by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
Charlottesville isn’t so much a turning point as a tipping point where a long standing social problem became a passionate social issue for the rest of us, as it should have been sooner. The media’s periodic stories of hate crimes and hate groups over the years just didn’t catch our attention.
Back when this latest iteration of white supremacy started growing again during the 1980’s, it was financed by bank robberies and break-in’s with the proceeds being shared around the country with various other hate group chapters.
Think about that for a moment.
The oxygen needed to organize and grow these hate groups is the same as for any other enterprise. It takes money… lots of it.
So how much money does it take to sustain and operate this huge national, in fact global, white supremacy movement today? Who provided the cash to pay for all those tiki torches,the military equipment and the uniforms worn by so many alt-right protesters? Who provides the money to support the targeted alt-right media campaigns required to convert, recruit and motivate so many young white men? Who coordinated and subsidized the transportation needed to get everyone there and back, and where did the money come from to pay for it all? Who would want to harm our country and paralyze our politics so much that they would provide tens of millions of dollars to sustain this sick movement?
I don’t have answers, but these are among the questions we should be asking. Since it is obvious the movement is being funded by bank robberies these days, and since it is a global movement with strong elements in Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy (to name a few), it is likely that funding for this movement is coming from wealthy sources that what to diminish or control Western democratic countries like ours.
I suspect foreign sources are ultimately behind the growth of hate groups here and abroad. You might think I’m crazy, but if I’m correct, this is just another aspect of the new type of warfare raging against us.Power and control are behind this movement. The haters themselves are only brainwashed pawns in a much larger game.
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
As we fall into the shadows of the propaganda wars raging to divide us, it is more important than ever to hold our focus on the principles and values that united America in the first place. From our founding we were uniquely conceived in the world of nations that existed in the 1700’s. We are the first nation built on shared values rather than shared religion, tribe, geography, common language, ethnicity or race. We are still an experiment well conceived, if poorly lead. From the beginning we place the universal needs of human beings and the universal rights of every individual at the center of a system of self-government. From the start, and throughout our history, we are a nation of truly global diversity united by common dreams and shared values.
“E pluribus unum” is our motto. It’s printed on our currency. It means “out of many, one.” This is the essence of who we are as a nation or, more accurately, what we strive to become as a people. We are bonded by nature to all who hold “… these truths to be self evident.” We fought and died in a bloody civil war that tested whether this nation, “… or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.” We are still here. We are still called to be a beacon for a world in which ethnic and cultural diversity is a new and scary transition. If the United States of America can’t be both diverse and united after 241 years, if our experiment to make self-government work in a pluralistic society falters, what hope is there for a world where massive cultural migrations are challenging nation identities unaccustomed to such diversity.
In this spirit of unity I recommend this recent article by Rebekah Entralgo in ThinkProgress. It is a brief article that highlights one example where our history and ideals are being undermined.
Online racists celebrated Miller’s performance.
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
Does it seem like supporters of Donald Trump are out of touch with reality? Why are they so dismissive of claims that Russia attacked us? Even in the face of truly damning information about how the Donald Trump Jr. colluded with Russian’s to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the far right and their Representatives in Congress seem unmoved. Why?
|Map of cyber activity by Right-wing websites during the 2016 election to counter mainstream media advantage.|
Recognizing that computer algorithms currently use by social media keep me from viewing the conversations of those who don’t share my views, I began reading conservative websites such as Breitbart and Info Wars for clues. I forced myself to listened to broadcasts of the Alex Jones Radio Show on Info Wars. For those who don’t know him, Alex Jones is a popular right-wing talk show host. He has millions of listeners and claims those numbers are growing as Fox News numbers decline. He is also the manager or owner of a number of conservative media outlets.
You probably are familiar with Breitbart. It was initially financed by recluse billionaire, Robert Mercer. Steve Bannon was the man in charge there until after this past last election.
As I browsed through these websites, one particular radio show caught my attention. I listened in detail (took notes) to a radio broadcast of Alex Jones on July 12, 2017 (http://rss.infowars.com/20170712_Wed_Alex.mp3). Using this as a starting point, and having sampled other content on both Breitbart and Infor Wars, some patterns emerged that I want to share.
