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Now it really is Fascism


My book Faultlines argued our country is going through on of the most divisive periods in Western history, at three progressively deeper levels. First is the cultural split rooted in the divergent paths the North and South took over slavery, a split reignited with the Civil Rights movement and the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy.” 

Second is the moral collapse of the secular modern world, first identified by Friedrich Nietzsche, who observed the death of God” led to the destruction of all meaning from within the modern mindset and the rejection of reason by conservative religions that had tried to make their peace with modernity.. 

Third, and deepest of all, is the cultural shift from a society based on hierarchical agricultural civilization and its ways of thinking to a urban technological one based on fundamentally egalitarian principles. Hierarchical agricultural societies tend to think in masculine terms and the modern post agricultural society in more feminine ones, which explains the renewed growth of goddess oriented religions and emphasis on God’s feminine dimension in monotheistic ones even as the most reactionary of all the above have double downed on the dominant masculine.

The current dominant manifestation is secular, but the deeper issue is spiritual.

The rise of American fascism

A free society depends on recognizing people will disagree politically and NOT BE ENEMIES.  Our Founders firmly established this principle, symbolized by the close friendship in retirement of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who has led the deeply disagreeing Democratic Republicans and Federalists through the tumultuous years after the Constitution was adopted.

Democratic institutions exist to prevent strong disagreements from spilling over into violence. Hopefully the different sides can find points of agreement and when they cannot, fair elections allow the loser to accept defeat graciously and work to win the next time. Except for the Civil War this has been the norm for over 200 years. Until now.

Over the past several decades there has been a slow and steady erosion of this ethos, beginning with Pat Buchanan’s advice to Nixon to deliberately split the country because they would have the “bigger half.” He and Ann Coulter scandalized many Americans when they attacked liberals as not just wrong, but as traitors, people with whom they were at war.  Now that rhetoric is widespread on the right and beginning to be frequent in reverse among their opponents. This is a big step towards civil war or secession because it undermines any sense of common citizenship.

Now it has escalated

Many Republican speakers at the Republican Convention have called for imprisoning rather than defeating their political rival. Trump’s major adviser has called for Hillary Clinton’s execution by firing squad for treason  Trump stood by him and did not disagree.

I am no great admirer of Hillary, but I prefer her to the alternative. So I am not defending her, but rather something much more important,: a free and peaceful society.  Far as we are from an ideal, these sentiments would destroy what we have that is worth keeping and take us backwards to civil war and dictatorship. Even to fascism.

Yes, it is fascism

Historically fascism has married resentment, usually within the lower middle class,  with extreme nationalism in a mass movement with a single leader embodying the hopes and fears of its followers. It rejects the compromise and piece-meal measures characteristic of normal democratic politics, holding such people in contempt.  It sees enemies to “the people” in every direction.  This was certainly true of Mussolini, and he coined the word.

The resentments are often justified and their anger understandable, but the solution they are drawn to is even worse than the disease.  Making the country “great again” gives people a kind of pretend success as with being happy “our” team won a game.  We identify with power exercised over others, and as that power is exercised we feel powerful.  But at the level of our daily lives nothing much has changed.  Others are dominated, and that makes their own subordination bearable because others have it worse, and it is ‘we’ who subjugate them.

Notice the Republican Convention says nothing about actual policies to address people’s problems except for exercising power to put other people in their place, be they Hispanics, Blacks, LGBTQ, teachers, scientists, liberals, or some other group that can be distinguished from “real Americans.”  Enemies are identified, fears are stoked, but nothing beyond power over others is very suggested to create peace or eliminate fear.

Is Donald Trump a fascist? I would argue yes. Even more importantly, the movement he has brought to awareness of its potential power is, and should Trump lose that movement will remain. 

I am a liberal and so some might discount my words accordingly.  Here are the words of a genuine conservative.

Spirit again

As a Christian of any sort Trump is a joke. But right wing Christians are flocking to support a thrice married fraud because they both worship the same ultimate deity: Domination.  The Christian right has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that it worships power over morality.   Each in their own way, Trump and the Christian right represent the moral collapse of traditional American society.  They must be defeated in 2016 for the good of everything we love, but  they will come again and again until as a society we have transformed to a more feminine, earth-embracing cultural ideal, whether it be through the influence of much NeoPaganism, of feminine oriented monotheisms, or secular ethics finding value in the world and in relationship. Or probably all of the above and more.

Meanwhile vote as if your life depended on it, because it might.














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Gus diZerega DiZerega combines a formal academic training in Political Science with decades of work in Wicca and shamanic healing. He is a Third Degree Elder in Gardnerian Wicca, studied closely with Timothy White who later founded Shaman’s Drum magazine, and also studied Brazilian Umbanda  for six years under Antonio Costa e Silva.

