8. The 14 CHARACTERISTICS OF FASCISM

THE SHEEPLE (Sheeple (a portmanteau of "sheep" and "people") is a term of disparagement in which people are likened to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. By doing so, they undermine their own individuality and may willingly give up their rights.) ARE LED BY A SHEPHERD -
I HAVE NO SHEPHERD, FOR I AM NOT SHEEP! -
Winter Laake

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech, "Mountain Top"

The 14 Characteristics of Fasci
sm

by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry Maganize
Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article
about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page
20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini
(Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet
(Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He
calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The
excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

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. Opposition to
abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation
and national policy.

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 is openly attacked, and
governments often refuse to fund the arts.

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 forgo 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.


Copyright � 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.