Is fascism coming to America?

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fascist Italy celebrated youth and idealism. Students were easy converts, as were many intellectuals. The unemployed or underemployed were won over by large public works projects. If that coalition sounds more left-wing than right, it was. Benito Mussolini, like Adolf Hitler, dabbled in socialism before adding nationalism to his ideological mix and gaining absolute power.

The essence of fascism in Europe was the all-powerful government, the direct opposite of conservatism. Left-leaning historians affixed a right-wing label to totalitarian regimes that were enemies of Stalin’s communist rule, even though there were more commonalities between the two than differences. Students, intellectuals and blue-collar workers formed the core. Their central tenet was that a smooth, persuasive leader at the head of a powerful central government was needed to create a better society. Sound familiar?

In the U.S. today American students, professors and union members are overwhelmingly on the left. In the 1920s in Italy that same coalition overwhelmingly fell for Mussolini’s message of idealism and action. Those who paved the way for fascism in Italy were militant union members or on college campuses. Today, look to Occupy Wall Street, university faculty and the Service Employees International Union to pave the way for the same.

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Paul Westrum
Albert Lea