Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

I came across this little tidbit a few days ago. Though I'd share it with you:

The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

(NOTE: As you read these, consider how many of them are currently in place in America, and to what degree)

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. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

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 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 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.

Now by no means do I wish to imply that we currently live in a fascist state. But the fact that our country currently, in varying degrees, has some form of each and every one of those characteristics, should frighten you just a little. No, it should frighten you a LOT! In this day and age, when our president claims to have virtually unlimited powers, how long will it be before the government does away with the pretense altogether?

So, make your voice heard. Shout from the rooftops, if you have to. Speak out against the tyrannical oppressor that our government threatens to become. Demand accountability for the illegal actions undertaken in the name of "National Security". We cannot let those in power turn this country into another Nazi Germany. More than 60 years ago, our fathers and grandfathers fought and died to keep the Nazi scourge from devouring the world. Now, 60 years later, we are in danger of becoming the very thing they fought so hard to destroy. And it is happening with little or no effort to stop it.

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’. This famous (or infamous, if you will) quote has been (most likely erroneously) attributed to Edmund Burke, but, regardless of whether he actually said it, there have never been, in my opinion, truer words spoken.

I delude myself if I believe that anyone besides me reads the words I write on this blog, but I want my opinions and beliefs to be recorded, so that somewhere, somehow, when someone stumbles across these words, they will know that I was a voice of dissent against the government that managed to do what no enemy had done for over two-and-a-half centuries: Topple the greatest country on Earth.

A little over the top? Maybe. But we'll see what happens in twenty years.

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