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From Sun Feb 18 18:49:23 PST 1996
Article: 32158 of alt.conspiracy
From: Chip Berlet 
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy
Subject: Buchanan & Fascism: A Serious Look
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 1996 10:23:45 -0800 (PST)
Lines: 1135

Buchanan & Fascism: A Serious Look

Some of the issues being raised in connection with Pat 
Buchanan are complex. Guilt by association is not an
appropriate standard by which to judge a public
figure. Yet there are serious questions about whether
or not some aspects of Pat Buchanan's philosophy can
be seen as promoting racism, antisemitism, sexism, and
homophobia, even when he and his campaign aides are
genuinely willing to condemn these phenomenon. There
are many questions not being asked, or being answered 
in ignorance.

What is the difference between reactionary racial
nationalism and far right race hate groups?

Why did Bill Bennet once say that Pat Buchanan flirts 
with fascism?

Why does Buchanan think the "Goals 2000" education
reforms and Outcomes Based Education are part of a secular
humanist conspiracy?

Why does Buchanan seem so conservative on social issues 
but support "Big Government" when it comes to protectionism
and trade?

What does fascism look like as a mass movement?

The answers to these and other questions can be found in
this text file.

Selected excerpts from the book Eyes Right!: Challenging 
the Right-Wing Backlash, (Anthology). Chip Berlet, ed. 
Boston: South End Press, 1995. 
For a collection of the full text of these and other
articles: URL
Select the Gopher, then pick the Reports menu.
             Theocracy & White Supremacy
   Behind the Culture War to Restore Traditional Values
               (Selected paragraphs)
         by Chip Berlet & Margaret Quigley

   As the United States slides toward the twenty-first
century, the major mass movements challenging the bipartisan
status quo are not found on the left of the political
spectrum, but on the right.
   It is easy to see the dangers to democracy posed by far
right forces such as armed militias, neonazis, and racist
skinheads. However, hard right forces such as dogmatic
religious movements, regressive populism, and White racial
nationalism also are attacking democratic values in our
country. Antidemocratic sectors of the hard right are
distinct from traditional conservatism and political
libertarianism, although they share some common roots and
branches. Antidemocratic sectors of the hard right are 
distinct from traditional conservatism and political 
libertarianism, although they also share some common 
roots and branches.
   The best known sector of the hard right--dogmatic religious
movements--is often called the "Religious Right." It
substantially dominates the Republican Party in at least 10
(and perhaps as many as 30) of the 50 states. As part of an
aggressive grassroots campaign, these groups have targeted
electoral races from school board's to state legislatures to
campaigns for the US Senate and House of Representatives.
They helped elect dozens of hardline ultraconservatives to
the House of Representatives in 1994. This successful social
movement politically mobilizes a traditionalist mass base
>from  a growing pious constituency of evangelical,
fundamentalist, charismatic, pentacostal, and orthodox
   The goal of many leaders of this ultraconservative
religious movement is imposing a narrow theological agenda on
secular society. The predominantly Christian leadership
envisions a religiously-based authoritarian society ;
therefore we prefer to describe this movement as the
"theocratic right." A theocrat is someone who supports a
form of government where the actions of leaders are seen as
sanctioned by God--where the leaders claim they are carrying
out God's will. The central threat to democracy posed by the
theocratic right is not that its leaders are religious, or
fundamentalist, or right wing--but that they justify their
political, legislative, and regulatory agenda as fulfilling
God's plan.
   Along with the theocratic right, two other hard right
political movements pose a grave threat to democracy :
regressive populism, typified by diverse groups ranging
>from  members of the John Birch Society out to members of the
patriot and armed militia movements; and White racial
nationalism, promoted by Pat Buchanan and his shadow, David
Duke of Louisiana.
   The theocratic right, regressive populism, and White
racial nationalism make up a hard right political sector
that is distinct from and sometimes in opposition to
mainstream Republicanism and the internationalist wing of
corporate conservatism.
   Finally, there is the militant, overtly racist far right
that includes the open White supremacists, Ku Klux Klan
members, Christian Patriot s, racist skinheads, neonazis,
and right-wing revolutionaries. Although numerically smaller,
the far right is a serious political factor in some rural
areas, and its propaganda promoting violence reaches into
major metropolitan centers where it encourages alienated
young people to commit hate crimes against people of color,
Jews, and gays and lesbians, among other targets. The
electoral efforts of Buchanan and Duke serve as a bridge
between the ultraconservative hard right and these far right
movements. The armed milita movement is a confluence of
regressive populism, White racial nationalism, and the
racist and antisemitic far right.
   All four of these hard right activist movements are
antidemocratic in nature, promoting in various combinations
and to varying degrees authoritarianism, xenophobia,
conspiracy theories, nativism, racism, sexism, homophobia,
antisemitism, demagoguery, and scapegoating. Each wing
of the antidemocratic right has a slightly different vision
of the ideal nation.
   The theocratic right's ideal is an authoritarian society
where Christian men interpret God's will as law. Women are
helpmates, and children are the property of their parents.
Earth must submit to the dominion of those to whom God has
granted power. People are basically sinful, and must be
restrained by harsh punitive laws. Social problems are caused
by Satanic conspiracies aided and abetted by liberals,
homosexuals, feminists, and secular humanists. These
forces must be exposed and neutralized.
   Newspaper columnist Cal Thomas, a long-standing activist
in the theocratic right, recently suggested that churches
and synagogues take over the welfare system "because these
institutions would also deal with the hearts and souls of men
and women." The churches "could reach root causes of poverty
--a lack of personal responsibility," Thomas wrote, expressing
a hardline Calvinist theology. "If government is always
there to bail out people who have children out of wedlock, if
there is no disincentive (like hunger) for doing for one's
self, then large numbers of people will feel no need to get
themselves together and behave responsibly."
   For regressive populism, the ideal is America First
ultra-patriotism and xenophobia wedded to economic Darwinism,
with no regulations restraining entrepreneurial capitalism.
The collapsing society calls for a strong man in
leadership, perhaps even a benevolent despot who rules by
organically expressing the will of the people to stop
lawlessness and immorality. Social problems are caused by
corrupt and lazy government officials who are bleeding the
common people dry in a conspiracy fostered by secret elites,
which must be exposed and neutralized.
   Linda Thompson, a latter-day Joan of Arc for the patriot
movement, represents the most militant wing of regressive
populism. She appointed herself "Acting Adjutant General"
of the armed militias that have formed cells across the
United States. Operating out of the American Justice
Federation of Indianapolis, Thompson's group warns of secret
plots by "corrupt leaders" involving "Concentration Camps,
Implantable Bio Chips, Mind Control, Laser Weapons," and
"neuro-linguistic programming" on behalf of bankers who
"control the economy" and created the illegal income tax.
   The racial nationalists' ideal oscillates between brutish
authoritarianism and vulgar fascism in service of White male
supremacy. Unilateral militarism abroad and repression at
home are utilized to force compliance. Social problems are
caused by uncivilized people of color, lower-class
foreigners, and dual-loyalist Jews, who must all be exposed
and neutralized.
   Samuel Francis, the prototypical racial nationalist,
writes columns warning against attempts to "wipe out
traditional White, American, Christian, and Western Culture,"
which he blames on multiculturalism. Francis's solutions:

