June 5, 2020, Jacob Lake, AZ-
Here, we look at the possibility of a fascist regime, or several, in our own time.
One common definition of the term, frequently cited by reliable sources as a standard definition, is that of historian Stanley G. Payne. He focuses on three concepts:
- the “fascist negations”: anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-conservatism;
- “fascist goals”: the creation of a nationalist dictatorship to regulate economic structure and to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture, and the expansion of the nation into an empire; and
- “fascist style”: a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth, and charismatic authoritarian leadership.
Since 2000, several central andeastern European states have seen the rise of charismatic and authoritarian leaders. To varying degrees, the leaders of Russia, Hungary, Poland and Belarus have adopted a Fascist style of governance, though they have not been as full-on, in adopting a culture of violence as their predecessors in the last century. Russia has certainly built a nationalist economic structure, with a view towards restoring at least some of its past territorial range.
Fascists in other European countries, who have less of a chance to gain power, have nonetheless pursued attempts to remain in the public eye. Rallies, and intermittent acts of harassment against non-native residents, have increased in frequency, in Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom and France have seen less of such incidents, mainly because the extremists have been subsumed into the more “mainstream” far right parties, led by Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen, respectively. Neither of those leaders is given to promoting a Fascist agenda, eaudi Arabia, Hungary, myanmar,ven if their stress is nationalistic.
Elsewhere in the world, we see Fascist sentiments, expressed by leaders as disparate as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, the Presidents of Brazil, Myanmar and the Philippines, as well as the Supreme Leader of Iran. In each case, all three fascist negations are in evidence; a nationalist, nativist economic system is being encouraged; ethnic and religious minorities are being disparaged as enemies of the state’; the glories of the nation’s past are being used to whip up a nationalistic fervour and violence, combined with a near worship of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is being enkindled.
Is this being repeated in the United States? The very question has set the nerves of some conservatives on edge, and in fairness, the current president does not show an anti-conservattive bias, has a utilitarian view of relations with communist countries (albeit a love-hate relationship) and focuses most of his disdain on liberals and progressives. A dictated economic structure, which he is certainly capable of arranging, would appeal to many citizens, who are as tired of the weekly grind, as members of ethnic minorities are of daily harassment.
Although he shows appreciation, and a need for, the attention being showered on him by his admirers and tends to lash out at even his slightest detractors, there is not a strong cult of machismo being established, as such (The image of the president as a “Rambo” figure, here in Arizona, is more a red herring, than anything else.). He does not place as much emphasis on physical training as, say, the leaders of Russia and the Philippines. Authoritarianism, however, is a growing concern. His ability to accept defeat, gracefully, needs to be displayed, and followed up with evidence of personal growth, if the fears that many people have, of an emergent fascist regime, are to be assauged.
We are not immune to seeing fascism take the reins of governance, in the United States. This is one of the prime reasons for a system of checks and balances- and for the Bill of Rights being the first ten amendments to our Constitution.