April 28, 2007


Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps (Naomi Wolf, Chelsea Green Publishing)

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down -- the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy, but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated in the United States by the Bush administration.

We need to make a deal with these people: they can publish this stuff if we can keep them at Gitmo.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2007 8:15 AM

You can cut it down to two steps with the global-warming cult and Dan Simpson's gun control article.

Posted by: Guy T. at April 28, 2007 9:09 AM

After reading the first 1/2 page all the blather began to run together, so I just flipped the pages. The comments though were interesting.

Posted by: Dave W at April 28, 2007 9:13 AM

To really get a sense of how ridiculous this article is, go through her list and apply each of the steps to things the Clinton administration did. Matches up even better, I'd say, and of course this did not make Amerikkka anymore fascist then, then it is now.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 28, 2007 9:14 AM

Cur Naomi some slack. After all, in twelve short months we will know our nominees, and Bush will be categorically and utterly a lame duck, headlong toward yesterday's news. (What a dictator, that.) She has to get all her auto-erotic, 'V for Vendetta', Luke Skywalker "let's all fight the evil empire" fantasies out of the way while she can.

Thanks so much for sharing your playful 'cops and robbers' fantasy, Naomi, the one you will have categorically forgotten about in 24 months from now, like any child does. And the rest of us will be taking this column every bit as seriously by then as well.


Posted by: Andrew X at April 28, 2007 11:53 AM

they can publish this stuff if we can keep them at Gitmo, or if each one of them would adopt a Gitmo housemate so that we can close down Gitmo, a Dick Durbin Gulag.

Posted by: ic at April 28, 2007 12:55 PM

Ah, Naomi: such a babe, and yet with such silly politics....

A few points: you don't get to call something a "Gulag" unless you've got at least thousands of people in camps, if not hundreds of thousands or millions. So a few hundred people in Gitmo and a handful of other prisons don't count. And it's not a Gulag if you gain weight while you're there.

Blaming Bush for Josh Wolf's refusal to hand over evidence related to the attempted murder of a cop to a San Francisco (not Federal) grand jury is hardly Bush's fault, but she must have been at a loss for more instances of fascist crushing of the free press.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 28, 2007 4:24 PM

Silly me - I thought step #1 was to arrest Naomi Wolf.

Posted by: ratbert at April 28, 2007 5:46 PM

Ratbert -

Damn, I wish I was that pithy...

Posted by: Andrew X at April 28, 2007 6:47 PM

I read that someone on a panel with her said, if America is fascist, why isn't she a lamp shade? Great riposte to a very silly know-nothing woman who's had far too much time in the limelight.

Posted by: erp at April 29, 2007 9:42 AM


Check out the comments on the article -- most of them come from people who seem to be, on the face of things, knowledgeable and articulate.

They are also totally bananas.

I remember taking a college class a few years ago and, during a discussion, some folks looked at me funny when I said that educated people have their superstitions just like anybody else. One of the perennials seems to be that our democracy is quickly turning into a dictatorship. Orwell said intellectuals were saying similar things about the British government even before the Nazis were defeated.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 29, 2007 10:19 AM

Because no light escapes her.

Posted by: oj at April 29, 2007 1:02 PM

Matt, I cited the indelicate comment about lamp shades because it made it abundantly clear what a fascist state really is. That the speaker is bananas doesn't matter.

Well before you were born and perhaps even your parents were born, I was being called a fascist and a lot of other nasty names for not kowtowing to the liberal dogma at several of the most well known seats of higher learning in our country and the name calling hasn't subsided here in the sunshine state.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 29, 2007 1:15 PM


I know why you said it, I was just noting how common these surreal complaints are among certain people. The lampshade comment is a nice riposte but oddly enough it never occurs to people like Ms. Wolf, even though it's an obvious point and would probably occur to the average citizen in the street.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 29, 2007 5:34 PM

Matt, erp:

If America were a fascist state, Naomi Wolf would have been groped by much worse than Harold Bloom, no?

Posted by: ratbert at April 29, 2007 6:30 PM