Fascism and Freedom

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Are we ever going to retire the F-word?  You know what I'm talking about:  fascist.  It seems that we can't go more than a few months without someone leveling this accusation at a president from the opposition party.

This is beyond moronic.  The Bush administration did many bad things.  But to call his administration fascist is both to completely abuse the term, and to belittle the millions of victims of fascism.  Fascism is not just something of which you disapprove . . . nay, not even if that something involves the military.  The things that the US did to its POWs can be very, very wrong without rising to the level of the Gestapo.  And if you think that they are even close, I suggest that you reread the reports, and then go read some history of the Gestapo.  Afterwards, tell me that you would be indifferent to being a captive of Nazi Germany or the US.  Tell me whether you'd rather be a citizen of Iraq or Nazi-era Poland.  That we even have to discuss this is ridiculous.

Similarly, the fact that Hitler liked government health care is really totally irrelevant to this discussion, thank you so much for not bringing it up.   Hitler also liked cream puffs and dogs.  Shall we get rid of anyone who shows similar predilictions?  Not all forms of state intervention in the economy are fascist.  Fascism is a particular thing, not the amalgam of everything you happen not to like.  It is an embarassment to the right that anyone would even think of saying something so awful, much less put an effing Hitler moustache on a photograph of the man who is, when all is said and done, the president of the country you claim to love so much.  Your fellow citizens elected him.  Show some respect, if not to Obama, then to democracy.

Would it be too, too trite to say that some days I despair?  Because I really do.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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