Thursday, October 11, 2007

Naomi Wolf on "The End of America"


I am only vaguely familiar with Naomi Wolf. I know that she was once considered a bright light in the area of feminist literature, that she accused Harold Bloom of raping sexually harrassing her when she attended some Ivy League university or the other Yale, and that she was the genius who tried to teach Al Gore to act like an "Alpha Male". Other than that all I know is that she wrote a book (and a newspaper article) in which she maintains that the US has taken all the steps necessary to be considered a fascist country.

As I was driving into work today Ms. Wolf was being interviewed on KUOW and laying out her case regarding her contention that fascism is now the dominant political philosophy in the US. I have to say I wasn't impressed. I admit I only listened to a half hour of her hour long segment before I had to change the station or vomit but all of the evidence that she presented was suppositions (well what if they came and grabbed all the reporters? That would be fascist) or wrong as in the case where she accused Jeb Bush of using his authority as Governor of Florida to order campus police to tase students who asked too many questions at John Kerry's speech last month. The problem being Jeb Bush is no longer governor of Florida. I wanted to ask her if the administration is in the middle of a fascist power grab she explained the November 2006 elections, but I didn't get the chance.

Here is a link to the interview listen and decide for yourself. Also here are the 10 steps she says are necessary to develop a fascist state:

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy.
2. Create secret prisons where torture takes place.
3. Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system.
5. Harass citizens' groups.
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release.
7. Target key individuals.
8. Control the press.
9. Declare all dissent to be treason.
10. Suspend the rule of law.

Interestingly she says a number of times she doesn't have evidence and she isn't making accusations - so why the hell did she right the book?

I included a link to the newspaper article above. To say that she is presenting the facts in a biased and inaccurate manner would be like calling a Tiger a cat. The words don't really project the enormity of the issue.


Besides the Florida incident I talked about above I am going to address a couple issues that Wolf talks about in her interview. First she mentions a Code Pink co-founder who is denied entry to Canada as an example of the US Government harrassing people. In fact she was denied entry by the Canadian government, not exit by the US.

The second is the Defense Authorization act which gave the President the authority to declare a state of emergency and use National Guard troops from neighboring states. That law was passed in reaction to the FEMA failures in New Orleans (failures I'm sure Ms. Wolf was happy to criticize the administration for). It wasn't sought by the President with no reason.

The third is her claim that there is no reason to believe the Administration will relinquish power after the 2008 election. My argument to that is simple the 2002, 2004, and 2006 elections. If as Wolf claims this is a massive power grab it would have been much easier to cancel the 2002 and 2004 elections, but instead the elections were held and in 2006 power changed hands to the opposing party. Given that there is no reason to believe that the administration will attempt to remain in power.

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