. Yet.

      2. @michael888
        The poor & working class regions seem to now vote strongly Republican, as ridiculous as that is. This winner-take-all system that only has 2 parties that are more like gangs than political parties is not only totally rigged & unrepresentative, it’s laughable.

  4. What gives me hope in the face of what Chris lays out here is the extent and depth of the “deconstructing” movement that is bringing a vigorous critique of the nationalist heresy. There are a whole lot of ex evangelicals who are refuges from lives of complete immersion in cult like congregations, who are outspoken critics of fundamentalism and Christian nationalism.

  5. Are “Christian fascists” more worrisome than the national security state, corporate media, upper-middle-class vote-Democrat-no-matter-what types (who, for example, ruined The Nation magazine in the 1990s)?

    Are they responsible for the deaths of millions of people around the globe, responsible for the imposition of crippling sanctions, for NATO expansion, for full-spectrum surveillance of the US citizenry?

    How many billionaires topping the Forbes list identify as Christians?

    Isn’t extreme secularism, the worship of self and of money far more worrisome than a few Christian fascist types scattered about the country? Why doesn’t Reverend Hedges focus a little more on the former?

    1. @RNM
      The “extreme secularism” you described is evil, but it’s no worse than christians who think and act as if they have the right to rule the Earth. It was christians who colonized this land to begin with, murdering the Natives, stealing their land, and imprisoning Africans. The christian fascists Chris describes are the worst of them, but they’re all horrible.

      1. Correct, Jeff. This isn’t an “either/or” thing. We can’t bifurcate between Nazis and Brownshirts. Too many leftists appear to be doing just that, and it’s undermined the so-called Left. Or what passes for a left in America. I can understand trying to build bridges with those who don’t agree with your or my views, but we first must understand those we’re considering building bridges with, and what the consequences are, if any. And that doesn’t happen on the Left.

      2. @Marble Rye
        Making alliances is tricky, or at least doing it correctly is. First and foremost, you must identify your basic ideals and ideologies that can’t be compromised. Then you find people & groups with whom you can agree on those issues, even while you might disagree on others. It is totally counterproductive to “build bridges” if those bridges require selling out or compromising what you supposedly stand for.

        As usual with politics, this is about priorities (most people don’t understand that). Compromise on issues that have no or little priority is needed to make alliances, but you should never compromise your fundamental ideals.

    2. To call Mr. Hedges a real “reverend” defeats its purpose. Moreover, I would more appropriately call him a “witch doctor” or “shaman” or even to an atheist, “the man behind the curtain of Oz”. I grew up a Presbyterian, and I left that religion because it became a man-made religion. The teachings of Christ, the ten commandments, and the sanctity of life are devoid in this man’s article. By his fruits, he will be known. He admits to the world that secular humanism is “logical and scientific.” He seems to embrace that thinking. Well, what more does he need to deny Christ? Not only has he denied Christ; he has also betrayed Christ with a kiss by saying, “I am a minister of Christ, but the world holds more truth than Christ.” Jesus said no one can serve two masters, He will love one and hate the other. Likening followers of Christ to a particularly anti-Christian world view (facism) is a slap in every Christian’s face. No matter the accolades he has received as a journalist, I’d be fairly ashamed to associate this article as written by a so-called “man of the cloth What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his own soul. As a former Customs Inspector, I can’t stand a fake. They look like something, but in the end, their value is considerably lower than the real thing.

      1. @TET
        Christians are the worst group of people on Earth. They destroy traditional indigenous people and their communities, and they destroy the Earth. Take your christian crap somewhere else, you are the enemy of all that’s good and decent.

      2. Chris is talking about those who ‘DON’T’ follow Christ teachings,but pretentiously assume they do and then you toss out the lip service that reveals how you miss out. How could you miss that major gist of his push to reveal? You’re paying lip service to a few buzzwords and really again how can you miss it? Because you are missing the forest for all the trees there. WAKE UP!! Seriously.

