Fascism is a misunderstood word that conjures up all sorts of World War II images. We have a natural repulsion for this ideology, and rightly so, but we need to look closer to what we find so offensive. Michael Mann in his book Fascists (Cambridge University Press, 2004) provides the following definition:
“Fascism is the pursuit of a transcendent (blending all social classes into a harmonious whole) and cleansing ( Silencing the political opposition) nation-statism (the inherent unity of a population - a high degree of state intervention in personal, social, or economic matters) through para-militarism (obtaining popular approbation by acting as a supplementary police force ).”
To simplify, Fascism is the effort of the government to increase its involvement, through the law, backed up by enforcement agencies, in the personal, social, and economic life of its citizens, for the purpose of creating uniformity and singular expression. This is the complete antithesis of our constitutional republic which consciously limits the government involvement in the personal, social, and economic life of its citizens, for the purpose of creating diversity and freedom of expression of multiple and varied views.
Political correctness and social pressure are ways that a society can move towards fascism. Centralizing power in the hands of one group or branch, or expanding the control and influence of the government is another way. Economic control and manipulation is a third way. These means are often justified for the good of society, but are always dangerous, and always move the society towards fascism. That is why, if fascism is to be resisted and avoided, three safeguards must be in place. the government must be severely and specifically be limited. The power of the government scrupulously and equally distributed to all three branches of the government, and more importantly the power be given to the people through local governments. Finally, the involvement of the government in economics and the personal life of its citizens must be severely limited or eliminated.
This is what our constitution does so admirably well and why any temptation to the liberal alteration or reinterpretation of this great document must be resisted and the founding principles conserved. In the end, it is only this legacy of freedom that will protect us from fascism.