Misconceptions Relating to Fascism
Now, the right wing's metamorphosis into quasi-fascism isn't obvious to everybody because there's nothing distinctly exceptional about any single aspect of it. Indeed, much of it seems all too familiar.
Perhaps what blinds some people's vision is that its become common to think of fascism as primarily a European phenomenon. After all, fascism was personified, in its most "memorable" form, in the national identities of Germany and Italy. In Germany, as embodied by the Nazi Party, fascism was replete with Germanic imagery and symbolism. Mussolini's fascism in Italy similarly suggested its national heritage.
And its quite possible that some people have a mythical belief that fascism died with Adolph Hitler. But can an idea die just because a man dies? Fascism is an ideology. And for better or for worse, ideologies never seem to die, they just get passed on and renamed. Its quite possible that fascism has lulled us into a sleep, into a false belief that it doesn't exist anymore, that it was cremated in 1945. Or better yet, perhaps it left such an indelible mark on us, in the form of Naziism, that we wrongly assume that it can only manifest in the same exact form. Essentially, some people likely believe that, similar to 'obscenity', they would 'know fascism if they saw it".
But what if fascism has changed-- not necessarily in its essence, but in its exterior form? What if fascism has merely evolved, adapted, and marketed itself for the 21st Century? Would the American public see it coming? Or are they too conditioned to believe that a fascist only wears a swastika? Or perhaps, because the word "fascist" has become used so often in the perjorative, many people simply dismiss the term as the 'boy who cried wolf.'
In 1935, Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis stated, "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross." And as David Neiwert stated in his masterful 7-part series:
"Fascism always wraps itself in the flag, always seeks absolute power, always brands opponents as traitors, always relies heavily on propaganda for dissemination of its ideas, always invokes subversive enemies (at home and abroad), always embraces militarism and permanent war, always favors politicizing of police functions (and expanding them and the surveillance state), always scorns intellectuals, artists, and bourgeois democratic values, always is hostile to leftist and labor movements, and is obsessed with idealized images of a mythic "better time" of the past (while at the same time destroying that past, and the nation as a whole)."The truth is, so as long as there is an opportunity to seize power, then the potential for fascism remains with us.
For a democratic body politik, fascism must be recognized as soon as possible and dealt with accordingly, otherwise, like a cancer, it will consume the body. After all, as Neiwart says:
"Fascism rejects liberal ideas such as freedom and individual rights, and often presses for the destruction of elections, legislatures, and other elements of democracy. Despite the idealistic goals of fascism, attempts to build fascist societies have led to wars and persecutions that caused millions of deaths. As a result, fascism is strongly associated with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism, and violence."And thus I ask you this again... Who is more dangerous? The so-called terrorists or the so-called fascists?
(For an in-depth look at Fascism, the Republican Party, and the Pseudo Fascist Campaign, I highly recommend reading the work of David Neiwart at Orcinus. He won the 2004 Sandy Koufax Award for his 7 part series.)