  6. JustAMaverick’s comment is spot on, especially people being ignorant, brainwashed, programmed sheep incapable of CRITICAL thinking. Who would have thought that people would be so lazy and cowardly to exchange humanity for pure evil!

  7. “It was easier, as many academics did in Weimar Germany, to believe that the fascists did not mean what they said, that there were strains within the movement that could be reasoned with, that opening channels of dialogue and communication could see the fascists domesticated, that if in power the fascists would not act on their extremist and violent rhetoric.”

    American fascists & Nazis do not only exist in the higher strata of what vaguely can be called our society. They’re there indeed, no question. But let’s not act like there isn’t an ample supply among regular everyday people. Come to the American southeast, especially but by no means exclusively to the rural areas. They’re everywhere. The gun nuts are not some separate race of conservative from Nazis, you can’t really bifurcate Nazis from brownshirts, that’s disingenuous. And they can’t be reasoned with. Opening a channel of dialogue with them goes one of two ways: it’s either 1) arguing with a moron is like wrestling with a pig, you get filthy and the pig loves it, or 2) you risk giving these scorpions an opportunity to kill you after you’ve helped them across the river. Whatever Hedges’ intention of the quote above, it does apply to those on the ground too.

    Let me be crystal clear on a very related point; the majority of them are not poor, downtrodden, and the like. Nowhere close. They’re incredibly middle class, some are upper-middle, and can afford to indulge in right-wing bourgeios products like guns (they’re not cheap, people), organizations like the Proud Boys and other SAMCRO cosplay groups, or virtue-signaling events like tiki marches in Charlottesville (yes the right engages in virtue signaling). They’re not warning us of a coming civil war; they’re itching for one so they can have an excuse to go out and shoot people down with zero accountability, all because they perceive various “others” as a threat to their mythical American way of life regardless these others are no threats at all.

    I’m ok with fingering the academics, the politicians, the business leaders…the powerful. And sure, those lower on the food chain have been bamboozled by the upper strata. But these lower strata types have agency here. Remember, these are the same people who, for generations, have pointed their finger in the faces of addicts, the homeless, the jobless, the liberals, and preached at them personal responsibility, accountability and bootstrapping. These are the ones who back in the day went gay bashing and to necktie parties, not the upper crust fascists. So, I say hold them accountable according to their own principles they love to preach to others; it’s their fault for believing such lunacy to begin with. That’s on them, they’re certainly not sorry for anything they do, therefore I do not forgive them. They’re the most overtly hostile in regular society, the most imminent threat to many, and are itching to inflict cruelty. They deserve every shred of bad luck they get. Fuck them all.

    So when Klemperer wrote “let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders”, that’s an incredibly bad idea. Letting these people off the hook is no small reason why we’re here at this place. Stop acting like they’re victims. According to their own dogma, it’s their fault and only their fault for them being what they are.

    1. Marble Rye:

      So, the United States is likely to implode (in the near future) and it’s better to get out? How could a non-violent movement, as Hedges advocates, be effective against such people, who are (in regards to civil war) “… itching for one so they can have an excuse to go out and shoot people down with zero accountability”?

      1. It can’t. I’m not going to pretend that I know the solution to those people. But I do know that cozying up to them, trying to “understand” them, akin to Clinton’s “feel your pain” bullshit, and trying to find common ground with them and allying around that won’t work.

  8. I used to sympathize with Hedge’s views on the “Christian fascists.” But he continues to tilt at this over-hyped enemy while ignoring emerging ACTUAL fascism—the merger of corporations with the state, as defined by Mussolini. And it is bipartisan.

    That is what is being cemented in place with vaccine mandates, travel restrictions and lost livelihoods for those who didn’t take a vaccine that no longer stops transmission (if it ever did), central bank digital currencies that will be tied to a national digital ID surveillance system that includes vaccine passports, censorship of dissenting views on social media platforms with the blessings of the state, and even internment camps. (This CDC Covid-19 “shielding” document mentions the word “camp” 13 times: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/global-covid-19/shielding-approach-humanitarian.html)

    It’s right under your nose, Chris. Your contemporaries Matt Taibbi and Jimmy Dore have noticed the changes over the past two years, but you still seem stuck in 2019. Time to get on board.

