An Examination of Bush Fascism
Tj Templeton, founder/director Project for the Old American Century
The expansion of democracy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries intensified the antidemocratic reaction of conservative authoritarianism. Starting first in Italy as an antidemocratic and antisocialist movement after WWI, fascism is in essence the twentieth century version of age old tendencies in politics. Like democracy, it is a universal phenomenon, and it appeared in different forms and varieties in accordance with national traditions and circumstances.
Fascism is a postdemocratic political system and cannot be understood except as a reaction to democracy. Fascism is not possible in countries with no democratic experience at all: in such countries dictatorship may be based on the army, bureaucracy, and church, but it will lack the element of mass enthusiasm and participation characteristic of fascism. Fascism learned from democracy the value of popular support for national policies, and it sought to manufacture popular support by propaganda and fear. Evidence of this manipulation of fear can be seen both in the color-coded terror alert system, the false statements made to the U.N. before the invasion of Iraq, and this video montage of the Republican National Convention (.mov file)
True democracy holds respect for all views, left and right, and all citizens are allowed a political voice free from persecution for their political views. The United States' slide towards fascism began with the elimination of the far left from the political dialogue. To date, the socialist and communist factions of our society have been all but silenced, and currently even the most timid of liberalism has been demonized. The only recognizable elements of our current political discourse are the centrists and the extreme far right. The philosophy of truly liberal democrats such as Dennis Kucinich and the deceased Paul Wellstone exists now on the fringe of American politics. This comes in sharp contrast to the time when the American communist party inflamed workers to form labor unions and worker protections and ideas such as the Social Security program were adopted from the Socialist party platform. The uber-"patriotic" right-wing support your troops crowd might be shocked to learn that the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist.
There is no Little red book or manifesto of fascism; it cannot be gathered from one systematic treatise but must be culled from various sources that express thought and opinion as much as political philosophy. For this reason, the Project for the Old American Century has compiled a table comparing the research done by three critics of fascism. Each writer has detailed 14 defining characteristics of fascism pulled from the examination of the regimes of Mussolini, Pinochet, Franco, Hitler, Suharto, and others. The order has been slightly rearranged to better reflect the similarities and discrepancies: