Dec. 10, 2004

SERMON: Living Under Fascism]

SERMON: Living Under Fascism Davidson Loehr 7 November 2004 First UU Church of Austin [Excerpt] You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word 'fascism' in a serious discussion of where America is today. It sounds like cheap name-calling, or melodramatic illusion to a slew of old war movies. But I am serious. I don'€™t mean it as same-calling at all. I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying. That'€™s what I am about here. And even if I donĂ¢€™t persuade you, I hope to raise the level of your thinking about who and where we are now, to add some nuance and perhaps some useful insights. The word comes from the Latin word '€œFasces'€ denoting a bundle of sticks tied together. The individual sticks represented citizens, and the bundle represented the state. The message of this metaphor was that it was the bundle that was significant, not the individual sticks. If it sounds un-American, it'€™s worth knowing that the Roman Fasces appear on the wall behind the Speaker'€™s podium in the chamber of the US House of Representatives. Still, it'€™s an unlikely word. When most people hear the word "fascism" they may think of the racism and anti-Semitism of Mussolini and Hitler. It is true that the use of force and the scapegoating of fringe groups are part of every fascism. But there was also an economic dimension of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and '30s as "corporatism", which was an essential ingredient of Mussolini'€™s and Hitler'€™s tyrannies. So-called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930's and was held up as a model by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe. continued...... Gary Williams

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