    1. @John K.
      I agree, but the difference is that you understand what “fascism” is, while most people including Hedges do not. The people Hedges describes are big problems too, but they’re not fascists.

      On the other hand, U.S. fascism didn’t start in 2019, very far from it. Corporations have been controlling the government here for many decades. The restrictions you list are just the latest from our fascist rulers. We don’t have single payer health care or an otherwise good social safety net because of fascism, for example, and these issues go back to at least the theft of the vice presidential nomination of Henry Wallace.

    2. John K: YES. Hedges was out to lunch for the whole covid debacle and its amazing and terrifying implications. Thanks for speaking up. Hopefully Hedges will catch up sooner or later.

      1. @Scott
        And what exactly is your problem with Jimmy Dore? Truth hurts? Dore has done the best reporting on some of the major issues, like Syria, COVID-19 vaccines, and the war in Ukraine.

    3. When I was kid, they referred to the ‘home’ as Miracle Hill,it was sequestered in the mountains and accountable to no one. Pentecostals ran the home, and harmed more kids than you can know, and Chris is correct, but I never thought they be anything more than fringe, but now I see they run the USA, with extremist partners Saudis and Zionists, sadly for me, I wish I had been aborted in exchange for the harm these religious Dominionists, who’ve managed to gain power they never ever should gain. There’s a book, by Pearls on Discpline and my guess is those who rand the place the Pearls learned from them God loves OTOH, and we’re going to beat that into you until you accept what is the turth according to our god, and your being smart is no protection and we’ll pray when ytou get sick b/c secular Drs are evil. I recall they all voted together to get that Catholic from being elected in 1960. Grammar school home school classes teacher refused and they fired her. Yep Fascists Xians.

  9. We’ve (or at least, a few on the left) talked about the growth of fascism ever since Democrats stripped those left jobless of their most basic human rights (UN’s UDHR) to food and shelter. To my knowledge, abortion remains a legal option for those who can afford them. The poor, of course, never could. Medicaid covers abortion in a handful of a states, but only if the woman’s life is at risk. A few states are closing their abortion clinics, at least for now, but people can still cross state lines without special passports.

  10. After checking through the left wing blogosphere this weekend it’s depressing, but all too predictable, to see where we came from and where we are headed. While the “liberal” Clintonites continue to bitch incessantly and spout “I told you so’s” about 2016 ad nauseam (sounding like pathetically like “big Lie” Trumpies still whining about 2020) Americas christo-fascists are building gallows and planning cookouts so they may properly enjoy that great Christian ambiance that every pious family loves on a Saturday afternoon.
    What is about to happen among the liberal class is the all too predictable finger pointing and bastardizing of the Left. It will be all our fault for having those unreasonable pie-in-the-sky expectations of an actual progressive agenda, and the corporate Dems will sell us to the highest bidder at the local church.
    The Clintons and the Third Way have always marched on a road of bones. Their acolytes, like Pelosi, Clyburn, Hoyer, Schumer, Kaine, and yes Joe Biden himself, will try and fit as many progressives under the bus as possible as they crush us into road base.
    We progressives are fighting a two front war. One with fascists, and one with conservatives. We are currently getting stomped.

  11. “I studied at Harvard with theologian James Luther Adams… ‘When you are my age,’ he told us (he was then 80), ‘you will all be fighting the Christian fascists.’”

    But this is America! We have ‘freedom’! We have choices!

    Yes… we have choices. We can choose to meld with the ‘Christian Fascists’ side. Or we can embrace the Non-Christian Fascists side.

    But what we DON’T get a choice about is in not having Fascist forced down our throats. That is a given.

    We live in an age when everyone seems to know everything about everything and each person believes they have a divine right to force their beliefs upon Everyone Else In The Whole World.

