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Fascism: 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. [Merriam-Webster]

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The term “fascist” gets tossed around a lot in our political discourse. Rarely is it used to describe someone who adheres to the political philosophy of fascism. Mostly it’s used as an epithet against those with an opposing political viewpoint. Democrats call Republicans “fascists” while Republicans call Democrats “fascists.” Barack Obama is called a “fascist.” Mitt Romney was called a “fascist.” George W. Bush was called a “fascist.” Even Ron Paul has been called a “fascist”!

The confusion surrounding this term arises from the fact that, unlike other political philosophies, fascism is not clearly-defined. Most other ideologies have manifestos that outline their political tenants. Communism has The Communist Manifesto. Nazism has Mein Kampf. Capitalism has The Wealth of Nations. But fascism has no such founding document. Because of this, its tenets have long been debated by historians and sociologists.

During the Bush administration, an article began circulating the internet called “The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism.” This article is attributed to political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt who allegedly studied various fascist regimes and discovered 14 common characteristics among them.

Because of its vast distribution on the internet, the title of the article varies from “14 Points” to “14 Marks,” and the phrasing of the characteristics themselves also varies. But the 14 are usually listed as follows:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause.
4. Supremacy of the Military.
5. Rampant Sexism.
6. Controlled Mass Media.
7. Obsession with National Security.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined.
9. Corporate Power is Protected.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption.  
14. Fraudulent Elections.
Although this article has been frequently shared and cited on the internet as a definition of fascism, it should not be considered a credible analysis of the ideology. The 14 characteristics are extremely vague and they easily apply to non-fascist countries. Indeed, if we take the first characteristic, “Powerful and Continuing Nationalism,” at face value, then every country is guilty of fascism, as people of all countries exhibit some level of national pride. Showing love for one’s country is not isolated to fascists.

Furthermore, the author who wrote the article does not exist. If Dr. Lawrence Britt were a credible authority on political science, he clearly would have published more than one article on the subject; yet a simple Google search of his name only retrieves variations of his one article and nothing else. No biography of him exists, not even a Wikipedia article!

This is because Dr. Lawrence Britt’s real name is “Laurence Britt,” and he is not a doctor, but a novelist. He only published one novel, June, 2004, and aside from that, his one and only article was published in the May 2004 edition of Free Inquiry Magazine.

As About.com contributor Tom Head explains in his piece on the matter: “This op-ed was forwarded around from inbox to inbox, and readers eventually began putting a ‘Dr.’ in front of his name and referring to him as a political scientist who had compiled the fascism inventory independently of the Bush administration. He had not done so, and had never claimed to do so. The article was, and had always been intended to be, an argument against the Bush administration.”

However, while Britt is not a real political scientist, and his article is not a real credible source, a real historical analysis of fascism was compiled nearly 60 years prior to Britt’s piece.

In 1944, John T. Flynn published As We Go Marching. Unlike “Dr.” Britt, Flynn was a well-renowned journalist and political commentator who wrote for publications such as The New Republic, Harper's Magazine, and Collier's Weekly. (Also unlike Britt: he has a Wikipedia article! Flynn: 1, Britt: 0.)

In his book, Flynn analyzed the fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini and listed eight common characteristics between them. His “Eight Marks of Fascism” are as follows:
Point 1. The government is totalitarian because it acknowledges no restraint on its powers.
Point 2. Government is a de facto dictatorship based on the leadership principle.
Point 3. Government administers a capitalist system with an immense bureaucracy.
Point 4. Producers are organized into cartels in the way of syndicalism.
Point 5. Economic planning is based on the principle of autarky.
Point 6. Government sustains economic life through spending and borrowing.
Point 7. Militarism is a mainstay of government spending.
Point 8. Military spending has imperialist aims.
Aside from offering a comprehensive historical analysis on fascism, Flynn’s book also served as a critique of FDR’s New Deal policies, which Flynn feared were similar to the policies of the fascist regimes overseas.

His book is recommended for anyone curious about the history and ideology of fascism. An e-book version can be downloaded from the Mises Institute.

