I recently read an article that pointed me to Dr. Lawrence Britt’s essay on the Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism. For those of you not familiar with the essay, I’ve posted it below as taken from rense.com.
Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt
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.
Now let’s take a look at each of Britt’s fourteen points, and how America, in 2006, under the Bush
Presidency Regime is faring.
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism—I would have to say that this is definitely present. When the Bush regime believes it can dictate world policy unilaterally, what else can it be.
Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights—Also present…we just have to look at Abu Ghraib, the Attorney General’s previous approval of torture as White House Counsel, the NSA spying on US citizens without warrants, and the long history of the Bush regime’s behavior towards human rights.
Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause—The scapegoats and enemies of the state in this case are the ever-lurking fundamentalist Islamic terrorists. Why else would the Bush regime be fighting a “War on Fundamentalism.” Nevermind, that the fundamentalist Christians are just as bad in many ways, and are in power in the Bush regime. Part of the reason I think Osama bin Laden has never been captured is the necessity for him as the Al Qaeda Boogeyman for the Bush regime.
Supremacy of the Military—Check, yup, the military is getting a big fat check, and the lower and middle class are getting royally screwed. Too bad that GWB didn’t see fit to equip our soldiers properly, before sending them off to get killed in a pointless and endless “War on Fundamentalism.”
Rampant Sexism—This is a bit more subtle, but if you look, you will see that abortion rights and the rights of homosexuals are being covert assault as Britt points out.
Controlled Mass Media—Also a bit more subtle than some of the other points. How many of the mainstream media actually were willing to publish the Danish editorial cartoons. How much has the media made of the repeated highly illegal and ethically questionable actions of the Bush regime over the last six years.
Obsession with National Security—The Bush regime has mastered using the “Threat Level” for political gain. They have little hesitation about using fear-mongering to further their political goals, as seen just after the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when the Bush regime raised the threat level based on out-of-date information. The “War on Fundamentalism” is framed as such an issue that many civil rights must be given up in order for it to succeed.
Religion and Government are Intertwined—Also true, as the neo-conservatives are closely allied with the Christian conservative right. Look at their positions on abortion, the death penalty, assisted suicide, and other issues.
Corporate Power is Protected—Also true. Look at who is benefitting from the “War on Fundamentalism” and the resulting high oil prices—Halliburton, the defense industry, and the oil industry… where do the Bush regime leaders have their roots…Halliburton, the defense industry, and the oil industry. I guess Britt’s “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” appears to hold quite true here as well. Also, look at the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and other attempts to quash, previously legal, fair use of copyrighted materials.
Labor Power is Suppressed—I don’t really see any signs of this. If I am missing something obvious, please let me know.
Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts—Censoring a NASA scientist… hmm, I guess that would qualify. The lack of defense for the Danish cartoons would probably also qualify here… in a country that is founded on the right to freely express oneself… how sad.
Obsession with Crime and Punishment—Britt says, “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.” This would probably cover the warrantless wiretaps, and the use of the military and local police to spy on anti-war protest groups.
Rampant Cronyism and Corruption—I guess this is pretty well covered too. Vice
Fascist President Dick Cheney used to run Halliburton, and Halliburton got a majority of the military contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. George C. Deutsch worked on GWB’s Presidental theft campaign, and he got appointed to censor NASA, even though he was hardly qualified. Another glaring example is the failure of FEMA after Hurricane Katrina due to Bush regime crony Michael Brown not having a clue about emergency management. Another good example of cronyism is Kevin Warsh, who was recently appointed by GWB to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as seen here
Fraudulent Elections—Here’s another good point in case. Although it hasn’t ever been proved, or even been questioned, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bush regime stole the elections in 2000 and 2004.
In 2000, the election was decided by a Supreme Court, with a Republican-appointed majority; in a state where: the Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, worked as a campaign manager on the Bush Presidential election campaign and did not recuse herself from making decision regarding his election and stopped the hand re-count; and the governor, Jeb Bush, is the brother of the Presidential candidate in question.
In 2004, the election was decided by two states: Ohio, where the CEO of Diebold— manufacturer of many of the electronic voting machines used in the state—swore he would do everything to deliver the votes of the state of Ohio to the Bush candidacy, and the voting machines in question had no verifiable audit system and have since proven to be easily manipulated; and Florida, where problems plagued the ability of predominantly Democratic voters due to voter registration problems, and the state’s governor was still the brother of the candidate.
Also, please note, that the Bush regime stated that the exit polls in Ohio, which showed Kerry as winning the state, as not accurate—yet exit polls are generally used for that same purpose in monitoring other elections in other countries by our government.
I guess the Bush regime has brought fascism home to America. All hail King George….wait…wasn’t this country founded because of another
idiot tyrant named King George. Maybe another revolution is in order.
Again, in terms of full disclosure, I did not vote for GWB in either election, so I am not guillty of supporting and abetting his fascist tactics and behavior. I am a Democrat, but I do not blindly support a party that has failed to pull itself together to confront the fascist behavior by the current government.