The 14 Characteristics of #Fascism by Lawrence Britt


Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article
about fascism (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003,
page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany),
Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and
Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common.
He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.
The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine’s policy.


The 14 characteristics are:


  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic
    mottos, slogans, symbols, songs,
    and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag
    symbols on clothing and in public displays. 

  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

    Because of fear
    of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist
    regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in
    certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the
    other way or even approve of torture, summary executions,
    assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. 

  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the
    need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial ,
    ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists;
    socialists, terrorists, etc. 

  4. Supremacy of the Military

    Even when there are widespread
    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate
    amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is
    neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 

  5. Rampant Sexism

    The governments of fascist nations tend to
    be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes,
    traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to
    abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and
    national policy. 

  6. Controlled Mass Media

    Sometimes to media is directly
    controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is
    indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic
    media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war
    time, is very common. 

  7. Obsession with National Security

    Fear is used as a
    motivational tool by the government over the masses. 

  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined

    Governments in
    fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the
    nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious
    rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even
    when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed
    to the government’s policies or actions. 

  9. Corporate Power is Protected

    The industrial and business
    aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the
    government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial
    business/government relationship and power elite. 

  10. Labor Power is Suppressed

    Because the organizing power of
    labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor
    unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely
    suppressed . 

  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

    Fascist nations
    tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education,
    and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other
    academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in
    the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to
    fund the arts. 

  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

    Under fascist regimes,
    the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The
    people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even
    forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often
    a national police force with virtually unlimited power in
    fascist nations. 

  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

    Fascist regimes almost
    always are governed by groups of friends and associates who
    appoint each other to government positions and use governmental
    power and authority to protect their friends from
    accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for
    national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even
    outright stolen by government leaders. 

  14. Fraudulent Elections

    Sometimes elections in fascist
    nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are
    manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of
    opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting
    numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of
    the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries
    to manipulate or control elections.

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