Gene Callahan says:
Now, the term “fascist” has been thrown around over the last fifty years in a loose way that has drained it of much of its meaning. If someone wanted to cut 5% off of a leftist professor’s favourite welfare programme, the professor would call his opponent a “fascist.” I’m not using the word like that. I mean honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned, 1930s style fascism, featuring such old favourites as:
Secret prisons — they’re back!
Torture — yes, we’re doing it.
Spying on all citizens.
Arrests and indefinite imprisonment without trial.
Denial and restriction of habeas corpus.
Prolonged incommunicado detention.
Unfair trial procedures.
An absolutely mind-numbing response to complaints that our traditional legal system is being torn apart is the question, “So, you want to protect the rights of terrorists?” Umm, no, I want to protect the rights of non-terrorists who might be falsely accused of terrorism! That was sort of, you know, the whole idea of our legal system. I’m sure there was some neo-con around in the 1700s saying to Jefferson or Madison, “So, you want to protect the rights of murderers and robbers?” but luckily they ignored him.
We’ve now gotten to the point where Nazi Germany was, say, in 1934. Remember, at that time, if you had told a typical German what his government would do over the next ten years, he would have looked at you as a madman. His nation could not possibly descend into barbarism! If you tried to tell him he was living in a police state, he would have pointed out that his government had used its vast new powers very judiciously, and only against a few trouble-makers. So far.
Like the use of the word “fascist” to describe anything that’s even remotely oppressive or even irritating, evoking the Nazis in a political discussion is vastly overused. But in this case, it’s honestly frightening how many similarities exist between 1934 Germany and 2006 America. Bush may not be Hitler, but his continual consolidation and expansion of government power is a shocking parallel to Hitler’s manipulation of the Reichstag.