  "Americans who want to conserve their civilization need to
   get rid of elites who want to wreck it, but they also need to
   kick out the vagrant savages who have wandered across the
   border, now claim our country as their own, and impose their
   cultures upon us. If there are any Americans left in San
   Jose, they might start taking back their country by taking
   back their own city....You don't find statues to
   Quetzalcoatl in Vermont."
   For the far right, the ideal is White revolution to
overthrow the corrupt regime and restore an idealized natural
biological order. Social problems are caused by crafty Jews
manipulating inferior people of color. They must be exposed
and neutralized.
   The Truth at Last is a racist far right tabloid that
features such headlines as "Jews Demand Black Leaders
Ostracize Farrakhan," "Clinton Continues Massive
Appointments of Minorities," and "Adopting Blacks into White
Families Does Not Raise Their IQ," which concluded that
"only the preservation of the White race can save
civilization....Racial intermarriage produces a breed of
lower-IQ mongrel people."
   There are constant differences and debates within the
right, as well as considerable overlap along the edges. The
relationships are complex: the Birchers feud with Perot on
trade issues, even though their other basic themes are
similar, and the theocratic right has much in common with
regressive populism, though the demographics of their
respective voting blocs appear to be remarkably distinct.
These antidemocratic sectors of the hard right are also
distinct from traditional conservatism and political
libertarianism, although they share some common roots and
   All of these antidemocratic tendencies are trying to build
grassroots mass movements to support their agendas which vary
in degrees of militancy and zealousness of ideology, yet all
of which (consciously or unconsciously) promote varieties of
White privilege and Christian dominion. These are activist
movements that seek a mass base. Across the full spectrum of
the right one hears calls for a new populist revolt.
   All of these antidemocratic tendencies are trying to build
grassroots mass movements to support their agendas which vary
in degrees of militancy and zealousness of ideology, yet all
of which (consciously or unconsciously) promote varieties of
White privilege and Christian dominion. These are activist
movements that seek a mass base. Across the full spectrum of
the right one hears calls for a new populist revolt.
   Many people presume that all populist movements are
naturally progressive and want to move society to the left,
but history teaches us otherwise. In his book The Populist
Persuasion, Michael Kazin explains how populism is a style
of organizing. Populism can move to the left or right. It can
be tolerant or intolerant. In her book Populism, Margaret
Canovan defined two main branches of Populism: agrarian and
   Agrarian populism  worldwide has three categories:
movements of commodity farmers, movements of subsistence
peasants, and movements of intellectuals who wistfully
romanticize the hard-working farmers and peasants. Political
populism includes not only populist democracy, championed by
progressives from the LaFollettes of Wisconsin  to Jesse
Jackson, but also politicians' populism, reactionary
populism, and populist dictatorship. The latter three
antidemocratic forms of populism characterize the movements
of Ross Perot, Pat Robertson, and Pat Buchanan, three
straight White Christian men trying to ride the same horse.
   Of the hundreds of hard right groups, the most influential
is the Christian Coalition led by televangelist and corporate
mogul Pat Robertson. Because of Robertson's smooth style and
easy access to power, most mainstream journalists routinely
ignore his authoritarianism, bigotry, and paranoid dabbling
in conspiracy theories.
   Robertson's gallery of conspirators parallels the roster
of the John Birch Society, including the Freemasons, the
Bavarian Illuminati, the Council on Foreign Relations, and
the Trilateral Commission. In Robertson's book The New World
Order, he trumps the Birchers (their founder called Dwight
Eisenhower a communist agent) by alluding to an
anti-Christian conspiracy that supposedly began in ancient
Babylon--a theory that evokes historic anti-Jewish bigotry
and resembles the notions of the fascist demagogue Lyndon
LaRouche, who is routinely dismissed by the corporate media
as a crackpot. Robertson's homophobia is profound. He is also
a religious bigot who has repeatedly said that Hindus and
Muslims are not morally qualified to hold government posts.
"If anybody understood what Hindus really believe," says
Robertson, "there would be no doubt that they have no
business administering government policies in a country that
favors freedom and equality."
   Robertson's embrace of authoritarian theocracy is equally
      "There will never be world peace until God's house and
   God's people are given their rightful place of leadership at
   the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards,
   drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshipers of
   Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy
   money changers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and
   homosexuals are on top?"
   Despite its successes, the hard right felt that Reagan
lacked a true commitment to their ideology. In 1988, during
Reagan's second term, some key New Right leaders, including
Weyrich, Viguerie, and Phillips, began denouncing Reagan as a
"useful idiot" and dupe of the KGB, and even a traitor over
his arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union.
   Under the Bush Administration, this branch of the right
wing had less influence. It was this perceived loss of
