If you are human, you carry the fascism gene, so you might want to read these insightful comments on fascism by various observers, comedians, victims, and even its practitioners.
Do you live near a hate group? Would you know it if you did?
To find out more, click on this amazing Hate Map, and you will discover a wide variety of fascist hate groups all over the country — whom they hate, what they’ve been up to, and where they are. There’s one for nearly every taste.
It is as horrifying as those maps you see on the news showing fires raging throughout the American west. The flames seem to be leaping off the map.
White supremacy groups have been quietly simmering for years, but, under the Trump administration, they seem to be flaring up.
The number of neo-Nazi organizations in America increased by 22 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). (But the Ku Klux Klan has been shrinking, possibly due to fashion issues. I’m not being flip; physical image — hair style, clothing, tattoos — are apparently very important to these people.)
Some have names that make it pretty clear what they are — the American Nazi Party, Aryan Nation Sadistic Souls MC, the Daily Stormer, Women for Aryan Unity, Aggressive Christianity, National Socialist Movement, White Lives Matter, to name only a few. Others have ambiguous, or even innocent sounding names, such as National Alliance, Creativity Movement, and Traditionalist Worker Party.
And some fascist groups are specifically focused on Muslims, for example, Bare Naked Islam, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Jihad Watch, and Refugee Resettlement Watch.
It is especially alarming to see the degree to which tech companies help spread the hate. As the SPLC puts it: “From payment processing to domain hosting to data mining, some of the biggest tech companies keep hate group sites up and running.” For specifics, please see this chart.
Keep in mind these words from Albert Speer, Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production for Nazi Germany, and Adolf Hitler’s chief architect:
Hitler’s dictatorship was the first dictatorship of an industrial state in this age of modern technology, a dictatorship which employed to perfection the instruments of technology to dominate its own people. … By means of such instruments of technology as the radio and public-address systems, eighty million persons could be made subject to the will of one individual. Telephone, teletype, and radio made it possible to transmit the commands of the highest levels directly to the lowest organs where because of their high authority they were executed uncritically. Thus many offices and squads received their evil commands in this direct manner. The instruments of technology made it possible to maintain a close watch over all citizens and to keep criminal operations shrouded in a high degree of secrecy. To the outsider this state apparatus may look like the seemingly wild tangle of cables in a telephone exchange; but like such an exchange it could be directed by a single will.
Given the burgeoning of fascist hate groups in the US these days, we thought it would be a good time to present our readers with quotes on the subject. You will find that some of them are eerily prescient.
WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Milicent Cranor
I’m afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security. (Jim Garrison)
Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans. (John T. Flynn)
The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Both lessons hit home. Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
As I see it today, Hitler and Goebbels were in fact molded by the mob itself, guided by its yearnings and its daydreams. Of course, Goebbels and Hitler knew how to penetrate through to the instincts of their audiences; but in the deeper sense they derived their whole existence from these audiences. Certainly the masses roared to the beat set by Hitler’s and Goebbels’ baton; yet they were not the true conductors. The mob determined the theme. To compensate for misery, insecurity, unemployment, and hopelessness, this anonymous assemblage wallowed for hours at a time in obsessions, savagery and license. The personal unhappiness caused by the breakdown of the economy was replaced by a frenzy that demanded victims. By lashing out at their opponents and vilifying the Jews, they gave expression and direction to fierce primal passions. (Albert Speer)
Fascism is capitalism plus murder. (Upton Sinclair)
Fascism is capitalism in decay. (Rajani Palme Dutt)
Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion, and it has proved as much an illusion in Russia as in pre-Hitler Germany. (Peter Drucker)
Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind. (Albert Einstein)
We are the United States of Amnesia, which is encouraged by a media that has no desire to tell us the truth about anything, serving their corporate masters who have other plans to dominate us. (Gore Vidal)
Auschwitz is outside of us, but it is all around us, in the air. The plague has died away, but the infection still lingers and it would be foolish to deny it. Rejection of human solidarity, obtuse and cynical indifference to the suffering of others, abdication of the intellect and of moral sense to the principle of authority, and above all, at the root of everything, a sweeping tide of cowardice, a colossal cowardice which masks itself as warring virtue, love of country and faith in an idea. (Primo Levi)
