In a magazine article titled "Fascism Anyone?" (Free Inquiry, Vol. 23, No. 2), Laurence Britt, who studied fascist regimes, lists 14 common threads. Here are a few: powerful and continuing nationalism; disdain for human rights; identification of enemies as unifying cause; obsession with national security; rampant cronyism and corruption in positions of power; and religion and government intertwined.
Three points to be made here:
- While it's not an online discussion, the corollary of Godwin's Law--which holds that whoever brings up the Nazis (or, in this case, their more generic fascist equivalents) has lost the argument--should probably apply here.
- With the exception of the last two points--one of which applies just as well to Democrats as to Republicans, and the other of which is used/abused by the columnist to confuse religious activism with a state-sponsored church--these "common threads" are largely exaggerations of traits that are essential for a nation's survival and prosperity.
- Whether one believes these traits have crossed the line into fascist characteristics is almost certainly determined by whether one believes we are confronted by a serious threat.
Suffice it to say that Bauer-King and I have very different opinions on that last question.