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The Language of Fascism and Civil War. The NRA and Mass Shootings.

There are two parallels to be found in the language of Wayne LaPierre’s most recent speech to NRA members in the wake of the latest terrorist attack on an American school.

The first is in his claim that the NRA is a bulwark against socialists and a socialist plan to take control of the country. Though his comments were a train wreck of logical cul de sacs and contradictions (i.e., & e.g., the socialists want to build a database of private information as means to achieve state control but that the government already does that through the Patriot Act and related unconstitutional measures does not penetrate the tinfoil surrounding LaPierre’s head) what comes across is the extent to which it echoes any number of fascists raging across the world in the 1930s.

His comments are as follows: They hate freedom…they hate the law…they want to control you…they pose a threat…we have to arm ourselves…etc are all right out of the demagogic fascist playbook.

Distort the facts, incite the mob, threaten or suggest violence as a legitimate response to fanciful and no-existent threats, ignore genuine efforts by the government to undermine civil liberties, and position yourself to act as a paramilitary force.

We have already discussed the various ways in which the NRA is a terrorist organization as well as the ways in which various elements of society from the remains of the Confederacy to assorted neo-Nazi movements have gravitated to the big tent of gun rights. As the corprotists first gutted civil liberties and then gutted the industrial base a strange amalgam formed in which traditionally racist and violent elements were joined by the increasingly dispossessed out of work, bitter and discarded. In other words if Springsteen were a right wing goon instead of what he is, one could image the twilight world of post-industrial existential hellscapes and see the NRA and its satellites – replace cars and existential despair with nothing but Johnny 99, guns and “Nebraska.” Instead of Tom Joad talking about justice ol Tom would be walking into a school with an AR-15.

The ideological model here is as we have said elsewhere, analogous to the relationship between Sinn Fein and the IRA. Sinn Fein LaPierre/Jerry Adams maintains the plausible deniability of claiming to be a public organization operating within the letter of the law and availing itself of basic rights available to everyone. That it urges through not so coded language acts of violence and contributes to an atmosphere of violence and terrorism is deflected, ridiculed, and vehemently denied. But these “lone wolf” terrorists are operating as the ideological agents of the NRA and the NRA believes that the nation needs to be a defacto armed camp in which civil liberties will become irrelevant because of the omni-presence not only of guns but through the presence of a perpetual state of fear which itself will become a perpetual state of emergency.

The targets (sic) of this strategy and this pathology* are as you would expect the broad-base of people the NRA despises. Under the mass target of “socialists” it includes, feminists, intellectuals, environmentalists, liberals, Black Lives Matter advocates, gay rights advocates, the ACLU, etc. In other words the list one would expect to be drawn up right after a successful beer hall putsch.

The “idea” that schools should be transformed into hardened targets is not only obviously the wet dream of a psychopath but far more importantly it is just the next step on the road towards eliminating the corollary to the Bill of Rights: the right to come and go as you please; to make use of the Commons, to walk, talk, or be alone yet be in the public sphere without an overabundance of paralyzing fear. After all, if you accept the “logic” of having to turn schools into fortress than surely everything else should be transformed. That is the target of the NRA because when that goes the country becomes a fascist gulag in which everyone is either armed or suspected of being armed and as a result everyone will live in paralyzing fear and crippling anxiety. This is the safety of the Orwellian police state. This is a vision of Gilead.

Which brings us to the second linguistic parallel. The language being used by both the NRA and its opponents is reminiscent of the language used in the decades prior to the Civil War. Substitute guns for slavery or slavery for guns and the rhetoric is identical.

The gun/slave ownership represents freedom and freedom from an overbearing federal government. Gun/slave ownership is immoral and poses a direct threat to national cohesion through direct effects and through a steady moral errorison of the common good. It pits mostly urban against mostly rural. It pits mostly liberal against mostly conservative and “academic-intellectuals” against their opposite. Notwithstanding exceptions to those categories the parallels are stark and clearly delineated. But the most significant similarity is this: gun/slavery cannot exist in unison with a civil society built on the rule of law. Weapons of mass carnage and terror pose a direct threat to the Bill of Rights. Left unchecked they will erode free speech and the freedom to assemble and the right to be safe and secure in your body and your possessions and will create a system of perpetual emergency that by definition eliminates freedom.

Separate and unequal is unacceptable. The only solution now as it was then is the elimination of most weapons including but especially weapons of high capacity and rapid firing ability. Because the NRA feeds into and reflects a host of pathologies whose illogic is manifest in the rhetoric of its supporters it is clear that no logical argument will suffice to persuade them they are wrong. Ultimately it is going to take the full weight and power of the federal government to change their minds or at least leave them to think whatever they like but be powerless to do much of anything about it. Think Little Rock in the 1950s and any other moment when the federal government presented its power as manifest in the form of boots on the ground.

The specter of civil war is here. The idea that it should be avoided is noble and beyond question but make no mistake: The NRA is a terrorist organization using the rhetoric of a fascist bund from the 1930s. It is encouraging and making use of a loose affiliation of psychopaths to cause physical harm, and death and to spread not just terror but to create a state of paralysis in which civil rights will die.

