One isolated case of group extremism, no matter how severe, is not a movement. There have always been extremists causes in America even though they are seldom embraced by a major political party; except of course the McCarthyism of the 1950s. Even two extremist movements do not necessarily constitute a trend toward a specific ideology, although when they are embraced completely by a political party it should be cause for alarm or at least close monitoring. Tragically for America, and with little notice, Republicans have embraced a rash of extremist ideologies and tactics that are identical to the rise of the Nazi movement in Germany and the American people are seemingly oblivious.
There is a gross misconception among the people and pundits alike that extremism in the Republican Party is limited to one wing of the conservative movement. However, it is glaringly evident that establishment Republicans have embraced several extremist agendas that were hallmarks of the Nazi movement’s rise to power in 1930s Germany. This agenda did not begin when Americans elected an African American man as President, but it has escalated rapidly since Republicans tapped into the racial animus plaguing this nation.
The specific aspects of the Republican march toward Nazism are extreme xenophobia and racism, Christofascism, attacks on unions, and corporate fascism; all facilitated by a willing media propaganda campaign. The parallels are beyond refute beginning with the propaganda campaign against any and everything contrary to what the Republican fascists consider “conservative purity;” multi-culturism, ethnic diversity, religious freedom, and the U.S. Constitution.
Despite America being a nation of immigrants, the Republican establishment has become a vile and rampant medium for xenophobic hatred of anything they define as foreign, other, or “un-American.” As Hrafnkell Haraldsson elucidated here, the speakers and sponsors of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) demonstrated a severe hatred of any and all people who are not white, not Christian, and not conservative. It is true Republicans have transformed their typically substantial distaste for non-whites into a raging hatred, but it now extends throughout the party to include Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, and particularly any American of Middle Eastern descent; whether they are Muslims or not. Immigrants are simply a representation of all things not white.
In fact, Republicans and their ardent supporters are the personification of a xenophobe; a person with unreasonable and extreme hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign, strange, or “the other.” Americans have witnessed it in the Republican movement manifested in the relations and perceptions of the in-group (white conservative Christians) towards an outgroup (Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims, non-Christians, liberals) including overwhelming suspicion of its activities, outright aggression, and a dangerously rabid desire to eliminate its presence to secure “American purity.” In Nazi Germany it was “Aryan Christian purity” that led to the Holocaust, slaughter of Gypsies, homosexuals, and various non-Christian and non-Aryan groups.
Although the concept of “Christofascism” began as a counter to “Islamofascism” popularized by conservative media after 9/11, it actually had its beginnings in Nazi Germany. Like raging xenophobia, a particularly potent Nazi propaganda tool, Republicans have wholly embraced Christofascism with a vengeance to incite their supporters to demand the ideology as a means of governance. According to its dangerous tenets, Christofascism is an extremely virulent and very lethal movement that “disposes or allows Christians to impose themselves not only upon other religions, but on other segments within a culture and political parties which do not fall in line, bow down, and march under the banner of radical Christianity.” In America the movement is made up of both the extremist religious right and the all-powerful United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Everything from the attack on women’s reproductive rights, bans on contraception, attacks on education and entertainment, and the blatant discrimination of the LGBT community are the results of Christofascism. It is true no politician, judge, or victim has the courage to cite religious motivation of Republicans denying other Americans their freedom and liberties guaranteed in the Constitution, but make no mistake; it is the direct result of Christofascism and nothing else. If religion is the opiate of the masses, like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany, Republicans have kept their acolytes drug-focused on “imposing themselves and their bastardized version of Christianity on all segments of American society according to Dominionist theology’s well-laid plans.
The recent concerted attacks on unions by Republicans around the nation, although not yet outright bans, are on par with Adolf Hitler’s. In fact, the Republican attacks have been ongoing over the past few years with so-called ‘right to work‘ legislation that the Koch Congress is intent on imposing nationally. Republicans have always been anti-worker’s rights, and they have successfully convinced their supporters that other Americans’ worker rights are why they are suffering; Hitler and Goebbels would be proud of the Republican machinations. It is noteworthy that a Republican-Koch hero, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, likened school teachers, firefighters, street sweepers, and law enforcement officers to murderous extremists in ISIS that he handily defeated in battle as if the public sector workforce is an imminent existential threat to other Americans; only because they negotiated for decent wages and working conditions.
For too long in this country it has been a mortal sin to not only cite the theocratic takeover of government, but to identify the parallels between the conservative movement’s agenda and that of the Nazi rise to power in 1930’s Germany. That reluctance to identify the most serious threat to America as a democracy and the people as free has to end now. Republicans have had a free ride imposing a Nazi-style fascism on America only because they have had little-to-no pushback due to fear of being criticized for violating an absurd Internet meme; Godwin’s Law. Sod off Godwin.
In great part, Republicans have been wildly successful due to the population’s ignorance of history, and in part because of willing accomplices in conservative media and religious corporate conservative purists on the nation’s highest court. It is worth noting that the High Court has aided and abetted Republican fascism by deconstructing the religious clauses in the First Amendment, eliminating the people’s voice by destroying electoral integrity, and granting corporate fascists a greater voice than the people in governing.
What is happening to America is not one isolated case of conservative extremism or one specific wing of the Republican Party. It is a concerted, well-executed conservative attack on America as a representative democracy and funded by Charles and David Koch. Unlike 1930s Germany there is not one mesmerizing orator inciting hatred for “the other” or imposing extremist Christianity on the people or abolishing workers’ rights. It is the entire Republican movement funded by a dirty cabal of fascist ideologues that studied and followed the tactics that allowed Adolf Hitler to impose Nazi ideology on Germany. Sadly, they are close to seeing their vision for America reach fruition while Americans slept and the Founders’ wept.