March 27, 2012
By Gregory Patin
“Fascism is alive and well in the US. Here is a lengthy article describing 14 examples of how it’s now common in America.” –KTRN
In the spring of 2003, ex-corporate executive and political scientist Lawrence W. Britt published an essay in Free Inquiry magazine entitled “Fascism Anyone?” In his work, Britt examined the traits of the two governments that formed the original historical model for fascism, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and five other protofascist regimes that imitated that model, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. He identified 14 characteristics that were common to all of them.
These traits have since been widely accepted as the 14 defining characteristics of fascism.
Nearly three generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, all of these regimes have been overthrown, but fascism’s principles can still be found in many nations. History tends to repeat itself because many leaders and nations fail to learn from history, or they draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm in the world today.
In the U.S., leaders, teachers, media and citizens proudly claim that America is a democratic society with certain freedoms and rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and rule of law. But is that really the case?
A close look at the 14 characteristics of fascism in light of what has changed in America in the past few years may raise some questions as to whether or not Americans truly live in a democratic society.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.
Drive down any street in suburban or small-town America and witness the amount of flags flying, flag stickers on mailboxes, ribbon stickers on vehicles and patriotic tee shirts. Then-Senator Obama was criticized during his 2007 campaign for not wearing the ubiquitous flag lapel pin that many politicians wear. Nearly everyone has heard catchy slogans such as “Freedom isn’t Free,” “God Bless America” and “Support the Troops.” Borderline xenophobia is exemplified when french fries were renamed “freedom fries” in D.C. cafeterias. The fear of “illegals” taking scarce jobs has been written into legislation in states such as Arizona, where failure to carry immigration documents is a crime. Your papers, please?
This characteristic may be the most innocuous one of the 14. Americans have always had a strong sense of patriotic nationalism and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. But patriotic symbolism and nationalistic legislation have been taken to a new level in the years since the first Gulf war when the first yellow ribbons were placed on trees.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
January 13, 2012
The Daily Mail
By Hugo Duncan
The financial crisis threatens to drag the world back to the dark days of the 1930s and wipe out the gains of globalisation, a hard-hitting report said tonight.
In its annual assessment of the global economy, the World Economic Forum warned of a rising tide of protectionism, nationalism and protests as seen during the Great Depression.
It blamed the ‘chronic’ state of government finances and the widening gap between the rich and poor as the world lurches from one crisis to another.
The WEF, which holds its yearly meeting for leading politicians, economists, businessmen and academics in the Swiss ski resort of Davos later this month, said the ‘seeds of dystopia’ have been sown.
It warned that without action to tackle youth unemployment and support an ageing population the world would become ‘a place where life is full of hardship and devoid of hope’.
The survey of 469 global experts warned the world was ‘vulnerable’ to fresh economic shocks, major social unrest, and food and water crises.
Lee Howell, managing director of the WEF, said: ‘For the first time in generations, many people no longer believe that their children will grow up to enjoy a higher standard of living than theirs.
‘This new malaise is particularly acute in the industrialised countries that historically have been a source of great confidence and bold ideas.’
October 26th, 2010
By: Gary Langer
Optimism in the country’s system of government has dropped to a new low when measured against polls going back 36 years, and the public’s belief that America is the greatest nation on earth, while still high, has fallen significantly from its level a generation ago.
These results from the latest ABC News/Yahoo News poll, coming before next week’s midterm elections, suggest that public disenchantment extends beyond its economic and political roots to broader questions about the country’s governance and American exceptionalism.
The bottom hasn’t fallen out of national pride: Seventy-five percent call the United States “the greatest country in the world.” But that’s down from 88 percent when the same question was asked in 1984. And nearly a quarter, 23 percent, now take the alternative view, saying America used to be the greatest country “but isn’t anymore.” That’s up from 9 percent.
Optimism about the system has taken an even bigger hit in this poll, produced for ABC and Yahoo News by Langer Research Associates. Back in 1974 – shortly after Richard Nixon’s resignation in the Watergate scandal – 55 percent of Americans were optimistic about “our system of government and how well it works.” Today, 33 percent say that, the lowest number in nearly a dozen measurements taken across the decades. (None, though, were taken in the early 1990s, the last time economic disgruntlement was as high as it is now.)
BETTER NEWS — There’s better news on two fronts. First, while optimism is down, pessimism about the workings of government hasn’t risen; 20 percent are pessimistic, about the average over 36 years of polls, and the number peaked much higher, at 28 percent, in 1996. Instead, the number saying they’re “uncertain” about the U.S. system of government and how it’s working — 46 percent — has reached a new high.
The question, which originated with the Roper Organization, admittedly is double-barreled: Is it the system that’s the problem, or how it’s working? More of the latter, apparently. In a new follow-up, this poll asked pessimistic or uncertain Americans what the problem was — the system itself, or the people running the government. Answer: the people running the government, not the system itself, by a 3-1 margin, 74 percent to 24 percent.
Netted, this means that slightly less than half of Americans, 49 percent, are pessimistic or uncertain about the system and how it’s working, and mainly blame the people running government for the problems. Sixteen percent are pessimistic or uncertain, and blame the system itself. And nearly all of the rest, 33 percent, are optimistic about the system.
While a plurality perceives a problem with the people running the government, there’s also room for improvement in the public’s own awareness of political candidates. Thirty-five percent of Americans concede that they don’t know enough about their own selection of candidates to say how many of them, if any, “share your view of what needs to be done to improve things in this country.” Nineteen percent say there are a lot or a good amount of such candidates; the plurality, 46 percent, says there are few or none.
GROUPS — Age is a significant factor in views of the country’s greatness. Eighty-three percent of adults 50 and up call the United States the greatest country in the world; that drops to 68 percent of those under 50. (It’s 74 percent among people in their 40s, 69 percent among those in their 30s and 61 percent among 18- to 29-year-olds. These differences by decade, though, don’t reach statistical significance, given the sample sizes.)
Under-30s, moreover, are more apt than their elders to be pessimistic about the system and how well it works, 28 percent compared with 18 percent.