Creeping fascism

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Creeping fascism is a political term that describes the circumstances where governments increase their legal powers and/or use illegal powers without censure, particularly when laws controlling social behaviour are introduced with popular support but without empirical evidence that they are effective, and are not subsequently revoked despite popular opposition. Leaders in government and society also harness propaganda and the media to "indulge in feverish rhetoric and stoke paranoia."[1]

Illegal search, illegal seizure, secret prisons, torture, state-sponsored murder, illegal wiretapping, manipulation of elections, etc. are at the extreme end as democracy devolves into fascism.[2]

The phenomenon - and the consequences - were observed by James Madison. He said in 1788, "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."[3]

This is the process that led to the successful rise of Nazism under Adolf Hitler, while Germany was still an otherwise healthy democracy[clarification needed] between 1930 and 1932. Naomi Wolf provides a detailed analysis of how fascism grows, in her presentation entitled "The End of America"[2], outlining both how it is done as well as why it works. She refers to the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin and draws parallels with the abridgement of freedoms in modern-day America.

This is not to say that totalitarian fascism is the pre-determined outcome of the phenomenon of creeping fascism, nor that creeping fascism is always a tool of power-hungry individuals or organizations. However as Naomi Wolf describes, it becomes very difficult to reverse the course and may reach a tipping point.

Referring to events in America post-9/11, Charles Sullivan writes

As a result of decades of complacency created in part by the fog of television, and the ongoing corporatization of the government, the American people find themselves the victims of creeping fascism. Like the proverbial frog placed in a pot of warm water upon a lighted stove, we hardly notice the gradual loss of our freedoms. By the time we awaken to reality—if we ever awaken—we will find ourselves parboiled. By then it will be too late to extricate ourselves. One by one our basic freedoms are being stolen from us by those who purport to represent our interests.[4]

Ray McGovern has cited wiretapping accusations by George W. Bush as examples of creeping fascism.[5]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Andrews, Geoff. "Italy’s creeping fascism"
  2. ^ a b Wolf, Naomi. Talk by Naomi Wolf author of "The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot" given October 11, 2007 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus
  3. ^ Madison, James. "Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on Control of the Military" June 16, 1788 in: History of the Virginia Federal Convention of 1788, vol. 1, p. 130 (H.B. Grigsby ed. 1890).
  4. ^ Sullivan, Charles. "Victims of Creeping Fascism"
  5. ^ McGovern, Ray. "Creeping Fascism: Lessons From the Past"
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