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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » "Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism"

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Author Topic: "Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism"
philnotfil
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Or just people in large groups?

rense.com

The first few, just to wet your whistle:
quote:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.


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Pete at Home
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[Roll Eyes]

Those are common characteristics of fascism but not *defining* characteristics, as they appear, even in that exact grouping, in some notably NON-fascist systems, e.g. one period in the early USSR (late in Lenin's life and early in Stalin's reign, for example). Maoist China was another 5/5. Communist Cuba was at least 3.66/5, since abortion and homosexuality were suppressed but not divorce.

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Adam Masterman
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Pete, there are 14, not just five. And without too much analysis, I would have to say that the list is pretty accurate. Fascism is hard to define, because its more an endpoint of certain governmental trends than an ideology in and of itself. Nationalism is the common ideology, and I think that, unchecked, it alone tends to produce the other 13 results.
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Pete at Home
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My post specifically addressed the 5 that Phil chose to post here, which seemed chosen by calculation to imply that Republicans are fascist. Which is as much wishful thinking as saying that Stalin and Mao and Fidel Castro were fascists.

[ September 09, 2012, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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philnotfil
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I'm pretty sure that no matter which point I stopped on, you would have been able to speculate that my motive was to imply that the Republicans are fascist.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
I'm pretty sure that no matter which point I stopped on, you would have been able to speculate that my motive was to imply that the Republicans are fascist.

You are wrong:

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

I would not have speculated that those related to Republicans.


Setting aside your speculations about what I was speculating about, was your point to finger Republicans for fascist, in the same style that Faux Knews impugns Obama with "socialism"?

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seekingprometheus
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Umm, Pete:
quote:
Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
You didn't hear about what happened between the government and the unions in Wisconsin recently? I think that one of the political parties took a "suppress union power" stance there, trying to remember who was on which side...
quote:
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
Hmm.

I suppose that whether the Republicans are against artsy-fartsy intellectuals is a debatable point. But I do think that there are a lot of liberals who portray Republicans as anti-intellectuals.

All 14 points seem like they were selected by an author who was actually trying to highlight perceived commonalities between Republicans and fascists. This was apparently written in 2003. I wonder if there was anyone from the left comparing Bush and the Republicans to fascists a couple of years after Bush/Gore--back while he was dragging us into Iraq...

Nope. Can't remember any acrimony between the parties at that time. Can't imagine anyone coming up with a list of "fascist" characteristics that would match contemporary criticisms of Republicans to express outrage about what the party in power was doing--not in 2003. Not in that golden era of bipartisan cooperation, mutual respect and understanding...

[ September 09, 2012, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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Pete at Home
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"I think that one of the political parties took a "suppress union power" stance there, trying to remember who was on which side..."

"Severely?" Compared to, say, what FDR did during WWII?

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Setting aside your speculations about what I was speculating about, was your point to finger Republicans for fascist, in the same style that Faux Knews impugns Obama with "socialism"?

Reread the first sentence of my original post.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Setting aside your speculations about what I was speculating about, was your point to finger Republicans for fascist, in the same style that Faux Knews impugns Obama with "socialism"?

Reread the first sentence of my original post.
quote:
Or just people in large groups?
Ah!

Thank you for the correction. Glad you're not playing counterpart to Faux Knews.

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seekingprometheus
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Pete:
quote:
"Severely?" Compared to, say, what FDR did during WWII?
I wouldn't know what the comparison touchstone would be. You'd have to ask the author for his own subjective values on word selection--since he's the one pretending to verbally delineate the definitive characteristics of "groups that can be compared to the Nazis."

But, rather than groping blindly at touchstones, I can just peer into my little motive-speculation seerstone, and there, my vision of the author is of the type of guy who might have used the word "severe" to describe what Walker et al did, sure. And, more relevantly, when I put on these motive spectacles, I see the author as the type of guy who wouldn't come right out and compare a faction to the Nazis, but he just possibly might compile a list of ways in which the faction compares to the Nazis, and then publish it as a definition of what it is that makes a Nazi...

What do you think?

[ September 10, 2012, 12:50 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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seekingprometheus
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By the way, after I used my handy motive spectacles to actually follow context correctly, I looked up the author--just to make sure my prescription is good.