    And respect for other people and other points of view has been lost and criminalized… and we have that full-on merger and twisted institutional locking embrace between The State and the Great Corporate New World Order Globalist Steamroller rolling across America and the World.

    You know the words…

    ‘Fascists to the Left of me.

    Fascists to the Right.

    Here I am…

    Stuck in the Middle With You.’

  12. “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding, which have eyes, and see not; which have ears and hear not……

    For among my people are found wicked men; they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men- and

    As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit; therefore they become great and waxen rich” from Jeremiah 5:21 to 5:27

    Jeremiah describes pathological people that aspire to be in hierarchical powerful positions, like Trump, but the “christians” just don’t understand metaphor. Which is probably why many christian groups insisted that the bible be read literally. The literal reading destroys the real understanding provided by metaphor.

    It seems ignorance has power by default these days.

    Aesop for president!

  13. Thank you; I appreciate receiving this and reading it. I agree. However, I don’t have a credit card (had to close VISA because it was hacked). I’m awaiting another card.
    Thank you.

    Dale Perkins

  14. For decades, mj was illegal so that Blacks could be easily thrown in jail.
    Now, attacks abortion rights is an indirect method to jail those who are very sexually too active.
    Next gay rights, inter racial marriage, and contraceptives will be denied so that more undesirable people will be imprisoned, especially for too sexually active people . Felons can not vote, so eventually non normal people can not make policy and America will be 1930s again…. With a very dry drought, a coming recession, another hot war trending to be a world War and Europe in chaos. Hope I am wrong, extremely wrong.

    1. You are wrong about inter racial marriage as long as Clarence Thomas is on the SC. Otherwise you are not likely wrong. I give this shit hole country one or two more years before we are into a dystopian hell with no redemption. But then I suspect exponential climate catastrophe will render all of this political insanity moot as we will be facing something out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. All because Homo Sapiens could not learn to get along with each other along with their fellow flora and fauna. I weep for my fellow creatures and plants and I know the world will be better off the sooner that the naked ape goes away once and for all. I just wish mankind would not be taking so many of them along with us. What a waste.

      1. I may be incorrect in saying this, but humans it seems,supposedly being given dominion some think over nature, is wrong. Humans take and take but our existence seems unable to give back to nature, while every other species returns something of value in their very existence in being alive. Humans just reap but they never sow ,while the other species are the ones sowing good things, we create plastics in our fossil fuels energies’ consumption, in growing food, and in our creative license, to make short term gains, and it is biting us in the rump.

  15. ‘Consider US history. A timeline of US wars against Native Americans covering the years 1776–1890 reveals only 30 years with no battles: 1796–1810, 1815–1816, 1819–1822, 1824–1826, 1828–1831, 1833–1834.

    A second timeline of US military conflicts and occupations, not including Native American wars, CIA violence, or US funding for proxy wars, reveals 20 years without violent military engagements: 1784–1785, 1788–1790, 1795–1797, 1811, 1826, 1828–1830, 1834, 1837, 1845, 1850, 1897, 1977, 1979. Combine these lists and you’ll see that in its 245-year history, a mere 10 years exist without violent US military conflicts: 1796–1797, 1826, 1828–1830, 1834, 1897, 1977, 1979.

    What are the odds of a nation having a 245-year history with a military conflict in every year but 10, and taking part in every one of those conflicts purely on the defense as a heroic rescuer or an innocent victim? Examination of the actual events of these 245 years of US history reveals that the perception of always being a good guy fighting evil is fiction, a psychological construct.’

    +–+
    Indeed, “Russia, Ukraine and the United States: Trapped in a cultural script
    in World” by Kristin Christman

    https://countercurrents.org/2022/04/russia-ukraine-and-the-united-states-trapped-in-a-cultural-script/

  16. It is the prioritization of power over life that was and has forever since been the driving force behind all political movements, governments and forces. And the more power is prioritized the more life is destroyed in society, religion. Whenever a problem threatens to overcome you and I, the focus is on what “they” should do. We are trapped because the only thing we understand is having control over.

