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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Clearly, minority rights being superceded to a great extent by the interests of the state is a pre-requisite, but it's a pre-requisite for all totalitarianism, not just fascism.

    I managed to come up with four features which are common in fascism. They can all appear elsewhere, although in milder forms, but fascist states have historically exhibited all or almost all of them to extremes.

    • leadership cult: fascism always has a strong leader, although there can be a certain degree of manipulation of who is presented as the leader (eg the Japanese emperor was just a figurehead);
    • violence: fascist states are maintained by pervasive violence or fear of violence. While the use of violence is theoretically confined to agents of the state, the state generally turns a blind eye to violence by civilians provided it's directed at those the rulers perceive as being a threat to them. Such violence might even be encouraged, especially during the establishment of fascism;
    • social conservatism;
    • definition in terms of The Other: no state defines itself as fascist. It's always "not communist", "not Jewish", and so on. Fascism likes to have a visible enemy, and will manufacture one from whole cloth if they lack the imagination to come up with a real enemy. Those enemies are sufficient in number to be hard to wipe out (yay, perpetual war) but few enough that the majority can't think off the top of their head of anyone they like who would be affected. This is where the social conservatism comes in - being down on gays, mixed marriages, oddball religions etc gives lots of enemies of the right sort.

    As always in politics, everything is a shade of grey. All states ride rough-shod over the interests of some people. Strong leadership can be found in the most liberal of democracies, and so on.