It appears that this "article" is indeed mostly just a comment on how people in large groups distort truth (though I'm not sure if this is indicated in the way Phil intended). It turns out that this is all rumor hackery from an anti-Bush chain email:
quote:
During the 2004 election cycle, an email chain letter began circulating, attributed to one "Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist," who had apparently written a 14-point article listing the defining characteristics of fascist regimes. There was something to the email, and we'll get to it in a minute, but first let's address a few misconceptions. First of all, there is no "Dr. Lawrence Britt." The author of the 14-point fascism inventory, Laurence Britt, is a former corporate executive who wrote and published a dystopian novel about right-wing extremism, titled June 2004, during the height of the Lewinsky scandal. That is, to the best of my knowledge, his only published volume.

In the real June 2004, he achieved some level of fame with an op-ed published in the humanist magazine Free Inquiry. This op-ed was forwarded around from inbox to inbox, and readers eventually began putting a "Dr." in front of his name and referring to him as a political scientist who had compiled the fascism inventory independently of the Bush administration. He had not done so, and had never claimed to do so. The article was, and had always been intended to be, an argument against the Bush administration.

link

[ September 10, 2012, 01:16 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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Pete at Home
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Good PI work, sp. [Big Grin]
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drewmie
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I haven't read my local Daily Herald newspaper for years. It's written at a grade school level, and its biases are embarrassing. However, I just happened on one my father left at our house. The first thing I saw was an editorial expressing the opinion of the paper on the Chick-fil-A executive statement and the subsequent reaction.

The editorial mentioned the "free speech" aspect of people who encourage one another to support Chick-fil-A by eating there. And yet, when it came to people who encourage one another to boycott Chick-fil-A, they actually used the word "fascism." The word was even in the title of the editorial!

Now I've always considered Utah's Daily Herald a sad excuse for a paper, but I was shocked. I couldn't believe that an editor could allow such an article to be published. Regardless of one's opinion on the issue, the word was simply being horribly misused. Aren't these people educated? Do they have the slightest clue about any definition of fascism? A junior high school student would lose some serious points if they tried to use such hyperbole in an assignment.

Anyway, it reminded me why I don't read that pathetic rag.

[ September 10, 2012, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Pete at Home
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Interesting. I googled "Chick fil A fascism," and informed myself on the news. Sounds like Rahm Emanuel has proven himself quite the little whore:


"In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared that Chick-fil-A did not represent "Chicago values," and suggested that Chick-fil-A invest its money elsewhere. Chicago, by the way, has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation among major cities, so it seems odd that its mayor would tell Chick-fil-A to take a hike for having the exact same position on marriage that Emanuel's former boss — President Barack Obama — held the entire time Emanuel worked at the White House. Even more odd, at the same time Emanuel declared Chick-fil-A fast-fooda non grata, he rolled out the red carpet for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to have his acolytes patrol Chicago neighborhoods. Not only is Farrakhan a well-known anti-Semite, he also opposes same-sex marriage. In fact, Farrakhan publicly blasted Obama for flip-flopping on the issue in May."

Incidentally, Drewmie:

"Emanuel later backed down, but not one of the local aldermen, who still demanded a pledge from Cathy to quit associating with groups that oppose gay marriage as a prerequisite for a business permit."

Ideological screening of a business for getting a business permit DOES raise some red flags. "Fascist" might not quite be on point, but it's no hyperbole.

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drewmie
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Incidentally, Drewmie:

"Emanuel later backed down, but not one of the local aldermen, who still demanded a pledge from Cathy to quit associating with groups that oppose gay marriage as a prerequisite for a business permit."

Ideological screening of a business for getting a business permit DOES raise some red flags. "Fascist" might not quite be on point, but it's no hyperbole.

I disagree. As far as I'm concerned, elected officials can have the most insane, destructive, intolerant, ideological and restrictive attitudes around. But as long as we still elect officials who believe we have the right to fire them, it is not fascism. Not even close. In my opinion, fascism and free/fair/representative elections are mutually exclusive, and the word should never be used to describe anyone who accepts anything resembling a reasonably democratic process of selecting the government.

Some may consider that a bit too bright of a line to draw when the word "fascism" is itself far from having a completely clear definition. I agree, so why do I insist on that rule? Because "fascism" is so terribly loaded and pathetically overused that we have to start acting like alcoholics and just stop using it... unless they are ACTUALLY fascists. Things somewhat "resembling" fascism, the Nazis, or Adolph Hitler? No, sorry, leave it alone. Pick up a dictionary and use a more appropriate word.

