Fascism in the USA? Sure it can happen here…

For me, antipathy to fascism is just a wee bit more personal than that of many Americans.
I grew up in a country that fought Fascism for 6 years in the middle of the 20th century, and where the scars of that fight were visible in my home town until the 1970s.
My grandparents were saved from death in a bombing raid in England in 1940 by a fallen door that blocked tons of rubble from crushing them in the destroyed interior of their house in Margate. If the door had not fallen where it fell, my mother’s life would have been even more chaotic than it was, and I would never have had any insight from talking to grandparents.
When I hear people in the USA making statements about dangerous political movements along the lines of “that can’t happen here”, I try to remind them that this was how people in most of Europe dismissed the rise of Fascism in the 1930s. Worse still numerous business leaders and other gullible people (including members of the British royal family, and Americans with names like Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh) thought that Mr. Hitler was in many ways a fine fellow, unfairly maligned by the media, who was doing a bang-up job of Making Germany Great Again. They were seduced, like many Germans, by his energy, drive and oratorial skills.
Most of the warnings against Hitler and Mussolini went unheeded by populations who had had quite enough of World War I, wanted peace, and failed to see any clear and present danger.
The rise to ascendancy of dysfunctional and dangerous political systems does not happen overnight. It is a gradual series of changes, imperceptible to many citizens, until one day the terrible truth dawns (for some of them) that the country has changed, and not for the better. Some low-information people never work that out. By the time that realization takes root, the authoritarian processes of fascism have usually made dissent not only illegal, but personally dangerous.
A number of political scientists have analyzed the key characteristics of fascism and how countries governed by fascists are organized. This article summarizes the key characteristics that have been identified.
As we move forward into the future in the USA, everybody needs to read this list and start asking the awkward question “is any of this happening here, and if it is, what should we do about it?”.


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