influence within the Republican Party, among other factors,
that led to the highly publicized schism in the late 1980s
between the two factions of the New Right that came to be
called the paleoconservatives and the neoconservatives.
   Patrick Buchanan, who says proudly, "We are Old Right
and Old Church," emerged from this fracas as the leader of
the paleoconservatives. (The term neoconservatives, once
restricted to a small group of intellectuals centered around
Commentary magazine, came within this context to refer to all
conservatives to the left of the paleoconservatives, despite
substantial differences among them. For example, traditional
neoconservatives like Midge Decter were concerned with a
perceived deterioration of US culture, while the
conventional conservatives at the Heritage Foundation were
concerned almost exclusively with the economy.)
   The paleoconservatives' America First policy supports
isolationism or unilateralism in foreign affairs, coupled
with a less reverent attitude toward an unregulated free
market and support for an aggressive domestic policy to
implement New Right social policies, such as the
criminalization of sodomy and abortion.
   The paleoconservatives are also more explicitly racialist
and anti-democratic than the neoconservatives, who continue
to support immigration, civil rights, and limited
   After the election of Clinton, the New Right alliance
eventually collapsed. That became clear during the Gulf War,
when Buchanan's bigotry was suddenly discovered by his former
allies in the neoconservative movement. Neoconservatives who
championed the anti-Sandinista Nicaraguan contras were
offered posts in the Clinton Administration. And Barry
Goldwater, toast of the reactionaries in 1964, lambasted the
narrow-minded bigotry of the theocratic right, which owes
its birth to his failed presidential bid.
   The 1992 Republican Party convention represented the
ascendancy of hard right forces, primarily the theocratic
right. The platform was the most conservative ever, and
speakers called repeatedly for a cultural war against secular
   John C. Green is a political scientist and director of the
Ray C. Bliss Institute at the University of Akron in Ohio.
With a small group of colleagues, Green has studied the
influence of Christian evangelicals on recent elections, and
has found that, contrary to popular opinion, the nasty and
divisive rhetoric of Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, and
Marilyn Quayle at the 1992 Republican Convention was not as
significant a factor in the defeat of Bush as were
unemployment and the general state of the economy. On
balance, he believes, the Republicans gained more votes than
they lost in 1992 by embracing the theocratic right.
"Christian evangelicals played a significant role in
mobilizing voters and casting votes for the Bush-Quayle
ticket," says Green.
   Green and his colleagues, James L. Guth and Kevin Hill,
wrote a study entitled Faith and Election: The Christian
Right in Congressional Campaigns 1978-1988. They found that
the theocratic right was most active--and apparently
successful--when three factors converged:
   ***The demand for Christian Right activism by discontented
   ***Religious organizations that supplied resources for such
   ***Appropriate choices in the deployment of such resources by
       movement leaders.
   The authors see the Christian Right's recent emphasis on
grassroots organizing as a strategic choice, and conclude
that "the conjunction of motivations, resources, and
opportunities reveals the political character of the
Christian right: much of its activity was a calculated
response to real grievances by increasingly self-conscious
and empowered traditionalists."
   The Roots of the Culture War
   Spanning the breadth of the antidemocratic hard right is
the banner of the Culture War. The idea of the Culture War
was promoted by strategist Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress
Foundation. In 1987, Weyrich commissioned a study, Cultural
Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda, which argued
that cultural issues provided antiliberalism with a more
unifying concept than economic conservatism. Cultural
Conservatism: Theory and Practice followed in 1991.
   Earlier, Weyrich had sponsored the 1982 book The
Homosexual Agenda and the 1987 Gays, AIDS, and You, which
helped spawn successive and successful waves of homophobia.
The Free Congress Foundation, founded and funded with money
>from  the Coors Beer family fortune, is the key strategic
think tank backing Robertson's Christian Coalition, which
has built an effective grassroots movement to wage the
Culture War. For Robertson, the Culture War opposes sinister
forces wittingly or unwittingly doing the bidding of Satan.
This struggle for the soul of America takes on metaphysical
dimensions combining historic elements of the Crusades and
the Inquisition. The Christian Coalition could conceivably
evolve into a more mainstream conservative political
movement, or--especially if the economy deteriorates--it could
build a mass base for fascism similar to the clerical fascist
movements of mid-century Europe.
   For decades anti-communism was the glue that bound
together the various tendencies on the right. Ironically, the
collapse of communism in Europe allowed the US political
right to shift its primary focus from an extreme and
hyperbolic anti-communism, militarism, and aggressive
foreign policy to domestic issues of culture and national
identity. Multiculturalism, political correctness, and
traditional values became the focus of this new struggle over
culture. An early and influential jeremiad in the Culture War
was Allan Bloom's 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind.

