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Sandra Newman @sannewman
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Fascism in all its forms is a religion of murder. Its followers become intoxicated with the idea of the state meting out violent punishment in their name, and conceive of it as a kind of Judgment Day.
The ideology that justifies the killing isn't that crucial. Violence-as-deliverance is really the key idea. So often you see in movements of this kind that, when the state runs out of ideological enemies to kill, they just continue to kill.
They run out of Jews so they kill Slavs. They run out of anti-Communists so they kill Communists who said the wrong thing once. They kill everyone who wears eyeglasses. They kill their own father for owning the wrong book.
This is why it's so hard to argue someone out of fascism. The only important idea is that, if we can steel ourselves to brutality on a massive scale, the world can be cleansed of evil. Any associated beliefs are disposable. It doesn't really matter if they're true or false.
And on some level, we've all been taught that, when our problems get bad enough, killing is the one thing that works. Some scene like that occurs in virtually all action movies. The hero loses patience and shoots a guy, and the audience laughs with relief. Problem solved!
People fall for fascism again and again not because humans are evil but because life is scary, cruel, and frustrating. We want answers and there are no answers. We want safety and there is no safety. We want justice and there is no justice.
It feels as if the door is locked and no one has a key, so the obvious solution is to break down the door. You can produce metaphors like this all day, where the only thing that's holding us back is sentimental attachment to "the door" (other people's lives).
In reality, of course, state violence has no capacity to solve any problem. Once it begins, it typically leads to the collapse of the economy within a few years. Shortly thereafter, law and order falls apart and people begin to starve. It achieves absolutely nothing.
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