The trappings of fascism spread. General David Petraeus, commander of the Eastern Front, poses with the President in the White House in combat fatigues. The country is now the Homeland, reminiscent of the Nazi Fatherland and the Soviet Motherland. We hear of American Exceptionalism, the ritual self-idolizaton beloved of pathological nationalism. Blood and Soil. The American Dream. Ubermenschen. All we need is a short Austrian.
It will play out against a backdrop of totalitarian watchfulness all too imaginable. A digital world lends itself to tyranny, making it, I think, inescapable. For practical purposes, the capacity to store data is infinite, to network it across the world, to track, to scan, to watch. This is not the place for a disquisition on the technology of surveillance. Just note that the machinery exists for a totalitarian watchfulness beyond Stalin’s wettest dreams. The government wants this, pushes for it daily, and gets it. You can’t spend a dollar, take a flight, or send an email without a federal federal office watching. It is getting worse and cannot be stopped. Surveillance is too easy.
The only free press in America is the internet, and the government does not like it. Washington now moves to “regulate” it. To promote fairness, you see, to prevent piracy, and to maintain national security. Then it will be found necessary to suppress “hate sites.” Just now you are reading a site that has been blocked on many federal installations for promoting hate. There is no recourse.
How will this play out? America retreats behind its emotional borders, gazes over the ramparts, frightened and hostile. In those outlets of the media than pander to The Heartland, to the manipulable unlettered, the nationalist drumbeat grows apace. That America’s bankrupty results from America’s economic policies, that the country is everywhere hated because of wilfully chosen behavior—this does not occur to people who do not read, who do not so much as know the dates of World War II. They will find someone else to blame. Liberals. Mohammedans. Mexicans.