Bertram Warned Us

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Check out these timeless quotes from the scholarly 1980 classic, “Friendly Fascism The New Face of Power in America” by Bertram Gross. All of these quotes can apply to the dystopia we find ourselves in today……

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economist Robert Lekachman
“Ronald Reagan must be the nicest president who ever destroyed a union, tried to cut school lunch milk rations from six to four ounces, and compelled families in need of public help to first dispose of household goods in excess of $1,000…1f there is an authoritarian regime in the American future, Ronald Reagan is tailored to the image of a friendly fascist.”

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Samuel Johnson
“Power is always gradually stealing away from the many to the few, because the few are more vigilant and consistent.”

p32
Daniel R. Fusfeld
“As long as an economic system provides an acceptable degree of security, growing material wealth and opportunity for further increase for the next generation, the average American does not ask who is running things or what goals are being pursued.”

p43
James O’Conner
“Both welfare spending and warfare spending have a two-fold nature: the welfare system not only politically contains the surplus population but also expands demand and domestic markets. And the warfare system not only keeps foreign rivals at bay and inhibits the development of world revolution (thus keeping labor power, raw materials and markets in the capitalist orbit) but also helps to stave off economic stagnation at home.”

p54
American Heritage Dictionary
“Establishment: An exclusive group of powerful people who rule a ) government or society by means of private agreements or decisions.”

p62
Adam Smith
“Wherever there is great property, there is great inequality. For one very rich man, there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many.”

p63
C. Wright Mills
No one can be truly powerful unless he has access to the command of major institutions, for it is over these institutional means of power that the truly powerful are, in the first instance, truly powerful . . .

p63
Richard Barber
Their [a few immense corporations] incredible absolute size and commanding market positions make them the most exceptional man-made creatures of the twentieth century…. In terms of the size of their constituency, volume of receipts and expenditures, effective power, and prestige, they are more akin to nation-states than business enterprises of the classic variety.

p167
James Madison
“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

p184
Amaury De Riencourt
“Caesarism can come to America constitutionally without having to break down any existing institution.”

p195
William W. Turner
“Leadership in the right has fallen to new organizations with lower profiles and better access to power . . . What is characteristic of this right is its closeness to government power and the ability this closeness gives to hide its political extremism under the cloak of respectability.”

p209
Daniel Fusfield
There is a subtle three-way trade-off between escalating unemployment together with other unresolved social problems, rising taxes, and inflation. In practice, the corporate state has bought all three.

p210
Slogan of the Medici family
“Money to get power, power to protect money.”

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The major responsibility of corporate executives, so long as they are not constrained by enforced law, is to maximize their long-term accumulation of capital and power no matter what the cost may be to … people or physical resources.

p229
Murray B. Levin
“No truly sophisticated proponent of repression would be stupid enough to shatter the facade of democratic institutions. “

p229
Thomas R. Dye and Harmon Ziegler
“It is the irony of democracy that the responsibility for the survival of liberal democratic values depends on elites, not masses.”

p239
Gary Wills
“If a nation wishes, it can have both free elections and slavery.”

p239
President Richard M. Nixon
“The average American is just like the child in the family.”

p251
Ferdinand Lundberg
“If the new military elite is anything like the old one, it would, in any great crisis, tend to side with the Old Order and defend the status quo, if necessary, by force. In the words of the standard police bulletin known to all radio listeners, “These men are armed -and they may be dangerous.”

p251
Edward Luttwak
“A coup consists of the infiltration of a small but critical segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.”

p255
Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Emile
“There is no subjugation so perfect as that which keeps the appearance of freedom, for in that way one captures volition itself.”

p256
Herbert Schiller
“The content and forms of American communications-the myths and the means of transmitting them-are devoted to manipulation. When successfully employed, as they invariably are, the result is individual passivity, a state of inertia that precludes action. “

p259
Adolf Hitler
“Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise. “

p260
Aldous Huxley
“Hitler’s vast propaganda successes were accomplished with little more than the radio and loudspeaker, and without TV and tape and video recording . . . Today the art of mind control is in the process of becoming a science.”

p261
Fred Friendly head of CBS news
… pointed out that CBS was in business to make money and that informing the public was secondary to keeping on good terms with advertisers.

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Larry P. Gross
“While the Constitution is what the judges say it is, a public issue is something that Walter Cronkite or John Chancellor recognizes as such. The media by themselves do not make the decisions, but on behalf of themselves and larger interests they certify what is or is not on the nation’s agenda.”

p267
Edmund Carpenter
“The White House is now essentially a TV performance. “

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Fred W. Friendly head of CBS news said of the American presidency
“No mighty king, no ambitious emperor, no pope, or prophet ever dreamt of such an awesome pulpit, so potent a magic wand. “

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Ronald Reagan when governor of California
“If it takes a bloodbath … let’s get it over with.”

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Baron De Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws
“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.”

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Karl Popper
“”It can’t happen here” is always wrong: a dictatorship can happen anywhere.”

p349
William H. Hastie
“Democracy is a process, not a static condition. It is becoming rather than being. It can easily be lost, but is never fully won. Its essence is eternal struggle.”

p351
“Sure, we’ll have fascism, but it will come disguised as Americanism.” This famous statement has been attributed in many forms to Senator Huey P. Long, the Louisiana populist with an affinity for the demagogues of classic European fascism. If he were alive today, I am positive he would add the words “and democracy.”

p356
Mary Parker Follett
“We are not wholly patriotic when we are working with all our heart for America merely; we are truly patriotic only when we are working also that America may take her place worthily and helpfully in the world of nations . . . Interdependence is the keynote of the relations of nations as it is the keynote of the relations of individuals within nations.”

p359
James Fenimore Cooper
“The vulgar charge that the tendency of democracies is to leveling, meaning to drag all down to the level of the lowest, is singularly untrue; its real tendency being to elevate the depressed to a condition not unworthy of their manhood.”

p359
Louis D. Brandeis
“We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth in a few hands, but we can’t have both.”

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Mahatma Ghandhi
“For me patriotism is the sme as humanity. I am patriotic because I am human and humane. It is not exclusive. I will not hurt England or Germany to serve India . . . My patriotism is inclusive and admits of no enmity or ill-will.”

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George Washington, Farewell Address
“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

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In his Militarism, USA, a sober critique based on years of experience in the U.S. Marine Corps, Colonel James A. Donovan: identifies the dangerous patriot:
“the one who drifts into chauvinism and exhibits blind enthusiasm for military actions. He is a defender of militarism and its ideals of war and glory. Chauvinism is a proud and bellicose form of patriotism . . . which identifies numerous enemies who can only be dealt with through military power and which equates the national honor with military victory.”

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In The Reason for Democracy, published after his death in 1976, Kalman Silvert of New York University provided another pungent description of false patriots:
“People who wrap themselves in the flag and proclaim the sanctity of the nation are usually racists, contemptuous of the poor and dedicated to keeping the community of ‘ins’ small and pure of blood, spirit and mind.”

 

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