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I am the Eggman

Registered: 08/14/02
Posts: 269
Loc: Land of the not-so-free
Last seen: 6 years, 10 months
Fascism Anyone?
    #1534009 - 05/09/03 10:30 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, wrote an article about fascism which appeared in Free Inquiry magazine. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suhrato, and Pinochet. He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The article is "Fascism Anyone?," Lawrence Britt, Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20.

The 14 characteristics are:

1.Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapen pins, the ferver to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2.Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the
objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to
accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted.
When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3.Identification of Enemies / Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a
means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to
channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice - relentless propaganda and
disinformation - were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite "spontaneous" acts
against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial
minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals,
and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and
dealt with accordingly.

4.Supremacy of the Military / avid Militarism
Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial structure that
supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even
when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and
was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the
power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5.Rampant Sexism
Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated,
these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly
anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws
that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime a
cover for its abuses.

6.A Controlled Mass Media
Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied
upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure
media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resourses, economic
pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often
politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the
general public unaware of the regimes' excesses.

7.Obsession with National Security
Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was
usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its
actions were justified under the rubic of protecting "national security," and questioning its
activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8.Religion and the Ruling Elite are tied together
Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed godless
by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant
religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion.
The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatable with the precepts of the religion was
generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were
defenders of the faith and opponents of the "godless." A perception was manufactured that
opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9.Power of Corporations Protected
Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large
corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the
corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but
also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often
pampered by the political elite to ensure an continued mutuality of interests, especially in the
repression of "have-not" citizens.

10.Power of Labor Suppressed or Eliminated
Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political
hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made
powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under
some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11.Disdain and Suppression of Intellectuals and the Arts
Intelletuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were
anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to
national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically
unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were
strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the
national interest or they had no right to exist.

12.Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison
populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to
rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal
charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of
criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police

13.Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich
themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts
and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government
favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other
sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security
apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this coruption was largely unconstrained and
not well understood by the general population.

14.Fraudulent Elections
Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual
elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get
the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery,
intimidating and disenfranchising oppostion voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and,
as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Sound familiar anyone???

There are roughly nine galaxies for every person alive on the planet today. Each of these galaxies has a billion suns, give or take the odd hundred million

Edited by jimsuzo (05/09/03 10:32 AM)

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Re: Fascism Anyone? [Re: jimsuzo]
    #1534135 - 05/09/03 11:15 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

it should be called, "democracy anyone?". to the extent that any of those things apply to the united states, it's a result of democracy. you can thank the voters.

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I am the Eggman

Registered: 08/14/02
Posts: 269
Loc: Land of the not-so-free
Last seen: 6 years, 10 months
Re: Fascism Anyone? [Re: ]
    #1534182 - 05/09/03 11:35 AM (13 years, 5 months ago)

Yeah i know, thank the voters. :mad:

But no, it wouldn't make sense to title the article 'democracy anyone?' because these 14 characteristics aren't the characteristics of democracies.  Thay are, as the title indicates, those of fascist states.  The whole irony thing would be lost with your suggested title, not to mention the fact that the article would be much shorter and not nearly as interesting.  :smirk: 

There are roughly nine galaxies for every person alive on the planet today. Each of these galaxies has a billion suns, give or take the odd hundred million

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