2008, Books, Non-Fiction

American Fascists by Chris Hedges (Free Press 2008)

I agree with Hedges just about 100% in regard to the similarities between the Christian Right in the United States and Nazis, Fascists and the like. So he was preaching to the converted with me.

I think his relatively cogent assessment of fascism is definitely helped by the investigative journalist parts of this book, which add a human dimension which would be missing from a straight up assessment of Christian Right as Fascism.

Where Hedges falters is when he tries to decisively link the rise in popularity of the Christian Right with certain economic changes in the US. Yes, there is certainly a claim to be made in this regard as two things coincide. But did economic changes precipitate the Great Awakenings? There is a long history of religiosity – and particularly this kind of intolerant religiosity – in the United States and I don’t really buy Hedges explanation. I think he wants us to buy it but it’s just too simple. The world is more complicated than merely “these economic changes caused these social changes.” Like any of us need to be reminded: corelation does not mean causation.

The book would be significantly better if he didn’t get on that horse of his (and it’s one he gets on a lot). Or, if he wants to spend that much time on it, some more rigorous analysis would have helped.

That being said, it is still a highly alarming read and worth your time if, you know, you aren’t a “Christo-Fascist.”

  • Author: Chris Hedges
  • Subject: Fascism
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 2007-01-09
  • Pages: 272
  • ISBN: 978-0-7432-8443-1
  • OCLC: 72799668
  • Dewey Decimal: 322/.10973 22
  • LC Class: JC481 .H38 2007

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