How Fascism Works

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Fascism and how it works. Jason Stanley draws on a wide range of history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory to define fascism. Explain its mechanisms, and help people identify its red flags. At its most basic level, fascism is simply a movement that achieves power by dividing a population.

 

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A country can have fascist strains without actually being fascistic. And he identifies myriad seeds of authoritarianism in U.S. history, from the Confederacy and the Jim Crow South—which inspired Hitler—to the more recent birther movement and the rise of Trump. More generally he cites ten hallmarks of fascism, such as the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, and unreality; on the rise today, these must be resisted if we are to stop fascism from gaining hold here.

Jason Stanley (born October 12, 1969) is an American philosopher. Currently Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University in New Haven, CT. He is best known for his contributions to the philosophy of language and epistemology, which often draw upon and have influence in other fields including linguistics and cognitive science. He has also written for a popular audience at the New York Times philosophy blog “The Stone”. In his more recent work, he has brought tools from philosophy of language and epistemology to bear on questions of political philosophy, especially in his 2015 book How Propaganda Works.

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.

Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.

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