In life there is what we do. Everything else is blah, blah, blah….
I’ve heard, read and viewed many accusing others of being fascist, a word, label I associate with fascist kingpins like Stalin responsible for 20 to 25 million non-combatant deaths, Mao for 40+ million non-combatant deaths, Hitler for 12 million non-combatant deaths, and kingpin-wannabe Pol Pot for 1.7 million non-combatant deaths.
According to Merriam-Webster, fascism is a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
Let’s build a tool, cheat sheet with which we might increase our confidence when labeling someone a fascist that they are with a high level of certainty a fascist by breaking down that definition into a list of component parts resulting in an inventory checklist against which we can attempt to objectively identify any person, persons or political party a fascist.
- A political philosophy that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader?
- Movement that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader?
- A regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader?
- Imposes severe economic regimentation?
- Imposes social regimentation? and;
- Employs forcible suppression of opposition?
I’ve applied this checklist to the usual and prominent suspects involved in our national political process and made all efforts to tick or not tick boxes according to actual deeds (actions, words) I can verify they have done. I successfully resisted ticking a box based on what I think they would do based on some sort of personal prejudice versus what they have done.
Allow me to underline that I did not tick a box based on what I think, believe they’re thinking.
I place hand on heart when I write that I am unable to identify a current and prominent political leader whose actions provided evidence for my ticking all 6 boxes to inventory list based on Merriam-Webster’s definition of fascism.
You may decide that ticking only 3 or 4 boxes to proposed inventory list above qualifies that person or organization as being fascist.
Alternatively, perhaps you, dear reader, might identify an alternative definition for fascist and build your own fascist inventory list I kindly ask you to share. I’ll happily subject my survey group to your fascist inventory, and look forward to reading your results.
The last criteria, suppression of opposition can certainly have many shades of gray but certainly ordering the deaths of multi millions of non-combatants like above-named fascist kingpins sets a very high bar that none of our current and prominent political leaders or parties can touch.
I hasten to add that labeling anyone a fascist who does not tick all boxes based on deeds irrespective of which definition you employ diminishes, lessens the definition itself and the spotlight on those I’m sure we all agree epitomize fascism: Stalin, Hitler, Mao and perhaps even Pol Pot to name just a few.
There are some political leaders who in my heart I believe possess the mental disposition to be appropriately labeled fascist but alas this reader could not find verifiable proof of actions that would motivate me to tick a box and label them a fascist with a high level of certainty. I did not in the court of my mind convict those leaders for their thoughts, real or imagined.
And so I encourage you to apply above checklist or your own based on an alternate definition of fascist, and close with my opening statement: In life there is what we do. Everything else is blah, blah, blah….