Friday, March 27, 2015

Lets Talk About Fascism...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth

Fascism is typically viewed as a leftist political and economic system. This is true if leftist is to mean a strong central government with great influence on and regulation over a nation's economic maters. In other words private ownership of business exists but the government essentially establishes economic policy through over burdensome regulations.

Ayn Rand and Dr. Leonard Peikoff shared a different view. Both view conservatives and republicans as drivers of our politics and government in the direction towards fascism. While conservatives and republicans typically may not push for as much regulation over the business sector they too have in the past and continue to so so today. When combined with other traits exhibited by fascism the case can be made conservatives and republicans are more likely to meet the criteria for fascism.

Dr. Lawrence Britt posted the 14 Characteristics of fascism based on his study of 4 fascist regimes. Because information on Dr. Britts credentials are difficult to find on line refer to Dr. Leonard Peikoff's work entitled The Ominous Parallels, a fabulous book on the parallels between Nazi Germany and modern day USA. Note the book was published in 1982 and supports at least in part Dr. Britt's list of 14 characteristics of fascism.

So, after reading the list by Dr. Britt (and considering what you know about fascism) I thought it would be fun to see how many characteristics of fascism you identify as existing in out political and governmental systems today. And, which party is most representative of, or leaning towards, fascism.

By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Source Free

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 institution.

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.

From Liberty Forum


  1. 6,9, and 13 are pretty strong in the current left-tilting Obama administration. I count a larger number from the mainstream right. All of that tends to keep pushing me more libertarian, Objectivist, questioning of authority, etc.

  2. On point 6... While the perception is the MSM is left biased and slants government is certainly prevalent one must seriously question whether this is in fact the result left fascism or the result of the rights ability to frame it as such.

    On point 9... Given the influence of Koch industries and the influence of organizations like
    CATO and Freedom WorksI seriously question this. Especially in light of the RWR, GHWB, and GWB administrations. Who do you suppose backed these administrations? If you would like to go back further I'm sure the same holds true (RMN, GF).

    On point 13... I agree with the general statement and BOTH the democrats and republicans are prone to this fascist characteristic.

    For your final point, ABSOLUTELY, question authority whether left or right because unchecked authority leads to the governed ultimately becoming slaves to the ruling ideology.

    1. RN: On #6, I was referring to Obama's fairly recent, and nearly universally lambasted plan, to put kommissars in news rooms to control content. And of course so many on the left want to bring back the "fairness doctrine" to control the media. My citing of it had to do with real and dangerous government threats to the First Amendment under the Left, and not anything to do with any "left-wing media" tilt/bias claims.

      On # 9, I am referring to the culture of corporate welfare which has significantly expanded under Obama. Just question the wisdom of massive multi billion dollar handouts to auto companies, and you will hear all kinds of chicken little claims from the liberals, illogical appeals that the economy will collapse unless the government shovels out massive amounts of taxpayer dollars to wealthy corporations.

      Republicans are pretty bad on the handouts to corporations too, but over the last decade, the Dems have gotten even worse.

      On #13, you got my point, and we have complete agreement. It's hard to find much difference between the left/right, Dems and Republicans. So yes, you are right with the correction that the Dems aren't worse.

  3. Those are good points and we need recognize that fascism is a political, not economic system. I have
    felt for years that fascism was rightwing in that it was the ultimate anti-communist, anti-socialist, anti-labor movement. The similarity between the fascist and communist approach is that each has always
    led to totalitarianism.

  4. Dominionists
    Neo-Confederate State Legislatures
    Mike Pence
    Rick Scott
    Tea Party
    Scott Walker
    Wall Street Bankers
    (partial list) ...

    For the above list, it's fourteen out of fourteen.

    1. Octo I will disagree on #10. It is the Dems which are crushing labor rights by bullying workers into unions against their will and against their interests, and at this time, the Republicans who want this choice where it belongs: with the workers.

      This remains a very strong difference between my views and the mainstream Democrats.

    2. '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.' What part of eliminating or severely suppressing labor unions are you placing at the feet of the Dems? The concept of 'labor rights' the GOP wants places the choice with
      employers, hardly the workers. Reiteration: labor organizing power is the 'only real threat
      to a fascist government'.

    3. The right to work plans in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan places the choice of union membership with workers (not with union bosses or employers). As they should.