First, the verbiage of Alex Jones’ show can’t be easily unpacked. It is dense with disinformation, oblique references, inflammatory innuendos and repetitive conservative and nativist memes. The overall narrative establishes and affirms an alternative frame of reference for his conservative listeners. The broadcasts contain a blitz of buzz words and references to long debunked Obama era scandals, as I would characterize them, woven into a story line that alters the context of current events. The content is clearly intended to evoke elicit emotions in the listener.
But the biggest insight was that these conservative sites ring exactly the same alarm bells about democracy under attack and a pending authoritarian takeover that those on the left worry about. Info Wars also points to the same means and methods used to attack America as do the rest of us do, such as media disinformation and internet propaganda. But these conservative websites substitute Islamic jihadists for Russian oligarchs, and they substitute “Marxist” liberals for rightwing nationalists.
In effect, this counter narrative creates two American world views that are mirror images. It unites us in our worst fears for American democracy while irreconcilably dividing us politically. We agree that we are at war conducted through information warfare, but we have different enemies waging this war and different ideas on what are foreign enemies trying to accomplish. We can’t come to any mutual understanding because we have an entirely different framework and different sets of facts.
For factual confirmation of the conservative world view listeners are referred to other conservative websites, such as understandingthethreat.com. Here is what the site says about its founder:
John Guandolo is the Founder of UnderstandingtheThreat.com, an organization dedicated to providing strategic and operational threat-focused consultation, education, and training for federal, state and local leadership and agencies, and designing strategies at all levels of the community to defeat the enemy.
That enemy is radical Islam. Guandolo’s website promotes the view that the real threats to America originates from Middle East terrorist organizations. The site has been active since June of 2012 and appears to be hosted in Montreal, Canada, according to its domain registration data.
On the other side, Rachael Maddow had Michael Carpenter on her show recently. He was a U.S. Deputy Assistant Director of Defense before retirement. His take on our strategic threats places Russia at the center of the attacks on our democracy. From what he saw in the past, the cyber operations during the last election are consistent with what Russia has employed in places like the Ukraine. Typically, Russia seeks proxies and allies in the foreign countries they attack to help carry out their cyber operations. They try to penetrate the networks of insurgent political groups seeking power within a foreign county. They do this, and help support those groups, to have influence as those groups gain power. He has no doubt that this has included infiltrating far rightwing groups in America and, by extension, the GOP.
For Alex Jones, his constellation of media outlets continue to create and maintaining this alternative world view focused on terrorists as the existential to America democracy. Those how believe this are convinced the investigations of the Trump Administration are witch hunts and that the allegations of Russian interference are smokescreens by the “deep state” to conceal a leftist takeover of America. They point to their universe of alternate facts, theories and political conspiracies to prove there is an unholy alliance between the liberal elites and Islamist Jihadists seeking to impose Sharia Law on America. They deny the DNC was hacked by Russia, claiming there is no evidence. They see the accusation itself is proof of “deep state” preparations for a coup against Donald Trump. Even more moderate Republicans are held in suspicion. One commenter on Alex Jones’ show said, “The GOP establishment hates Trump more than MSNBC.” In other words, the Republican establishment is complicit with the liberal elites in working with Hamas and other Islamic groups to bring about an authoritarian state and Sharia Law in America. The CIA, NSA and FBI are all in on it and can’t be trusted.
The Goal of Islamic radicals, according to Alex Jones, is to create chaos in America; to destabilize us so that out of the chaos the jihadists can bring about a radical leftwing revolution, an authoritarian state and implementation of Sharia Law. Rodger Stone, a guest on his show, said, The elite have to assume there will be no elections in the future, but a global takeover. An authoritarian state in America.”
Alex Jones defines Sharia Law as total warfare against our culture, social institutions, political systems, military systems, our media and our American way of life. According to Jones, these jihadists are experts in political influence operations. Note that this is just what our Intelligence community is saying about Russia.