But neither the collapse of communism in the former Soviet
Union, nor the publication of Bloom's book accounts for the
success of this Culture War in capturing the high ground in
popular discourse. Instead, it resulted from the victory of
hard-right forces within the New Right (which helped lead to
its demise as a coalition), and the concomitant embrace by
hard right activists of a nativist, theocratic ideology that
challenged the very notion of a secular, pluralistic
   At the heart of this Culture War, or kulturkampf, as
Patrick Buchanan  calls it, is a paranoid conspiratorial view
of leftist secular humanism, dating to the turn of the
century and dependent upon powerful but rarely stated
presumptions of racial nationalism  based on Eurocentric
White supremacy, Christian theocracy, and subversive
liberal treachery.
   The nativist right at the turn of the century first
popularized the idea that there was a secular humanist
conspiracy trying to steer the US from a God -centered
society to a socialist, atheistic society. The idea was
linked from its beginnings to an extreme fear of communism,
conceptualized as a "red menace." The conspiracy became
institutionalized in the American political scene and took on
a metaphysical nature, according to analyst Frank Donner:
      "The root anti-subversive impulse was fed by the
   [Communist] Menace. Its power strengthened with the passage
   of time, by the late twenties its influence had become more
   pervasive and folkish....A slightly secularized version,
   widely shared in rural and small-town America, postulated a
   doomsday conflict between decent upright folk and
   radicalism--alien, satanic, immorality incarnate."
   This conspiratorial world view continued to animate the
hard right. According to contemporary conspiratorial myth,
liberal treachery in service of Godless secular humanism has
been "dumbing down" schoolchildren with the help of the
National Education Association to prepare the country for
totalitarian rule under a "One World Government " and "New
World Order." This became the source of an underlying theme
of the armed militia movement. 
   This nativist-Americanist branch of the hard right (or
the pseudo-conservative, paranoid right, as Richard
Hofstadter termed it in his classic essay, "The Paranoid
Style in American Politics") came to dominate the right wing
of the Republican Party, and included Patrick Buchanan,
Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, Pat Robertson's Christian
Coalition, the Rockford Institute, David Noebel's Summit
Ministries, and Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation and
Institute for Cultural Conservatism. Of more historical
importance are the John Birch Society, the Christian
Anti-Communism Crusade, and Billy James Hargis' Christian
Crusade, although the John Birch Society's membership
doubled or tripled since the Gulf War in 1991 to over 40,000
members. Despite some overlap at the edges, reactionary hard
right electoral activists should be distinguished from the
extra-electoral right-wing survivalists, militia members,
and armed White racists on their right, and from the Eastern
establishment conservative branch of the right wing
represented by George Bush on their left.
   Secular humanism has been called the bogey-man of
right-wing fundamentalism ; it is a term of art, shorthand
for all that is evil and opposed to God. While historically
there has been an organized humanist movement in the United
States since the mid-1800s, secular humanism as a large
religious movement exists more in the right's conspiracy
theories than in actual fact. Secular humanism is a
non-theistic philosophy with roots in the rationalist
philosophies of the Enlightenment that bases its commitment
to ethical behavior on the innate goodness of human beings,
rather than on the commands of a deity.
   The conspiracy that the right wing believes has resulted
in secular humanism's hegemony is both sweeping and
specific. It is said to have begun in 1805, when the liberal
Unitarians, who believed that evil was largely the result of
such environmental factors as poverty and lack of education,
wrested control of Harvard University from the conservative
Calvinists, who knew that men were evil by nature. The
Unitarian drive for free public schools  was part of a
conscious plan to convert the United States from capitalism
to the newly postulated socialism of Robert Owen.
   Later, according to the conspiracy theorists, John Dewey,
a professor at Columbia University and head of the
progressive education movement (seen as "the Lenin of the
American socialist revolution"), helped to establish a
secular, state-run (and thus socialized) educational system
in Massachusetts. To facilitate the communist takeover,
Dewey promoted the look-say reading method, knowing it would
lead to widespread illiteracy. As Samuel Blumenfeld argued in
1984, "[T]he goal was to produce inferior readers with
inferior intelligence dependent on a socialist education
elite for guidance, wisdom and control. Dewey knew it...."
   For the hard right, it is entirely reasonable to claim
both that John Dewey conspired to destroy the minds of
American schoolchildren and that contemporary liberals carry
on the conspiracy. As Rosemary Thompson, a respected
pro-family activist, wrote in her 1981 book, Withstanding
Humanism's Challenge to Families (with a foreword by Phyllis
Schlafly ), "[H]umanism leads to feminism. Perhaps John Dewey
will someday be recognized in the annals of history as the
`father of women's lib.'"
   To these rightists, all of the evils of modern society can
be traced to John Dewey and the secular humanists. A typical
author argued:
      "Most US citizens are not aware that hard-core pornography,
   humanistic sex education, the `gay' rights movement,
   feminism, the Equal Rights Amendment, sensitivity training
   in schools and in industry, the promotion of drug abuse, the
   God-Is-Dead movement, free abortion on demand, euthanasia as
   a national mention a few, highly publicized
   movements...have been sparked by humanism."
   According to the right, by rejecting all notions of
absolute authority and values, secular humanists deliberately
attack traditional values in religion, the state, and the
   The link between liberalism and treachery is key to the
secular humanist conspiracy. In 1968, a typical book,
endorsed by Billy James Hargis of the Christian Crusade,
claimed, "The liberal, for reasons of his own, would dissolve
the American Republic and crush the American dream so that
our nation and our people might become another faceless
number in an internationalist state."
   Twenty-five years later, Allan Bloom, generally put forth
as a moderate conservative, argued that all schoolteachers
who inculcated moral relativism in school children "had
either no interest in or were actively hostile to the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."
   The Culture War & Christian Theocracy
   Most analysts have looked at the Culture War  and its foot
soldiers in the traditional family values movement as
displaying a constellation of discrete and topical beliefs.
These include support for traditional, hierarchical sex roles
and opposition to feminism, employed mothers, contraception,
abortion, divorce, sex education, school-based health
clinics, extramarital sex, and gay and lesbian sex, among
other issues.
   Traditional values also include an antipathy toward
secular humanism, communism, liberalism, utopianism,
modernism, globalism, multiculturalism, and other systems
believed to undermine US nationalism. Beliefs in
individualism, hard work, self-sufficiency, thrift, and
social mobility form a uniquely American component of the
movement. Some traditional values seem derived more
immediately from Christianity: opposition to Satanism,
