Wondering About Fascism

Whereof One Can Speak

Observing the political scene, you might sometimes wonder whether America could ever turn into a fascist state. But aside from identifying Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany as its prime examples, not everyone agrees what fascism is.

In The Anatomy of Fascism, political scientist and historian Robert O. Paxton offers his answer. Published in 2004, it’s a book that’s worth reading. Here are some of his conclusions:

“The moment has come to give fascism a usable short handle, even though we know that it encompasses its subject no better than a snapshot encompasses a person.

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence, and without ethical or legal…

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