These are the alt-right media voices that conservative GOP members in the House and Senate are hearing . These are the sentiments reflected in their core constituents, their power base. Is it any wonder they hardly react to the US Intelligence community’s warning about Russia? The men and women of the GOP are just as patriotic as any of us, but they are straddling two very different world views. They have to know that both worlds can’t be true. Either the Russians are undermining our democracy in league with ultra conservatives oligarchs to divided America, or it is the Islamic extremists doing the same thing in league with liberal Democrats and the deep state (i.e., our Intelligence community).
Since even the most conservative GOP members aren’t ranting in the halls of Congress about jihadists destroying American democracy, I assume they know which scenario is more likely. They also know how to stay in power. Even if a Republican lawmaker doesn’t share their constituents world, they can’t challenge their base without losing their seat. The GOP is, in fact, compromised.
I said earlier that the content of Alex Jones’ show is densely packed with disinformation. In fairness, his listeners have no problem understanding his messages. If they were to watch Chris Hayes or Rachael Maddow, they would have the same critique as me of his show. We really do have two different perceptual realities. The forces creating this schism have to be well organized, well funded and very entrenched to pull this off. It’s time to uncover everyone involved in the media warfare that is tearing us apart. It’s time to fight back, reunite and restore civil democracy in America.
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
To say we are at war isn’t hyperbole, or exaggeration. We are in a real war with real adversaries and real human consequences. It isn’t a Shock and Awe” kinetic war as in the past where things that go bang, although that happens occasionally. It is a new type of global war being waged against Western style, civilian controlled democracies. Our adversaries are powerful, and wealthy, and well on their way to dominating our world. But the most shocking fact is that this war has been raging and escalating, for decades while most of us remain aware.
The Canadian professor, philosopher and media theorist, Marshall McLurhan predicted that this war was coming. Most of us know him by his quote, made famous in the 1960’s, “The medium is the message.” Few know he also said, “World War III will be a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” How could any of us have understood this at a time well before personal computers, email, the internet and social media?
The mechanisms of this war are relentless media attacks to alter our public discourse, weaken our faith in public institutions and self-government, amplify disunity along social fault lines, polarize our politics, distract us, alienate us and pits us against each other. It is a war that assaults our collective consciousness. It erases or rewrites our history for sinister gain. It attacks our core beliefs, undermines our principles, debauches our morality, occludes our access to knowledge and obscures all truth. In the end, it re-sculpts our culture to better serve the enemies of civil society.
I know this account of the war will likely fall into the silent media abyss that swallows almost every minority narrative. It is up to you and me to support the authentic voices of real people and insist that we be heard in social medium that surrounds us.
(end of part 1)
– The evidence of war is all around us.
– And who are these adversaries? What do they want?
– It isn’t just me saying it either.
– Who are our allies in this war? Who do we recruit other citizens?
– Where is the People’s army in this war? What are their weapons? Who are our future heroes?
[If you have read this far, please help me write part 2 of this account of war by writing your responses to the topic listed above. Take a risk. Speak out. Send me your ideas and links to articles you want me to read. Don’t make me write this alone… ]
by Brian T. Lynch
President Donald Trump is fomenting a constitutional crisis that he cannot be allowed to win. In an official White House press release today, Donald Trump’s Administration said elected officials in San Francisco “… have the blood of dead Americans on their hands” for opposing the Sanctuary Cities Executive Order that would strip away the city’s federal funding for not fully engaging in federal immigration enforcement efforts. The press release said, “Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation.”
The press release was a response to a lawsuit filed by San Francisco and other county officials requesting an injunction against enforcement of financial sanctions against them. They argued that the Executive Order is unconstitutional.
After hearing both sides of oral arguments in federal court, Judge William H. Orrick granted the injunction against the Administration, barring it from withdrawing any federal funding to cities and counties until after the issue can be adjudicated in a trial. In the judges legal opinion, the merits of the case presented by the city and counties would likely prevail at trial.
Summary of Judge Orrick’s Ruling.