witchcraft, the New Age, and the occult (including
meditation and Halloween depictions of witches). Less often
discussed but no less integral to the movement are a disdain
for the values of egalitarianism and democracy (derived from
the movement's anti-modernist orientation), and support for
Western European culture, private property, and
laissez-faire capitalism.
   This orthodox view of the traditional values movement as
an aggregate of many discrete values, however, is misleading,
for it makes it appear that Judeo-Christian theism is simply
one value among many. Rather, Judeo-Christian theism, and in
particular Christianity, is the core value of the
traditional values movement and the basis for the Crusades
--like tone of those in the hard right calling for the Culture
   Traditional values start from a recognition of the
absolute, unchanging, hierarchical authority of God (as one
commentator noted, "The Ten Commandments are not the Ten
Suggestions") and move from there to a belief in hierarchical
arrangements in the home and state.
   As Pat Robertson said at the Republican convention, "Since
I have come to Houston, I have been asked repeatedly to
define traditional values. I say very simply, to me and to
most Republicans, traditional values start with faith in
Almighty God." Robertson has also said, "When President
Jimmy Carter  called for a `Conference on Families,' many of
us raised strenuous objections. To us, there was only one
family, that ordained by the Bible, with husband, wife, and
   In part, the moral absolutism implicit in the Culture War
derives from the heavy proportion of fundamentalist
Christians in the traditional family values movement. Their
belief in the literal existence of Satan leads to an
apocalyptic tone: "The bottom line is that if you are not
working for Jesus Christ, then you are working for someone
else whose name is Satan. It is one or the other. There is no
middle of the road."
   The hard right activist, as Richard Hofstadter noted,
believes that all battles take place between forces of
absolute good and absolute evil, and looks not to compromise
but to crush the opposition.
   A comment by Pat Robertson was typical:
      "What is happening in America is not a debate, it is not a
   friendly disagreement between enlightened people. It is a
   vicious one-sided attack on our most cherished institutions.
   Suddenly the confrontation is growing hotter and it just may
   become all out civil war. It is a war against the family and
   against conservative and Christian values."
   Paul Weyrich sees the struggle today between those "who
worship in churches and those who desecrate them."
   The root desire behind the Culture War is the imposition
of a Christian theocracy in the United States. Some
theocratic right activists have been quite open about this
goal. Tim LaHaye, for example, argued in his book The Battle
for the Mind that "we must remove all humanists from public
office and replace them with pro-moral political leaders."
   Similarly, in Pat Robertson's The New World Order: It
Will Change the Way You Live (which argues that the
conspiracy against Christians, dating back to Babylon, has
included such traditional conspirators as John Dewey, the
Illuminati, the Free Masons, the Council on Foreign Relations
, and the Trilateral Commission ), the question of who is fit
to govern is discussed at length:
         "When I said during my presidential bid that I
      would only bring Christians and Jews into the
      government...the media challenged me, `How dare
      you maintain that those who believe the
      Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to
      govern America than Hindus and Muslims ?'
         "My simple answer is, `Yes, they are.' If
      anybody understood what Hindus really believe,
      there would be no doubt that they have no
      business administering government policies in a
      country that favors freedom and
      equality....There will never be world peace
      until God's house and God's people are given
      their rightful place of leadership at the top of
      the world."
         "How can there be peace when drunkards, drug
      dealers, communists, atheists, New Age
      worshipers of Satan, secular humanists,
      oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers,
      revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and
      homosexuals are on top?"
   The most extreme position in the Culture War is held by
Christian Reconstructionists who seek the imposition of
Biblical law throughout the United States. Other hard right
activists, while less open or draconian, share an implicitly
theocratic goal. While it denies any desire to impose a
theocracy, the Center for Cultural Conservatism, which
defines cultural conservatism as the "necessary, unbreakable,
and causal relationship between traditional Western,
Judeo-Christian values...and the secular success of Western
societies," breaks with conservative tradition to call upon
government to play an active role in upholding the
traditional culture which they see as rooted in specific
theological values.
   The Culture War & White Supremacy
   The theory of widespread secular subversion spread by
proponents of the Culture War was from the beginning a
deeply racialized issue that supported the supremacy of White
Anglo-Saxon Protestants. To the nativist right, in the 1920s
as well as now, the synthesis of traditional values
constituted "Americanism," and opponents of this particular
constellation of views represented dangerous, un-American
   As John Higham argued in Strangers in the Land: Patterns
of American Nativism 1860-1925, subversion has always been
identified with foreigners and anti-Americanism in the United
States, and particularly with Jews and people of color. In
the 1920s, subversion was linked to Jews, and the immigration
of people of color was opposed in part because they were seen
as easy targets for manipulation by Jews.
   While antisemitism was never the primary ingredient in
anti-radical nativism, the radical Jew was nevertheless a
powerful stereotype in the "communist menace" movement. For
example, some members of the coercive immigrant
"Americanization" movement adopted the startling slogan,
"Christianization and Americanization are one and the same
   Virtually any movement to advance racial justice in the US
was branded by the reactionary right as a manifestation of
the secular humanist conspiracy. The National Education
Association's bibliography of "Negro author s," foundation
support for "Black revolutionaries," and the enlistment of
Gunnar Myrdal as an expert on the "American Negro" were all
framed in this way. Similarly, the African American civil
rights movement was from its beginning identified by the
right wing as part of the secular humanist plot to impose
communism on the United States.
   In 1966, David Noebel (then of Billy James Hargis '
Christian Crusade, now head of the influential Summit
Ministries ) argued, "Anyone who will dig into the facts of
the Communist involvement in the `civil rights ' strife will
come to the conclusion that these forces have no stopping
point short of complete destruction of the American way of
life." (In the preface, Noebel thanks Dr. R. P. Oliver, who
is now perhaps best known as a director of the Institute for
Historical Review, which denies that the Holocaust took
   In 1992, the civil rights movement is still seen in this
light, as the rightist Catholic magazine Fidelity makes
         "It is no coincidence that the civil rights
      movement in the United States preceded the
      largest push for sexual liberation this country
      had seen since its inception....The Negro was
      the catalyst for the overturning of European
