Glenn Beck and American Fascism

Glenn Beck's over-the-top rhetoric and antics on his relatively new Fox News show are remarkable for the effect they have had on our political discourse. His 9-12Project has heightened the profile of the tea party movement, provided liberals with an object of scorn, split conservatives into oppositional factions, and raised the specter of "fascism with a happy face." (Clearly, Beck has been reading Jonah Goldberg.)

In his critique of Beck's diagnosis of American fascism, David Neiwert argues that Beck's analysis rests on the faulty premise that fascism exerts total social control "indirectly through domination of nominally private owners," whereas . . .
fascism was an economic phenomenon only secondarily at best. Primarily, fascism is a political and cultural pathology; its leading ideologues in fact explicitly rejected economics as a driver in human affairs. Fascism was all about blood and iron and will, a love of violence and a contempt for the weak. Only in its mature stages -- when it has actually obtained power -- do economics come into play for fascism.
Neiwert then goes on to debunk Beck's claims via a comparison with historical fascism. However, this fails to address the point that American "fascism" (i.e. in the secondary, economic sense) has already reached a relatively mature stage, perhaps even the most advanced stage witnessed in the modern era, in the form of global corporatism.

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