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Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism
Yes, fascism is indeed a harsh word and there are very few truly fascist regimes in the world today -- yet it's a word that is increasingly being applied to Western democracies.
Why is that?
Well perhaps because we're seeing a growing number of governments in "the free world" which are exhibiting some of the signs of fascism, albeit without becoming full-blown fascist states.
One only has to look at the situation in the USA where the likes of Ed Snowden, Chelsea Manning and others have been castigated by the state for delivering evidence that is indeed highly "critical" of the government's actions. This is indeed leaning towards a fascist level of control.
There have been many more instances, even here in New Zealand, where daring to criticise "the powers that be" has resulted in nasty, state-sponsored persecution and actions against individuals (just ask Nicky Hager what that feels like).
Here in NZ we've also seen crack-downs on freedom of speech and expression, with the government threatening long jail terms for anyone who is found in possession or who plays a part in the distribution (even via the publication of a link) of a certain video.
One Kiwi with neo-nazi sympathies was raided by police in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings and has been charged with possession of said video and at least one other has spent significant time behind bars on remand for the same offence.
I for one do not have any sympathies for the neo-nazi movement and do not wish to see the said video (even though the PM says that she has watched it -- yet escaped prosecution for doing so), however I do get worried when people's rights to hold an opinion voice that opinion are annexed in the manner being witnessed.
And just the other day, federal police in Australia raided the headquarters of the national broadcaster ABC after embarrassing files were leaked which painted the government in a very bad light.
What was that definition of fascism again?
"forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism"
Ah yes, now it becomes easier to see why so many people are rolling out the 'F' word in respect to their government's actions against dissenters and free speech.
Whenever a government takes action against a broadcaster, publisher, journalist or author, we should all be worried, very worried. Such actions strike deeply at the heart of the freedoms everyone in a free society should consider a right, not a privilege.
However, as we've seen in recent times, governments are increasingly taking our freedoms from us and returning them as "privileges", wrapped in fees, terms, conditions and caveats.
Perhaps the 'F' word is not too strong at all.
Many a true word spoken in jest (an excellent Youtube video)
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