      values, which is to say, the most effective
      enculturation of Christianity."
         "The civil rights movement was nothing more
      than the culmination of an attempt to transform
      the Negro into a paradigm of sexual liberation
      that had been the pet project of the cultural
      revolutionaries since the 1920s."
   The identification of sexual licentiousness and
"primitive" music with subversion and people of color is an
essential part of the secular humanist conspiracy theory, and
one that has been remarkably consistent over time. The
current attacks on rap music take place within this context.
   In 1966, David Noebel argued that the communist conspiracy
("the most cunning, diabolical conspiracy in the annals of
human history ") was using rock music, with its savage,
tribal, orgiastic beat, to destroy "our youths' ability to
relax, reflect, study and meditate" and to prepare them "for
riot, civil disobedience and revolution." Twenty years later,
these views were repeated practically verbatim by Allan Bloom,
who wrote that rock music, with its "barbaric appeal to
sexual desire," "ruins the imagination of young people and
makes it very difficult for them to have a passionate
relationship to the arts and thought that are the substance
of liberal education."
   The hard right's attack on multiculturalism derives its
strength from the right's absolutism, as well as from its
White racial nationalism. Samuel Blumenfeld was among the
first to attack multiculturalism as a new form of secular
humanism's values relativism, writing in 1986 that
multiculturalism legitimized different lifestyles and values
systems, thereby legitimizing a moral diversity that
"directly contradicts the Biblical concept of moral absolutes
on which this nation was founded."
   Patrick Buchanan bases his opposition to multiculturalism
on White racial nationalism. In one article, "Immigration
Reform or Racial Purity?," Buchanan himself was quite clear:
         "The burning issue here has almost nothing to
      do with economics, almost everything to do with
      race and ethnicity. If British subjects, fleeing
      a depression, were pouring into this country
      through Canada, there would be few alarms."
         "The central objection to the present flood of
      illegals is they are not English-speaking white
      people from Western Europe ; they are
      Spanish-speaking brown and black people from
      Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean."
   Buchanan explicitly links the issue of non-White
immigration with multiculturalism, quoting with approval the
xenophobic and racist American Immigration Control Foundation,
which said, "The combined forces of open immigration and
multi-culturalism constitute a mortal threat to American
civilization. The US is receiving a never-ending mass
immigration of non-Western peoples, leading inexorably to
white-minority status in the coming decades [while] a
race-based cultural-diversity is attacking, with almost
effortless success, the legitimacy of our Western culture."
The Free Congress Foundation's Center for Cultural
Conservatism disavows any racial nationalist intent while
bluntly arguing that all non-White cultures are inferior to
traditional Western cultures.
   Race & Culture
   The major split inside the right-wing crusaders for the
Culture War is based on whether or not race and culture are
inextricably linked. Buchanan and the authors of the Bell
Curve argue for biological determinism and White supremacy,
while Weyrich and Robertson argue that people of all races
can embrace Americanism by adopting northern European,
Christian, patriarchal, values--or, in their shorthand:
traditional family values.
   It's important to state clearly that neoconservatives,
for the most part, share Buchanan's distaste for
multiculturalism. The American Spectator, for example, has
argued, "The preservation of the existing ethnocultural
character of the United States is not in itself an
illegitimate goal. Shorn of Buchanan's more unhygenic
rhetoric, and with the emphasis on culture rather than
ethnicity, it's a goal many conservatives share. If
anything, a concern that the ethnocultural character of the
United States is being changed in unwholesome ways is the
quality that distinguishes the conservatism of Commentary and
the Public Interest from the more economically minded
conservatism that pervades the Washington think tanks."
   In part, it is legitimate to argue that the distinction
between the old and new conservatives on the issue of race is
slim. At the same time, however, the distinction between the
approaches the old and new conservatives take on race is the
distinction between White racism  and White racial
nationalism. While systemic racism enforced by a hostile,
repressive state is dangerous, the massed power of racial
nationalism, as expressed in the activities of the racial
nationalist, clerical fascist  regimes in Eastern Europe
during World War I I, is vastly more dangerous.
   The embrace of White racial nationalism  by the
paleo-conservatives has been extensive. Chronicles magazine
wrote in July 1990:
         "What will it be like in the next century when,
      as Time magazine so cheerfully predicts, white
      people will be in the minority. Our survival
      depends on our willingness to look reality in the
      face. There are limits to elasticity, and these
      limits are defined in part by our historical
      connections with the rest of Europe and in part
      by the rate of immigrations. High rates of
      non-European immigration, even if the immigrants
      come with the best of intentions in the world,
      will swamp us. Not all, I hasten to add, do come
      with the best intentions."
   In his distaste for democracy, Buchanan has explicitly
embraced racial nationalism. In one column, titled "Worship
Democracy? A Dissent," Buchanan argued, "The world hails
democracy in principle; in practice, most men believe there
are things higher in the order of value--among them, tribe and
nation, family and faith." In April 1990, he made a similar
statement: "It is not economics that sends men to the
barricades; tribe and race, language and faith, history and
culture, are more important than a nation's GNP."
   Buchanan has also stated:
         "The question we Americans need to address,
      before it is answered for us, is: Does this First
      World nation wish to become a Third World
      country? Because that is our destiny if we do not
      build a sea wall against the waves of immigration
      rolling over our shores....Who speaks for the
      Euro-Americans, who founded the USA?...Is it
      not time to take America back?"
   The basic thesis of White racial nationalism  is expressed
by David Duke, who won 55 percent of the White vote in
Louisiana while arguing:
         "I think the basic culture of this country is
      European and Christian and I think that if we
      lose that, we lose America....I don't think we
      should suppress other races, but I think if we
      lose that White--what's the word for it--that White
      dominance in America, with it we lose America."
   It is difficult not to see the fascist undercurrents in
these ideas.
The Hard Right's Disdain for Democracy & Modernity
   In the 1920s, at a time, not unlike today, of isolationism,
anti-immigrant activism, and White racial nationalism,
democracy was seriously challenged. With its anti-elitist,
egalitarian assumptions, democracy did not appeal to the
reactionary rightists of the 1920s, who insisted that the US
was not a democracy but a representative republic. Today,
Patrick Buchanan, Paul Weyrich, and the John Birch Society
also insist on this distinction, which can more easily
accommodate the anti-egalitarian notion of governmental
