More on the "F word"
July 17, 2006
Dear Editor:Sue Gray caused a bit of a stir recently (Letters to the Editor, July 6) when she dared to use the “F-word” – fascism – in describing the United States government. This is a serious charge she makes, particularly in light of the fact that some 300,000 U.S. soldiers died to defeat fascism in WWII.To help shed light on this issue, I wonder if it would be helpful to consider the results of a study of the fascist regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, France, Suharto, and Pinochet, conducted by Dr. Lawrence Britt. He teased out 14 identifying characteristics of fascism summarized below:1. Powerful and continuing nationalism employing constant use of patriotic slogans, symbols, songs, and flags.2. Disdain for the recognition of human rights because security needs outweigh human rights.3. Using enemies as scapegoats for a unifying cause.4. Supremacy of the military.5. Rampant sexism including more rigid gender roles and anti-gay legislation.6. Controlled mass media.7. Obsession with national security driven by a politics of fear.8. Religion and government are intertwined, especially in rhetoric employed by its leaders.9. Corporate power is protected. Industrial and business aristocracies put government leaders into power and keep them there, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship.10. Labor power, which represents one of the few threats to fascism, is suppressed.11. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts and hostility to higher education, along with censorship of arts or refusal to support the arts.12. Obsession with crime and punishment.13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.14. Fraudulent elections. These findings raise red flags for many Americans today. What do you think? Is all well and good in the land of plenty, or is there cause for alarm that our own government increasingly meets these characteristics? “We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds … Will our inward power of resistance be strong enough for us to find our way back?” – Dietrich Bonhoffer Jim ChenowethNew Castle