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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #1)

Fri May 11, 2012, 07:23 AM

5. This list,

I know it's been around for a while now but I feel like it kind of defines fascim downward, or at least it's a departure from older traditional definitions. It seems like this list of characteristics is kind of reverse engineered by asking a question like "How can I write a definition of fascism so it sounds like it describes the modern US system, or close to it?". And the intended reaction from the reader is supposed to be Wow that sounds like the modern USA.

The characteristics of fascim I learned in school came out of a book called "Today's Isms" by William Ebenstein. I tried to find that definition online just now but no luck.
So just going by memory of something I read as a teenager 20 years ago, in other words this is not exact, but it included things like

- A cult of personality centered around a charismatic leader.
- Violent suppression of political dissent.
- Centrally planned economy with a merger of government and business interests.
- Complete subjugation of the rights of the individual for the benefit of the state.
- Intense constant propaganda to ensure consent of the people.
- Fanatical anti-communism. (Something which would go far beyond "labor power supressed" from the Lawrence Britt list above).
- And then all the racism, scapegoating, permanent war footing, etc.

Opinions may vary of course. I sympathize with motive of a definition that points out the danger of an advanced capitalist state blossoming into fascism. It's a legitimate concern and it is spooky how many of those traits are common between our modern society and those traditionally considered fascist. It causes one to think about whether we are headed that direction or when we will get there.

Still I just wonder whether by watering down the definition of fascism we lose a bit of understanding of how frightening fascism actually is, and so why it should be avoided.

I'm sure some would argue that we're already past a point of no return on the road to fascism, or that our democracy is more pretense than reality. I don't think we're there yet, even though there is cause for concern.

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