The F-Word

A reader writes:

I do wish you'd stop using the terms neo-fascism and neo-fascistic to describe the advocates of torture and an extra-legal, unaccountable national security state.  Fascism and fascistic are perfectly apt, and need no neo.  The worship of state power, the organization of politics as a fight against foreign enemies are classically fascist.  So, too, is Sarah Palin's appeal as a defender of a pure and virtuous volk, exploited by comopolitan elites.  Fascist does just fine. 

And you don't have to worry you're equating Cheney his ilk with Hitler.  Mussolini and Franco were fascists, too.

Since these advocates of fascist tactics still support at least an open political system, obey the results of elections (even while behaving as if they are illegitimate when they go against them), submit eventually to the rulings of the Supreme Court, evacuate office when voted out, I think the term neo-fascist is preferable.

The themes are indeed classic ones of the far right, and the far right has essentially gobbled up the rest of conservatism in Republican America this past decade. Under Bush and Cheney, we did live under a law-free protectorate for a while, with the executive claiming indefinite, unlimited powers to seize and torture anyone without due process, but the system slowly pushed back against it, even if full accountability for this interlude in democratic norms has yet to be fully taken.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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