According to Judge Orrick’s ruling, the Trump Administrations Sanctuary Cities Executive Order:
- Violates the separation of powers because it improperly seeks to wield congressional spending powers
- Is overbroad and coercive, violates 10th Amendment prohibition against commandeering local jurisdictions
- Is so vague and standardless that it violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause
- Deprives local jurisdictions of Congress’allocated funds without notice or opportunity to be heard, violating the procedural due process requirements of the Fifth Amendment and because the Counties have not been named “sanctuary jurisdictions” pursuant to the Trump Administration Order
Judge Orrick’s goes on to detail the substance of this federal court hearing:
- Trump’s lawyers said at oral argument the Sanctuary Order is merely an exercise of the President’s “bully pulpit” to highlight a changed approach to immigration enforcement. Administration lawyers didn’t even respond to the constitutionality of the order itself, but instead argued that the Counties lack any standing in the court as the Executive Order didn’t change existing law
- Under the Administration’s interpretation of the Order, as presented by Trump Administration’s lawyers in court, Section 9(a) applies only to three federal grants in the DOJ and DHS, and provisions to withhold federal funding under those three grants can already be enforce under existing law.
- Trump’s own lawyers in court disavowed the Government’s right to affect most of the billions of dollars in federal funds that sanctuary cities receive every year
- Yet other language the Executive Order tries to include all other federal grants, and all federal funding as subject to sanctions against municipalities that don’t comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
- President Trump called his Order “a weapon” to use against these jurisdictions.
- The Attorney General warned that jurisdictions that do not comply with Section 1373 would suffer “withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants,” and the “claw back” of any funds previously awarded
- The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Sanctuary Cities Executive Order cannot place new conditions on federal funds
- The Tenth Amendment requires that federal funds be unambiguous, must bear some relationship to the funds purposes and that the financial incentive cannot be coercive.
- Federal funding that bears no relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened because a city has chosen an immigration enforcement plan which is at odds with the Administration’s plans
- Judge Orrack therefore granted the County’s request for an injunction to prevent the Administration from withholding federal funding until after full hearing on the matter determines whether the Order is constitutional, saying “… this injunction does nothing more than implement the effect of the Government’s flawed interpretation of the Order.”
Read Judge Orrick’sInjunction against Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Executive Order in full: http://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000015b-a6d5-de92-a17b-aed55e780001 …
Trump’s outrageousresponse to the Sanctuary Cities injunction sets up a serious constitution crisis. His Administration is at war with another co-equal branch of government and the checks on his executive powers that were built into our constitution. We can’t allow him to win this fight in the courts or in the court of public opinion.
Here is the Administration’s outrageous press release printed in full:
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate ReleaseApril 25, 2017
Statement on Sanctuary Cities Ruling
Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation. Federal law explicitly states that “a Federal, State or Local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” 8 U.S.C. 1373(a). That means, according to Congress, a city that prohibits its officials from providing information to federal immigration authorities — a sanctuary city — is violating the law. Sanctuary cities, like San Francisco, block their jails from turning over criminal aliens to Federal authorities for deportation. These cities are engaged in the dangerous and unlawful nullification of Federal law in an attempt to erase our borders.
Once again, a single district judge — this time in San Francisco — has ignored Federal immigration law to set a new immigration policy for the entire country. This decision occurred in the same sanctuary city that released the 5-time deported illegal immigrant who gunned down innocent Kate Steinle in her father’s arms. San Francisco, and cities like it, are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands. This San Francisco judge’s erroneous ruling is a gift to the criminal gang and cartel element in our country, empowering the worst kind of human trafficking and sex trafficking, and putting thousands of innocent lives at risk.
This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge. Today’s ruling undermines faith in our legal system and raises serious questions about circuit shopping. But we are confident we will ultimately prevail in the Supreme Court, just as we will prevail in our lawful efforts to impose immigration restrictions necessary to keep terrorists out of the United States.
In the meantime, we will pursue all legal remedies to the sanctuary city threat that imperils our citizens, and continue our efforts to ramp up enforcement to remove the criminal and gang element from our country. Ultimately, this is a fight between sovereignty and open borders, between the rule of law and lawlessness, and between hardworking Americans and those who would undermine their safety and freedom.
by Brian T. Lynch, MSW
I knew a boy once who had a long red mark on his neck that someone thought was from physical abuse by his father. I talked to the boy. When I asked how he got the mark on his neck, he fell silent. Then he motioned for me to follow him.
