Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Object Permanence

Did you happen to notice how quickly that gathering of neo-fascists in Charlottesville VA diverted public attention from the threat of nuclear annihilation?  America appears to have an ongoing problem with object permanence: the difficulty infants have in grasping the continued existence of an item after they stop looking at it.

Granted, the threat of American fascism is considerably greater than any threat from Kim Jong-un.  Historically, fascism has been one of the more disagreeable outgrowths of plutocracy — and our widening wealth gap, failure to enforce antitrust restrictions, and antidemocratic actions like the Citizens United decision all have broadened the powers of the megawealthy over the rest of us.

The fascist penchant for militarism has been characteristically American for at least a century, along with the propensity to demonize foreigners and scapegoat minorities.  True fascism in the United States has been countervailed more by cultural and regional disunity than by democratic institutions, but the growth of information technologies has broken down those barriers.  All that remains is a stubborn affection for civil liberties — and those are under systematic attack.

Next week, something new will happen: a venereal disease will be traced to avocados, or Tr*mp will declare war on the Moon.  Will America forget the threat of fascism?


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