I’ve repeatedly summoned the terms, “bootstrap” and “meritocracy.” That’s because they are crucial to understand.
A basic tenet of Fascism is so-called “social Darwinism,” wherein those who have managed to accumulate the most “wealth” and “power” are considered entirely deserving of said position, regardless of how they got there. In social Darwinism, lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, etc. are considered acceptable means to triumph, because the resulting hierarchy is all that matters. Anyone who says that it isn’t a means of subverting certain categories of people, for whatever reason, has a narrow view of the definition of “work,” to the point that they believe that anyone remotely different from them is equally capable of said “work.”
So, when anyone says “pull up your bootstraps,” or defends abominable individuals and/or behavior by guilting the recipients of said abominable behavior, what they’re really implying is that success is all that matters, no matter the means, and no matter the costs.
This is how Capitalism thrives, and it’s why, whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, it seems as if the most obscenely wealthy Americans must be totally undeserving of it.
Because, to quote Vladimir Lenin, “Fascism is Capitalism in decay.”
In Fascist politics, an “other” is established as a scapegoat for whatever failings are inherent in Capitalism, and thus all of the focus is shifted toward the oppression of these groups, rather than the failings of Capitalism.
The connections between the current-day United States of America and pre-WW2 Germany are not anecdotal and certainly not hypothetical. According to the evidence we have, it’s easy to draw a straight line between where Germany has been, and where the USA is headed.
“Among whites, a criminal record reduced the likelihood of a callback interview for an entry-level job by 50 percent – Pager’s white auditors who reported no criminal record had a 34 percent callback rate, and her white auditors who reported a criminal record had a 17 percent callback rate. The black auditors she used, with very similar resumes, had a 14 percent callback rate when they did not report a criminal record – suggesting that BLACK AMERICANS WHO REPORT NO CRIMINAL RECORD ALREADY FARE WORSE IN SEEKING ENTRY-LEVEL EMPLOYMENT THAN WHITE AMERICANS WHO DO REPORT A CRIMINAL RECORD. Only 5 percent of black applicants reporting a criminal record received callback interviews. According to Pager’s study, both race and previous incarceration record have a drastic effect on one’s employment chances. Adding race and previous incarceration record together makes employment prospects dramatically worse. Rising incarceration rates among black populations can naturally be expected to lead to rising unemployment among that population.”– Jason Stanley, “How Fascism Works”
It is no coincidence that every Capitalist country well into the stages of subjugating the working class – a core element of Fascism – is seeing a rise in the far-right. Devaluing education results in masses of people who don’t understand the complexities behind the problems they face as individuals and as groups. Not knowing the historical and economic reasons behind the negatives in their lives, they turn to a savior (Hitler, Trump) to rid them of their woes, rather than having the understanding of how to fix those problems step-by-step, and realizing it might take a little while.
This is why I’ve often associated religion with Fascism. The primordial elements are exactly the same.
To think that the United States is somehow miraculously exempt is a level of optimism that I can’t even imagine in the Information Age. The more I try to understand Conservatism, the more I realize that its very existence is due to a lack of understanding.
It is imperative that everyone reading this post, and others like it, pay attention to the myriad of warning signs present in our day-to-day lives. “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” might be a cliche at this point, but the words nevertheless ring immutably true.