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AlphaSigOU
11-17-2004, 11:55 PM
Ladies and gentlemen... discuss - and let's be civil about it, if you please!

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry magazine

http://secularhumanism.org/library/fi/britt_23_2.htm

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, 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. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the 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 wartime, 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 is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

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.

Copyright © 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

RACooper
11-18-2004, 12:35 AM
For the most part these are traits common to a "Facist" government...

I do however have issue with #8 - Religion and Government are Intertwined. I'd have to argue that "Facist" try to suplant or undermine the religious leadership, trying to co-opt it for their own purposes... after all the Nazi's didn't exactly embrass religion.

Rudey
11-18-2004, 01:19 AM
OK Watch this and see if you can tell what I'm doing:

Fascist regimes are led by people who breathe air, drink liquids, eat food, and were born from another human being.

-Rudey

PhiPsiRuss
11-18-2004, 03:58 PM
In Italy, Fascism was partially defined by a coalition of far right wing and far left wing elements of the Italian parliament. That's an important point because it illustrates that any political agenda, taken to an extreme, is oppressive.

GeekyPenguin
11-20-2004, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by Rudey
OK Watch this and see if you can tell what I'm doing:

Fascist regimes are led by people who breathe air, drink liquids, eat food, and were born from another human being.

-Rudey

Rudey, I thought the same thing when I read it.

hoosier
11-20-2004, 08:50 PM
I believe the fascists in Italy had a good reputation for running the trains on time.

Time has proven that the fascists in Germary had France pegged about right.

honeychile
11-20-2004, 09:23 PM
Obviously, a Robin Myers saw fit to quit the Britt piece to confirm that the United States is becoming fascist. This is the rebuttal by Cam Edwards, from the same newspaper.

http://www.camedwards.com/archives/000231.html

May 29, 2003
Why America Isn't Fascist.. or "Refuting Robin Meyers"

This is most certainly the longest thing I've written for the site, and I think it's the piece I'm most proud of as well. While it's aimed at a local author, the piece refutes the claims of Lawrence Britt, who's "14 Characteristics of Fascism" has become the darling of the left. I hope you'll share this with others, but let me know if you post this, or just a link at your site.

Refuting Robin Meyers, Ph.D.

*Writer’s note

Robin Myers is the pastor of a local church here in Oklahoma City, and in my opinion, is a complete twit. His latest column in the independent weekly paper was so full of fiction that Michael Moore’s thinking about adapting it for his next screenplay. I just couldn’t sit idly by and let this piece of trash go unquestioned.

Dear Mr. Meyers,

I read with great interest your latest op/ed piece in the Oklahoma Gazette. After your last article comparing the Bush administration to the Big Brother government of Orwell’s 1984, I was wondering how you possibly improve your fallacious argument that indeed, America’s heading down a slippery slope towards fascism.
I’ll never doubt you again. By quoting Lawrence Britt’s “14 characteristics of Fascism”, you’ve certainly convinced me. Oh, you haven’t convinced me that America’s turning into a fascist state. You’ve convinced me that I saved myself tens of thousands of dollars by never trying for a Ph.D.



Let’s pick apart your column, shall we? You present us with “Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, has written an article in which he describes the 14 characteristics of fascism.” Nowhere do you mention the fact that Mr. Britt is the self described author of “June, 2004”, which “depicts a future America dominated by right wing extremists”. Nice to see you based your entire premise on such an unbiased source.

Now, let’s move on to Mr. Britt’s characteristics.

“1) Powerful and continuing nationalism. Constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, and even worn as clothing.”

My God. I never realized Old Navy was a tool of the fascist state. Thank you for alerting me to this.
Here’s the problem. Mr. Britt’s confused nationalism with being the same thing as patriotism. When you consider a fascist regime (and let’s use Hitler’s Germany, since so many on the left love the Bush/Hitler comparisons), you find that while love of country was professed, it was really love of race, and love of culture. Hitler didn’t care that German Jews had lived there for centuries… they weren’t a part of his plan for Germany. Could you please point out some ethnic group that has been systematically targeted for destruction by our government? No? Hmmm, didn’t think so.
Less than two years ago our country was attacked. Is it any wonder we’ve responded to the attack by embracing our country, by wrapping ourselves in the colors of the flag? It’s not a bad thing that we love our country. It’s certainly far better than the alternative.

