Tuesday, April 05, 2005



You know the old saying! If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, flies like a duck.... IT'S A DUCK! The same principle holds true in politics. If it talks like a fascist, thinks like a fascist, behaves like a fascist, by any other name....IT'S STILL A FASCIST. The truth is that fascism is a growing threat throughout the free world. Their numbers are increasing daily. The political far right is growing in power in Belgium, France, and especially, Italy and Germany. To a lesser extent in the UK. Even Canada is not immune. But nowhere are they more powerful than here in the United States. We don't call them the National Socialists, or Nazis, or Fascists. We call them nice names like Neo-conservative or the Christian Right. But remember, if it quacks like a duck...... And these ducks now hold half the leadership positions in the Republican party. A couple of months ago, I posted links to and briefly wrote about a study that identified 14 characteristics common in all fascist regimes. I will repost that link and hope you take the time to read it. But in the next couple of days, I want to talk about two specific tactics used by fascists to gain control of the state. The first is the co-opting of the dominant religion. It is not a coincidence that Lutherans in Germany watched silently (or actively participated) while Hitler and the Nazi party exterminated millions of Jews and Romas (Gypsies). Hitler would not have risen to power without the help of the Lutheran church. Mussolini and Franco could not have risen to power without the support of the Catholic church. And the Catholic church certainly helped maintain Franco in power for two decades. I will have more to say on this subject soon.

Another means fascists use to consolidate their power is judicial intimidation. Hitler's brownshirts made sure every judge understood the severe price that would be payed for failing to uphold the positions of the Nazi Party. We now hear leaders of the Republican party, specifically House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Texas Sen. John Cornan, openly threatening the judiciary. Not just "liberal activist judges". The entire judiciary. Cornan, on the senate floor, went so far as to expressly state that recent violence against judges was brought on by themselves, the result of a public perception of an unaccountable judiciary. Here, two of the most powerful men in the country are making a statement. They are saying to the US District Courts, the US Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court, "if you don't toe OUR line, your lives, and the lives of your loved ones, are in jeopardy"

The constitution makes the judiciary independent of the executive and legislative branches of government for good reason. It is to act as a check on politicians and political parties run amuck. The independent judiciary is the single greatest safe guard to our constitutional freedoms. Nobody understands this more than those politicians who despise freedom, for whom freedom stands in the way of their power and their cronies unbridled wealth.

It is one of life's truly strange paradoxes. You can't have freedom without democracy, but you can have democracy without freedom. It is why the Founding Fathers added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. To protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. It is the reason they gave us an independent judiciary. And it is the reason that both are under attack by the fascists among us.

Slate's Jurisprudence: Conservatives vs. Fed Courts


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