10 October 2018

Déjà Vu All Over Again - The Rise of Far Right Authoritarians and Bully Worship

"In Brazil, a far-right presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, came close in Sunday’s national election to winning the 50% of the vote needed to win without a run-off (he received 46.2%), and is now highly likely to prevail on October 28 against his opponent, the liberal Workers’ Party’s Fernando Haddad, who finished a distant second with 29%.

That result, by itself, is stunning, given that Bolsonaro is an undiluted, explicit authoritarian in the model of Duterte and Sisi – one could easily say 'fascist' even using the narrowest and most most rigorous sense of that term – who had been a fringe figure in politics for decades but is now poised to assume the presidency."

Glenn Greenwald, The Stunning Rise of Brazil's Far Right

"We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.  It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere.  Probably that has always been the case.  Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking.  Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion."

George Orwell

"Through his first year in Germany [1933], Dodd had been struck again and again by the strange indifference to atrocity that had settled over the nation, the willingness of the populace and the moderate elements in the government to accept each new oppressive decree, each new act of violence, without protest...

Dodd continued to hope that the murders would so outrage the German public that the [Hitler] regime would fall, but as the days passed he saw no evidence of any such outpouring of anger

The controlled press, not surprisingly, praised Hitler for his decisive behaviour...In a letter to Hull, Dodd forecast an even more terroristic regime... 'The people hardly notice this complete coup d'etat. It takes place in silence...I would swear that millions upon millions have no idea what a monstrous thing has occurred.'"

Erik Larson, In The Garden of Beasts

It can only be hoped that American democracy will thoroughly realize, and this before it is too late, that fascism is not confined to any one nation or any one party; and it is to be hoped that it will succeed in overcoming the tendency toward dictatorial forms in the people themselves.  Only time will tell whether the Americans will be able to resist the compulsion of irrationality or whether they will succumb to it.”

Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."

Samuel Johnson