Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, published research on fascism in which he examined the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each fascist State:

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 incarceration 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 are glamorized.

5. Rampant sexism - The government 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 the 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 - Government 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 are often 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, or are severely restricted.

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 assassinations 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.

Benito Mussolini - who knew something about fascism - had a more straightforward definition: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.”

Abraham Lincoln stated, “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me, and causes me to tremble for the safety of our country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed.”

20 comments:

  1. Abraham Lincoln was a seer :)

    The US has met several of the criteria on this list already. Especially the one regarding redistricting and so forth - that one is really scary.

    Rifle anyone?

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  2. Rock on you are comparing us to Nazi Germany now. w00t..

    Something important to remember about Hitler - no one wanted to take him seriously. We all know where that went. No one wants to take threats from terrorists or countries like Iran that support them.

    Perhaps they will just play nice if we pull out of Iraq and ignore them.

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  3. No one seems to want to take the threat of terrorists or supporting countries like Iran seriously is what I meant to say. : )

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  4. I'm just saying the parrallel to us and fascism is pretty close.

    One thing different about this administration and the Nazi's, we allow for more stringent forms of torture than they did.

    I'm not sure of what you speak about no one took Hitler seriously. We (the US) didnt, but the people he was bombing sure did.

    My basis would be that Iran doesnt need to be a threat, even with nukes. If Iran is a threat to us, than it's our own fault - we reap what we sow.

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  5. It is interesting the number of ways that a person or people can be controlled. Brute force is only one of the ways.

    As for taking the terrorists seriously, what is it that we can do that would destroy an ideology? No amount of bombs will stop that, and indeed will only make it stronger.

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  6. What I'm saying is that people are treating Iraq like a waste of time, and talking like our government is trying to manipulate and stir people into a frenzy over the situation. Same deal with Iran. People with this mindset aren't taking the terrorist threat seriously any more and don't seem to want to look at the reality that would follow a premature departure from Iraq or a lack of attention to the threat posed by Iran.

    Maybe I am rambling and on a tangent, hehehe... : )

    I think the comparison you are making is a big stretch. If the Bush administration is operating like Hitler, they are doing a horrible job. Hitler's strength was drawn by strong support from the German people, who were in a horrible economic state and desperate for a strong leader. The very low approval rating of our leadership at the moment is anything but similar to the rise of Hitler.

    Also, #6 and #7 - the mass media does more to question the leadership and create fear than anything else in this country. Have you watched the news lately? Again, if the Bush administration is controlling the media they are doing a horrible job.

    And #8... We were founded as a Christian Nation. Government and Religion have always been entwined, though we have been taking huge leaps backward in this department.

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  7. And as far as questioning an ideology... That is like saying we will never be able to stop people from killing other people, so why punish them?

    You go a VERY far way toward reducing the draw to terrorism in that region by working toward creating a country in the region that thrives and is FREE, so set an example that living free will lead to a better way of life.

    I don't see this as trying to propagate anything other than freedom.

    People in the region are drawn into terrorism in the same way the youth in inner city areas are drawn into gangs. How do you reduce gangs? By providing opportunities for a better way of life for people so they can see that there is a better way. Providing ways to incorporate them and make them feel like they are a part of something.

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  8. Oh I'm not comparing Bush and Hitler as being the same - other than they both suck. hehe

    And I would argue about us being founded as a Christian nation.

    I agree with the ideology point ... as long as when Bush or anyone says "We are fighting the war on terror, we will never win because they will always want to kill us and even more so while we are still killing, raping and torturing them." I would be fine with that disclaimer.

    As for the media thing, I guess you dont want much Fox news. hehe

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  9. I wouldn't say that Hitler was terribly popular on a large percentage basis. More just in the vocal minority. It was enough for him to over throw the current government and place himself in power.

    Our presence in Iraq is not about terrorism. It is about Saddam Husein refusing to do what he was told. We have been trying to get in there since the late 80s when he stopped doing what he was told. The Saudis do as they are told, therefore, we will NEVER invade that country (as long as they keep doing as they are told). Iran does not do as they are told - we will soon be in there.

    Don't fool yourself by thinking anyone in Washington gives a shit about anything other than money. They could not care less if some dictator does this or that or whether a people are free. Unless, that is, there is some money to be made somehow.

    As for religion... well... what better way to control a people than religion? They can get you to do what they want under the threat of cloud dwelling supreme beings. Nice!

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  10. Wow, someone is bitter.

    : P

    Yeah we are really raking in the dough in Iraq, aren't we? Forgive me if I don't buy into the whole "it's the MAN" issue.

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  11. well you don't need to "buy into" anything. In fact, I encourage you not to "buy into" anything. I think, unless something drastically changes, that we will see over the next 20 years just why our government was so interested in Iraq.

    Especially when they have convinced you of the 4th and 5th "terrorist" nation in the middle east that we "must invade and provide freedom to it's people".

    What they really want is to ensure the continued flow of oil and hence the continued flow of money and taxes.

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  12. But hell, don't take my word for it:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/30487?page=1

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  13. Time will tell I suppose. Any solution that acts as an alternative to me and my family getting blown up or beheaded won't worry me too much I guess.

    Man I miss you guys. : o

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  14. We miss you too Joel. :(

    OH GOD COME BACK TO US!!!

    It still hurts! When will the hurting end?

    Plus I think DTC's coming back and we got some software that needs written. LOL

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  15. so ... If you are told that you must submit to daily rectal exams before entering work, this is ok with you?

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  16. Nice, thanks for bringing DTC back up. I just recently stopped having nightmares about that.

    And the rectal exams have been optional? No wonder everyone keeps calling me golden boy at work. I want all my colon trinkets back damnit!

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  17. I think all of this hand wringing about fascism is glazing over the bigger issue facing our country.

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  18. I find myself particularly fond of turtles.

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  19. I like turtles!

    btw. Did you see that horse?

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  20. The bushy tail, the big teeth. Thats a big horse.

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