How Fascism Works

by Jason Stanley 2018

Book Review by Ray Herrmann

Fascism is defined by the author as: Ultranationalism of some variety (Ethnic, Religious, and Cultural) with an authoritarian ("strong man") leader. It is characterized by its reference to a mythic past of "Law and Order", grouping people into "us" vs. "them" and nostalgic appeals to "the Heartland".

Our world is increasingly threatened by the affects of inequality, exacerbated by Climate Change and by an increasing population all seeking betterment in a finite world. So as fears rise, Fascist politics sprouts as a false solution to our woes, followed by an authoritarian leader who misdirects our sentiment to gain popularity and take office. It is false because it gets its power by marginalizing one group with the blame, thus leading to retaliations eventually becoming genocidal.

Characteristics of Fascism as noted in the book: Taken separately, some seem benign however a preponderance of matches points to Fascism. As you read through these attributes, it is easy to see how one supports the other, thus forming a seemingly attractive solution.

Notes supporting our vulnerability to Fascist Politics:

Fascism is so popular (and thus so contagious) because:

Some Examples of Fascism:

There are a lot of references there to the statements and actions of former President Donald Trump. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine if Trump is a fascist.