[ExI] What is meant here by "fascism"?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Mon Oct 8 04:29:51 UTC 2007

James writes

> ...I think Wikipedia (as usual) does an adequate job of explaining what is meant
> by Fascism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism ):"Fascism is an
> authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that
> considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the needs
> of the state."


> If you're trying to infer from my post that I only consider America or
> Americans to be fascist, that would be totally incorrect.

Glad to hear it. Then you'll join me, I imagine, in noting how
strange it is that the word is never used except as a pejorative
against certain patriotic (or hyper-patriotic) Americans and
their allies. How strange.  Especially since the people in question
*never* use the term to describe themselves.

Are people on this list really so vocabulary-challenged that
for a pejorative they need to reach back to Mussolini's Italy?

As the wikipedia article says:

    Fascist as epithet

    The word fascist has become a slur throughout the political
    spectrum following World War II (WWII), and it has been uncommon
    for political groups to call themselves fascist. In contemporary
    political discourse, adherents of some political ideologies tend
    to associate fascism with their enemies, or define it as the
    opposite of their own views. In the strict sense of the word,
    Fascism covers movements before WWII, and later movements are
    described as Neo-fascist.

    Some have argued that the term fascist has become hopelessly
    vague over the years and that it has become little more than a
    pejorative epithet. George Orwell wrote in 1944:

    "...the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In
    conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in
    print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social
    Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the
    1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang
    Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels,
    astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else... almost any
    English person would accept 'bully' as a synonym for

Ha! 1944!  Orwell would probably be astonished that things
had not progressed any during the 63 years since then!

Let's face it.  It's a code word spoken by liberals/leftists/progressives/
collectivists/... (those labels keep evolving at a high rate, but I do
think it appropriate to call people by the descriptions they themselves
provide).  The code word is used as a signal of solidarity among
them to each other---and, equally, as a signal to their adversaries.
It's really worse than the <n-word> , because at least the <n-word>
is often used among the very targeted people themselves!

> In fact I would say that only a small number of Americans would
> have such statist, authoritarian, anti-individualist leanings...  The list
> of Fascist countries would probably be very long.

Yes, and I do appreciate your calm rationality on the issue.  Yet I
don't expect to ever hear you use the term to describe any people
whatsoever in those countries. And when, next, do you suppose
that the leaders of some horribly authoritarian little African state
are next going to be described as "fascist"?


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