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. (Henry A. Wallace)
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. (Henry A. Wallace)
Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it. (Hannah Arendt)
Everybody must know, or remember, that Hitler and Mussolini, when they spoke in public, were believed, applauded, admired, adored like gods. They were “charismatic leaders”; they possessed a secret power of seduction that did not proceed from the credibility or the soundness of the things they said, but from the suggestive way in which they said them. And we must remember that their faithful followers, among them the diligent executors of inhuman orders, were not born torturers, were not (with a few exceptions) monsters: they were ordinary men. Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous; more dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions. (Primo Levi)
The advertising men made it clear that there were two ways of looking at ideas in a war against fascism. Those of us who were working on the project believed ideas were to be fought for; the advertising men believed they were to be sold. The audience, those at home in wartime, were not ‘citizens’ or ‘people.’ They were ‘customers.’ (Muriel Rukeyser)
Diplomacy means all the wicked devices of the Old World, spheres of influence, balances of power, secret treaties, triple alliances, and, during the interim period, appeasement of Fascism. (Barbara Tuchman)
Fascism is like a hydra — you can cut off its head in the Germany of the ’30s and ’40s, but it’ll still turn up on your back doorstep in a slightly altered guise. (Alan Moore)
You begin to realize that hypocrisy is not a terrible thing when you see what overt fascism is compared to sort of covert, you know, communal politics which the Congress has never been shy of indulging in. (Arundhati Roy)
Those of us who went through the war and tried to write about it became the messenger. We have given the message, and nothing has changed. (Elie Wiesel)
Then for the first time we became aware that our language lacks words to express this offence, the demolition of a man. In a moment, with almost prophetic intuition, the reality was revealed to us: we had reached the bottom. It is not possible to sink lower than this; no human condition is more miserable than this, nor could it conceivably be so. Nothing belongs to us any more; they have taken away our clothes, our shoes, even our hair; if we speak, they will not listen to us, and if they listen, they will not understand. They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we will have to find ourselves the strength to do so, to manage somehow so that behind the name something of us, of us as we were, still remains. (Primo Levi)
As painful and embarrassing as it may be, the fact remains that we are confronted with a human structure that has been shaped by thousands of years of mechanistic civilization and is expressed in social helplessness and an intense desire for a führer. (Wilhelm Reich)
Fascism goes back to our infancy and childhood, where we were always told how to live. We were told, Yes, you may do this; no, you may not do that. So the secret of fascism is that it has this appeal to people whose later lives are not satisfactory. (Norman Mailer)
It was strange to listen to slick young Nazis along Fifth Avenue haranguing small gatherings from little mahogany pulpits. One spiel went as follows: “The philosophy of Hitler is a profound and thoughtful study of this industrial age, in which there is little room for the middleman or Jew.”
A woman interrupted. “What kind of talk is that!” she exclaimed. “This is America. Where do you think you are?”
The young man, an obsequious, good-looking type, smiled blandly. “I’m in the United States and I happen to be an American citizen,” he said smoothly.
“Well,” she said, “I’m an American citizen, and a Jew, and if I were a man I’d knock your block off!”
One or two endorsed the lady’s threat, but most of them stood apathetically silent. A policeman standing by quieted the woman. I came away astonished, hardly believing my ears. (Charlie Chaplin)
It simply doesn’t get easier than disavowing Nazis. It’s as much of a presidential gimme as pardoning a fucking turkey. It is almost impossible to screw it up, but that’s exactly what happened. So there is clearly no point in waiting for leadership from our president at moments like this because it is just not coming … incredibly, in a country where previous presidents have actually had to defeat Nazis, we now have one who cannot even be bothered to condemn them. (John Oliver reacting to President Donald Trump’s response to the August 12, 2017, white- nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA)
I don’t think everybody who likes [Donald Trump] is a Nazi, but everybody who is a Nazi sure does seem to like him. (Jon Stewart)
And Here Are Our President’s Thoughts
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. (President Donald Trump, on the August 12, 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA)
Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Hitler (Arthur Szyk / Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 4.0).