With thanks to Merriam-Webster, the definition of fascism is: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (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. From the Encyclopedia Britannica -it notes that fascism arose during the 1920s and '30s partly out of fear of the rising power of the working classes; by its protection of business and landowning elites. Thankfully fascism cannot rear its despicable head in in the home of the brave, the land of the free. Or could it? Or has it already occurred?
Exalt of nation above the individual ("America -love it or leave it." )
There is a certain vision of America shared by most Americans. It transcends the false flag-waiving patriotism exemplified by purchasing an imported car and pasting an American flag bumper sticker (likely, also imported --by the way). It is a society that is reflective, thoughtful and educated. It is a society that can be an example to the rest of the world -of a diverse and culturally rich country where our effort collectively and as individuals provides opportunity, a strong sense of family and community. A place where we can pray to different entities (or not at all) and respect each other with an understanding that we are all children under the mysterious night sky. It is a vision that includes clean water and air, pristine forests and unspoiled lands for our families, and their future families to enjoy. Ask any American if they want to live in a hate-filled, anxiety-driven, polluted world and I'll bet the answer is 'no'. There is a false and dangerous patriotism that is predicated on exclusion and elitism. While driven by a strong need to belong to something, and mixed with ignorance and a lack of personal accountability groups of people form. They focus on the fact that someone else might be eating a piece of pie, without regard to the fact that their plate is full, or that there is plenty of pie left. How dare another group of people disrespect America by speaking their native language within its borders (although these people have conveniently forgotten that if we were to speak the language native to much of America, we'd be speaking one or more of over 150 Native American languages such as Cree, Cherokee or Apache.) How dare another group of people fly their flag or preserve their culture in America. This small-mindedness, suspicion of others and blame for their own failure or lack of accomplishment is dangerous and is easily manipulated throughout history by evil. People will absolve themselves of perpetrating violent and offensive acts when provided a "safe harbor" of mass hatred.
Forcible suppression of opposition
Questioning Bush in a time of war? Why do you hate our troops?
"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." -G.W. Bush.
There are likely a handful of dangerous extremists in any society that use false patriotism, race, class, religion or some other thing to allow them to hate and kill. In some cases, it may even be well-organized and appear to be under the rule of law or government. One doesn't have to look far in our own country to find "The School of the Americas" or throughout our history to find terrorism of Americans (or others) by Americans. Most would agree that the creation of terror is evil and horrific whether it be an airplane aimed at a building, or a "Shock and Awe" campaign aimed at another nation, it is wrong. No nation will ever achieve sustainable success in bombing other nations into democracy or oligarchy or whatever form of government or system is sought to be imposed. If we learned of a government that could come into the home of an American citizen (or person anywhere), forcibly remove them, hide them away in prison depriving them of all basic rights, I suspect as Americans we would rise together and demand our brave military men and women defend our nation from such an assault. But what do we do when this is the policy of our own government? When we say nothing or do nothing, does that not make each one of us an accomplice to such fascist madness?
Severe Economic and Social Regimentation
Any cursory review of neoconservative-fascist policies and action on taxation yields an acceleration of consolidation of wealth, started by the Reagan years, and continued with glee under Bush/Cheney. This coupled with the erosion of individual protections and public institutions fit nicely under this attribute of fascism.
Fear of the working family
At some point the American people will awaken and realize that they severely outnumber the wealthy elite, and as such can outvote them (provided votes are actually counted in the future). Neoconservatives (with policies that include media control, protection of business and wealth and consolidation of wealth and power), whose policies are closely aligned with fascists find this key point very disturbing and attempt to offset the power of the individual by assailing it on many layers. Control of information, weakening of unions, the erosion of public education, the attack on individual protections from business are all fundamental attacks on all that are not members of the wealthy elite. I'm not saying the wealthy elite are bad, many are working to protect and strengthen democracy, supporting our public institutions and our way of life. However there are many in the club of which Bush calls "his base" where the word 'enough' has never been defined or resolved. They feel their only measure as an individual is upon the yardstick of personal wealth accumulation, whether the source of such wealth has been the creation of value, or whether it has just been essentially taken from the middle class or impoverished or another nation --where, exactly do we all think the oil revenue's from Iraq will eventually flow? I would harbor to guess new, record profits at ExxonMobil, Chevron and others in the energy industry.
Protection of Business and Elites
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power" Benito Mussolini
We can accept the term "Tort Reform". Or we can consider it along with many other initiatives set forth by neoconservative near fascists such as the "Healthy Forest Initiative" and the "Clear Skies Initiative". At face value all of this sounds terrific doesn't it? But each belies a set of insidious detail which essentially erodes our environmental protection, preservation and conservation of America's precious resources and our own individual ability to defend ourselves, our families and our communities against harm by business in their pursuit of profit.
Conservatives and liberals (and all in-between) should work together to facilitate the fix of this fascist fraud perpetrated upon the American people and the entire world. Fast.