“2) Disdain for the recognition of human rights. National security trumps individual liberties, and people accept the ‘need’ to use whatever means necessary to thwart the enemy.”

I don’t know about you, but I would certainly trade national security for the right to get to my next airline flight faster. What individual liberties are you talking about? The Patriot Act? Mr. Britt references that in his 12th point, and surely he wouldn’t duplicate his efforts in order to pad his column. I mean, that’s almost as bad as quoting somebody else for 75 percent of a column you get paid to write.
If Mr. Britt is referring to Camp X-Ray, I would quote the Seattle Post-Intelligencer from April 24th of this year: “There have been no credible reports of abuse nor substantial complaints about the physical conditions of the detainees.” Sorry, but your argument doesn’t hold up.

“3) Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. Rallying the people in a patriotic frenzy to defeat or eliminate a perceived common threat or foe.”

Who exactly are you talking about? I ask because this sounds more like the anti-war protesters than anything I’ve heard from the Bush administration. The Bush administration’s held no rallies. The anti-war crowd most certainly has. Right wing Americans have been their scapegoats, their unifying cause, their common threat and foe. If you’re referring to the Rallies for America, then I assume Glenn Beck is the next Hitler?

“4) Supremacy of the military. Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.”

Let it be known that Mr. Britt supposedly took a look at not only Nazi Germany, but Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, and Pinochet’s Chile. What’s the one thing they all had in common? It wasn’t glamorizing the military. It was mandatory service. A true facist regime wouldn’t care about glamorizing the military because it would conscript young men and women to serve. After all, it’s much easier to indoctrinate someone into your ideology when you have them under your thumb in the military. Sorry, but this argument rings false as well. I won’t say you can’t have fascism with a volunteer army, but it’s darn difficult.

“5) Rampant sexism. The leadership is almost exclusively male-dominated, and gender roles become more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.”

Can you see a trend here? Each statement becomes more and more ridiculous. First of all, show me a society that isn’t still sexist to some degree. Equality of the sexes is a rather new concept, and most certainly wasn’t around in the regimes of Hitler, Franco, and Mussolini. If you’re trying to tell me that George W. Bush is a sexist, I’ll laugh in your face. I’d be more inclined to call him a “mama’s boy”. As for opposition to abortion and rampant homophobia, get real. We live in a country where people are attacked for wanting to put a stop to partial birth abortions. We live in a country where homosexuals gain more rights, not less, by the day. Homosexuality is not only more accepted now than at any point in history, it’s become a freakin’ fad! It’s cool to be bisexual these days (although Anne Heche might have made it a little less so). If homophobia is on the rise, please point out the time in our nation’s history when it was more accepted.

“6) Controlled mass media. Either directly by the government, or indirectly by monopolies sympathetic to a certain world-view. Censorship is common.”

I can only assume that he’s talking about Clear Channel and/or Fox News. He’s obviously not talking about CNN, ABC, NBC, or CBS. Here’s the bottom line on controlled mass media. We have over 200 channels of television now. We have over 100 radio stations (if you subscribe to satellite radio). Here in Oklahoma City we have FOUR different talk stations run by three different companies. There’s a point of view for everybody but the extreme left. You want to know why they aren’t on television or the radio? Because nobody would listen, and mass media’s ultimate goal isn’t to support a government, it’s to make a buck. If people really want to listen to liberals whine about how this country is becoming fascist, then that left wing radio network should take off like gangbusters. And if it does, you better believe other companies will jump on the bandwagon in an effort to keep the cash coming in.

“7) Obsession with national security. Fear is used as a motivational tool.”

The last three times we went to orange alert, I think most Americans didn’t blink an eye. If fear’s being used as a motivational tool, it’s coming from people like Mr. Britt, who are trying to scare us away from the Bush administration.

“8) Religion and government are intertwined. Using 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.”

