A recent letter about the topic of fascism seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of fascism. Fascism is a coherent ideology and movement. Saying that it’s “a government system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism” is incorrect.
Fascism is a complex topic, one that has had entire books written on it, however it can be understood through a few different signifiers. Fascist movements typically center around a strong sense of nationalist chauvinism, call for a return to a mythical “old days” which are typically over romanticized and never actually existed in the way they’re portrayed, are formed out of struggling business owners with a promise to provide them security, and involve heavy repression of the working class as well as various marginalized communities. There are other factors, but those are some basic ones.
There’s a well-known philosophical concept called the Paradox of Tolerance. Conceptualized by Karl Popper; essentially the idea is that a safe, free and egalitarian society cannot tolerate things like fascism which pose a direct threat to everybody else. People should actually take the time to read a book and study the concept more in depth, but that’s the basics of it. Do you want a repeat of Mussolini’s Italy or Hitler’s Germany, only here? If not, then that means we must draw a line on what’s acceptable in our community.
This idea that people calling for their community to stand against dangerous individuals and groups, and for people to reject fascistic ideals that have historically led to nothing but blood, is the same thing as those dangerous individuals is laughable. These are not people who are simply “exercising their freedoms,” they're working to build a movement which is incredibly dangerous.
Finally, I find it interesting that the person I’m responding to is more disturbed by a letter calling for their community to stand against fascism than they were by Vietnam. Some critical words are more disturbing than an invasive war where we slaughtered villages and sprayed so much Agent Orange that it still causes birth defects to this day? Curious.