Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Islamic fascism revisited

I had a nice vacation in a beautiful and media-deficient country, so it took a few days to get my bearings among all the cloud-cuckoo-land absurdities that had popped up, courtesy of the Republican Party, in just two weeks. I somehow had imagined the "Islamo-fascism" meme had died out months ago of its inherent irrationality and stupidity, though a moment's reflection should have warned me that irrationality and stupidity do not guarantee, or even contribute to, laying to rest of wrong and ignorant ideas. Quite the contrary.

So it seems "Islamo-fascism" is back, first in the mouth of our president, false as his grits-and-red-eye-gravy accent and absurd as his mechanical smirk, and then suddenly jabbered wildly by legions of robotic GOP servo-repeaters, spoken as if it were an actual word with a meaning.

For example, when I open up the Austin Chronicle, I find the following in its letters column:
Because we are the last defense from Islamist fascist barbarism, we must unambiguously champion positive American exceptionalism. This is our role as everyday citizens in helping to defeat Islamist fascism. For if we do not proactively defend ourselves and the U.S. is not victorious, humanity will be condemned to genocide, torture, and crushing tyranny.

None of us can remain aloof from these realities...We are in World War III. It has been formally declared against America and the free world by al Qaeda, the Iranian Sharia theocracy, and their devoted SS-like automaton forces. Yes, the Nazis have been reincarnated; only this time they are Islamist fascists.

[The Chronicle editor's] attitudes are representative of the appeasing neo-leftist Michael Moore Democratic Party. Because they lack grounded moral clarity and courage, they are incapable of comprehending the danger humanity faces from Islamist fascism. This allows the Islamists the crucial edge in this great mortal struggle. As a result, the defeatist Democratic Party cannot be allowed to wield political power and control national security. Otherwise, the free world will be in grave existential peril...Reject neo-leftist appeasement. Embrace the noble cause of American victory over Islamist fascism. If not, you become an unwitting useful idiot enabling the genocidal Islamist fascists in their efforts to enslave and tyrannize humanity.

This charmless bit of well-poisoning was not intended as a parody.

And unfortunately you can't ignore it as the isolated abusive rhetoric of a single misguided Republican in a regional alternative newspaper. Google News returns hundreds of recent hits on "islamo-fascism" and its permutations. Those hits I clicked on were just about as foolish as the letter I quoted, though in some cases not as histrionic.

All of them, of course, ignored the profoundly secular corporate-state nature of the actual fascism of history. More importantly, none of the shouters noticed their own uncanny mirror-image duplication of Islamist holy-war rhetoric. Holy war, whether Islamist or Republican, is not a fascist concept. It's a concept that comes to us straight from the 11th century. George Bush has more in common with Urban II than Osama bin Laden does with Mussolini.

(On an upbeat note, I just noticed that at least my spell checker is still sane and reasonable, and continues to mark "islamo-fascism" as a mistake. )

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