He brought me outside to a shed in the back yard and opened the door. He pointed to a piece of rope on the floor and said,”I tried to hang myself, but the rope broke,” I put my hand on his shoulder as we both just stared at the rope.
I went back to the house to speak with his dad, The man clearly loved his son. He said he just wanted his boy to grow up “the right way.” He admitted he yelled a lot, but said he would never touch is son because of the way his own dad had beaten as a child.
I asked the father to show me his scars from those beatings. He pointed to his heart and said, “They are all here inside me.”
“That,” I said, “is where your son’s scars are as well.” Then I told him how his son got the mark on his neck. The man called his son into the room, grabbed him in a hug and wept. The scars that harm us most are almost always the ones no one else can see.
By Brian T. Lynch, MSW
In preparation for my last article, “It Has a Name: FASCISM“, I read different views on the nature of fascism. As I read I was struck by two facts:
1) There is a lack of scholarly consensus on the nature of facism, and
2) despite this shortcoming, the picture that emerges provide insight into the ultra-conservative political transformation we have experienced in the last few decades.
I recognized that while it takes root on the fringe of right-wing politics, elements of it have been integrated throughout our body politic. Manifestation of it have surfaced in many of our institutions over time. To see this more clearly, a coherent description of fascism would help, one that accounts for its less obvious developmental stages over time.
I wanted to find the common denominators in the various descriptions using the Wikipedia’s, Definitions of fascism, page. It includes contributions from political philosophers such as Umberto Eco, Georgi Dimitrov, Emilio Gentile, Stanley G. Payne and many other. I found the fascism entry from the Encyclopedia of Marxism particularly useful and a good format off which to work. What follows is my own compilation of the words and ideas these original authors.. Some of what follows is verbatim, some paraphrases and some reworked to combine similar ideas by different authors. It isn’t strictly my original work, so please don’t credit me or accuse me of plagiarism because it isn’t properly attributed. All references to original statements can be found by comparing the texts to the Wikileak’s Definitions of fascism site.
To quote myself from my last article, “Fascism may take different forms as it metastasizes, but it is always built on three legs: A ruthless authoritarian leader, an extremely nationalistic base and a loyal cadre of uber-wealthy crony capitalists. The goal of fascism is always the same, to optimize power and prosperity for the fittest members of society, as defined by those aligned with their leader.
I hope readers here finds the following “meta-description” of fascism helpful.
Mass Movement: Fascism derives public support by creating a mass movement with multi-class membership in which prevail, among its leaders and the militants, middle sectors members who are mostly new to political activism. The movement organizes as a militant political body or political party whose identity is not based on existing social hierarchy or class origin, but on a sense of fellowship with other members of the movement. Movement identity is often cultivated through a campaign to raise fear of differences between the dominant social group and minority groups within the society. Fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate social division, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants. Members believe themselves to be invested with a mission of national regeneration, consider themselves in a state of war against political adversaries aimed at conquering a monopoly of political power by use of all available means. In this way fascist movements are able to gain power and political control, even by electoral means, without broad public consensus. Ultimately, a mature fascist state usurps democratic rule and the rule of law.
Authoritarian Leadership: Fascist states come into power through an authoritarian, charismatic leader whose thematic speeches and theatrical rhetorical style evoke the strongest possible emotions among their loyal followers. All fascist states have authoritarian leaders, but not all states with authoritarian leaders are fascist states. What most distinguishes fascist authoritarian leaders from other authoritarians are their methods and means to gain and hold on to power, political power for personal gain and self-aggrandizement being their primary interests. Fascist leaders are obsessed with their adversaries, real or imagined, often resulting in the hyping-up of enemy threats. There is a ethic in fascist administrations that action for action sake is a sign of strength while deliberation and consultation are signs of weakness. Once in power fascist administrations move to make structural changes in both social and government hierarchies to consolidate power and strengthen their control. Fascist authoritarian leaders see themselves as dominant and superior people, qualities that entitle them to lead others by autocratic rule. They often exhibit narcissistic traits and usually inflate their own talents, accomplishments and moral authority. Fascist leaders fundamentally distrusts democratic institutions and principles. The hold themselves self out as the ultimate interpreter of the popular will.
