Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week
Shahi Hamid at The Atlantic writes—Americans Are Losing Sight of What Fascism Means:
How do americans decide what to be outraged about? It seems like ancient history now, but that was one of the questions The New York Times inadvertently raised in June when it appended an editor’s note to an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton—a piece that some on the Times staff saw as presenting a physical danger not only to the country but to themselves.
The op-ed called for American troops to be sent to “restore order” to cities experiencing violent protests. Outside and inside the Times, it was widely condemned as “fascist” or fascist-adjacent. More recently, though, the Times published an op-ed of a similar vein, except this time readers had the opportunity to glimpse what actual fascism looks like. Fascism, in today’s context, isn’t mere authoritarianism, but the attempt to suppress all dissent, public or private, in the name of the nation; it is the expression of a regimented society that elevates order as both the means and end of all political life.
The October 1 op-ed, by Regina Ip, a member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council, captured such sentiments well. Ip laid out the case for a new Chinese-backed security law that would effectively criminalize anything that might be perceived as “subversion.” Included was one of the most disturbing passages I have read in an American publication:
To some, the new national security law is especially chilling because it seems simultaneously vague and very severe. But many laws are vague, constructively so. And this one only seems severe precisely because it fills longstanding loopholes—about subversion, secession, local terrorism, collusion with external forces. One person’s “severe” is someone else’s intended effect.
This time, though, no staff revolt occurred, even though Ip’s article was an elaborate, if refreshingly frank, endorsement of real fascism.
Outrage is always selective. I could have written about something else, but I decided to write about this. The question remains: Why did readers who were infuriated by Cotton’s argument seem to shrug off Ip’s? […]
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
- In the Streets with Antifa, by Luke Mogelson. Trump is vowing to designate the movement as a terrorist organization. But its supporters believe that they are protecting their communities—and that confronting fascists with violence can be justified.
- U.S. Auto Insurance Industry Admits Systemic Racism, by Eve Kessler. A new industry study reveals that auto insurers charge Black drivers with good records more than white drivers with bad records — among other racist practices.
- Even If Trump Loses, Republicans’ Authoritarian Ambitions Will Live On, by Jonathan Chait. School civics lessons have boiled democratic values down to inoffensive mush that we associate with clichés expressing supposedly universal values (“government of the people, by the people, for the people”). But democracy is a radical concept, especially in a society as unequal as ours. The tension between an economic system in which power is concentrated in a few hands and a political system in which power is distributed equally places special stress on the political forces aligned with the rich.
“We have to condemn publicly the very idea that some people have the right to repress others. In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousandfold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
~~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (1973)
At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—FISA: Keeping Secrets:
The administration really doesn’t want the people to know what the NSA was doing and who they were spying on with their warrantless wiretaps, to the extent that they will finally release the documents that the committee subpoenaed four months ago. The Intelligence Committee has already seen these documents, and they were possibly sufficiently convincing enough for all of the Dems on the committee, excepting Wyden and Feingold, to support the FISA bill coming out of Intelligence.
The White House has offered leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee access to legal documents related to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program, senators said Thursday.
But Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said while the White House had offered the documents to both him and the panel’s ranking Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, he was pushing for the entire committee to receive access to the documents. But he also said he would take advantage of the offer and review the documents.
As the entire Intelligence Committee, and staff, have seen the documents it seems ridiculous that the entire Judiciary Committee can’t see them as well. But what’s more ridiculous is the fact that the information be withheld from the American public forever, which is what telecom amnesty would mean.
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