The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

On Fascism...

Great comment from "interested party" on Blogmore this morning that warrants repeating and discussion here:

"Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

From Liberty Forum"


Bob Newland said...

It has been obvious to me for some time that the USA is governed by a fascist regime, or, rather, a series of increasingly fascist regimes. One can look at each of Britt's identifying characteristics and find ways to say that our government does not fit, but I believe the trend is self-evident.

Governments evolve to mitigate protest. An example of that can be found in the evolution of the participation of women in the process (characteristic 5). In order to be taken seriously in politics, women adopt what have been traditionally male roles and qualities.

The result is that women in government are often more "patriotic" than their male counterparts, and at least as devious and oblivious to the evil in their advocacy.

In response to "rampant sexism" (and racism) in the "old" fascism, we now have rampant anti-sexism and anti-racism. Along the way, we have acquired new "enemies/scapegoats," i.e., anyone who exhibits what is deemed sexist or racist qualities.

As we change, we stay the same.

Bob Newland said...

On "cronyism," one example that stands out is Bill Janklow's last-minute pardon of Ron Wheeler (a Sec. Of Transportation under Janklow) expunging Wheeler's misdemeanor DWI conviction.

There are lots of folks considerably more deserving of pardons for that particular crime than Ron the-tan-with-whiter-teeth-than-you Wheeler.

As fascists go, few can match Janklow. Randy Scott gave his life to stop the man.

ThatOneGuy said...

It's true, but pause for a moment and try to ferret out the marks of fascism from the marks of government of any kind short of anarchy or nihilism.
A strong sense of national identity coupled with a sense of external threat is what welds us together in any sort of government. Suppression of minorities and women has continued in most cultures, and one would expect it to continue in a fascist regime, though it ought to be noted that the USSR was quite progressive in granting rights and privilege to women and at the same time fascist to its' core.
The rights of the press wax and wane as it suits the oligarchs in charge. Murdoch is no government entity, but he controls much of the information we get, or wants to.
The thing is, we can push back fascism. If we want to. Which I'm not sure we do.
Start with your local school board, so your children don't grow up thinking they deserve less than the ruling class in the administrative offices that are used to handing down decrees and expelling anyone they don't like. Move on to city hall and let the entire town see that cheerful, honest participation in civic life withers fascist tendencies and fosters cooperation. Finally, spend time with your state legislators and advocate cooperation and participation. you'll soon find out the one who want to help and the ones with a ' will to power.'
Don't get discouraged, the folks who run things have two ways of discouraging you: either make your life hard through unequal justice or darn rude behavior, or, if you seem competent and intelligent and a bit of a leader, they'll bury you in busy work to keep you from noticing what they are doing. Don't get discouraged. There are plenty like you who are walking with you on this path and their hands will lift you up.

Bob Newland said...

"...the folks who run things have two ways of discouraging you: either make your life hard through unequal justice or darn rude behavior..."

Tell me about it. :--))

Bill Fleming said...

Good post, OneGuy, as usual. Thanks for it. Hey Bob, got that paperwork done yet, fella?