leadership by an elite aristocracy. As Hofstadter pointed
out, the pseudo-conservatives' conspiratorial view of
liberals leads them to impugn the patriotism of their
opponents in the two-party system, a position that undermines
the political system itself.
   While hard rightists claim to defend traditional US
values, they exhibit a deep disdain for democracy.
Dismissive references to "participatory democracy, a humanist
goal," are common; Patrick Buchanan  titled one article,
"Worship Democracy? A Dissent." Like many hard rightists,
Allan Bloom mixes distaste for humanism and democratic values
with elitism when he argues:
         "Humanism and cultural relativism are a means
      to avoid testing our own prejudices and asking,
      for example, whether men are really equal or
      whether that opinion is merely a democratic
   More specific rejections of democracy are common currency
on the hard right these days. Paul Weyrich, for example,
called for the abolition of constitutional safeguards for
people arrested in the drug war. Murray Rothbard called for
more vigilante beatings by police of those in their custody.
Patrick Buchanan  has supported the use of death squads,
writing, for example:
         "Faced with rising urban terror in 1976, the
      Argentine military seized power and waged a war
      of counter-terror. With military and police and
      free lance operators, between 6,000 and 150,000
      leftists disappeared. Brutal, yes; also
      successful. Today, peace reigns in Argentina;
      security has been restored."
   Perhaps the most disturbing manifestation of
antidemocratic sentiment among the reactionary rightists has
been their apparently deliberate embrace of a theory of
racial nationalism  that imbues much of the protofascist
posturings of the European New Right's Third Position
politics. Third Position politics rejects both communism and
democratic capitalism in favor of a third position that seems
to be rooted historically in a Strasserite interpretation of
National Socialism, although it claims to have also gone
beyond Nazism.
   Third Position politics blends a virulent racial
nationalism  (manifested in an isolationist, anti-immigrant
stance) with a purported support for environmentalism, trade
unionism, and the dignity of labor. Buchanan has endorsed
the idea of antidemocratic racial nationalism in a number of
very specific ways, arguing for instance, "Multi-ethnic
states, of which we are one, are an endangered species"
because "most men believe there are things higher in the
order of value [than democracy ]--among them, tribe and
nation." In support of this view, Buchanan even cites
Tomislav Sunic, an academic who has allied himself with
European Third Position politics.
   Over the past several years, Third Position views have
gained currency on the hard right. The Rockford Institute's
magazine Chronicles recently praised Jorg Haider's racial
nationalist Austrian Freedom Party, as well as the fascist
Italian Lombardy League. In a sympathetic commentator's
description, the Third Position politics of Chronicles emerge
with a distinctly volkish air:
         "Chronicles is somewhat critical of free markets
      and spreading democracy. It looks back to
      agrarian society, small towns, religious values.
      It sees modern times as too secular, too
      democratic. There's a distrust of cities  and of
      cultural pluralism, which they find partly
      responsible for social decay in American life.
   Similarly, Paul Weyrich's Center for Cultural
Conservatism has praised corporatism as a social model and
voiced a new concern for environmentalism and the dignity of
   In the wake of the schism within the right wing, the
formation of coalitions is just beginning. Whether the US is
indeed endangered because it is multicultural may depend on
whether mainstream conservatives embrace a paranoid,
conspiratorial world view that wants a White supremacist
theocracy modeled on the volatile mix of racial nationalism
and corporatism that escorted fascism to Europe in the
                      What is Fascism?
             Some General Ideological Features
                    by Matthew N. Lyons
   I am skeptical of efforts to produce a "definition" of
fascism. As a dynamic historical current, fascism has taken
many different forms, and has evolved dramatically in some
ways. To understand what fascism has encompassed as a
movement and a system of rule, we have to look at its
historical context and development--as a form of
counter-revolutionary politics that first arose in early
twentieth-century Europe in response to rapid social
upheaval, the devastation of World War I, and the Bolshevik
Revolution. The following paragraphs are intented as an
initial, open-ended sketch.
   Fascism is a form of extreme right-wing ideology that
celebrates the nation or the race as an organic community
transcending all other loyalties. It emphasizes a myth of
national or racial rebirth after a period of decline or
destruction. To this end, fascism calls for a "spiritual
revolution" against signs of moral decay such as
individualism and materialism, and seeks to purge "alien"
forces and groups that threaten the organic community.
Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, youth, mystical
unity, and the regenerative power of violence. Often, but
not always, it promotes racial superiority doctrines, ethnic
persecution, imperialist expansion, and genocide. At the
same time, fascists may embrace a form of internationalism
based on either racial or ideological solidarity across
national boundaries. Usually fascism espouses open male
supremacy, though sometimes it may also promote female
solidarity and new opportunities for women of the privileged
nation or race.
   Fascism's approach to politics is both populist--in that
it seeks to activate "the people" as a whole against
perceived oppressors or enemies--and elitist--in that it treats
the people's will as embodied in a select group, or often one
supreme leader, from whom authority proceeds downward.
Fascism seeks to organize a cadre-led mass movement in a
drive to seize state power. It seeks to forcibly subordinate
all spheres of society to its ideological vision of organic
community, usually through a totalitarian state. Both as a
movement and a regime, fascism uses mass organizations as a
system of integration and control, and uses organized
violence to suppress opposition, although the scale of
violence varies widely.
   Fascism is hostile to Marxism, liberalism, and
conservatism, yet it borrows concepts and practices from all
three. Fascism rejects the principles of class struggle and
workers ' internationalism as threats to national or racial
unity, yet it often exploits real grievances against
capitalists and landowners through ethnic scapegoating or
radical-sounding conspiracy theories. Fascism rejects the
liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights,
political pluralism, and representative government, yet it
advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use
parliamentary channels in its drive to power. Its vision of a
"new order" clashes with the conservative attachment to
tradition-based institutions and hierarchies, yet fascism
often romanticizes the past as inspiration for national
   Fascism has a complex relationship with established elites
and the non-fascist right. It is never a mere puppet of the
ruling class, but an autonomous movement with its own social
base. In practice, fascism defends capitalism against
instability and the left, but also pursues an agenda that
sometimes clashes with capitalist interests in significant
ways. There has been much cooperation, competition, and
interaction between fascism and other sections of the right,
producing various hybrid movements and regimes.

