--Facts and Fascism, 1943
We suffer in the U.S. from an unfortunate reluctance to recognize and name the resurgence of fascist ideology around the world. In part this is because we are not taught in our schools what fascism was or is. We hold ourselves up as a model of democracy while half the eligible citizens rarely feel motivated to vote, and we are bombarded with advertising that tells us that freedom is the ability to purchase four different varieties of Coca-Cola at 7-11.
Some have argued that the main potential threat of fascism comes from a bipartisan government increasingly willing to employ repressive and authoritarian solutions to societal problems during a time of economic decline. Political analyst William Pfaff is one of the few mainstream analysts who warns that an unconscious strain of American fascism is influencing national affairs. Writing in the Chicago Tribune with a Paris dateline of March, 1987, Pfaff concluded that the actions of the Reagan Administration during the Iran-Contra scandal revealed "a pattern of conduct and a state of mind among important people in this administration which must be described as an American style of fascism. I would prefer to avoid that term, but it is the only one in the modern political vocabulary that adequately describes" the situation.
Given the upsurge of nationalism, jingoistic patriotism, militarism, scapegoating, and race-baiting practiced by both the Reagan and Bush Administrations, a discussion of the proto-fascist elements in U.S. domestic and foreign policy is not unwarranted. At the same time, it is hyperbole to describe the current political climate in the U.S. as fascist. Yet it clearly is an error to assume that anyone who opposes repressive aspects of U.S. policy is an anti-fascist, or upholds democratic principles.
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