Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
Disdain for the importance of human rights.
Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
A controlled mass media.
Obsession with national security.
Religion and ruling elite tied together.
Power of corporations protected.
Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
Obsession with crime and punishment.
Rampant cronyism and corruption.
Britt came up with these after studying seven fascist regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. (Read the article for more.)
Fascism may be defined as 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.
I believe that the ideas that underlie fascist actions are best deduced from those actions, for some of them remain unstated and implicit in fascist public language. Man of them belong more to the realm of visceral feelings than tot he realm of reasoned propositions. [I call] them "mobilizing passions":
a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;
the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;
dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
the need for authority by natural chiefs (always male), culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's historical destiny;
the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason;
the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the groups success;
the right of the chosen people to dominate other without restraint from any human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess within a Darwinian struggle.
Fascism according to this definition, as well as behavior in keeping with these feelings, is still visible today. Fascism exists [in a preliminary stage] within all democratic countries -- not excluding the United States. "Giving up free institutions," especially the freedoms of unpopular groups, is recurrently attractive to citizens of Western democracies, including some Americans.
[Typos mine -- Ed]
Update 2: In 1995, Umberto Eco published in the New York Review of Books an essay on "Ur-Fascism", or "Eternal Fascism," an excerpt from which was subsequently published in the Utne Reader. Eco has his own list of 14 characteristics of ur-fascism, which he introduced in this way:
In spite of some fuzziness regarding the difference between various historical forms of fascism, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.
Eco's 14 characteristic are these (see the article itself for more specifics):
The first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.
Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.
Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.
The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism.
Besides, disagreement is a sign of diversity.
Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.
To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.
The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.
For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.
Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.
In such a perspective everybody is educated to become a hero.
Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters.
Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say.
Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.
Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, "I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares." Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt's words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: "If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land." Freedom and liberation are an unending task.
Update (8/31): To see if the nonce characterisation "Islamofascist" (or "Islamic fascist") makes any particular sense, Digby looks to the writings of Mussolini, the founder of the original fascismo movement, for his definition of fascism. Here are the bullet points:
The Fascist accepts life and loves it, knowing nothing of and despising suicide: he rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, but above all for others -- those who are at hand and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after...
The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality -- thus it may be called the "ethic" State
The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.