Naomi Wolf Defines Fascism Downward

Wolfe takes to a British newspaper to tell Americans they're screwed.

Want to set up a Fascist nation? Just follow Naomi Wolf’s 10 steps outlined yesterday in the Guardian. As Wolf contends, President George W. Bush has completed every one.

The steps, such as “invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy” and “control the press,” are described in detail, along with examples of how each has already played out in the United States.

It is a cautionary tale, Wolf says in the piece. “I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US,” she writes.

Bloggers had varied responses to Wolf’s article. Most found the list either a nightmare, an absurdity or a rallying cry.

To Birchsprite, the piece led to questions about her own country’s tactics. “Us Brits need to be aware too… we aren’t far behind,” the blogger writes.

Chris Dykstra of New Patriot found himself struggling to be positive about the future of the United States. “Most days I believe that the American process is will circle back to sanity again,” he writes. “I have a lot of faith that it will. Some days, like today, it’s harder than others.”

On Why We Worry, Chris says it’s near impossible to argue that President Bush hasn’t performed each of the 10 steps on Wolf’s list.”What’s frightening is the fact that Bush is doing it all at once,” the blogger writes. “Certainly, taken one at a time, you could find numerous examples of other Presidential administrations engaging in similar activities. But all of this does not necessarily mean that Bush is a fascist or that the United States is under a dictatorship. Yet.”

Others are far from convinced.
Gaius on Blue Crab Boulevard couldn’t resist rewriting Wolf’s list to fit another agenda.

“But Naomi did present a little blueprint that fits something else that is going on in the world. Therefore, we here in the Crabitat have decided to reinterpret the list Ms. Wolf so graciously projected:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

Global warming! Global warming! We’re all going to die.”

On the Cedar Lounge Revolution, Smiffy argues that Wolf’s argument doesn’t battle the right beast. “What’s worst about Wolf’s analysis is that by failing to get to grips with the real nature of U.S. politics she completely ignores the rot at the heart of that state, and exculpates the current (and previous) regimes,” Smiffy writes. “The truth is that political power in the United States, certainly at federal level, is so determined by business interests that there’s no need to establish a tyranny.”

On his blog, Liam Ferris used the article as a call to arms. “As frustrating as it is right now, wouldn’t you hate to be the person a few years down the road saying ‘I knew this was coming, and didn’t do a goddamned thing about it.’ Now that, my friends, would truly suck.”

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Christina Hernandez is a CJR intern.