    What we need now more than ever is to understand we are going to die. How can we talk to one another so that together we can learn to be better ourselves rather than force “the other” to be like us.

  17. It is quite disappointing that after two decades of XXI century already passed that Hedges still misunderstands what tolerance is.

    In fact he is quoting Karl Popper cultural fascists’ (often mislabeled as cultural Marxists as they came from but later abandoned Marxist political tradition) characterization of limits of tolerance as “eradication of intolerable” that will inevitably destroy “good”, meaning superior western tradition of open society fighting its enemies.

    Chomsky in fact debunked this nonsense but proving that for example in US we have developed totalitarian political culture within supposedly open society. The same applies to EU.

    Hedges posits that American/ Christian fascism ( which originally was Christian supported fascism in Germany) must not be tolerated as it eventually will destroy democracy as well as liberal society itself.

    Such attitude embraces nothing but self proclaimed superiority of selected moral and intellectual western elites that must take on themselves to set limits on democratic or populist rule or most precisely sanctifies need to limit the rule of majority. This Hedges’ argument in fact does not condemn but supports reactionary US judicial elite right to set limits of what tolerable.

    Apparently was vast majority in Germany who supported fascism according to deeply flawed analysis of Frankfurt school ridiculously blaming excesses of democracy in Germany for supposedly facilitating tolerance for fascism, while in fact it was empirically proven wrong. Popper and Soros mindlessly subscribed to such lie. In fact it was aristocracy/oligarchic elites who promoted German Italian, Spanish and all the fascism not workers.

    The very idea that lies behind curious European institutions Soros help to create like so called Council of Europe where elite of elderly unelected “wisemen” keep eye on potentially dangerous to Western democratic developments and when such threat is detected use their soft power (money) to limit or dictate “safe for civilization” European policies, is dangerous itself.

    Example of unequivocal supporting of CoE for Nazi regime in Ukraine shows utter hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of open society and its capability to detect enemies of democracy.

    The Open Society, with Soros as its face for over 50 years, was founded on ideas of supposed “tolerance” directly borrowed from fascism itself where Hitler and his SS elites set the tolerance limits to eliminate intolerable for “good” of Germanic civilization.

    It is notable that Herbert Marcuse split from his colleagues of Frankfurt school and recognized in his book dangers of setting limits to tolerance in open society where he posited that tolerance cannot even exists in society unless it’s social system is based on equal, equitable and egalitarian rules.

    Because tolerance may exist and have meaning only among equals who cannot impose any limits of tolerance or rules on anyone but themselves.

    1. But are you not doing an either/or, when he never suggested it as one over the other, that, he, in fact, very much seemed to be in a left open opportunity to figure it out rather than an acceptance of any superiority of the one over the other. If, as he has said regarding faith, wouldn’t that suggest he doesn’t portray what you suggest at all.

  18. “ Why didn’t reporters see the flashing red lights that lit up decades ago?

    Most of those tasked with reporting on and interpreting history, social movements and religious beliefs have failed us. They spoke about the past, vowing “Never again,” but refused to use the lessons of the past to explain the present. It was not ignorance. It was cowardice.”

    Yes! Why didn’t they?! Why didn’t you Chris?!

    Instead, Hedges, you just ignored reality and used your magical thinking and believed in wild conspiracy theories like the official story of 911. You believed steel skyscrapers could just collapse at free fall speed right into their own footprints!

    You could call on all independent investigative journalist to join forces and, simultaneously, in one powerful voice declare solidarity with over 3500+ Architects and Engineers for 911 truth and flip PNAC’s horrific catalyst that has brought nothing but catastrophe to America! But you don’t, and you won’t. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, do you Chris! Are you really that stupid? Or just a fearful Independent investigative journalist? You are our fourth estate! do your job! Flip the catalyst with your mighty pen! Hurry, Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Have you ever seen building 7 fall?

    https://youtu.be/zRpCwKRnL1M

  19. Chris:

    You’re assuming that the United States remains powerful, in its dominant global position, and does not get a strong rejection from the rest of the world. The success of Russia and China in holding off plunder by Western financial interests is having an knock-on effect: look at recent comments to come out of president AMLO in Mexico or Lula da Silva in Brazil.

