Monday, August 07, 2006

It Gives One Pause for Thought

Fourteen Defining
Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Source Free
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


Blogger Heather Harper said...

I paused. I thought. ;)

IMO, close but no cigar.

Even with all the depressing B.S. we are fed daily in the news, (and I am not trying to make light of the fact that people are dying because of war) I would still rather live here than anywhere else in the world.

5:29 AM CDT  
Blogger Betty S said...

True. But I do have some concerns that we are headed in a bad direction, and I can't help but wonder why.

This is a great place to live. I'd have my head lopped off in an instant if I lived in the Middle East. I just don't want to see us lose the very things that make us great.

7:39 AM CDT  
Blogger X. Dell said...

I would rather live in the US rather than anywhere else, but I think that's mostly because it is my home and I am loyal to it. The standard of living isn't the highest in the world here, and we are sailing into some dangerous times.

There would be some things that I would add--for example highly organized cabals seizing control of the state, repression of ethnic minorities and such.

But the one reason why I don't think we are there yet is because the US government has been much stronger than the other pre-fascist governments mentioned here. I think that's one of the reasons why neo-cons are always railing about "big government." It's like Grover Norquist (one of the current cabal) said, "I want to shrink government down to the point where it can be strangled in the bathtub."

Germany gave much of the Western world its culture and philosophy, and was by far not the biggest player in the colonialism game. Many thought that the more liberal attitudes there would never lead to fascism. Yet it did.

I see us becoming just as complacent, thinking, "It can't happen here."

Well, obviously, it can--especially if we are not vigiliant as citizens.

11:29 AM CDT  
Blogger Betty S said...

I think vigilence is the answer, too. (Of course, If I "vigiled" and saw something, I'm not sure I'd know what to do about.) I just think that sometimes this country gets too cocky and big for it's britches. And we forget that government is about people, everyday people. Not internation corporations, or megga conglomerates, or the powerful, or the excessively wealthy. It's about the rest of us, who struggle to pay the bills and lead meaningful lives.

3:55 PM CDT  

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