After three weeks, I feel confident in saying that we are hostages in a war against the Enlightenment. We have a fascist government, marked by:
¥ Cult of personality
¥ Fomenting of hyperpartisanship
¥ Promotion of fear and paranoia
¥ Overweening self-congratulation
¥ Adulation of the military
¥ Promotion of war
¥ Widespread attack on the press
¥ Constant attacks on the independent judiciary
¥ Constant attacks on science and facts in general
¥ Promotion of patriarchal gender roles
¥ Regime of only white men
¥ Nazi chief strategist
¥ Government by kleptocratic kakistocrats
This is no longer an academic question. There is, however, a more important phenomenon behind the narcissistic, delusional, illegitimate, “so-called” president. That is the anti-Semitic strategist, Steve Bannon, and his henchmen, Stephen Miller, Boris Epshtyn, and others, who are the effective regime. Leaks from the White House staff lead me to believe that President Bannon is in charge, and trump is just a figurehead.
This is a critical issue, because Bannon is smart, experienced in the dissemination of propaganda, and a believer in wild conspiracy theories used to promote his authoritarian and fascist agenda. He wrote a screenplay back in 2007, when he was still working as a Hollywood producer, called the “Islamic States of America.”
I have a friend, a Jewish trans woman, who sincerely believes that Hillary was going to impose sharia law on West Hollywood after the election. That is the kind of Alex Jones/InfoWars conspiracy theory that has been sold go a wide swath of right-wing extremists, and manifested a decade ago in Bannon’s screenplay. That screenplay fits the fascist Islamophobic conspiracy theories of the Russian provocateur, Alexandre Dugin, the Vatican right-wing extremist, Benjamin Harnwell, and the line of thought can be traced back to Samuel Huntington’s 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.
Huntington, Dugin and my friend appear to believe their paranoid fables; Bannon seems to be using the core ideas of Lenin as a catalyst to cause chaos and bring about a fascist dictatorship in a hostile takeover. So far, after three weeks, he’s succeeded in causing global chaos, though surprisingly also generating massive pushback from citizens who’ve never before participated in a political action in their lives. He’s even written the Executive Order placing him on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council, an unheard-of situation in American history, while demoting the Chair of the Joints Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence. And doing so without trump having a clue about its significance.
European nations, finding themselves as stunned as we are, having been producing videos taunting the new American regime. Der Spiegel published an editorial exceedingly critical of the Bannon regime, along with a brutal cover depicting the beheading of the Statue of Liberty. Other magazines have joined the fray, including Bloomberg Businessweek and The New Yorker. In addition, the still-independent judiciary has finally begun to resist, and hope still exists that the Republican Congress may have a few patriots left.
I do feel it’s important to dig down deeply under the fabulism that motivates Bannon and Dugin, and that is a longing for a pre-Enlightenment world that is little different from the Caliphate desired by ISIS. Our Constitution is a product of the Enlightenment and rational thought. The scientific revolution was an integral aspect of the Enlightenment. Bannon’s fascist worldview rejects everything about rational, representative democracy, other than a willingness to use the products of western technology to dominate others. this is in some ways no different than a religious believer who is skeptical of evolution willing to take a prescribed antibiotic when necessary, or a so-called “pro-life” activist allowing his daughter to have an abortion when circumstances arise. Hypocrisy is woven in to conservative politics, and has been for a long time.
The people currently in control of the executive and legislative branches want to drive the United States back to the state of government regulation and civil rights circa 1865. Women will be driven from work (it has already been demanded that the White House staff “dress like women”), minorities will be relegated to menial labor, and the middle and working classes will be further immigrated to serve the interests of the kleptocratic president and cabinet.
The German intelligentsia in 1933 believed they could control Hitler, that the experienced, professional, conservatives would keep the government novice under control. But within 18 months civil liberties had been suspended, the press subdued, the professions purified of Jewish and other minority participation, private militias created, corporate buy-in completed, and the organized working class/socialist/communist resistance crushed. Dissidents were already being sent to concentration camps while Germans were given the job of rebuilding the military and national infrastructure to support the military. Hitler set out to accomplish nothing less than to “Make Germany Great Again.” He destroyed Germany, and almost the rest of the world, in the process.
This is what’s at stake – the future of a rational, liberal democracy bother here and abroad. One hundred years from the 2nd Russian Revolution, known as the February Revolution, overthrowing the tsar and instituting a representative government, and eight months before the Bolshevik coup led by Lenin, America’s self-styled Leninist, Steve Bannon, is working feverishly to drive the world again into darkness. This is not a political outcome that will be easily reversed in four years, if we have elections then, and if the world as we know it still exists.
This is the time for a new generations of patriots to arise and reinvigorate American freedom and equality. If not, we could lose the truths promised by the Declaration forever. Eternal vigilance is not a luxury for the few. We either fight, by any means necessary, or we die.