The Folly of Fascism: Kudos to Scott Lehigh on his April 22, 2009 Globe editorial "The conservative cries of fascism." The vast pool of ignorance in which the American public swims astounds me. They simply do not know the definition and the difference between Fascism and Communism and its varying degrees of political thought which fall in between. Clearly the fascism of Mussolini of Italy, Hitler of Germany, Franco of Spain, or Hirohito of Japan were different from the politics of Roosevelt, Churchill and even Stalin no matter how many labeled all of these men interchangeably. It is inane to do so.
Nomenclature has meaning. The American public, generally speaking, would not know the difference between a fascist, a Communist or a socialist if they tripped over a Webster's dictionary explaining their essence. To understand all of it one would have to know where the term fascist originates. It had its etiological meaning as a bundle of rods or fasces tied together with an axe-like blade on the side which were carried by Roman soldiers. It signified a symbol of the power of the state. Mussolini used it as a symbol of the Fascist movement he tried to create. To understand Communism, of course, one would have to understand Karl Marx and his philosophy which made a vain, albeit unsuccessful, attempt at the humane equalizing of social class. These two extremes are quite different from one another. There is nothing about fascism one could label humane. They both, though, make the individual subservient to the power of the state.
These political philosophies are complex and can be discussed at length. Most of the American public cannot do that with ease so talk show hosts take advantage of ignorance by screaming that people are either one or the other when they are neither. There are underpinnings to these political ideologies but most do not understand them. Obama is to Fascism as an orange is to an elephant. It is ridiculous to compare the two. This is more evidence of the American public's slant toward anti-intellectualism. That is the saddest "ism" of all.