Unpalatable Food for Thought
Remember these guys? Hitler and Mussolini?
While I'm busy digging out from under the weight of work from a variety of sources, here's some food for thought...so THINK!
Dr. Laurence Britt, a political scientist, wrote an article about
fascism which appeared in Free Inquiry magazine -- a journal of
humanist thought. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of:
· Hitler (Germany)
· Mussolini (Italy)
· Franco (Spain)
· Suharto (Indonesia)
· Pinochet (Chile)
He found the regimes had 14 things in common, and he calls these the
identifying characteristics of fascism. The article is titled
'Fascism Anyone?', by Laurence Britt, and appears in Free Inquiry's
Spring 2003 issue on page 20. You can find what follows here, complete with references. I know I could have just linked to this article, but I didn't want to take the chance that anyone who would benefit from reading this wouldn't click.
The 14 characteristics are:
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,
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. Opposition to abortion
is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national
6. Controlled Mass Media -- Sometimes the media is directly
controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is
indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through
sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship,
especially in wartime, 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
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 is openly
attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
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
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 who 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
14. Fraudulent Elections -- Sometimes elections in fascist nations
are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear
campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition
candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or
political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media.
Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate
or control elections.
Any of this sound familiar? If you can't connect the dots, let me know and I'll help.
Some have noted similarities between Bush's use of the 9-11 disaster and Hitler's use of the Reichstag Fire as the catalyst for regime-building. Read, investigate, learn some history and make up your own mind. I haven't plumbed the depths of the web for info, so just use what I offer on the above link as a starting point, if you're motivated to pursue further investigation. I almost used the protest picture from this site but it was too big. However, the message on the large sign is an important one.
Thanks for your patient attention.