Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt 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.
I have added to it some recent examples and how it looks for us...
These 14 characteristics are (with my fill in of connectors):
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
This is constantly seen on the conservative front, granted liberals do wave the flag but they dont present it as a must follow or get the hell out scenario. This connects to the discriminatory nature of Conservatives as well as the nationalist ideology of 'anything against must be destroyed or put out' (see below).
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.
Overwhelmingly seen in the conservative movement. Denying racism (or sexism) is occurring, saying there are no race issues or they are over with, so get over it. As well as denying things are happening or pointing the other way to divert attention away (calling the white spot anything BUT chicken shit). Anti-gay rhetoric can just as easily be connected here as a denial of basic human rights (Don't Ask Don't Tell, Anti-Gay Marriage) and open discrimination.
Remember torture was justified and used by the Bush administration and people defending the use argued the U.S. is no longer bound by the Geneva Convention, the human rights agreement the U.S. was fervently behind in its creation, and a standard we have consistently held others to. People argued that suddenly "waterboarding" is not torture although it has been considered torture by the U.S. and the world since the technique was used during the Spanish Inquisition.
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.
In the religious right they point toward Atheist (religious Minorities) and science (generally) as a common enemy undermining the "values of the country" and making connecting claims of socialist and communist agendas (nationalism). Constantly attacking any liberalism as Socialism/Communism without a full or even rudimentary understanding of what either of them really are. Openly pointing at various representatives as Socialist/Communist and in some rare cases outright calling individuals terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.
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.
Historically the most spending for military budget has mostly been conservative movement/elements, excluding times of war. Conservatives overwhelmingly support strong defense spending. You will hear from them constantly how mighty we are, how vastly superior our military is, and at the same time prop military personnel or actions on a pedestal glorifying the person or deed. Don't get me wrong some individuals deserve the prop up, but not all, not in the sense of glamorizing them. There is no doubt of the sacrifice these men and women give in order to maintain our freedoms, but isn't that what they signed up for? Take care of them, provide them the much needed care they need during and after the conflict, but to glamorize and centralize war through the warrior, is despicable.
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.
Notice he says tend to be dominated, not exclusive. But women in conservative circles tend to be downplayed. Current the hot button topics are, abortion (pro-life and redefining life), Anti-Gay Marriage (rights) which is inextricably linked to homophobia, I have heard many a conservative state "gays should be tagged" with something to "identify them" (akin to the Jews in Germany during WWII) make it easier to "find the degenerates" or even in extreme cases deported or shot.
6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes the 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.
This is tricky on the conservative part, I think to draw attention away from the fascism roots inherent in the nature of the movement, but they label the media as liberal. This is laughable as MOST media sources tend to be RIGHT of center in this country, NPR is the Most centrist and the Conservatives have attacked it on three separate occasions now as too Liberal. CNN is a bit left of center and constantly under fire from the conservatives. But truth be told most sources are right of center and the biggest mouth box for the conservatives is conservative owned and calling itself news, which tends mostly to be opinion.
7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
No brainier here. Conservatives like their war and warfare, anything that can be taken as a threat to national security will be met with open hostility and attacks. Even if the likely hood of such a thing is remote. The conservative movement pushes for things like HR-1528 (2005), which is STILL tied up in subcommittee. This bill would REQUIRE you to spy on your neighbor and if you witness suspicious behavior and fail to report it, and you will go to jail. This is fascism at it finest, do this or else face consequences (jail, deportation, torture, death).
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.
There is no doubt religion is intertwined within our government, and the is no way an openly atheist person can get elected to any post in this country, NONE, you openly admit as such and you are essentially blackballed. In at least 4 state your legally blocked by their constitutions from being able to hold office. you will hear from especially the conservatives how important religion is to them and openly.
Not only is religion parroted by elected officials as buzz words for the church going community, but it goes much deeper than that. There is a dichotomy in America between our constitution, which provides equal rights for all, and the religious perspective of a totalitarian god. The two will not work together and we see this confusion in America today. How can the average Christian resolve the contradiction between the bible and the constitution. Love your neighbor, homosexuality is an abomination to god, everyone is created equal. These all seem to say contradictory things. It's apparent that the bible is unconstitutional, so what does the Christian do? They seek to change or reinterpret the constitution which usually takes the form of a denial of reason to those unfettered by religious dogma. Is it any wonder that we look at religious conservatives as mental? They are the most confused people in the land.
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.
The Conservative party in this country receives most of its money, support, and friendship from, Corporates ties. the largest financial supporter by far is big money like oil, manufacturing, banks, financial corporations, and brokers. So much so that the average voter feels there is no power in the government of the people, that it all centers on special interests.
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 .
It is well know and well documented that Conservative don't support labor. Oh, they claim to be for the working man but constantly denounce unions and labor organizations. If they could revert to just the recent past where unions could be strong armed they would in a heartbeat. Constantly belittling unions and attacking them in ads, but secondary mentioning or connecting them to liberal affiliations, during election races. In everyday conversations with Conservative Unions are counted as the number one reason for economic problems in the country, never the corporations themselves. Suppressing labor is an ultimate goal of the conservatives.
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.
This is a without saying issue, "the LIBERAL colleges are brainwashing our children from true values in the country", "liberal institutions are forcing god our of the class room (recall religion and government)", "The communist liberal control the higher education institutions".Constantly see this from the Conservatives.
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.
Conservatives are staunch death penalty supporters, and strongly advocate punishment over rehabilitation. In their eyes you do a crime you are less than worthless, until you serve your time. Oh wait, even after you time is served, as Conservative owned and operated businesses are habitually the lowest to hire offenders in the system. Civil liberties are definitely secondary to rule of law in the conservative wing. Examples of such have been recorded throughout history in the US, look at the civil rights marches in the 60's. Many of today's conservative deny this period and point out it was Democrat ruled governments doing the deeds, but in fact the Southern Democrats were notorious conservatives (and the later Dixiecrats) in the day.
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.
Ah The Good ole Boy system, outlawed after the Teapot Dome scandal, but still very much in effect today. Both parties are notorious for this however, simply because you want supportive members working with you and behind you in government. I don't know if there has been research as to either side having more or less of this occurring, but I would be willing to bet its strong on the religious based conservative network, it is definitely prevalent in their churches, organizations, and groups.
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.
Gerrymandering , district redrawing accepted practice by both parties though commonly downplayed by conservatives and definitely berated by liberals, smear campaigns of both parties (commonplace these days). Media manipulation is clear and seen in the prior mas media control issue. Assassination? possibly but hard to prove, many conspiracy theories are abound and definitely circulate about such occurrences.
So in conclusion, all in all, both sides are in this to some degree but overwhelmingly the conservative moment has the most presence in the whole of the 14 points. they by far exhibit the strongest characteristics for fascism in the whole of the country, its no wonder the likes of the KKK, Aryan Brotherhood, Aryan Nation, Nationalist Socialist Party, and various other right wing militant fringe groups, have aligned themselves with the conservative elements in our country. By far, no one embodies more the ideas of fascism then the conservatives here in the US. How long until this rises up and bites up in the ass? Who knows for sure? But one thing is for sure unless we get this under control soon we are facing a civil war in the future as these elements get more and more out of control and more radical.