March 26, 2002


Two Ounces of Neo-Fascism
The new two-ounce stamp at left (follow link above) has been released by the US Postal Service which is apparently trying to get in tune with our post-constitutional times. The warrior eagle was a major symbol of Nazism as shown in the museum exhibit at right. The eagle on the stamp has its talons grasping the fasci, a bundle of rods that has been described as symbolizing "the power of many united and obeying one will and the authority of the state, which was the supreme source of law and order and all national life." And, notes Al Martin, "The color of the stamp used to be called Nordic or Aryan Blue - before the war. After the war, when those words became politically incorrect, the name of the blue was changed to the more neutral-sounding Icelandic Blue. . .The seven pediments on the eagle’s chevron shaped breastplate represent the seven hills of Rome. The three Ionic columned perch represents Order, Discipline and Obedience, which was the pledge undertaken by the Obsidian Order. Any philatelist would recognize this eagle and any numismatist, who collects Third Reich or Caesarian coins, would also know it." Fortunately rates are going up, so this stamp probably won't be around for long.

Here's a little exercise that might be helpful as you read this deranged little story and check out the picture of the stamp. Take out a quarter, it needs to be an older one, not one of the state commemorative jobs. Look at the eagle on the back. Note that it too has a fasces grasped in its talons. The symbol is based on the idea that you can take one arrow and snap it fairly easily, but bind them together and they're unbreakable. Obviously, for a republic, like ours, which is based on a federalism wherein many states are forged into one nation, this symbol has a special resonance. We even derive our motto from a similar sentiment : E Pluribus Unum, or Out of Many, One.

It is, of course, necessary to hate the Nazis, but it hardly seems necessary to surrender our own national symbols just because they used some of them too. Though our grandfather (a Mason and former merchant marine) did have a swastika tattoo burned off in the '30s when Hitler corrupted that ancient emblem.

On the other hand, I suppose we may truly be descending into a dark nightmare of neofascism and the stamp is a secret indicator to the faithful that plans to extinguish liberty proceed apace. You decide.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 26, 2002 6:04 PM
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