Those who don't have the time to read an entire book can read Lew Rockwell’s article “The Fascist Threat.” In it, Rockwell alludes to Flynn’s “Eight Marks” to provide a condensed analysis of fascism while also offering a scathing critique of the Bush and Obama administrations.

Both pieces are highly recommended to those who wish to understand fascism and what implications it has today.

Because if you insist on calling other people "fascist," it's best that you understand what the word and the ideology behind it means; otherwise, you might as well be calling them "doo-doo heads."
Just a brief summary of what fascism is and isn't, because I was sick and tired of people using the term "fascist" without understanding what it means!
Add a Comment:
 
:icongwenvar:
Gwenvar Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013   General Artist
Mussolini: "War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death...."

So it's basically about war as a trial of life, virtue being awaken under pressure.
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:iconthe-conquerors:
The-Conquerors Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Well said. A wonderful quote. One of my favorites from him. ~ C
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
And the speaker is Mussolini. Enough said.
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:iconthe-conquerors:
The-Conquerors Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Indeed. A great speaker, patriot, and passionate leader he was :D . ~ C
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:iconyoung-stoaty-chap:
Young-stoaty-chap Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Republicans mostly call Democrats Communists, rather than Fascists.
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:iconvalkaneer:
Valkaneer Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Writer
Why didn't you just say that in short, its the GOP! lol ;P
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Read the essay, please!
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:iconvalkaneer:
Valkaneer Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Writer
lol

I did, but I have my own opinion. And had it going into the read. :)
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:iconvalkaneer:
Valkaneer Featured By Owner May 14, 2013  Professional Writer
Sorry to spam...

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause.
4. Supremacy of the Military.
5. Rampant Sexism.
6. Controlled Mass Media.
7. Obsession with National Security.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined.
9. Corporate Power is Protected.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption.
14. Fraudulent Elections.

GOP! lol

;P
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:iconxaidan:
xaidan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013
+1
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you kind sir! ;)
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:iconmechatherium:
Mechatherium Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this!
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome! ;)
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting that you ignore Benito Mussolini's definition of the very ideology he created. Fascism does in fact have an equivalent of The Communist Manifesto. In 1932, Mussolini wrote an entry into the Italian Encyclopedia defining fascism. I suggest you read that before writing an article defining fascism.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." -Mussolini
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the info. Though I doubt an encyclopedia entry is on the same level of an actual manifesto. Even then, historians and sociologists still disagree as to what exactly constitutes fascism.

Yes, I actually do agree that the merging of corporate and state power is a bad thing. Of course, when the government has the power to stick itself into the market, don’t expect anything else other than for big business to get in bed with big government.
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Well, just throwing it out their.

The way I view it, not regulation business will render the exact same results of allowing business and government to combine. I believe Adam Smith actually did mention that in the Wealth of Nations. Something along the lines of When similar interests combine bad things happen. He put it more eloquently, but it was along those lines.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, as far as I see, cronyism will always exist. The state as it is currently run simply makes it all the more easier.
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hence why you need to get money out of politics.
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:icondialectics-wizard:
dialectics-wizard Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." is a fabricated quote.
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Just because a statement is inconvenient doesn't make it untrue.
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:icondialectics-wizard:
dialectics-wizard Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013
What? You are making an argument using doctored "facts". Inconvenient... Who has said anything about inconvenience?
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
The facts aren't doctored. Look up the quote. It's well known. Universities to News organizations have used that quote.
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:icondialectics-wizard:
dialectics-wizard Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
there is no source for the quote because it is misattributed at best and a plain lie at worst. show me a source and you win.
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013
There are many similar quotes from that source and others, by Mussolini and his state philosophers. I CBA right now but it's Mussolini and his cohorts ramble on about the necessity to bring capitalism in line with state power in both the Fascist Manifesto of 1919 and the aforementioned Encyclopedia "The Doctrine of Fascism"(which was in part written by Mussolini, the rest ghostwritten by his court philosopher Giovanni Gentile, carrying out Mussolini's doctrinal prescriptions.)

From page 133 in the original:
"The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and useful instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production"

Whilst the bulk of the work was not actually written by Mussolini, it ought to be stressed that he was consulted at every level of its construction.
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:iconravajava:
Ravajava Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Before I go off and do that, I'd like to know what you consider a reputable source. It's easy to find say, a website with the quote.

