Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fascists and friends

Lately, the rightwing has been demonstrating that there’s another word they don’t understand at all: Fascism. They use it as a general epithet against LGBT people, even though they clearly have no idea what it means—or do they?

One definition of fascism that I can freely quote is this:
“A political regime, having totalitarian aspirations, ideologically based on a relationship between business and the centralized government, business-and-government control of the market place, repression of criticism or opposition, a leader cult and exalting the state and/or religion above individual rights. Originally only applied (usually capitalized) to Benito Mussolini's Italy.”
That’s a fairly typical definition, and it’s clearly not even remotely true of LGBT people: We are not the government or big business, let alone a union of the two, nor do we control either, nor do we have a leader to form a cult around (or, actually, even a group…), nor do we exalt the state above individual rights.

What the radical right anti-gay industry is doing—much as they do with their bible, actually—is picking and choosing the parts they like and ignoring the rest. The radical right is actually merely using the word as a way to highlight their paranoid persecution fantasies, in which they think they’re “victims” of “bullying” or “homofascism” because of their religious beliefs. It’s not just a paranoid delusion, of course: It’s also a deliberate lie.

The radical right anti-gay industry believes that if they can portray themselves as “victims” and LGBT people as violent, aggressive bullies, they can stop progress on LGBT human and civil rights generally, and the freedom to marry in particular. This is why they’re pushing the "fascist" slur so furiously: They know it’s nonsense, but there’s no more dramatic symbol of repression than Nazi Germany, so the anti-gay industry is trying to make ordinary Americans think of LGBT people as modern-day Nazis.

The radical right has been using this terminology for a while now, but with a recent noticeable increase in frequency. The resignation of Brendon Eich as CEO of Mozilla unleashed a flood of abuse from the radical right: They called us “fascists”, “homofasicsts”, the “Gaystapo”, among other related slurs (a few examples are on Joe.My.God.).

The prize so far for the most deranged and unhinged attack goes to BamBam, who wrote recently (http://bit.ly/1mTdSsR) that LGBT people are “homofascists” and the “Gaystapo” because we’re “hell-bent on criminalizing Christianity”, and that we’re “a radical, hateful, intolerant, obnoxious, fascist, evil and power-crazed group of sex-obsessed anarchists who demand that we all affirmatively celebrate their deviant and self-destructive sexual sins.” Glory! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus!

Seriously, even though it was clearly an unhinged rant, this guy (who has often made bigoted slurs against LGBT people) tells us exactly why he and the anti-gay industry are pushing this hatred so hard:
“Sadly, many people, even many Christians, think that I and others are using hyperbole when we refer to this sexual anarchist ‘LGBT’ movement as ‘homofascist’ or the ‘Gaystapo.’ I hope you’ll think again. It’s time to wake up and smell the impending anti-Christian persecution. It’s fully at hand.”
I rolled my eyes so hard at that pile of bovine excrement that I could see the back of my head. But he wasn’t done with rhetorical excess or thickly laying on Nazi-references:
“Christians, buckle up. Your whole world is about to change. The Rainbowshirts are emboldened and they’ve broken out the long knives. They smell blood in the water. I’ve often said that these folks want those who speak Biblical truth [sic] about human sexuality and legitimate marriage [sic] either 1) dead, 2) imprisoned or, if they can have neither of these, 3) marginalized to the point where they can’t even support their families. Check No. 3 of f the list. I guess they’re working backwards.”
What BamBam was saying there is that Nazi Gays (the “Rainbowshirts”) are coming to kill “Christians” like him. Well, maybe just lock them up. Well, maybe just make sure they can’t make millions of dollars from trying to deny LGBT people their civil and human rights a living. Because on BamBam’s planet, one guy forced to quit is exactly the same as killing him! Pay attention, sheeple!

I quote at length from this lunatic because what he said is typical of what other bigots in the anti-gay industry are saying: They’re ALL using the same extreme rhetoric. Here’s another one:
"It is time for the rest of us to wake up. Tolerating the same-sex movement has been a very bad idea. You cannot tolerate what undermines democracy and ultimately destroys society. The same-sex lobby are the new Nazis. Their strategy consists simply in intimidating possible opponents. The vicious campaign against Brendan Eich is ultimately directed not only against him, but it sends a message to anybody who has not yet submitted to the dogma of same-sex bigotry: we will go after you, and we will destroy you.”
There’s also the Indiana preacher who declared that “Adolf Hitler's 'Race Of Super Gay Male Soldiers' Is Taking Over America”. Apparently, we want all Christians dead, their heads on the wall. Or… something.

If these people seem too crackpot to be taken seriously, consider this: They’re all bringing up fascist imagery all the time. A lie repeated often enough becomes truth: It doesn’t matter that some of these people are clearly a few sandwiches short of a picnic: If they keep repeating the “Gaystapo” slur enough, normal Americans will start to think there’s “an element of truth” in it—well, that’s what the radical right anti-gay industry’s plan and hope, anyway.

There is so much irony in the far right’s meltdown over Mozilla, but, obviously, that would all be lost on them. But let’s start with this: They boycott all the time! I recently defended their right to boycott when I said: “I fully support the right of people to boycott whoever they want for whatever reason they want—political, religious, cultural, aesthetic, their reason doesn’t matter, but their freedom to make that choice does.”

Ah, that pesky word freedom again! To the radical right, it’s something they alone get to define and in such a way that it applies only to themselves, exclusively. The graphic at the top of this post is from the Facebook Page of “Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian” (a long-running parody of far-right “Christian” fanatics in the USA). It humorously points out the harsh reality of the far-right’s position on boycotts, something I mentioned last week, and highlighted when I quoted Joe.My.God.

The hypocrisy of the radical right is breathtaking: They accuse LGBT people of “fascism” when so many of their tactics and goals clearly really are fascist-like: They dehumanise LGBT people by deliberately spreading lies and disinformation about us, they want to criminalise us (and not just in the usual way: over the years some of them have even talked about putting us in concentration camps, too). Even so, I don’t actually call our opponents “fascists” because doing so would contribute nothing to the debate.

Our side merely wants the same right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that our adversaries demand for themselves. The difference is, we’re not demanding that our adversaries surrender theirs, no matter what paranoid delusions they may preach in their propaganda. Our side is working to make society free and open for all citizens to live their lives equally—including LGBT people and radical right “Christians”. When we say all people are equal, we really mean it—unlike our adversaries.

So, if radical right “Christians” want to call me a “fascist” because I stand up for freedom, liberty and equality for all people, then so be it. But that’s MISTER fascist to them! I’m making fun of them, of course, but it gets at an essential truth: Our political discourse is debased when people loosely throw around incorrectly used words as a way to demean, dehumanise and disrespect opponents.

It’s extremely unlikely that the radical right anti-gay industry will ever become friends with LGBT people, but being adversaries doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. They should grow up and stop using “fascist” when they so clearly don’t understand what it means. See, I prefer to think that’s the case, and not that they’re misusing it on purpose, because that would make them evil and malevolent. I really don’t want to use strong words casually—unlike our friends on the radical right.


rogerogreen said...

http://xkcd.com/1357/ xkcd explains the first amendment

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes, I've seen that and think it's fantastic! My long-time personal favourite: http://xkcd.com/386/ (mostly because I take it as a personal warning…)