The full text of these and many other articles are in the 
book Eyes Right!: Challenging the Right-Wing Backlash, 
(Anthology). Chip Berlet, ed. Boston: South End Press, 1995. 
For a collection of the full text of these and other
articles: URL
     Select Gopher 
        Chose PRA Reports from the Gopher menu.

A complete resource list of reports, bibliographies, 
books, and other printed matter is available upon request
by writing or calling: 

Political Research Associates     617.661.9313
120 Beacon Street, Suite 202
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   Chip Berlet is senior analyst at Political Research
Associates in Cambridge, MA. Margaret Quigley was an analyst
at PRA from 1987 until her untimely death in 1993. She and
Berlet had been working on this manuscript, which Berlet
completed. Portions of this chapter previously appeared in
the December 1992 issue of The Public Eye and the October
1994 issue of The Progressive. c 1995, Chip Berlet and the
Estate of Margaret Quigley.
   Matthew N. Lyons is an independent scholar and freelance
writer who studies reactionary and supremacist movements. His
articles have appeared in the Progressive and other
periodicals. These paragraphs are adapted from Too Close for
Comfort: Right Wing Populism, Scapegoating, and Fascist
Potentials in US Politics (Boston: South End Press, 1996),
which Lyons co-authored with Chip Berlet. c 1995, Matthew N.
Online posting of unaltered text is authorized and encouraged.

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