Identifying the Black Shoots of Fascism

If any lesson has been learned in recent years, it should be that achieving democracy does not constitute “the end of history.” Leaving aside the degree to which any society ever has “achieved” democracy, to do so would be more like a mountain climber gaining the peak – the view is splendid, but living there takes effort. Nothing is easier than sliding back down the peak of democracy.

The weeds of authoritarianism or outright fascism sprout easily in fertile democratic soil. Authoritarian figures like nothing better than to exploit the  civil liberties of democracy in order to kill it. It is not clear that even a perfect democracy would be stable, but certainly no known democratic society–especially one with a population as ignorant and amenable to manipulation by politicians with private agendas as that of the U.S.–can be considered stable. A democratic society is a mountain climber perched on a very slippery slope.
Everyone who values civil liberties should keep their eyes peeled for the following (short list of) the black shoots of fascism. Do you see any sprouting in the garden of your democracy?

Black Shoots of Fascism

Patriotism tests for professors
Police failing to prevent mass ethnic violence
Violence against civil rights activists
Public figures attacking patriotism of peace activists
Public figures calling for murder of foreign leaders
Arrests of investigative journalists
Arrests of people meeting dissidents
Government closing of critical newspapers
Building “security walls” that enclose minorities
Advocating the expulsion of a minority
Police violence against peaceful demonstrators
Arresting activists on the basis of vague, non-falsifiable charges
Paramilitary violence
The open protection by police or the military of paramilitary gangs committing violence
Outlawing the language of a minority
Advocacy of war
Glorification of violence
Advocacy of nuclear aggression
Advocacy of preventive war

Pull them up while they are small.


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