    4. The right to work plans … places the choice of union membership with workers (not with union bosses or employers).

      The concept of voluntary union membership through “right to work” may sound good on paper; but is this necessarily a true measure of “liberty” as we define it? All too often, repeated talking points may appear true on the surface but often disguise a nefarious motive.

      Early in the administration of Scott Walker, the legislature passed a law that ended the practice of the automatic payroll deductions for union dues. This law had no impact whatsoever on the concept of “right to work” because membership in subject unions was voluntary. So what was the purpose?

      In a word: Attrition! Unions would collect fewer dues from fewer members and, therefore, the economic and political power of the union would diminish over time. Ahhh, the hidden devil behind the details … unmasked!

      If you plot a line graph that compares rising income inequality with falling union membership, you will find an almost perfect inverse statistical correlation. Liberty is not always a measure of "voluntary" but sometimes a measure of "united we stand." So what is my point?

      An assault on unions is an assault on the power base of the working class. Where do you suppose the talking points come from? A plutocracy that wants its workforce stripped of negotiating and political power. Liberty, or the perceived lack thereof, is not always what it appears on the surface.

    5. In regards to: " the legislature passed a law that ended the practice of the automatic payroll deductions for union dues"

      I don't think the government should be in the business of collecting funds for clubs/campaign fund raising and lobbying organizations.

  5. Jarret Riminski of Salon has some interesting observations on Ted Cruz's candidacy for the presidency speech. I think it's applicable to this discussion on fascism:

    "...[Cruz]claimed that America is “an indispensable nation, a unique nation in the history of the world.” As for the myth of Nature’s Nation, he evoked America as the cultivated political garden of God Himself that, “from the dawn of this country, at every stage… has enjoyed God’s providential blessing.” The myth of the Christian Nation? Cruz parroted the now standard (but historically bogus) right-wing claim that the U.S. “was founded upon” the idea that rights come from a very specific “God Almighty.” Cruz’s reference to the myth of Manifest Destiny was more veiled, but he name-dropped key historical figures such as Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (no doubt for good bipartisan measure) and, of course, Ronald Reagan to reiterate his point that God has blessed every step in America’s development. The myth of the Capitalist Nation came via his railing against standard conservative government bogeymen like “regulators,” “tax collectors” and Obamacare that despoil the purity of the Free Market. Finally, Cruz touted the myth of the Innocent Nation when he claimed that political change will only come from “lovers of liberty” who realize that “God isn’t done with America yet.” Bless their liberty-loving souls."

    What makes this country great is the ideals embodied in the Constitution that challenge Americans to make America a "more perfect union." Our history is replete with examples of turning away from those ideals and following ideological goals based on religious precepts. When we get away from religious doctrine and stick to our secular laws, we become closer to making this country a more perfect union.

    1. Every bit of your summary paragraph is well said, Shaw.

  6. Sometimes it appears the people who seek to lead our republic are clueless to the truth in what Shaw said. So there can be no mistake I am speaking specifically of the Tea Party evangelical wing of the republican party.

  7. Can't argue there, RN. The theocratic and anti-immigrant

  8. Oops.
    The theocratic and anti-immigrant aspects of the Tea Party are detestable and not very Constitutional.

  9. There's a reason these 14 points are specifically made of fascism. While there are plenty of exceptions to other rules, these hold true of pretty much every state we would concede to be fascist. Unfortunately, for millions of Americans and people abroad, we are already such a state.


  10. Then there is also "7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses."

    Bush and the Republicans kicked this into high gear with PATRIOT. Continuing a trend of expansion of this by the left and right since WW2. Obama and the Dems took PATRIOT and the NSA problem and made it even worse. Because of this, the Dems and the Republicans come out pretty much the same on that

    (I think Carter was the only one to try to put the breaks on this, but that was way too many years ago. Perhaps Rand Paul might change things, but he seems to much of a tool).

  11. I agree dmarks, both parties have become part of the #7 problem and since GWB the republicans and Tea Party have really ramped it up to a fever pitch.

    It does appear as though Rand Paul may be morphing into Ted Cruz light. A real shame methinks.

    1. Yes... while Obama is worse than than GWB on the security state aspects, it's clear that most Republicans would make it worse than Obama is making it.

      Yeah, completely agree on Rand Paul. I admire him most when he differs from the rest of the Republicans. and that is, yes, because he has differed from them in ways I agreed with.


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