I should point out first thing that I don’t know how to spell Adolf Hitler’s name. In the photo caption above I’ve spelled the old miscreant’s name incorrectly, confusing him with a brand of meat tenderizer widely available in American supermarkets.
Back in 1968 when the American landscape was burning and when police were clubbing war protestors on college campuses everywhere and particularly in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention there was a famous TV exchange between arch conservative commentator William F. Buckley and liberal champion Gore Vidal. Buckley was of the view that war protestors were aiding and abetting the enemy in Viet Nam and Vidal was of the view that the protestors were being prevented from exercising their constitutional rights to assemble and air their grievances.
You can watch in the video as Buckley interrupts Vidal who in turn tells Buckley to shut up. The gloves come off. Vidal calls Buckley a crypto-Nazi and Buckley calls Vidal a pornographer and insinuates that he’s an alcoholic. I remember seeing this on August, 28, 1968. I was a young news hound. Even then I instinctively preferred Mr. Vidal’s position. I saw that if all Americans who exercised their rights to free speech were conceived of being guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy then we were indeed living in a Fascist state. Vidal was correct then and his position is correct today.
But Vidal was not correct when he called Buckley a crypto-Nazi. It would have been more useful to say that his position was patently un-American and leave the matter there.
Nowadays everyone is a Fascist. George W. Bush was compared to Hitler by gazillions of people on the left. Now we see Barack Obama’s image splayed on signs that sport swastikas.
Ezra Pound said that Fascism would come to America as a corporate marriage between big business and government. I’d say the matter was settled long ago. But I digress…
What if the American character doesn’t like Fascism? That sounds like a good starting point for political agreement–even in severely polarized Washington.
Since we can all agree that no one wants to be a Fascist let’s imagine giving up the dirty habit. We could have national “Give Up Fascist Principles Day” and you could even go to a Red Cross table and get a little cup of juice and a mini doughnut.