We’ve now moved from fascism to a theocracy. If indeed we’re using the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion, then wouldn’t we also be taking steps to make other religions unacceptable? Wouldn’t be hearing an outcry from various religious groups about their religious freedom being stripped away? Instead, we hear things like this (from the same Seattle Post-Intelligencer article quoted earlier):
The hastily erected tents have been replaced by more permanent structures. Each cell has a metal bed stenciled with a bright yellow arrow pointing to Mecca. The heavily guarded and isolated Islamic world created here on the southeastern coast of Cuba has also undergone some cultural adaptations over the past year.
It is the only U.S. military base where the Muslim call to prayer is heard five times a day over loudspeakers as part of the Pentagon's intensive program to demonstrate respect for the detainees' Islamic faith.
Talk to a Muslim. Talk to a Jew. Talk to a Sikh. Talk to a Buddhist. Ask them what the Bush administration is doing to strip away their liberties.

“9) Corporate power is protected. The industrial and business aristocracy are often the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.”

As opposed to the well oiled government that would result from a mutually harmful business/government relationship? That’s not fascism. In fact, if you look at Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and Pinochet, you’ll see that it wasn’t big business that put them in power. For Pinochet, it was a military coup. For Franco, it was a civil war (which you could also call a coup). Mussolini and Hitler rose to power because their countries were in political and economic turmoil. They promised prosperity for all (hardly the call of a capitalist), and were lauded for putting “a chicken in every pot” and “making the trains run on time”. Remember, both Mussolini and Hitler’s parties started out as extremist movements, and big business will never support extremism. There’s not enough money to be made by catering to the fringe.

“10) Labor power is suppressed. As a threat to the government’s power, labor unions are either eliminated completely or severely suppressed.”

I guess I’m doing my part as a right wing lackey by going after the NEA time and again. And boy, it’s really too bad to hear that the AFL-CIO was recently eliminated completely. Oh wait… it wasn’t? Hmmm… what could this mean then? Oh, I know!!! Right to work! Of course! Because, you know, there’s nothing fascist at all about forcing someone to join a union, even when they don’t want to.

“11) Disdain for intellectuals and the arts and others in higher education and academics. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Funding for the arts is cut, or eliminated.”

Actually, true fascism would probably increase funding for the arts, because the government would want all art to be state sponsored. You didn’t see too many freelance artists working in Iraq, now did you? As far as intellectuals being treated with disdain, that’s simply not true. People love me. If by intellectuals you mean pompous windbags who try and deceive others who won’t bother checking facts, then yes… I’ll continue to treat those people with disdain. It doesn’t make me a fascist. It makes me intelligent.

“12) Obsession with crime and punishment. The police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws, and people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism.”

Here’s the dig at the Patriot Act. The only problem is, many people are already speaking out against the Patriot Act. Cities across the U.S. are refusing to participate. At least one high ranking Republican in Congress says it needs to go away. So people aren’t willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. I mean, even little old me, a tool of the system, has spoken out against the Patriot Act. And you know what? Ashcroft’s men haven’t come to take me away yet.

“13) Rampant cronyism and corruption. Government 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. National resources and even treasures are stolen.”

Sounds like a great description of the Clinton presidency, doesn’t it?

“14) Fraudulent elections, either as outright shams, or as manipulated by smear campaigns against opposition candidates. The judiciary is often called upon to manipulate or control elections.”

Man, I have to give Britt credit… he even found a way to throw Florida into this litany of lies. If we’re going to say the judiciary helped bring about a facist state in the 2000 elections, remember that the judiciary went against the ruling party in determining a winner. That’s HARDLY the mark of a fascist regime.

Robin Meyers referred to Lawrence Britt as a political scientist, but as you can see, he’s really more of a political alchemist, mixing strange chemicals in an ivory tower, trying to concoct the perfect potion that will turn this republic into a dictatoriship. There’s nothing scientific about his presentation of facts. They don’t stand up to the tiniest scrutiny. Mr. Britt is the author of a soon to be published novel, but he apparently is already getting a head start on writing fiction.

