Fascism Facts

All kinds of scary words are being thrown around by Trump’s opponents and I decided I needed to make sense of them. With a little reading, I realized Fascism was a perfect description for the President and his advisors’ behavior. The more I read, the more it all seemed to fit.

Whenever things get too chaotic in my life, I tend to seek refuge in facts. Doing research and taking notes anchors me and makes things feel less turbulent, as though I’m a herding dog, circling the chaos in ever tighter rings until it behaves.

To call the 12 days since the inauguration of our 45th President chaotic is almost an understatement. And I haven’t been able to shake the cloud of unease and agitation that seems to follow me everywhere. All kinds of scary words are being thrown around by Trump’s opponents (Totalitarianism, Fascism, Hitlerian, Authoritarian…) and I decided I needed to make sense of them. With a little reading, I realized Fascism was a perfect description for the President and his advisors’ behavior. The more I read, the more it all seemed to fit.

Since Fascism isn’t something Americans are directly familiar with I decided to begin compiling a list with reading sources. I added my own editorializing in the form of hashtags at the end of each item. This list will grow as I learn more.

Fascism Facts

Fascists often blamed their countries’ problems on scapegoats. Jews, Freemasons, Marxists, and immigrants were prominent among the groups that were demonized. #muslimban #fascism
Although not all fascists believed in biological racism, it played a central role in the actions of those who did. #muslimban

Fascists sometimes portrayed their movements as “new” and “revolutionary. #maga

Fascists also sought to regiment the population, especially young people, by infiltrating local social networks (tavern groups and veteran, sports, church, student, and other organizations). #twitter

Fascists made no secret of their hatred of Marxists (read: liberals) of all stripes, from totalitarian communists to democratic socialists. #SteveBannon

Under fascist regimes women were urged to perform their traditional gender role as wives and mothers and to bear many children for the nation. #globalgagrule

Fascist educators emphasized character building over intellectual growth, devalued the transmission of information, inculcated blind obedience to authority, and discouraged critical and independent thinking that challenged fascist ideology. #alternativefacts #oppositionparty

Fascists defended the belief that the party and the state should have a single leader with absolute power. Hitler was the Führer and Mussolini the Duce, both words for the “leader” who gave the orders that everyone else had to obey. The authority of the leader was often enhanced by his personal charisma.

Fascists characteristically attempted to win popular support and consolidate their power by mobilizing the population in mass meetings, parades, and other gatherings. Exploiting principles borrowed from modern American advertising, which stressed the importance of appealing to the audience’s emotions rather than to its reason, fascists used such gatherings to create patriotic fervour and to encourage fanatic enthusiasm for the fascist cause. #lockherup #buildthatwall

Source: Encyclopædia Brittanica

To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one — to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism. Thus at the root of the Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged.

The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.

Fascism seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Fascism is racist by definition. #muslimban

Fascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in 1984, as the official language of Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or

Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show. #NationalDayofPatrioticDevotion #FakeNews #AlternativeFacts #VoterFraud #CrookedHillary #DISHONEST #Terrible #Bigly #Strong #MAGA

Source: Ur-Fascism by Umberto Eco

Cross-posted with permission from LaurieSmithwick.com

Image via Wikimedia Commons/CC License

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