P.S.- I feel the same way when I hear/read idiots talk/blog about how social programs or progressive taxes are communist things that erode our freedoms. What a load of crap. We could tax the 1% out of 99.9% of their money, and it still wouldn't be "destroying our democracy" as long as they can still vote!

P.P.S.- In case I haven't bloviated enough to make it clear, I can stomach just about any political opinion, but I have very little tolerance for political ideology. Ideology these days seems to be synonymous with "I have figured it all out and no longer wish to learn anything or accept that circumstances might change." People can call themselves the National Socialist Pedophile Communist Fascist Party, and if they make decisions based on what is helpful/effective/informed/caring and lack any need for enemies or retribution... they will have my vote.

[ September 11, 2012, 06:17 AM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
I agree, so why do I insist on that rule? Because "fascism" is so terribly loaded and pathetically overused that we have to start acting like alcoholics and just stop using it... unless they are ACTUALLY fascists. Things somewhat "resembling" fascism, the Nazis, or Adolph Hitler? No, sorry, leave it alone. Pick up a dictionary and use a more appropriate word.
We ought to have a sticky thread dedicated to all ornery comparisons to Hitler, Nazis, or fascists.

We can call it:

"You're na zirious!?"

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by drewmie:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Incidentally, Drewmie:

"Emanuel later backed down, but not one of the local aldermen, who still demanded a pledge from Cathy to quit associating with groups that oppose gay marriage as a prerequisite for a business permit."

Ideological screening of a business for getting a business permit DOES raise some red flags. "Fascist" might not quite be on point, but it's no hyperbole.

I disagree.
Disagreement requires understanding. I disagree that you read what I said carefully to meaningfully disagree with it.

I outlined the difference between misidentification and "hyperbole." Your response seems to entirely miss that point. If you call a rapist an arsonist, you've not indulged in "hyperbole." You've simply used the wrong bloody word.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
quote:
I agree, so why do I insist on that rule? Because "fascism" is so terribly loaded and pathetically overused that we have to start acting like alcoholics and just stop using it... unless they are ACTUALLY fascists. Things somewhat "resembling" fascism, the Nazis, or Adolph Hitler? No, sorry, leave it alone. Pick up a dictionary and use a more appropriate word.
We ought to have a sticky thread dedicated to all ornery comparisons to Hitler, Nazis, or fascists.

We can call it:

"You're na zirious!?"

Fascism has a better track record for human rights than state socialism.

Isn't Singapore essentially a fascist state, minus the military fetish?

Fascist Argentina likewise wasn't a disaster on the scale of the European fascist states.

Take away the horrid inhumane civil war, and Fascist Spain was relatively benign. (I use the phrase in the sense that a Cancer may be benign.)

The problem is that most folks are completely uneducated as to what fascism means, and simply apply it as if it was a hyperbole for conservative.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by drewmie:
I disagree. As far as I'm concerned, elected officials can have the most insane, destructive, intolerant, ideological and restrictive attitudes around. But as long as we still elect officials who believe we have the right to fire them, it is not fascism. Not even close. In my opinion, fascism and free/fair/representative elections are mutually exclusive, and the word should never be used to describe anyone who accepts anything resembling a reasonably democratic process of selecting the government.

That's a very good point.
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Pete at Home
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I strongly disagree. There's nothing about Fascism that requires predetermined elections. And it's simply a matter of history that Spain's fascist government was voted out after Franco died. Although the fascist movement itself did not die in Spain until King Juan Carlos refused to endorse the Spanish Coup d'Etat in the 1970s.

---
Edited to change "unfair" to "pre-determined," since when the government controls the media as in a Fascist state, any election is not going to be fair. My point is simply that in some fascist states, beating the fascists in the election is possible, and has been done, even though it was an uphill (unfair) battle.

[ September 11, 2012, 02:12 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
And it's simply a matter of history that Spain's fascist government was voted out after Franco died.

And I wasn't aware of that. So a good counter point.
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seekingprometheus
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quote:
The problem is that most folks are completely uneducated as to what fascism means, and simply apply it as if it was a hyperbole for conservative.
Well, there are various problems associated with tossing around comparisons to fascism--and lack of education is a perpetual problem--but hyperbole is actually hyperbole, I think.