I thought I’d close by quoting the American Heritage Dictionary definition of fascism.
“A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

We don’t have centralization of authority, as all three branches of government are fully functioning. We don’t have a dictator, as we have elections coming up next year. We don’t have stringent socioeconomic controls, we have a free market. We don’t have suppression of the opposition through terror or censorship (tell me one celebrity or citizen who’s been silenced by the government), and we don’t have a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
The United States is a melting pot. Many of it’s most patriotic citizens are those who weren’t born here, because they recognize the freedoms that people like Robin Meyers and Lawrence Britt no longer see. They’re not blind to injustice, nor do they think we live in a perfect country. We don’t. We just live in the best country on earth. There’s nothing nationalistic about that statement. If the U.S. isn’t so great, then why are people risking death to leave Cuba, that country so beloved by the Hollywood elite? Why are millions of people from around the world leaving everything and everyone they know to come to this country and take a chance on success?
They come because they know that their chance of greatness is better here than at home. They come because they realize this country affords them the freedom to succeed or fail, not based on the color of their skin or their socio-economic status, but based on their own motivation and desire for success. They come because we still are the land of opportunity, not the land of oppression. How will we know if we start to truly become a fascist state. Our Iraqi-Americans will tell us. Our Holocaust survivors will tell us. Our Cambodian refugees will tell us. The warning will come from those who’ve lived under oppression, not those who like to imagine they’re a freedom fighter confined to the ivory towers of academia.

ã 2003 Cam Edwards.

honeychile
11-20-2004, 09:30 PM
While I'm thinking about it, isn't it an absolute miracle that Da Vinci, Rembrandt, El Greco, Monet, etc were able to create without the NEA? Art will happen, with or without funding - good art, indeed!

James
11-21-2004, 01:54 PM
I don't think we are becoming fascist, but I do see a trend in recent years moving us towards a police state. But no single presidency can be blamed for that.

The combination of the war on terror, war on drugs, militarization of the police force and modern technology is what is taking is down that path,

PhiPsiRuss
11-21-2004, 02:39 PM
Originally posted by honeychile
While I'm thinking about it, isn't it an absolute miracle that Da Vinci, Rembrandt, El Greco, Monet, etc were able to create without the NEA? Art will happen, with or without funding - good art, indeed! France used to produce great art. Probably more great art than a nation has a right to. Then French society became heavily socialized, and its art is now marginalized on the World stage.

Great art comes from inspired artists who have to compete in the market place. Not from politically correct artists who create art to please government committees.

PhiPsiRuss
11-21-2004, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by James
I don't think we are becoming fascist, but I do see a trend in recent years moving us towards a police state. But no single presidency can be blamed for that.

The combination of the war on terror, war on drugs, militarization of the police force and modern technology is what is taking is down that path, I agree that fighting terrorism is partially, and logistically, just an extension of aggressively enforcing ant-drug laws.

The militarization of police is over stated, and limited to certain areas. This "trend" started years ago, most notably in LA. It has already been discredited by its ineffectiveness. New York City is now (by far) the safest big city in America. It got that way by moving in the opposite direction of LA. The NYPD put more officers on the street (not in vehicles,) and made them become more interactive with the neighborhood. Other cities have noticed. Unfortunately, most cities in America are built around the automobile, so they can't get the same benefit that a pedestrian based city can. This issue is not really one of militarization, but one of terrible urban planning.

In other words, no matter what policies are adopted, New York will probably be a much safer city than LA, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, or Cleveland for the rest of our lives.

Modern technology is what it is. It has the potential to do graet good and great bad. I believe that the best thing is to let it move forward until a clear understanding of how to reasonably regulate it emerges. When government trys to get ahead of technology, it stifles it. We're competing on a world stage, and we can't afford to allow idiotic, and unneeded regulations send the best and brightest elsewhere.

honeychile
11-21-2004, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by PhiPsiRuss
France used to produce great art. Probably more great art than a nation has a right to. Then French society became heavily socialized, and its art is now marginalized on the World stage.

Great art comes from inspired artists who have to compete in the market place. Not from politically correct artists who create art to please government committees.

Which is basically my point.

A true artist rarely cares about the whole PC thing - they have a need to create and do so.