The United States of America has been always known as a country ardently fighting for human rights. However, in the light of the latest events, the experts on right-wing politics and culture continue claiming that the country is confidently moving towards becoming a fascist state. Fascism can be defined as “a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity” (Robinson para. 6), though this is still not a full definition of this notion. Fascism is believed to have originated in Italy with Benito Mussolini being the first to practice it. Fascism rose in Italy after the First World War when the country’s democracy was weak and corrupt. The Doctrine of Fascism which was approved by Mussolini at the period of his ruling treated every person as a species that should be constantly at war. Mussolini viewed himself as a Roman Emperor, which, by the way, was common for all the fascist leaders, such as Hitler, for instance. Hitler’s Nazism is often referred to as fascism, regardless of the scholars’ trying to keep these two concepts apart. For ordinary people, there is no distinction between these concepts because both of them entail terror, sufferings, and deaths of innocent people who became victims of dictatorial power and racist pseudo-ideology. Such leaders as Mussolini and Hitler will always be remembered as tyrants who placed their own goals over the needs of ordinary people; they will never stop provoking aversion, antipathy, and fear for what they have done with the societies of their times. Though what is currently taking place in the United States is not even close to Mussolini’s or Hitler’s ruling, there are still evident signs of the fact that America is gradually turning into a fascist country. Laurence Britt, a political scientist, has identified fourteen common threads between different fascist regimes, such as those of Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, Pinochet, and others. An objective consideration of these points allows affirming that America is gradually turning into a fascist country. These points include:
- Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism;
- Disdain for the importance of human rights;
- Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause;
- The supremacy of military;
- Rampant sexism;
- A controlled mass media;
- Obsession with national security;
- Religion and ruling elite tied together;
- Power of corporations protected;
- Power of labor suppressed or eliminated;
- Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts;
- Obsession with crime and punishment;
- Rampant cronyism and corruption;
- Fraudulent election (Britt pars. 6-19).
The most vivid signs of the fact that the United States of America is on the way to becoming a fascist state are its conservatism which has been based on fascist themes and led to the formation of the Ku-Klux-Klan and the like groups having racist convictions; the other signs are the supremacy of military and the government’s control over mass media.
America’s building of conservatism
To begin with, America’s conservatism as such has been built on fascist themes and its presence in modern society accounts for racial and sexual discrimination which was widespread in the country over the past several centuries. America started exhibiting the first signs of fascism already in the second half of the nineteenth century when the first Ku-Klux Klan was formed as a reaction to the post-Civil War Reconstruction. This makes America equal with Italy in terms of vulnerability to fascism, because the Klan emerged at the time when the country was the weakest. Apart from the Klan, there emerged several other rural movements which used to “come together to restore a broken social order, always drawing on themes of unity, order, and purity” (Robinson, para. 8). Each of them was aimed at restoring national pride and resurrecting cultural myths and values; such plans, as a rule, included eliminating everything which, according to the movements supporters’ beliefs, made their culture weak.
They saw non-white people as a main obstacle for the country’s cultural revival this is why eradicating them from society became their main goal. Jews, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian people, etc were the victims of this discrimination; they never gave up easily this is why their fight for their rights and freedoms lasted for several centuries and is still not over. Racial animosity can be observed in modern American society because modern conservatism has been built on the convictions that impure races hinder the development of the country. The modern examples of racist groups are anti-immigrant groups sanctioned by the Republican Party which make the lives of Hispanic agricultural workers unbearable (Robinson para. 11). The violence against Hispanic people in general increases daily in the country, but nothing has been done so far to stop it, for the government remains inactive regarding this issue. Hispanics, however, are not the only minorities who are being terrorized. African Americans are also still being discriminated against, regardless of all the anti-discrimination policies which the government has adopted and enforced. Since every fascist movement in history can be characterized by racial discrimination, America can also be regarded as turning into a fascist country, and the inability of its government to deal with this problem points to its reluctance to do so.
Another sign of America’s becoming a fascist state is the supremacy of the military which can be currently observed and which has always been essential for the United States. It is hard to disagree with the fact that at present “the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding” (“14 Points of Fascism: The Warning Signs” para. 4), while the domestic agenda is being hardly paid any attention to. This was especially true in the times of the Bush administration when children insurance and the like domestic programs were cut, whereas around $75 million were spent for Pentagon’s new brigades and $12 million were being spent for Iraq war every month (“14 Points of Fascism: The Warning Signs” para. 4).
The United States military is being used as an expression of nationalism because the government turns to it “whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite” (Britt para.9). This can be regarded as one more proof of America’s turning into a fascist state. Pride in the military is America’s brightest expression of nationalism. Its flags, catchy slogans, and calls for unity have long become extremely popular in the rest of the world with some of the cultures adopting the American way of life and even military discipline. The country can indeed be proud of its army because it is well-organized, loyal, and responsible, but quite often America seems to be too confident in its military forces. This confidence is displayed without any ceremony and American military people are often justified for breaking laws or using force against other citizens.
Control over mass media
Finally, America’s controlled mass media is also an evident sign of the county’s turning into a fascist one. The media can be controlled either directly by the government or indirectly by government regulation, or “sympathetic media spokespeople and executives” (“14 Points of Fascism: The Warning Signs” para. 6); in any of these cases, mass media is closely related to the government and hardly ever strays from the party line. The methods used by other fascist states to control the media included “the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats” (Britt para. 11).
Though America does not practice these methods yet, there still were cases when the government concealed information from the public when the editors were forbidden to republish works of the foreign writers, and when the Whitehouse used to release fake news reports (“14 Points of Fascism: The Warning Signs” para. 6). Censorship has always been common for fascist states, especially in wartime. If the government prohibits the disclosure of information, this, as a rule, means that it has something to conceal from the public. Though the latter might not be interested in some of the governmental affairs, it still wishes to know what is going on in the country, and, concealing this information from it, the government risks being accused of the regime’s excesses. Control over the mass media makes it dependent on the government and undermines the citizens’ trust in the latter. Though this control is not as rigid as other fascist governments used to have, it still allows referring America to a country with fascist characteristics.
Thus, though America cannot be named a fascist country, it can still be stated that it is moving to become such. Out of fourteen points outlined by Laurence Britt, three testify to the fact that America exhibits features of a fascist state. They are expressing racist themes and nationalism, exhibiting the supremacy of the military, and controlling mass media. America has long been the country where non-white people have been oppressed and it is only in the twentieth century that the government started fighting racial discrimination. However, even today African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups are limited in their rights and often pursued.
The government is often aware of these pursuits; moreover, in the case of the Republican Party, the government initiates these pursuits. The country seems to be more preoccupied with its military, rather than the welfare of citizens, regardless of their skin color. It seems to believe that its mightiness consists namely in its army; it is extremely proud of it this is why the military gets the funding that could be spent for domestic needs. This means that the supremacy of the military is indeed present in American society. Lastly, the government never stops controlling the media, which often results in society’s unawareness of certain data and even misinformation. These issues have to be dealt with as soon as possible for America not to go down in history as a fascist state.
- “14 Points of Fascism: The Warning Signs.” Old American Century. 2008: 14 pars.
Britt, Laurence W. “Fascism Anyone?” Free Inquiry Magazine. Volume 23, Number 2: 20 pars. 2009.
Robinson, Sara. “Fascist America: Are We There Yet?” OurFuture.org. 2009: 28 pars.