James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Who's the Fascist?

If you believe in devolution of power, allowing relatively homogeneous communities to govern themselves as they see fit, you may be called a fascist. That's because such localism supposedly allows for tyranny of the majority, and "states' rights" is allegedly code word for white supremacy.

Similarly, if you want states to be left to settle controversial moral and religious issues by themselves without federal intervention, you will be called a fascist.

Ironically, the opposite also holds true: if you are a strong nationalist, believing that we are all one and therefore social, moral, and economic issues should be decided at the national level, you could also be called a fascist.

Some people believe fascism is a free market economy combined with a police state. Since we do live in a policy state, free marketers are called fascists. Other well-intentioned people think protectionism and restrictive immigration policies will protect American jobs. The free marketers call them fascists. Government welfare is fascist - or is it the abolition of government welfare that is fascist? Want a Caliphate? You're an Islamo-fascist. Are you a Christian Reconstructionist? You're a Christo-fascist.

There's a grain of truth to all of these charges. Fascism implies soul-crushing conformity, ethnic supremacy, and ideological uniformity. But it also fervent nationalism, and an economic system dictated by governmental and corporate elites, (which could be flexible and pragmatic in its operation). Overall, fascism is a form of consciousness in which love for and obedience to The State trumps everything else.

I don't know many people who are self-described fascists. But there are many people who support what I would call fascist policies. But I'd avoid using the word against bigots or economic interventionists. They may be evil and or stupid, but they're not necessarily fascists. I would only describe the following policies as fascist:

1. Censorship - particularly of the political variety. This could mean government control of the newspapers, and it could mean police crackdowns on peaceful street demonstrators.
2. Unbridled police power - police checkpoints are commonplace, police brutality is shrugged at if not praised, police surveillance of non-suspicious persons is expected, and police raids on private homes are routine.
3. Aggressive (non-defensive) war - I'm not suggesting that every conqueror in the past was a fascist (evil, probably - fascist, not). But in the present day (and over the past century) wars have been waged more and more against civilian populations, rather than against armed, uniformed troops. Moreover, to the fascist mind the spilled bloodshed even of foreign civilians is justified, because to their mind their own country has a moral right to engage in aggressive war.

If you don't want to be called a fascist, don't support fascist policies.

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