Recognizing fascism when you see it

We all have to be a little more honest about the reality of global fascism today.

Fascism is alive and well. In many countries, fascism is practically in charge.

There are many different definitions of fascism. But I like Roger Griffin’s definition of fascism as a revolutionary form of nationalism.

We all know what nationalism is: worshipping the flag, glorifying leaders, hating foreigners.

When nationalism becomes revolutionary, it means that it becomes violent and destructive. Political institutions, cultural norms, and human lives are destroyed if they stand in the way of a fascist order.

Doctors identify a deadly disease by the presence of symptoms. Similarly, we can recognize fascism through its symptoms.

Camps are a symptom of fascism. When a government builds camps -- labor camps, detention camps, death camps -- it means that it is willing to treat people like animals, or even worse than animals.

Propaganda is a symptom of fascism. Glorification of the military, glorification of the leader, and demonization of dissent are key elements of a fascist propaganda. When you see propaganda, it means that the government wants everyone to think the same.

Wars are a symptom of fascism. Fascist governments need outside enemies for people to hate. So they go to war in order to distract the population from internal problems. Fascist governments are militant, bloody, and imperial.

Conformity is a symptom of fascism. Everyone thinks the same, no one says anything different, and imagination has withered. At first, this happens willingly, with people deciding it’s too difficult to think differently. Later, conformity is imposed by a brutal police state.

Torture and the death penalty are symptoms of fascism. The government uses torture and the death penalty as examples of its cruelty. It wants to show the world that it does not care about corporeal dignity of any given person. It is willing to inflict pain and to kill in order to accomplish what it wants.

Silence is a symptom of fascism. People are silent in the face of terror. They are silent because to do anything else is to risk pain, suffering and their own death.

Look honestly at the world. Look to see the growing signs of fascism. I see them everywhere. Even here.