    I am saddened by what is happening in the US, as you report in your essays, but I don’t see the United States remaining an economic powerhouse, instead fracturing due to internal divisions and becoming a secondary power. Michael Hudson, for example, discusses in detail the weaknesses and self-destructive effects of Western neoliberal policies compared to economic decisions by China. Any Christian fascist govt will likely accelerate the decline of US prestige globally.

  20. FDR warned us in 1944. Since his death there has been a steady chipping away at everything he was able to accomplish. Then there is Bernie, who tried to revive FDR’s Second Bill of Rights and look where it got him and us. Suppression leads to oppression which ends in tyranny. We are in the oppression phase and Liberty is being liquidated. Half of us have become slaves with the over-turnings of last week. It is suspected that the EPA and the ability to regulate is next, maybe later this week or next. With the abrupt climate emergency just now firing up we will burn in Hell fighting amongst ourselves for that last crumb of bread. Plague and famine are upon us, the scientists are warning us but it’s lost in the din of a dying Liberty.

  21. Christianity is incapable of curing itself.

    The Catholic Church, a potentially powerful opponent — considers these evangelical movements heresies, and mourns their spread — but its own views are essentially no different — “God’s” law and its own Magisterium supersedes human government. The various Protestant sects are largely as muted or collaborative as is the American Catholic hierarchy, which is in general much more Catholic than the current Pope.

    The Nazis were not religious, their hokey Aryan church effort aside — their leaders were atheistic Social Darwinists who admired the American ethnic cleansing of Native Americans and eugenic practices. Their racial theories were a widely-held mis-application of what Darwin discovered.

    I think Hedges focuses on this area because of his own background, but the rise of neoliberal fascism is far broader.

    The capitalists are experts at marketing, after all.

    You can also subscribe to secular visions, with people like Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt offering their own “inspirational” techno-visionary formats. Humans on Mars as an option to climate management. Capitalist social control as a way to assure peace, prosperity and stability.

    Consumerism is offered and can serve as a secular substitute for ANY belief system, and it works for many — as long as the economy holds up. Vapid nihilism is a powerful numbing and controlling tool.

  22. Holy moly, that’s some serious pearl clutching hyperbole. You sound like a lunatic, Mr. Hedges.

    This is the kind of unhinged exaggeration that gets violent atheist progressive ne’er-do-wells throwing Moltov cocktails at pregnancy centers.

  23. You know all of the, assigning of blame, labeling, and comparisons to Nazis does not change the fact that this country is on the brink of total collapse. Our elected officials are blatantly and unapologetically corrupt without exception. To heap all society’s ills on any individual entity (Supreme Court, religion, GOP, LGBTQ) is utter nonsense. The root cause is never addressed, we are a very sick and dangerously insane species in “overshoot”. That is not a judgement, just a fact. Yet that is simply ignored as we march toward oblivion through a dense fog of cognitive dissonance. Some say “we can’t solve our problems, with the same thinking that created them”, the truth is “we are the problem”, mass extinction is looking more and more like the unavoidable solution. The puppet masters are well aware of this.

  24. hedges superficial paranoid banality reaches a new level of fascist anti-intellectualism….”when fascist comes to USA it will be under the guise of anti-fascism”. Huey Long
    Since Hofstadter wrote ‘the paranoid style in amerikan politics’ amerikan shallowness degeneracy stupidity has developed to the level observed in 5th century Rome

    1. Huey Long? Seriously? Not his quiote. Don’t you mean a real schola, Sinclair Lewis, wasn’t it?

      1. fascism is when corporation own the nation
        “Tsarist Russia is more free and just than amerika where corporations rule and robbery and thievery is made official”. Vissaron Belinsky (often described as a Marxist)

      2. “You’ve probably heard some variation on this quote: “When fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and waving a cross,” possibly attributed to Sinclair Lewis or Huey Long. The only problem: there’s no evidence that either men said it.

        But Sally Parry of the Sinclair Lewis Society provides us with two similar passages written by Lewis:

        From It Can’t Happen Here (1935): “But he saw too that in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word ‘Fascism’ and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty.”

        From Gideon Planish (1943): “I just wish people wouldn’t quote Lincoln or the Bible, or hang out the flag or the cross, to cover up something that belongs more to the bank-book and the three golden balls.””

        -http://www.technoccult.net/2010/03/03/who-really-said-when-fascism-comes-to-america-it-will-come-wrapped-in-the-flag-and-waving-a-cross/
        ———
        too bad, if nobody claims the quote about ‘when fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross’, then I think I’ll use it myself…. its a great line. It is both so very true, and it captures much about fascism, and the way it preys upon beliefs like Church and Patriotism (as examples, any belief is its prey), in order to deceive and delude suckers onto the Highway To Hell.

  25. So after the (comparatively benign) slippage of the Obama years comes Trump, the entertainer, and the inevitable consequences of placing a certified psychopath at the top of the world’s leading country. Then the plague, which laid bare the exposures, the weaknesses, the hypocrisies of globalization and neoliberalism. And lately the war in and for Ukraine, which has led to scrambled logistics, gougings and shortages (cars, car parts, baby formula, and most recently, tampons). To all this add the abysmal and irreconcilable divisions in the country. Plus inflation, the creakings of the market and the threat of recession… or worse. It’s going to be the Big One one of these times.
    Things are over-the-edge chaotic. Many are suffering, and most are scared.
    So there you are on the Supreme Court and, Dear God, you’ve got at least a feeling for what’s going on in the country and the world. Under these circumstances there’s a philosophical, big picture choice to be made: A) The last goddamned thing we need is the obliteration of what was a settled right, and the resentment and heightened passions this will bring. Or B) ‘Never let a good crisis – or a parade of crises – go to waste.’ No better time to shuffle the deck chairs than when in stormy, choppy seas.
    Maybe they’ve gone ‘mystic,’ believing that God will come to the aid and rescue of America for its delegitimizing and criminalizing this outstanding evil.

    Of course, I’d have chosen A), and if things go badly to Hell, I suspect the justices, for their decision, will not get nearly the credit they’d deserve.

  26. Abortion rights and gun rights are not mutually exclusive. Or is this a forbidden position to hold in 2022?

  27. Chris Hedges is one of my favorite observers and commenters.. I admire him. Many of my views are well informed by his writings. This is NUTS.. People would be outraged at seeing the near-birth abortion or death of Puppies. There should be limits on human abortions. And weapons? I shoot and kill and rob and rape everyday as much as I want ZERO times. Though I am well-armed. Has Chris lost his center?

    1. @SoTexGuy
      Near term abortions are rare and only done for medical necessity. This is a phony non-issue that’s used by anti-abortionists, but it has no basis in reality.

    2. He did write several books and from different takes, if anyone cares to know. He was away for a bit as the country had no one with his sensibilities apparently. Recall he was kicked out of a Commencment adress but pro war nutjobs.

  28. A nice video compliment to this most brilliant and disturbing essay might be Rick Steve’s episode on Fascism, easily found on YouTube. Thank you Chris Hedges for your thoughtful perspective.

  29. Roe v. Wade

    “The Supreme Court has never been so political in my lifetime,” she said. “How does this happen when 70% of us agree with abortion?”

    “It’s been taken over by Christian Fascists, they’re called Dominionists, and they’re 37% of the voting population. When only, what, half of the populace votes (?) that makes them the majority and they’ve taken over the courts.”

    Cut to Rocklin, California.

    “Wow, that’s a big church!” she said.

    “That’s Christian Fascism.” I said. “I caught the preacher on Channel 31 one day. He flashed images of Democratic politicians and preached to the people about rising up against them during the 2020 campaign, or with the stop the steal thing. Something like that. It was fire and brimstone and full on political.”

