Authoritarianism vs. Totalitarianism

There’s a comment on Majikthise arguing that Dominionism doesn’t really exist because all the American religious right wants to do is recreate the 1950s. It seems like a sufficiently common argument – after all, it’s a variation on the standard conservative reason to support the fascists – that it deserves refutation here.

Most of what the religious right is demanding: A return to federalism and democracy concerning abortion, traditional sexual mores, even prayer in school were all mainstream practice circa 1950-60’s America. The scare of “theocracy” seems to obscure the point that most of what is advocated is neither new nor radical to American culture. To the contrary it is cultural leftist “experiments” (like ss “m”) that represent the political extreme.

Apparently, equal rights are a political extreme. In fact, as I said in that thread, turning the clock back to 1950, when the Supreme Court didn’t enforce desegregation, thousands of women died every year in botched abortions, homosexuality was illegal, and women couldn’t get non-shitty jobs, is considered moderate in the Dominionist movement. Recreating the past is always a major theme in fascism, but in fact, fascism always ushers in a substantially more repressive environment.

Conservatives always oppose social changes; that’s not new. Bismarck fought the social democrats and the liberals, the Dixiecrats fought civil rights, and de Gaulle fought the student movement. When you’re already an established player, you don’t need to have the totalitarian zeal to kill all your enemies. You have the mainstream’s privilege of ignoring and marginalizing them.

But fascism is reactionary rather than conservative, and its playbook imitates not its conservative allies’ but its communist enemy’s. When you want to radically remake society in your image, it doesn’t matter whether your utopia comes from Marx, the Bible, the Qur’an, or an idealized past; in all cases, you’ll end up creating a far more restrictive society than this of Bismarck, or de Gaulle, or even the Tsar.

In the 1870s, Germany was authoritarian rather than totalitarian. But the idealizers of the past who came to power in 1933 nonetheless made it totalitarian. Similarly, in the 1950s, the US was authoritarian (unless you were a straight, Christian, non-leftist white male), but the idealizers of the past who might come to power will make it totalitarian to everyone.

6 Responses to Authoritarianism vs. Totalitarianism

  1. SLC says:

    There is absolutely no question about it. The f****** born agains want to turn the US into a theocracy. When I made this statement on PZs’ blog, I was accused of wearing a tin hat. One doesn’t have to listen to me. Listen to the Fallwells, the Sheltons, the Haggards, and the Dobsons of the world. In particular, listen to the interview Richard Dawkins did with Haggard on the 1st part of the video, “The root of all evil.”

  2. Alon Levy says:

    It’s weird, I thought that sentiment was popular on Pharyngula. Who said you were wearing a tinfoil hat?

  3. SLC says:

    The aim of the born-agains is very simple and straightforward. It is to take over the US Government and impose a theocratic state therein.

    Tin-foil hat time!

    Posted by: Robert O’Brien | September 15, 2006 09:26 PM

  4. SLC says:

    Sorry. The tin foil hat comment appeared in a thread on Jason Rosenhouses’ blog. There are a number of creationists (e.g. Jon, David Heddle) who pollute that blog with their crap.

  5. Alon Levy says:

    Well, Robert O’Brien and David Heddle are both trolls, so you shouldn’t worry too much about them when gauging the opinions on Pharyngula.

  6. The Born Agains are definitely among the list toppers in the group of trouble makers, but you also have to watch out for the Warmongers, the Central Bankers, The Federal Reserve, the NeoConsevatives, both major political parties, the media, The Nanny Statists, the Pandering Lobbyists, the Gun Grabbers, the Zionists, and anyone else who would use state power and force on the rest of us.

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