Dr. Lawrence examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes and found 14 defining characteristics common to all:
- Powerful/Continuing Nationalism — constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia; flags everywhere; flag symbols on clothing and public displays
- Disdain for Recognition of Human Rights — because of fear of enemies and need for security, people persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases; people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
- Identify Enemies/Scapegoats as Unifying Cause — people rallied into unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate perceived common threat/foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
- Supremacy of the Military — even when widespread domestic problems, the military given disproportionate funding and domestic agenda neglected; soldiers/military service glamorised
- Rampant Sexism — exclusively male-dominated; traditional gender roles more rigid; divorce, abortion and homosexuality suppressed and state represented as ultimate guardian of family institution
- Control Mass Media — sometimes directly but in other cases indirectly by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives; censorship, especially in war time, is very common
- Obsession with National Security — fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses
- Religion & Government Intertwined — most common religion used to manipulate public opinion; religious rhetoric and terminology common even when major tenets of religion are diametrically opposed government’s policies/actions
- Corporate Power Protected — industrial/business aristocracy put government leaders into power creating mutually beneficial business/gov relationship and power elite
- Labor Power Suppressed — as this is its only real threat
- Disdain for Intellectuals/Arts — promote/tolerate open hostility to higher education and academia; professors/ other academics commonly censored or even arrested; free expression in arts and letters openly attacked
- Obsessed with Crime/Punishment — police given almost limitless power to enforce laws and people often willing to overlook their abuses and forego civil liberties in name of patriotism; often national police force with virtually unlimited power
- Rampant Cronyism & Corruption — almost always groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to gov positions and use govt power and authority to protect friends from accountability; not uncommonly national resources/treasures appropriated or even stolen
- Fraudulent Elections — complete sham or manipulated by smear campaigns or even assassination of opposing candidates; use legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, manipulation of media; typically use judiciaries to manipulate/control elections
From Liberty Forum