DiZerega holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Berkeley, has taught and lectured in the US and internationally, and has organized international academic meetings.

His newest book is "Faultlines: the Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine (Quest, 2013) received a 'silver' award by the Association of Independent Publishers for 2014. It puts both modern Pagan religion and the current cultural and political crisis in the US into historical context, and shows how they are connected.

His first book on Pagan subjects, "Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience," won the Best Nonfiction of 2001 award from  The Coalition of Visionary Resources. 

His second,"Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and a Christian in Dialogue" is what it sounds like. He coauthored it with Philip Johnson. DiZerega particularly like his discussion of polytheism in Burning Times, which in his view is an advance over the discussion in Pagans and Christians.

His third volume, "Faultlines: The Sixties, the Culture War, and the Return of the Divine Feminine," was published in 2013 and won a Silver award from the Association of Independent Publishers in 2014. The subject is obvious, and places it, and the rise of goddess oriented spiritual movements and our "cold civil war" in historical context.

His pen and ink artwork supported his academic research in graduate school and frequently appeared in Shaman’s Drum, and the ecological journals Wild Earth, and The Trumpeter. It now occasionally appears in this blog.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Thursday, 21 July 2016

    Mr. diZerega,

    I am conflicted about Trump's candidacy. I dislike him. But if he wins, it will be the last hurrah for his political faction. Demographic and cultural shifts have doomed the Republican Party, as it now exists, in the long term. Trump himself has only [drastically] accelerated this process.

    I am also skeptical that the Clintons will be any better. Hillary and her husband (both of whom I've voted for in the past), have proven themselves to be corrupt tools of a system that is rotten to the core. Apart from their stands on a few wedge social issues, I believe that they will be functionally identical to Republicans.

    The Masters of the Universe think they can ultimately control Trump's followers. My money says otherwise. Eventually, I think that the legions of disenfranchised and betrayed Republican voters will turn on them all with bloody vengeance. Gods help America when that day comes.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Friday, 22 July 2016

    Trump is a man with a long record of fraud against those weaker than himself. In his speeches he urged violence against demonstrators. He has done what he could to encourage racial divisiveness and worse. It is no accident that David Duke, former head of the KKK and still a extreme White supremacist, endorse his speech last night. He has passively stood by while leading supporters advocated not just jailing, but killing, his opponents. I see nothing to be conflicted about.

    Yes, demographics are shifting away from them. That only increases their ruthlessness. And civil war is the worst thing that can happen to a country.

    I worry as much as you that a Hillary Clinton presidency will serve corporations and the military more than the American people. I supported Sanders. But this is not the issue.
    Those who say the lesser of evils is still evil demonstrate mastery of one word, not two. The other is “lesser.” It should be given as much weight as the first. Politics is ALWAYS the art of achieving the possible, not the ideal. It is possible to have a lesser evil or a greater. THAT is the choice.

    To pick one important example, Clinton will appoint more Sotomayors to the Supreme Court, not more Scalias. From the standpoint of safeguarding our practice of our religion alone, there is no contest here.

    To the degree religion matters to Republicans, it is the most demonic form of Christian monotheism, a form increasingly close in every way that matters from the worst of Islam. Between conservative Christian justices and a Trump presidency we can be pretty sure Pagans will not fare well.

    So with all due respect, for me anyone who sees no difference between Clinton and Trump also sees no difference between Sotomayor and Scalia, and so removes themselves from serious political engagement.

    The Republican Party today is closer to a subversive organization seeking the destruction of our constitutional order than it is to any traditional American political party. This is not a purely liberal perspective as my article showed and as the absence of many Republican leaders from the convention also showed.

  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener Monday, 25 July 2016

    "A free society depends on recognizing people will disagree politically and NOT BE ENEMIES."

    So your answer is to label people with whom you disagree as fascists. Gotcha.

  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega Saturday, 27 August 2016

    Just got to your comment as in July I was packing and much of August has been spent getting settled in New Mexico. That said, your comment is rather disappointing.

    Fascism is not a curse word though many use it as if it were. It has meaning. I gave reasons why the word was appropriate with regard to much of the movement Trump is leading. So did a leading conservative I linked to, a man whom I mostly disagree with. That Trump refuses to denounce, and instead praises, a man who called for Clinton's execution suggests that he is in fact an enemy. (I disagree strongly with many of Clinton's policies, but as befits a member of a civilized society with democratic values, I do not advocate killing her. Or even jailing her.) Perhaps you have a different definition of enemy, and if so I'd like to hear it. If you have a different definition of fascist I'd like to hear that as well.

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