“You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”
—Inigo Montoya, "The Princess Bride"
It is a common phenomenon in American political debate for the terms “fascist” and “racist” to be hurled at law enforcement and its supporters. People I grew up with and who went on to get a couple of initials after their names, seem to be the most likely to label others with this overused but highly overwrought rhetoric.
I have a totally useless degree in political science, so I understand the differences between the various types of socialism. It amuses me to see failed attempts to identify this or that American party with either the Fascists of Italy or the Nazis of Germany. So, to prepare you to debate others who label liberty-loving crime fighters by these terms, here is some actual history.
Benito Mussolini was an Italian socialist who was considered a shining light at the turn of the last century. At the time Italy was trying to form a single nation out of a jumble of regional city-states that had existed since the fall of Rome. Communists, socialists, and anarchists all jostled for power under a unifying king and a parliamentary system that gave power based on proportion of votes. World War I and the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (ally of the Germans) gave Italy (ally of the French, British, and Americans) its final provinces and a sense of nationalism that had theretofore been difficult to achieve due to the regionalism of that peninsula. By the 1920s communism’s atrocities in Russia had so alienated Mussolini that he took his “Facisti” and created his own vision of a unified Italy. He used tens of thousands of “Blackshirts” who fought the tens of thousands of communists and anarchists who all sought power. Amid the chaos an ill-prepared King Emmanuel III appointed Mussolini—nicknamed "Il Duce" or "The Leader"—head of the government. Benito promptly used his power to take over the country completely.
A cornerstone of Italian Fascist philosophy was to create an all-powerful administrative state. Unlike communism, the Fascist state doesn’t take over businesses, rather it forms a partnership with the bureaucracy to run the country. Soon Italy became a darling among America’s intellectual elite. Instead of killing their opponents, Fascists sent them away: communists went to the Soviet Union, socialists to France, and those who stayed were imprisoned. American admiration was so powerful that from 1925 to 1932, 150 mostly positive articles appeared in the pages of major periodicals such as the Saturday Evening Post, which even serialized Il Duce’s autobiography. The American media’s infatuation gave the bizarre Hitler and his cultish Naziism a pass as journalist and literati called him “the German Mussolini.”
After the free men from the constitutional republic of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Great Britain freed the Italians from the heel of the Germans, the rule of the Fascists and Mussolini came to an end.
The philosophy never caught hold outside of Italy, but its intellectual admirers sought to create the perceived “Golden Age,” a society controlled by administrators instead of legislators. So how did a philosophy defeated by American and British soldiers become a catch phrase used against the children and grandchildren of the very people who defeated it?
It was Stalin who first labeled anyone who opposed the communist movement a “fascist” regardless of how little they may actually have in common with the original Italian movement, declaring fascism to be the bourgeoisie’s fighting organization.
This slur remains in use to this day perpetuated by such intellectual nonsense as the 1950 book "The Authoritarian Personality" by Theodor Adorno. Adorno uses something called the “F-scale” (guess what F stands for?), which asks a series of questions supposedly exposing one’s fascist tendencies. Developed at the University of California at Berkeley, the questions and their meaning lie solely in the hands of the authors who somehow determined that people who leaned conservative and patriotic also seemed to be… wait for it… fascists!
Even though discredited, the mythology of an "authoritarian personality" prevails and I have no doubt the screaming mobs of “anti-fascists” passed their psychology and sociology courses with high honors by regurgitating Adorno’s nonsense on an essay exam. At least these kids are living up to their communist and anarchist tradition of violence in the streets.
America’s crime fighters enforce laws created by the legislatures of the various states and other governmental entities, guided by a Constitution that focuses on the rights of the people, not the government. Calling anyone a fascist today is simply an exercise in what should be stupid communist propaganda, unless that person seeks to divest the people of power and give it to an administrative state working in concert with business, entertainment, and bureaucrats to seize power for themselves … wait … what?
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized law enforcement trainer and is the creator of “JD Buck Savage.” You can follow Buck on Twitter at @thebucksavage.