It seems to me a natural outgrowth of declining Imperium. A loss of control sociologically combined with the most powerful armed force ever known on the planet, and an economy on the verge of complete collapse--makes for a compelling scenario...
We note some differences in the modern Fascism of the Repukes and Neo-Cons--
The first is the largely Jewish makeup of the shadow leadership of the movement: although I am perplexed over whether that has any material relationship to the actual events which seem to be transpiring. Guess that will have to be left to the more paranoid of the conspiracy theorists; they could just as well be Baptists, Presbyterians--more about preserving an aggressive foothold in the Middle East than any thing else, I suppose.
The second is "the use of "champions of law, order, Christian morality, and the sanctity of private property" as ploys rather than principles--as a means to power, propaganda to advance the merger of economics & politics.
the third and most important point where they diverge is in the emergence of "The Leader" principle, until that transpires, that is, until they find a Charismatic leader they cannot move forward. Everything in the Fascist State must revolve around a leader, Fascism cannot function by committee.
"Forerunners of fascism, such as Georges Boulanger in France and Adolf Stöker and Karl Lueger in Germany and Austria, in their efforts to gain political power played on people's fears of revolution with its subsequent chaos, anarchy, and general insecurity. They appealed to nationalist sentiments and prejudices, exploited anti-Semitism, and portrayed themselves as champions of law, order, Christian morality, and the sanctity of private property."
"The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female, should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him do anything at all of his own initiative; neither out of zeal, nor even playfully. But in war and in the midst of peace - to his leader he shall direct his eye and follow him faithfully. And even in the smallest matter he should stand under leadership. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals . . only if he has been told to do so, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it."
-Karl R. Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol I The Spell of Plato, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969, p. 7
* "The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism (often disguised as a rejection of capitalism).
* "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
* "Disagreement is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.
* "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
* "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
* "Obsession With a plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often involves an appeal to xenophobia or the identification of an internal security threat. He cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
* "Pacifism is Trafficking With the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" - there must always be an enemy to fight.
* "Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero.
* "Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but interpreted by a leader. This may involve doubt being cast upon a democratic institution, because "it no longer represents the Voice of the People".
* "Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
Umberto Eco; Essay, "Eternal fascism;" 1995
Thus, the Communist Third International published the following definition:
“ Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism.
The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery. ”
— Leon Trotsky, Fascism: What it is and how to fight it
1. Right Wing: Fascists are fervently against: Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Communism, Environmentalism; etc – in essence, they are against the progressive left in total, including moderate lefts (social democrats, etc). Fascism is an extreme right wing ideology, though it can be opportunistic.
2. Nationalism: Fascism places a very strong emphasis on patriotism and nationalism. Criticism of the nation's main ideals, especially war, is lambasted as unpatriotic at best, and treason at worst. State propaganda consistently broadcasts threats of attack, while justifying pre-emptive war. Fascism invariably seeks to instill in its people the warrior mentality: to always be vigilant, wary of strangers and suspicious of foreigners.
3. Hierarchy: Fascist society is ruled by a righteous leader, who is supported by an elite secret vanguard of capitalists. Hierarchy is prevalent throughout all aspects of society – every street, every workplace, every school, will have its local Hitler, part police-informer, part bureaucrat – and society is prepared for war at all times. The absolute power of the social hierarchy prevails over everything, and thus a totalitarian society is formed. Representative government is acceptable only if it can be controlled and regulated, direct democracy (e.g. Communism) is the greatest of all crimes. Any who oppose the social hierarchy of fascism will be imprisoned or executed.
4. Anti-equality: Fascism loathes the principles of economic equality and disdains equality between immigrant and citizen. Some forms of fascism extend the fight against equality into other areas: gender, sexual, minority or religious rights, for example.
5. Religious: Fascism contains a strong amount of reactionary religious beliefs, harking back to times when religion was strict, potent, and pure. Nearly all Fascist societies are Christian, and are supported by Catholic and Protestant churches.
6. Capitalist: Fascism does not require revolution to exist in capitalist society: fascists can be elected into office (though their disdain for elections usually means manipulation of the electoral system). They view parliamentary and congressional systems of government to be inefficient and weak, and will do their best to minimize its power over their policy agenda. Fascism exhibits the worst kind of capitalism where corporate power is absolute, and all vestiges of workers' rights are destroyed.
7. War: Fascism is capitalism at the stage of impotent imperialism. War can create markets that would not otherwise exist by wreaking massive devastation on a society, which then requires reconstruction! Fascism can thus "liberate" the survivors, provide huge loans to that society so fascist corporations can begin the process of rebuilding.
8. Voluntarist Ideology: Fascism adopts a certain kind of “voluntarism;” they believe that an act of will, if sufficiently powerful, can make something true. Thus all sorts of ideas about racial inferiority, historical destiny, even physical science, are supported by means of violence, in the belief that they can be made true. It is this sense that Fascism is subjectivist.
9. Anti-Modern: Fascism loathes all kinds of modernism, especially creativity in the arts, whether acting as a mirror for life (where it does not conform to the Fascist ideal), or expressing deviant or innovative points of view. Fascism invariably burns books and victimizes artists, and artists which do not promote the fascists ideals are seen as “decadent.” Fascism is hostile to broad learning and interest in other cultures, since such pursuits threaten the dominance of fascist myths. The peddling of conspiracy theories is usually substituted for the objective study of history.
---Fascism entry in the Encyclopedia of Marxism