For example: [link]
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:icondialectics-wizard:
dialectics-wizard Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2013
As in where he said it. What work it was written in, or what speech it was said in.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmetalheadmartyr:
metalheadmartyr Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
Your words are more than worth their weight in sir. I have never read such a comprehensive work of literature in quite some time, and you are a breath of fresh air. Keep it up!
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well if you think this is a "comprehensive work of literature," then you should check out As We Go Marching: [link]
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:iconkajm:
Kajm Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
ravajava will tell you how you are stupidly wrong, while embracing everything you described as fascism.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Considering his last response to me, that seems about right.
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:iconwilji1090:
wilji1090 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
If I recall, Benito Mussolini described Fascism as saving the nation from the destructiveness of the Left and backwardness of the Right. A sort of middle of the road path. But again, Hitler borrowed from Fascism, but he was no Fascist himself because Fascism focuses on the culture and the state rather than the issue of the race. FDR's New Deal ALSO has a strong basis in Fascism, though arguably it's a much milder example.

But in truth nationalism has a strong root in Fascism, case in point, people like Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson described the whole concept of hyphenated Americans as being un-American because as Roosevelt called it, it showed a division of loyalty, while Wilson believed hyphenated Americans would stab the Republic in the back.

I had a thing I wrote on my old account explaining how Nazism and Fascism were too different ideologies entirely though. Kinda wish I had nabbed that before closing it down. :shrug:
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Maybe you can try rewriting it from memory?
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:iconwilji1090:
wilji1090 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I can try :P
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice. And if you ever finish it, feel free to link it for me.
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:iconwilji1090:
wilji1090 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Going off of what you had said about the good Doctor being called a Fascist, it's worth noting that there's a legitimate American Fascist movement that believes they could use Dr. Paul's momentum to change the Status Quo (at least when Paul was running.)
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Which is why the Neo-Nazis donated to him. That and they hate what he hates: Israel and the Big Banks. Though it's worth noting that it's for different reasons. Paul hates those because of the destructive interventionist foreign and economic policies; the Neo-Nazis because of the Jews.
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:iconwilji1090:
wilji1090 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I never got the impression that Ron Paul necessarily HATED Israel, I just got the impression that he shared a view that we could be allies, yet not act the way we do. Even Ralph Nader sort of has that view, hell I have that view simply because I believe that Israel has the right to self determination without us scrutinizing every movement they make.

I'm honestly wondering though if a President Paul would've acknowledged that the Armenians were victims of genocide though.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Agreed. That was bad wording. I simply meant that he didn't supported it feverently.
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(1 Reply)
:iconwilji1090:
wilji1090 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Here ya go! [link]
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice! I think should share this.
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:iconwilji1090:
wilji1090 Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Be my guest :D
Reply
:icondruid69:
druid69 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013
I don't think that the simple use of the word fascism with some vaguely defined key terms constitutes a definition of the principles involved. Comparing Mussolini and Hitler with Bush and Obama is ridiculous. You have to get generic enough to become irrelevant as to actual occurrences in Italy and Germany during their Axis alliance.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Then you should Read "As We Go Marching" as Flynn elaborates on the subject in detail.

True, Bush and Obama are not 100 percent fascists...but at this point, they come fearfully close.
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:iconmike-the-cat:
Mike-the-cat Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No political ideology is safe from fascism, not even anarchism:
[link]
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:iconbullmoose1912:
BullMoose1912 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How can you have a hierarchical structure like in fascism yet have anarchism which is meant to be non-hierarchical?
That never made sense to me.
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:iconmike-the-cat:
Mike-the-cat Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Tribal mentality?

No offense, but restricting free trade never made sense to me in the context of anarchism/libertarianism either.
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:iconbullmoose1912:
BullMoose1912 Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Now I'm honestly not so sure, especially since left-libertarianism has an emphasis on "free association" in lieu of government and everything being voluntary.
I guess that's where "anarchism without adjectives" comes in.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
National Anarchism? That's just an oxymoron!
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:iconskulkey:
skulkey Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
i thought the same when i first saw that.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Makes as much sense as being a free-market communist or an atheist Christian.
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