When a recent issue of The Babylon Bee anonymously appeared on my computer screen, I did what any slightly paranoid user living in dark times would do. I took fright. I was totally unaware, of course, that whoever sent it had obviously intended it as a joke. But it looked perfectly serious to me at the time, especially the sinister lead story featuring a dozen of the most “dangerous signs” to be on the lookout for when wondering if you or a member of your family may be a fascist.
It didn’t take very long, let me tell you, to conclude that all the identifying signs applied directly to me and my family.
So, I called a lawyer friend to ask how soon before he thought I’d be arrested. “Will the FBI be sending its usual SWAT team to my house?” I wanted to know. Would that be followed by arraignments before a hanging judge for attempting to overthrow the government? How exactly does one facing a Star Chamber proceeding provide precise documentation proving that one wasn’t actually in Washington on the day of the Insurrection that almost brought down our democracy?
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
The first thing he wanted to know was what exactly were these incriminating signs that identified me and my family as enemies of the state. “What have you done that would make the government want to arrest you and put you in prison?” I gave him a handful of examples from the article, listing the usual fascist behaviors we’d obviously been engaging in for years, including Fourth of July Parades, voting for Donald Trump, wanting to go to church during Covid, saying Merry Christmas, and, most troubling of all, having a large family in whose company we actually enjoy spending time.
Oh, man, your goose is really cooked! You might as well be goosestepping with Joseph Goebbels for all the sympathy that’s going to get you!
He then burst out laughing, emitting huge, side-splitting gales lasting longer than I’d have thought seemly for a practicing attorney. “Why, it’s just a spoof,” he told me. “What a chump you are to get taken in like that. Didn’t anybody tell you? People don’t go to jail for reading The Babylon Bee!”
Really? How can he be so sure? I then reminded him of the famous dystopian novel written back in the 1930s by Sinclair Lewis called It Can’t Happen Here, the point of which being that it can and does. But he hadn’t read it. Nor had he read A Man for All Seasons, so I wasn’t able to recount the exchange between Sir Thomas More and his friend Norfolk, the latter of whom was insisting that because England wasn’t at all like Spain, why should anyone worry about having to answer a few questions from Master Cromwell about the King’s marriage?
All right, I said. Then what about poor Mark Houck, the father of seven children, facing years in federal prison for shoving an abortion clinic escort to the ground for assaulting his twelve-year-old son more than a year ago? No charges were filed at the local level. And until two dozen armed FBI agents showed up at his home in a pre-dawn raid last month, the case was closed. How safe did he think he was?
“So, what’s your point?” he asked. “Only this,” I said, “that government goons will always operate with impunity in a country that is no longer ours. What difference does the Rule of Law make if the people in charge decide to ignore it? Who’s going to protect us from violations of our liberty? Certainly not the people busy dismantling the Constitution! Joe Biden’s Department of Justice? Give me a break, man!”
We’d reached an impasse by then, so we left it at that. Which has left me, I will confess, more and more convinced that Orwell was right: Linguistic corruption really does precede political corruption. In other words, if you can change the language, you can change the law. If a word like fascism can be applied to anyone who dares to wear a MAGA hat, or loves his country and wishes to make it better, then dissent from the ruling orthodoxy is no longer possible. None of us is safe in a world where woke ideologues are in the saddle and the power they exercise is used to trample anyone who gets in their way.
Is it any wonder that the entire liberal media went after that feisty Italian woman, Giorgia Meloni, who became Italy’s first female Prime Minister? In their usual lockstep fashion, they called her a “far-right fascist,” whose defense of “God, Homeland, and Family” apparently reminded them of Benito Mussolini. Had she been a German-speaking politician, the media mob would have summoned the shade of Adolf Hitler. Almost certainly, they’d have told us, she’ll soon be stamping out dissent, arresting minorities, followed by mass executions of Jews, Gypsies, and other unwelcome deviants.
The hysterics on the hard-Left are determined to hobgoblinize anyone who disagrees with them. How completely they have managed to misconstrue the message of her campaign. “Yes to the natural family,” she told her followers. “No to the LGBT lobbies!” So that’s the face of today’s fascism?
“Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible. And suddenly you are doing the impossible,” she declared in her victory speech, quoting that well known arch-fascist, St. Francis of Assisi.
I feel a certain kinship with this woman, by the way. Forty years ago, as a student in Rome, we lived in the same neighborhood where she grew up—a solid working-class section called Garbatella, which, oddly enough, had long been home to some of the noisier elements of leftwing persuasion, what used to be called, amusingly, “spaghetti communism.” Still, it was a nice, family-friendly place when we first knew it. It became less so in the years after we left, owing to drugs and a vast influx of migrants from mostly Muslim countries. One of our children was baptized in the local church, San Francesco Saverio, which is where a young curate named Karol Wojtyla once lived when he, too, was a student in Rome. She and I share some history.
Well, we could certainly use a few of her kind over here. The party of Mitch McConnell would never be the same again. Call it Faith, Family, and Flag. The perfect mantra for domestic fascists like us.
[Image Credit: The Babylon Bee]