- Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of
Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia)
and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics
common to each:
- 1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes
tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs,
and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols
on clothing and in public displays.
- 2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because
of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes
are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because
of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve
of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of
- 3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying
Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the
need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or
religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
- 4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
- domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate
amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers
and military service are glamorized.
- 5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations
tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional
gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are
suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the
- 6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly
controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly
controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople
and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
- 7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as
a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
- 8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments
in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as
a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology
is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion
are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.
- 9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and
business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the
government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government
relationship and power elite.
- 10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing
power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions
are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
- 11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist
nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education,
and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to
be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is
- 12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist
regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The
people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil
liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force
with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
- 13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes
almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint
each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority
to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist
regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or
even outright stolen by government leaders.
- 14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist
nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear
campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of
legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries,
and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their
judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
- From Liberty Forum