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August 01, 2014
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Fascism is like herpes


But perhaps the most important preventive measures are those that can be taken at the personal level. The fascist state cannot develop without a fascist society, and a fascist society depends on individuals internalizing its key qualities—fearfulness, suspicion, the lack of empathy, unquestioning obedience, arrogant nationalism, the reliance on force. We can refuse, in our everyday lives, to let such traits manifest themselves, and instead make a conscious effort to express their opposites. If a fascist state can be characterized as merciless, for example, then showing compassion and simple human kindness is itself an innately counter-fascist act. Fascism cannot tolerate creativity and imagination, since it dare not allow its citizens to imagine alternatives to its rule; likewise, fostering creative thought and expression is counter-fascist. (How many more such examples can you devise?)

Next month: your counter-fascist toolbox, and how to use it.