I haven't seen folks suggest that fascism is correctly understood as an exaggerated form of conservatism. But when folks isolate instances of oppressive cultural containment/enforcment--whether perpetrated by left or right--and insinuate that such instances are representative of fascism, what they are often in fact doing, accurately speaking, is exaggerating...

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Pete at Home
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I think our argument boils down to, can a Democratic elected government be totalitarian, and I think that the answer is yes. Absolutely.
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seekingprometheus
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Ah. Well, if that's your argument, that makes sense. Not sure who has been arguing in opposition, though...who is the other person implied by the "our?"
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
Ah. Well, if that's your argument, that makes sense. Not sure who has been arguing in opposition, though...who is the other person implied by the "our?"

The other persons would be those saying that the word "fascist" is a "hyperbole," rather than a misclassification. I see no reason to say that fascism is worse than Democratic totalitarianism.

It's not "hyperbole" to call Hitler a Socialist or to call Mao a fascist. The speaker has simply confused his flavors of totalitarianism. To put it in terms you might appreciate, SP, the speaker is playing Yahtzees with Nazis and Trotskys.

[ September 12, 2012, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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drewmie
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Pete, I agree with you on misclassification. But I just don't agree that an elected government who continues to support elections (even if it goes against them) can ever be classified as totalitarian or fascist. Those terms are not in any way consistent with the democratic process.

Ironically, your example of Franco is a perfect example of this. Elections were not conducted in Spain until Franco's fascists were no longer allowed totalitarian control. Juan Carlos allowed Franco to believe that he would continue this control after Franco's death. And when he made it clear things would be changing, the fascist Francoists tried to maintain totalitarian control by staging a failed coup. They understood that elections meant their effective demise, so they tried to keep it from happening. In other words, it's in spite of fascism that Spain got democracy.

P.S.- By the way, just to clarify, I always use these political descriptors for what people really are, regardless of what labels they may use for themselves. For example, the UK is not a monarchy, despite what my PLSC 101 teacher and text taught. A true monarchy is where the monarch is actually in charge, at least to some significant degree. Figureheads and traditional labels may be culturally useful, but they are meaningless for purposes of objective and comparative political classification.

[ September 12, 2012, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
To put it in terms you might appreciate, SP, the speaker is playing Yahtzees with Nazis and Trotskys.
[LOL]

Right Cheese!

That zees got breeze of short tees that one does not see when the sound isn't spelled out "not see," is precisely what I wished would seem--at least, to anyone who sounds out what they read. As in:

"You are not serious. Do you really not see what you're saying?"

[Wink]

[ September 13, 2012, 03:40 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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Pete at Home
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Yes, that works too, but unfortunately it's a homonym to Nazi. But it's a good substitute if you've got a Godwin Nazi in the house, i.e. the guy that says "no more Nazi references for you!"
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by drewmie:
Pete, I agree with you on misclassification. But I just don't agree that an elected government who continues to support elections (even if it goes against them) can ever be classified as totalitarian or fascist. Those terms are not in any way consistent with the democratic process.

Ironically, your example of Franco is a perfect example of this. Elections were not conducted in Spain until Franco's fascists were no longer allowed totalitarian control. Juan Carlos allowed Franco to believe that he would continue this control after Franco's death. And when he made it clear things would be changing, the fascist Francoists tried to maintain totalitarian control by staging a failed coup. They understood that elections meant their effective demise, so they tried to keep it from happening. In other words, it's in spite of fascism that Spain got democracy.

P.S.- By the way, just to clarify, I always use these political descriptors for what people really are, regardless of what labels they may use for themselves. For example, the UK is not a monarchy, despite what my PLSC 101 teacher and text taught. A true monarchy is where the monarch is actually in charge, at least to some significant degree. Figureheads and traditional labels may be culturally useful, but they are meaningless for purposes of objective and comparative political classification.

There's this rule in self-naming, along the lines of methinks thou doest protest too much, where the number of "democratic", "peoples," "republic," and other invocation of liberal natural rights concepts, within a country's name, is inversely proportional to the civil rights in that country.

Consider "Kingdom of Norway," "United Kingdom," "United States," versus "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya," the "People's Republic of China," "Democratic People's Republic of Korea," etc.

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Pete at Home
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It just occurred to me an example of democratic totalitarianism might me France during the reign of terror
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