This will get worse long before it gets better but it will never get better unless the truth is stated and the 2nd amendment is rewritten, and defined in a manner that utterly lacks ambiguity and declares unequivocally that the right to bear arms is subject exclusively to control of the government with the exception of small capacity weapons and that ownership of those weapons is subject to restrictions as strident as ownership and operation of a car or a private airplane.

The NRA will not surrender willingly. The NRA is a terrorist organization responsible either directly or indirectly for a series of terrorist attacks. The culpability of the republicans is clear. The refusal of the democrats to engage in meaningful action to confront this issue makes their complicity vague but only so long as people refuse to look them in the face and say: shame!

Anyone who takes money from the NRA should be voted against. Anyone who refuses to denounce the NRA and does not call for a ban – a complete ban – on assault weapons should be voted against.

And even then, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. The fascists never go quietly.

For a look at Wayne Lapierre’s fascism and psychosis see the following:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/feb/22/nra-wayne-lapierre-gun-control-cpac-speech-2018

For a look at our previous comments on this see the following:

https://rauldukeblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/is-the-nra-a-terrorist-organization-the-dangerous-and-unintentionally-revealing-rhetoric-of-a-gun-advocate/

https://rauldukeblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/las-vegas-shadow-and-fog-and-the-new-american-fascists/

https://rauldukeblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/las-vegas-as-americas-reichstag-fire-some-notes-on-mass-shootings-as-a-tool-of-fascism/

*Regarding the pathologies of the NRA’s members. The language used is atavistic and thus by definition illogical objectively but logical subjectively in that it honestly expresses the views of the tribe. Its sources are to be found in extravagant operatric fears of failure, failed masculinity, fear of empowered women and other minorities, fear of the contradictions and ambiguities of a modern pluralistic society, fear of people who embrace ambiguity and enjoy the mess of a free society. In addition this mixes with fears and resentments that spring from the legitimate anger at the corprotists who have gutted the nation and hijacked its future and effectively emasculated millions. But, it is crucial to recognize that these complexes are essentially the same descriptors used to define the radical violent movements of the early 20th century. History, as Mark Twain said, may not repeat but, it sure does rhyme.

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3 comments on “The Language of Fascism and Civil War. The NRA and Mass Shootings.

  1. I’m not sure if or how this exactly fits in. But your post here reminded me of another angle. It makes me wonder how NRA propaganda plays into this, specifically for rural religious communities.

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/12-rules-for-potential-school-shooters/

    “It is quite significant that these American mass atrocities are concentrated in “small, isolated or rural communities” that are “frequently in areas with a strong conservative religious population”. That might more precisely indicate who these school shooters are and what they are reacting to. Also, one might note that rural areas in general and specifically in the South do have high rates of gun-related deaths, although many of them are listed as ‘accidental’ which is to say most rural shootings involve people who know each other; also true of school shootings.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      Apologies if i wasn’t clear – my fault.

      I mean that see a frightening similarity between the NRA and the European fascists.

      The NRA provokes violence and uses fascist rhetoric. It maintains a hands-off we’re not responsible “plausible deniability” when someone snaps and starts shooting but the shootings tighten a noose around the public. It spreads fear and then the NRA and it’s congressional tools talk about arming teachers and turning schools into fortresses all of which is essentially geared towards turning the country into a fascist armed camp – Handmaid’s Tale meets PKD’s dystopia or insert futurist of your choice.

      The quote you posted is fascinating. The media of course rarely drills down into the facts.

      “That might more precisely indicate who these school shooters are and what they are reacting to.”

      This puts me in mind of the Annapolis Gazette shooting. In a sense it was a “typical” domestic violence incident. A crazy man was stalking a woman and it escalated. And they knew each other and it was a small relatively rural area – I lived in Baltimore and most of Maryland is rural.

      But of course it also speaks to the NRA’s agenda which is reactionary neo-fascist.

      Like

      1. I get what you are saying. But I was thinking about the demographics. It would be interesting to know how rural religious communities responded in the era before and during the rise of European fascism. And to know how events in those communities and responses to them helped shape that development. It’s not only about what the shooters are reacting to but how the public reacts or is manipulated into reacting to those shootings.

        As another demographic context, I share a passage from a book in that same post. It is from James Gilligan’s Preventing Violence. He emphasize the relationship between inequality and shame. That is a core motivation behind what was seen in the past with Europe and what is being seen now in the US. Inequality destabilizes a society and, for that reason, it can be used for social control and/or political takeover. It also makes a population more prone to propaganda campaigns. The reactionary mind and the authoritarian personality appears to be largely a product of high inequality, as can be seen in making comparisons with low inequality societies (from social democracies to hunter-gatherer tribes).

        “Another difference between Sweden and the U.S. is that fewer single mothers in Sweden are actually dependent on welfare than is true in the U.S. The main reason for this is that mothers in Sweden receive much more help from the government in getting an education, including vocational training; more help in finding a job; and access to high-quality free childcare, so that mothers can work without leaving their children uncared for. The U.S. system, which claims to be based on opposition to dependency, thus fosters more welfare dependency among single mothers than Sweden’s does, largely because it is so more miserly and punitive with the “welfare” it does provide. Even more tragically, however, it also fosters much more violence. It is not single motherhood as such that causes the extremely high levels of violence in the United States, then; it is the intense degree of shaming to which single mothers and their children are exposed by the punitive, miserly, Puritanical elements that still constitute a powerful strain in the culture of the United States.”

        Like

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