As I’ve noted before, the words “fascist” and “fascism” are generally overused. That may, however, be due for a change.

Originally, those terms referred to a political and economic system that arose in Europe during the middle part of the last century. Contrary to popular myth, fascism was a form of statism and therefore an ideology of the left — a first cousin to socialism and communism.

No less an authority than Benito Mussolini referred to fascism as “the third way,” meaning another statist alternative to those other two (truly) deplorable –isms.

The key difference is that, under fascism, the means of production remain ostensibly in private hands. The government simply regulates all industries in order to make them do what it wants, essentially picking winners and losers.

These days, if “fascist” has come to mean anything more than “I don’t like your politics,” it is “authoritarian” or “heavy-handed.” However, the term is most often used to insult one’s political opponents. Paradoxically, this is especially prevalent on the left. The irony of masked thugs employing Brownshirt tactics while calling themselves “anti-fascist” cannot be lost on any rational person.

In the United States, fascism has long been part of the Progressive DNA, dating back to Woodrow Wilson and American entertainers, industrialists and intellectuals of the 1920s and 30s, many of whom initially embraced fascist rhetoric.

But never has the left’s incipient fascism been more apparent than during the current coronavirus panic, as Progressive politicians across the country have seized the opportunity to implement authoritarian, unconstitutional diktats in furtherance of statist goals, such as “universal basic income” and “Medicaid for all.”

While red states slowly open for business, blue states like Michigan, Oregon, and Illinois are extending lockdowns into the summer, perhaps beyond. California’s beaches remain closed while Florida’s welcome residents and vacationers alike.

Meanwhile, Progressive governors, mayors, and judges have attempted to ban religious services, peaceful protests and other public gatherings, in direct contravention of the First Amendment. Several have floated the idea of blowing up the Fourth Amendment, too, by requiring mandatory tracking or vaccinations.

So, my “anti-fascist” friends, who exactly is being heavy-handed and authoritarian now? Who is subordinating the rights of individuals to the supposed needs of the state? Who is picking economic winners and losers by declaring some people’s livelihoods “non-essential”?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s not Donald Trump, and it’s not most Republican governors.

As a Georgian, I’m grateful for the courageous, rational, and (above all) constitutional leadership of Gov. Brian Kemp during this time of turmoil and uncertainty. I can’t imagine the nightmare if we were now being ruled by his Progressive opponent in the last election. Georgia could easily be another Illinois or Oregon.

That’s something to keep in mind next time you vote. Obviously, Progressive Democrats cannot be trusted with power. In times of crisis, their inner fascist just surges to the top.

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Rob Jenkins is a college professor. The views expressed here are his own. You can email Rob at rob.jenkins@outlook.com.

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(3) comments

Stephen Lykins

Well said!

MarvinGardens

Dr. Jenkins, thank you for your clear and careful definition of modern fascism:

A governor who imposes a shelter-in-place order but lifts it after a month (except for those over 65) is courageous, rational, and constitutional.

But a governor who retains the shelter-in-place for another 2 weeks or a month after that is a fascist. Got it.

judyrem

I agree, a very good article.

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