Republican calls his party “fascist”

Russell “Rusty” Bowers (photo, left; bio here) is an Arizona Republican legislator.

As speaker of the state house of representatives, he derailed GOP-sponsored legislation that would enable the legislature to overturn elections, which he called “fascism.” (Read story here.)

Wikipedia says (here), “Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have long debated the exact nature of fascism. … Frequently cited as a standard definition by notable scholars … is that of historian Stanley G. Payne … [which] focuses on three concepts: 1. ‘Fascist negations’ – anti-liberalism, anti-communism, and anti-conservatism. 2. ‘Fascist goals’ – the creation of a nationalist dictatorship to regulate economic structure and to transform social relations within a modern, self-determined culture, and the expansion of the nation into an empire. 3. ‘Fascist style’ – a political aesthetic of romantic symbolism, mass mobilization, a positive view of violence, and promotion of masculinity, youth, and charismatic authoritarian leadership.”

Merely nullifying elections, although clearly undemocratic, doesn’t include all of that. For example, there’s no evidence that Arizona Republicans are seeking to create an empire outside the borders of their state. (Invade Mexico?) Their unspoken goal is dictatorship, to be sure, and they certainly want to dictate social relations within our culture (no trans athletes in girls’ sports!). And they’re clearly anti-liberal, although not less anti-conservative. All things considered, the Arizona legislation probably doesn’t make the cut under this definition.

However, Wikipedia also notes (here) the term “fascist” is often used as a pejorative (i.e., insult). George Orwell said, “any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist.'” Trump, and the election deniers he’s spawned (e.g., Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake), are bullies to be sure. They think they can bully their way into office. But that didn’t work for Trump, and won’t work for Lake either, if she loses in November. (She can call herself “governor” if she likes, but she won’t be governor, any more than Trump is still president.)

Orwell also pointed out that “as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless.” Under that definition, just about anybody can be called a fascist, so who’s to say Bowers is wrong? And anyway, the word has a satisfying ring to it, when applied to someone you don’t like.

Republicans have been calling people they don’t like “communists” for years, with no regard for the actual meaning of the term; so why not call them fascists? What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. And using separate pejoratives for Republicans and Democrats makes it easier to keep them straight.

For example, if you’re at a political fair and looking for food, you ask for the “fascist barbecue,” because commies never have food. Starvation is endemic under communism.

I recall one time I was working an election and called the Democratic office, and they answered, “no food!” before I could say anything. Which is how Democrats always answer their phones, apparently. So I scored some pizza by making nice to the fascists. They always have food.

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