Spinning Wheel #3: Facing Fascism

by Michael Nagler

Police brutality, suppression of dissent, heartless cruelty toward the disadvantaged, xenophobia and other forms of racism, Freikorps-type vigilante groups, corporate domination subjugating law and government, election fraud and war — America has virtually all the telltale characteristics of fascism, not just some.  And it could not be otherwise, because the culture of America today — the unofficial but pervasive culture of the media, etc. — is based on a single idea, just as democracy is based on one, opposite idea.  The fascist idea was so well expressed by George Orwell: “imagine a boot stamped on the human face, forever.”  In other words, fascism (I am using the term loosely, to include all forms of totalitarianism, with or without a single male with a monstrous ego at the head) is any thought-world that makes the human being subordinate, be it to an ideology, a system, a privileged group, or all the above.

The innocent-sounding term “human resources” is a pre-fascist concept; in the world of truth, as Kant told us, all things are for the person, not the other way around.  As one of the earliest Greek philosophers put it (Anaximander), “The human being is the measure of all things; of existent things that they are and of the nonexistent that they are not.”  The ‘scientific’ doctrine, disproved but resolutely upheld, thanks to the media, that we are the product of our genes, our neurotransmitters, or whatever is also an unwitting tributary to the flood of fascism.

Therefore if we would bend the course of our destiny back toward democracy, and more than this, recover the track of our spiritual evolution, we must tell the story quite otherwise: that all things on this planet are at the disposal and for the service of human beings, whose sacred responsibility is to use them wisely.  To tackle each manifestation of the present fascism separately, by separate groups of us, as we’ve done, is quite an understandable reaction but it clearly is not working and cannot work.  It’s not that we have to drop all that good work.  We can keep doing those things, but with an active consciousness that they are tied to a recovered image of who we are, an image we are proud to uphold and live up to as a common heritage of every one of us.











See the Spinning Wheel# 2