    “What was he wearing?”

    “A black t-shirt and jeans. Super slick.”

    “OMG! I hate that.”

    “Yes, it was frightening.” Hand sweeps as we drive by the massive complex on the hill. “This is the 37%.”

  30. liberals obviously the most fascist in USA—despise freedom and justice….do not expect any social development in a fascist nation populated by robots….Koestler famously compared amerikans to 5th century Romans: “a similarly contactless society populated by automatons….a similarly soulless politically corrupt everybody for themselves society”
    anglos—the most individualistic societies—USA #1
    “amerikans poorly understand that individualism produces uniformity”. Philip Slater
    “the amerikan ideal is that everybody should be the same”. James Baldwin
    “what unites the slavophiles, Alexandr Herzen, Peter Kropotkin and the Marxists, is the belief that western individualism is an enemy of individuality”. Vladimir Golstein
    “individuality has ceased to exist in USA”. Horkheimer/Adorno
    Riesman, Sennet, meswzaros, etc all describe amerikans—“over-conformist semi-automatons”
    Fromm described amerikans as “robots”
    Simmel found that only in primitive individualistic tribes where individuality ws absent were genders homogenized and fashion brought closer to the body….when Koestler described amerikans as automatons colored hair did not exist and the only people that had tattoos were the lowest ranks of the US Navy biker gangs, criminals
    in collectivist societies where individuality exists tattoos are largely confined to criminals a few moron athletes

  31. At this time, America has developed something new under the sun … two-party fascism.

    Both parties are slightly varying shades of fascist gray. Both favor oligarchs over people, although they differ at times on exactly which oligarchs. Neither party favors democracy, and both work to obstruct democracy. Both would hate a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and both work hard to make sure it does not reappear upon this Earth.

    Both parties are very pro-police in what is already a police state with surveilence powers supreme in human history. Both parties are in favor of the Land of the Free continuing to lock them up in greater and greater numbers. The Democrats are now openly the party of the Pentagon and the CIA, and Trump also jacked up budgets and loved to bluster about using the military.

    For both parties, the idea of ‘civil rights’ of citizens in a society is a non-starter. In their propaganda, they may say they favor one particular right, but they do nothing to protest that right when in power. That sentence appears to be true for both Obama and Abortion and Trump and Guns. Both parties prefer to keep the issue for use in future elections.

    What’s new is that they’ve adopted the “Blame the Other Party” feature from the previous American Two-Party Democracy. The flaw of previous fascist regimes was that eventually the people get sick of the characters, and from either within or without cause them to exit stage right. With the “Blame The Other Party” feature and the new two-party fascism, they get to rotate power, with the ‘other party’ always getting the blame for everything that keeps going wrong while the rich get richer and the corrupt get corrupter, and there is always on the horizon the fake hope of fake change that says everything will be better after the next election.

    Who says America can’t invent anything new?

    1. Sorry, should have read “they do nothing to protect that right”

  32. Chris,

    I have lived in Catholic Worker Houses, and come to the abortion question out of that tradition. I have followed and admired much of your work for a long time. I believe you came to speak once at Maryhouse in NYC. I very much hope that you will consider these 2 quotations by Fr. Daniel Berrigan on the abortion question.

    Here are the Fr. Berrigan quotations:

    “I come to the abortion question by way of a long, long experience with the military and the mainline violence of the culture, expressed in war . . . So I go from the Pentagon and being arrested there, to the cancer hospital, and then I think of abortion clinics, and I see an “interlocking directorate” of death that binds the whole culture. That is, an unspoken agreement that we will solve our problems by killing people in various ways; a declaration that certain people are expendable, outside the pale. . . A decent society should no more have an abortion clinic than the Pentagon.”

    “My moral conviction on abortion and the rights of the unborn are more serious than “a point of view” . . . It’s as close to my conscience as war and the death penalty.”

    I quote Fr. Berrigan here because he is a man we both admire, and because he was a Christian priest of impeccable integrity. The abortion question is much less complicated than people make it out to be.

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