For all their insistence to the contrary, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve noticed a contempt for communal and political engagement and a yearning for fascism squatting in the psyches of an unnervingly large percentage of the people of the U.S.
How did the situation come to be? To persist, the capitalist order demands submission to ruthless authority and must peddle fear of an alien other. Angst and anger, engendered by relentless economic exploitation, inequity, and uncertainty, must be directed away from the system’s elite.
The order does not gain agency from the vitality of freedom and innovation, as the state’s propagandists maintain, but is recklessly propelled along by combustible energies of rage and resentment. Racist demagogues, Trump, Le Pen et. al., are not outliers but inevitable; they are the embodiment of the unfettered and noxious id of capitalism’s economically (and thus psychically) shackled citizens.
Capitalism’s sterile carnival, when panicked by internal uncertainties and outward threats (real or imagined) become transformed into a vicious bacchanal of hate and mindless aggression. Withal, cops become militarized and can kill with virtual impunity; the nation’s political class, aided by the capitalist media, will direct the military to wage imperial wars based on lies; the public will be induced to hate an enemy du jour; dissenters will be demonized, marginalized, jailed, and worse.
The question is not if the trajectory of capitalism will trundle to fascism: it has and will continue apace. Moreover, the situation in its entirety has not been caused solely by opportunistic, right wing politicians and their spittle-frothing, sorehead followers. Liberals, who insist capitalism can be reformed, as all the while they continue to cast votes and act as apologists for the Democratic Party, carry an equal share of blame.
Racism and resentment are an inherent and unremovable element of the capitalist soil. Fascism is its bitter harvest. The scorn directed at Syrian refugees and the bigotry spewed at Muslims, Mexicans, and dark skinned people in general, should not cause bafflement.
When empathy and imagination are banished by fear (fear as the modus operandi of the capitalist order) the hearts of the people will wither to dust and the world will wend towards wasteland.