Oh dear. To limit the spread of the misinformation perpetrated by Neal Larson in his Feb. 5 column, let’s first go to the dictionary for a real definition of “fascism.” I’ve looked it up in about six volumes, and not one of them corroborates Mr. Larson’s views.
The following appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica: “…militaristic nationalism, contempt for electoral democracy and political and cultural liberalism, a belief in natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites, and the desire to create a … ‘people’s community’, in which individual interests would be subordinated to the good of the nation.”
Fascism was created in Italy in the 1920s. Mussolini was its preeminent practitioner, followed by Franco in Spain and Hitler in Germany. While the rise of fascism was prompted by enormous social unrest, fascism itself is a top-down, authoritarian, brutal political construct.
Fascism is not an “organic” people’s movement. It is a deliberate, right-wing political reaction to what might be organic problems — often the exploitation of the fears and angers of the populace. One person’s impoliteness or crudeness or ugliness doesn’t constitute fascism — just a total disrespect of anyone whose opinions differ from theirs.
Mr. Larson has more than once begun his column with erroneous, uninformed premises and then built his argument on this incorrect information. I encourage readers to read all opinion-related writing (including mine) with an encyclopedia in hand. Make sure you are well-informed and in charge of what you believe — not your neighbor, who might not know any more than you do.