[Paleopsych] Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Fri Mar 18 00:09:32 UTC 2005

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 

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.

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