A better word for fascism

Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 12:22 pm
I’ve been told over and over again that fascism is too strong a word, or that the word fascism has been abused to the point it no longer has any meaning. This is in the context of American politics. So what word should be used?
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Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 12:23 pm
It depends on the context of the scenario to which you're referring. How about some examples?
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 12:50 pm
I’d rather not taint the outcome of this little unscientific survey with any of my personal biases or examples. I’d prefer to see at what threshold the word fascist can be used, and if any consensus can be reached to describe the “ism” used just prior to reaching that threshold.
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Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 12:53 pm
Nothing could be more dangerous than to suppose that "fascism" is a meaningless word nowadays. Just because some people are lazy enough and ignorant enough to call anyone they disagree with "fascists", that does not mean that Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, the Romanian Iron Guard, and the others in Hungary, Brazil and other countries were not accurately described as leaders of Fascist movements, or that there are not fascist tendencies in many modern political movements.

Does this sound familiar?


...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 restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Robert Paxton The Anatomy of Fascism

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Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 02:12 pm
chad3006 wrote:
So what word should be used?

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Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2010 02:59 pm
Because it is such a loaded term, its use should probably be limited to historical instances: the governments and rule of Franco, Mussolini, and Hitler. There are other words that can describe other totalitarian dictatorships that at the same time avoids demagoguery and propaganda.

The current use of the word, as the "definition" above indicates, can be so general and vague enough to include all sorts of political phenomena while at the same time, of course, carrying the mental images of concentration camps, Nuremberg rallies, and dancing in front of the Eiffel Tower.

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