[ExI] Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps

PJ Manney pjmanney at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 20:36:26 UTC 2007

Stefano Vaj wrote:
> > Another point is that in all this discussion "fascism" is employed as
> > a rather metaphorical sense for anything or anybody thinking it to be
> > a good idea in the circumstances to suspend previous constitutional
> > guarantees... In this sense, the English government incarcerating
> > British fascists during II WW should be considered as a fascist
> > regime. On the other hand, fascist movements had their own views
> > concerning non-emergency political process.

On 9/28/07, Richard Loosemore <rpwl at lightlink.com> wrote:
> With respect, that is not the sense in which the word is used here (or
> elsewhere), but only a shadow of one part of the usage.
> Using only a shadow of one part of the meaning changes the meaning
> substantially.

To be honest, I'm not quite sure I understood Stefano's point, either.

Let's go with this, unless anyone strongly disagrees:
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. Fascists seek to forge a type
of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic,
cultural, or racial attributes. Various scholars attribute different
characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually
seen as its integral parts: nationalism, authoritarianism, statism,
militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism,
and opposition to economic and political liberalism.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

1. Eatwell, Roger. 1996. Fascism: A History. New York: Allen Lane.
2. Griffin, Roger. 1991. The Nature of Fascism. New York: St. Martin's Press.
3. Nolte, Ernst The Three Faces Of Fascism: Action Française, Italian
Fascism, National Socialism, translated from the German by Leila
Vennewitz, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965.
4. Paxton, Robert O. 2004. The Anatomy of Fascism. New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, ISBN 1-4000-4094-9
5. Payne, Stanley G. 1995. A History of Fascism, 1914-45. Madison,
Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press ISBN 0-299-14874-2
6. "collectivism." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia
Britannica Online. 12 January 2007
<http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9024764> "Collectivism has found
varying degrees of expression in the 20th century in such movements as
socialism, communism, and fascism."; Grant, Moyra. Key Ideas in
Politics. Nelson Thomas 2003. p. 21; De Grand, Alexander. Italian
Fascism: Its Origins and Development. U of Nebraska Press. p. 147
"Nationalism, statism, and authoritarianism culminated in the cult of
the Duce. Finally, collectivism was important...Despite general
agreement on these four themes, it was hard to formulate a definition
of fascism..."

What the definition doesn't mention, but is crucially important, is
the "threat", either real or imagined, that is the catalyst to a
fascist political movement.  Westerners do not hand over their
individual rights without feeling threatened if they do not.  In most
fascist movements, there is at least a double perceived threat from
both without (other cultures or nations) and within (the aliens among
us or the government's own threats of non-compliance).

I see plenty of evidence of the aforementioned attributes in the
political shift in the US over the last seven years.  And I firmly
believe that it's the cultural naivety and firm belief that "it can't
happen here" in the US that has allowed it to progress as far as it
has.  Unfortunately, most Americans wouldn't know a fascist if they
tripped over them -- because most of them have.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list