Oct 8, 2015

What Is Soft Fascism, Anyway?

By Stephen Elliott-Buckley / politicsrespun.org

I keep writing about soft fascism. Why is that, anyway?

Soft fascism is a process of anti-democratic governing that is not as overtly totalitarian or authoritarian as more historically memorable fascist states. Soft fascist governing has features like:

corrupt electoral processes

legislative tactics that undermine democratic engagement

warrantless monitoring of citizens

limiting the time that legislatures sit

silencing of public servants

disregarding court rulings against legislative abuses

criminalizing dissent

Naomi Wolf’s 2007 book, The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, and her article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper helped begin an analysis of how relatively free societies can begin to close, with fascist tactics, while remaining ostensibly free societies. Thus, the fascism is of a softer variety.

Also in 2007, US Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul began talking about soft fascism, referring to the military-industrial complex and corporatism as motivating a reduction in civil liberties.

Groups, people and actions emerging or growing since 2007 that oppose soft fascist governance include the Indignados, those opposing corporate rights treaties and agreements, the Occupy MovementEdward SnowdenAnonymous (group)The Yes MenChelsea Manning, and WikiLeaks.

Here’s the basic question: does the action of a government enhance or inhibit democracy, civil rights and freedom? These days, while feeling like the frog in the slowing boiling pot, we need to be aware of the hot water. If we don’t jump out, it’s our fault.

 

Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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