Loyalty: Fascism demands extreme loyalty to the national leader and his loyal followers. “Disagreement Is Treason” – Fascist movements devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action and threats to leadership. Fascists therefore delegitimize democratic institutions and accuse them of “no longer representing the Voice of the People.” Public discourse takes on a militancy. Bullying ,harassment or aggression is often directed at people or groups perceived as disloyal.
Nationalism: Fascism places a very strong emphasis on patriotism and nationalism. It is a xenophobic form of Nationalism that is fearful of disloyalty and sabotage from marginalized groups living within the country and especially distrustful of foreigners and immigrants. Criticism of the nation’s main ideals, especially in matters of war and the military, is lambasted as unpatriotic at best, and treason at worst. Fascist propaganda messaging broadcasts threats of attack, while justifying preemptive war. It invariably seeks to instill in its people the warrior mentality: to always be vigilant, wary of strangers and suspicious of foreigners.
Right Wing: Fascists are fervently against: Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Communism, Environmentalism; etc – in essence, they are against the progressive left in total, including moderate lefts (social democrats, etc). Fascism is an extreme right wing ideology, though it can be opportunistic. It often embraces social conservatism and traditional values while rejecting or exploiting libertarian or core conservative principles when it is to their benefit.
Hierarchy: A fully developed fascist society is ruled by a righteous leader, who is supported by an elite secret vanguard of wealthy capitalists. Democratic institutions are restrained and mass media falls under state control and all forms of dissent is suppressed. Hierarchy is prevalent throughout all aspects of society – every street, every workplace, every school, will have its local demagogue monitoring and pressuring for loyalty to and conformity with the fascist regime. The absolute power of the social hierarchy prevails over everything, and thus a totalitarian society is formed. Representative government is acceptable only to the extent that it can be controlled and regulated. Any who oppose the social hierarchy of fascism can be imprisoned or executed.
Anti-equality: Fascism loathes the principles of economic equality and disdains equality between immigrant and citizen. Some forms of fascism extend the fight against equality into other areas: gender, sexual, minority or religious rights, for example.
Religious: Fascism contains a strong amount of reactionary religious beliefs, harking back to times when religion was strict, potent, and pure. Nearly all Fascist societies are Christian, and may be supported by Catholic and Protestant churches. In more recent times fascist ideology is often supported by the fundamentalist Christian right.
Capitalist: Fascism does not require revolution to exist in capitalist society: fascists can be elected into office (though their disdain for elections usually means manipulation of the electoral system). They view parliamentary and congressional systems of government to be inefficient and weak, and will do their best to minimize its power over their policy agenda. Fascism exhibits the worst kind of capitalism where corporate power is absolute, and all vestiges of workers’ rights are eliminated. Fascist states develop a corporative organization of the economy that suppresses trade union liberty, broadens the sphere of state intervention, and seeks to achieve, by principles of technocracy and solidarity, the collaboration of the ‘productive sectors’ under control of the regime, to achieve its goals of power, yet preserving private property and class divisions
War: Fascism is capitalism at the stage of impotent imperialism. War can create markets that would not otherwise exist by wreaking massive devastation on a society, which then requires reconstruction! Fascism can thus “liberate” the survivors, provide huge loans to that society so fascist corporations can begin the process of rebuilding.
Voluntarist Ideology: Fascism adopts a certain kind of “voluntarism;” they believe that an act of will, if sufficiently powerful, can make something true. Thus all sorts of ideas about racial inferiority, historical destiny, even physical science, are supported by means of intimidation or violence, in the belief that they can be made true. It is this sense that Fascism is subjectivist. Fascism also employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary – “newspeak” – in order to limit critical reasoning.
Anti-Modern: Fascism loathes all kinds of modernism, especially creativity in the arts, whether acting as a mirror for life (where it does not conform to the Fascist ideal), or expressing deviant or innovative points of view. Fascism invariably burns books and victimizes artists; artists who do not promote the fascists ideals are seen as “decadent.” Fascism is hostile to broad learning and interest in other cultures, since such pursuits threaten the dominance of fascist myths. The peddling of conspiracy theories is usually substituted for the objective study of history.