Fascists are defined by tactics, not ideology

Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were technically on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but both were unabashed in their embrace of fascism.

Millions of innocents died at the hands of their ideology — whether "far left" or "far right."  Extremists always end up in the same place, using the same tactics to impose their ideology — whatever it may be.

Hitler and Stalin embraced government authority to an awful, disgusting, and hopefully unrepeatable degree:

  • Political persecution then: Long before Nazi Germany's horrors were fully exposed, the political opponents of Hitler's regime were the first victims of systematic persecution.  Stalin's purges similarly cleansed the Soviet Union of dissent under the guise of security.
  • Taxation explosion then: To exert power over the populace, both Hitler and Stalin embraced high levels of taxation.  Property and income confiscation became a means to the end of total control.
  • Education monopoly then: Under Hitler and Stalin, education came entirely under government control. Teachings were state-approved, reinforcing the "right" ideology and prohibiting the "wrong."

History is now repeating itself, as America drifts perilously closer to actual fascism.  While the right is really more to the center, radical leftists have gone so far leftward that they are hardly recognizable.

Of course, 21st-century America is not 1930s-era Germany or Russia.  But fascism is fascism, and we can see the seeds of it being planted here.  With a common theme of "sweeping" control over the economygun ownershiphealth care, and ultimately everyday life (see: COVID-19), the self-serving use of state force is increasingly common.

If we accept the raid on a former president's private property today, what comes next?  What will Americans accept tomorrow?  The imprisonment of Trump?  We already live in a world where Trump-supporters may be fired or lose their businesses because of their political views, and it's not so far removed from the Obama IRS targeting of conservative organizations.

Yes, fascism can happen here.  Banana Joe Biden's Gestapo tactics just popped up at a Florida resort — unprompted and without explanation.  When even Andrew Cuomo is asking questions about Biden's tactics, Republicans probably have a point.

Never forget President Biden's Federal Bureau of Investigation — under the Merrick Garland–led Justice Department — storming Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, allegedly over paperwork.  Americans across the country witnessed two federal law enforcement agencies target a former U.S. president with paper-thin justification at best, simply because he is Donald Trump and "orange man bad."

Federal officials like Biden, Merrick Garland, and FBI director Christopher Wray are the same sorts of people who threw my grandfather in a Soviet Gulag for seven years — because of greed and politics, because they wanted to, because they could.  They are the same types of people who drove my family to the United States in search of freedom.

Americans need to speak out loudly against those who actually do what fascists have always done.  Soon enough, it may be too late to undo the damage.

Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates and PACs, overseeing over $100 million in political expenditures.  He is of counsel at Chalmers & Adams LLC, a political law and litigation firm.

Image: Picryl.

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