Monday, 4 July 2022 — See You in 2020
The “United States” fundamentally lacks the characteristics of a nation. Its people have no shared history, culture, or values, because the country they’re in came about artificially. It’s a project for building up capital, constructed on land that was annexed in wars of aggression. America’s Christian nationalists have no actual nation, only a brand. They compensate for this by promoting the myths which maintain the settler state’s illusion of not being an occupation, of being something worth defending. Violence and lies, serving to continue the extraction which fascism’s petty-bourgeois base depends upon, are the tools for survival from an empire that’s imploding in on its contradictions. Christian fascism provides a cultural foundation for this project, so all of its abuses are seen as acceptable by a ruling class that’s increasingly empowering this dangerous tendency.
During capital’s unprecedented period of weakening throughout the last half century, where the irrecoverable crash of the 1970s has been responded to through severe austerity, the efforts to conceal the system’s weaknesses have grown more aggressive. The ruling class has utilized the propaganda arms, repressive policies, and social leverage of Christian nationalism to wage a perpetual war for counterrevolution. Murdoch’s media conglomerate has gained an all-reaching presence, and has weaponized the culture wars towards spreading reactionary paranoia. Erik Prince, one of the most powerful Christian nationalists, has created a private army, currently gaining experience by helping Ukraine’s far-right regime. Religious extremists have systematically transformed the courts and legislatures in their image, climbing the structure of a state that’s in decline and increasingly vulnerable to reactionary takeovers. The extremists are working to suppress every aspect of society that they see as a threat to their vision for a pure America, terrorizing the groups they target and censoring history which exposes the country’s nature as an oppressor.
Now that they’ve successfully reversed fifty years of social progress by overturning Roe v. Wade, they’re accelerating the country’s regression in all other areas. The Supreme Court has seized the moment to destroy the Clean Air Act, legalize forced prayer in schools, and decide the settler state can prosecute crimes in Indian country, reversing the land rights victory that Oklahoma’s tribes made two years ago. Next it could give partisan officials the power to bend electoral results to their preferences, rewarding Trump’s cries of 2020 electoral fraud that have been amplified by the Murdoch media network. This is part of a campaign to suppress every aspect of society that the Christian fascists see as a threat, from the LGBT community to racial minority groups to the labor movement. The militarization of police during the last decade or so, made possible by excess equipment from America’s recent wars, has equipped law enforcement to brutally wage war against this last month’s protests. The abortion surveillance state that the Roe v Wade decision has created will add onto this intensifying repressive violence, serving to further repress social movements and marginalized communities.
This is the conclusion of what the Murdoch family, the right-wing Christian political machine, and the other actors behind this process have been working towards from the start. Their goal is the defeat of nebulous spiritual enemies that can never truly be defeated, and their strategy for waging this endless war is to stoke all-consuming paranoia. “Donald Trump wove them together and brought them out into the open,” Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, has written about this coalition. “Indeed, the MAGA formula — the stoking of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment while making nativist appeals to the Christian right — could accurately be described as a white Christian nationalist strategy from the beginning.”
These demagogues have tapped into the conspiratorial imagination which American settlers have always been susceptible to, and manufactured a movement obsessed with wiping out a myriad of supposed threats: communism or what they perceive as communism, the LGBT community that they view as a product of cultural disease, the racial justice movement that they view as a product of false atrocity propaganda, religious enemies like Muslims and Jews, feminism and secularism in general. They portray a binary world of sinners and the saved, where the righteous are waging war against an all-encompassing evil. Katherine Stewart, author of The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism, has described this massive cult as “a reactionary, authoritarian ideology that centers its grievances on a narrative of lost national greatness and believes in the indispensability of the ‘right’ religion in recovering that lost greatness. This mind-set always involves a narrative of unjust persecution at the hands of alien or ‘un-American’ groups. The specific targets may shift. Some focus their fears on the ‘homosexual agenda’; others target Americans of color or nonwhite immigrant groups; still others identify the menace with religious minorities such as Muslims, Jews and secular ‘elites’ or perceived threats against gender hierarchy and sexual order. And of course, many take an all-of-the-above approach.”
The latest phase of their cultural war, where they seek to portray transgender people as a product of sinister left-wing indoctrination, is a way to solidify control over the minds and bodies of children. Like the Nazi-influenced regime in Ukraine, they’ve been banning books that challenge their extremist agenda, leveraging their domination over red state school districts to censor even the most innocuous material that’s seen to represent the wrong lifestyles. They’re associating queer people with pedophilia, alluding to the white supremacist slogan of “degeneracy” in describing the LGBT community. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has enforced a “don’t say gay” law within schools, which has created a dystopian environment where queer individuals must suppress themselves to keep themselves safe. Gay teachers are being made to get rid of pictures of their spouses, gender non-conforming kids are being systematically monitored and scrutinized, and schools are being required to censor any material referencing gender identity or sexual orientation. The same censorship is being applied to information about the history of systemic racism, or about race in general. There’s no limit to what the Christian fascists will go after, no point at which they’ll be satisfied. When they’ve suppressed one aspect of freedom or empirical reality, they’ll take it even further.
The Democratic Party has proven unwilling to do anything substantial to stop them. Americans learn time and again that whether or not Democrats are in office, they’ll let the Republicans keep reversing social progress, won’t reverse the neoliberal paradigm that’s deepening the people’s misery, and won’t dismantle the police state that’s repressing opposition to these policies. The Biden administration, and centrism more broadly, have discredited themselves, leaving the country open to a total fascist takeover. In this political environment, the vile policies of Ron DeSantis have propelled him to national prominence, making it likely that he’ll become either the next president or vice-president. Murdoch media is already promoting him for 2024, and his agenda is being endorsed by influential figures like Joe Rogan. His camp’s narrative is that he’s only trying to protect children from the left’s predation, whatever that means. In reality, he and his adjacent media outlets are advancing a conspiratorial worldview that endangers any semblance of freedom or social equality.
This is a worldview that vilifies science and medical knowledge, something which Murdoch media has been doing across the broader imperialist sphere through Fox News clones like Sky News. That treats its targets through a lens of disgust and blind fear, nurturing ignorance about queer people so that they can be justifiably treated as dangerous in the eyes of the law. That brings white nationalist propaganda like the “Great Replacement” into the mainstream, presenting alternative versions of these ideas through vast platforms. That’s exposing the disgusting nature of American exceptionalism by leading the U.S. into becoming one of the most actively anti-democratic countries on the planet, at the same time Washington has already been losing international credibility. The Christian nationalists claim to be the ones who can save America, but they’ll accelerate its decline, and therefore the liberation of the world from U.S. imperialism’s grip. At that point, they’ll be firmly in power, and will react to this dire situation they’ve created for themselves by taking their repression further than ever.