MoonDawg's Den: Semantics and the Right-Wing Fear Rhetoric

MoonDawg's Den

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Semantics and the Right-Wing Fear Rhetoric

This post will consist of several questions, and will serve as a response to Garry's comment on his recent post:

Here's the key difference between the parties at this point: the right understands that there is an Islamofascist threat. The left? They are too busy carping at Bush for daring to call Islamofascists, well, Islamofascists.

Let's discuss this term that has been used by Garry for a long time and has now caught hold with President Bush's rhetoric.

First, fascism is a system of government; even more specifically, it is an economic movement that rose as a countermovement for communism. Where communism is government-controlled corporations, fascism is corporate-controlled government. World Book Dictionary for Macintosh defines fascism in this manner:

the form of government in Italy from 1922 to 1943, under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. It was ruled by a dictator, with strong control of industry and labor by the central government, great restrictions upon the freedom of individuals, and extreme nationalism and militarism. It was opposed to radical socialism and communism.

So, this leads to my first question. How can Islamic terrorists be fascists when by definition fascism is a government organization? How can a decentralized group of radical terrorists be given the same name as a system that is extremely centralized?

Second, fascism centers around the idea of nationalism. How can terrorists who all hail from different nations be said to subscribe to nationalism? The nation of Islam is a religion, not really a nation; furthermore, terrorists only represent one fundamentalist wing of that nation or religion.

Third, why would the right want to attach this name to terrorists even when it is not an accurate description? I'll answer this one. It's because of fear. Fascism brings to mind Hitler, the Holocaust, and terrible bloodshed. If the right can tie these two ideas together, maybe they can muster support for their failed policy.

Now, before Garry says that this proves his point that the left is disconnected from the reality of the threat, let me respond to that as well. In the same comment that I quote earlier, Garry says that Ned Lamont is proof of the left's disconnect because he "displays utter ignorance of recent history." Really? What recent history is that? Let's talk a little about recent history.

The recent terror plot that was foiled in Britain made international news. In fact, it inspired Garry's post and my response to it. There's one little fact about the incident that isn't getting enough press. The terror plot was foiled by police, not military action. Let me repeat: THE BRITISH MILITARY DID NOT STOP THE TERROR THREAT!

What does that mean? It means that the left, who is apparently "disconnected" with reality, actually has a point when they say that the War on Terror is primarily a police effort. The right seems to think that police action is not sufficient to stop terrorism. Let me ask you, what military action led to the capture and arrest of these terrorists? What military action stopped the plot in Europe? Was it the war in Iraq? Was it the war in Afghanistan? Was it the conflict in Lebanon? Oh wait, all of the terrorists were British nationals. Oh my gosh! They're not foreigners, they're nationals. Maybe Britain should attack itself.

Who's really disconnected from reality?


GARRY RESPONDS: First, let me say that it's good to have Jeff return from his summer frolics and get back to blogging again!

I appreciate the point being made about what fascism is. However, those who use the term "Islamofascist" have a Webster's definition in mind when we speak of the Jihadists:

"a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control"

Bin Laden and his ilk want to restore the Caliphate and impose Sharia law on all of humanity, whether we want it or not. If that's not "a tendency toward strong autocratic or dictatorial control", I don't know what is. To apply the term "Islamofascist" is not fear-mongering, it is simply recognizing the enemy for what they are.

As to the foiled terror plot, what serious person ever said that military force alone would stop the terrorists? It is a combination of law enforcement, judicious application of military force, and intense political suasion that will thwart Islamofascism (thwart, not defeat - they will always be with us to one degree or another despite our best efforts).

Yes, the British police foiled Bojinka II, but what about the next plot? And the one after that? And the one after that? The Jihadists are very patient: so we didn't get the Trade Towers in '93? No worries, we can try again.

Without going after the nations and organizations that enable the fanatics, you have ever more attempts at mass murder, and law enforcement is not going to be able to stop them all.

Regarding the war in Iraq, I for one am glad that a certain terror-enabler named Saddam isn't around any more. You may disagree, of course (by the way, it wasn't all the British police last week - let us give some well-deserved kudos to our friends in Pakistan).


  • Good post...
    I get so frustrated when political mudslinging invovles real issues... where people try to skew the truth to make themselves seem more right. Especially when it's an issue as important as this one, and one that will affect america's future so much. So what's more important? Working toward a logical end to the war in Iraq and a lessening of the terrorist threat, or using the "war on terrorism" and various stances on it as a platform for a political party?

    lame, lame.

    I just hope we (liberals) don't retaliate in kind... I'm kinda getting tired of this.

    By Blogger NoSurfGirl, At 12:20 AM, August 16, 2006  

  • I have just added a response to Jeff's post, under his text.

    Nosurf gal, politics is *always* going to be involved when discussing the war on terror. The question of how to deal with the threat (let alone defining what the threat is) is a political question, to be settled in the public arena.

    I imagine that your notion of what constitutes a "logical end" in Iraq is vastly different than mine. Which is fine - let us have the debate, and then support the political candidates which best represent our varying points of view. I wouldn't have it any other way...

    By Blogger Garry, At 11:10 AM, August 16, 2006  

  • I'm actually not sure..
    because I feel like it's all rhetoric and no real solutions. People are using this issue to garner votes. I have no idea what to do about iraq because I feel like all the people in charge don't care about it so much as they care about making their opponents look bad.

    that's why I think it's lame.

    And yes, I know I sound disaffected and frustrated... I am.

    By Blogger NoSurfGirl, At 5:51 PM, August 16, 2006  

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