Let me tell you some characteristics of Fascism:

“Wake up and small the fascism.” Abhisek Sarda on Flickr

Fascism seeks to control.

Fascism wants to control women’s bodies.

Fascism wants to control ideas.

Fascism wants to burn books or ban them.

Fascism is Patriarchy unmasked.

Fascism is dualism on steroids—Us vs. Them.

Fascism blames others and projects onto others.

Fascism is ill at ease with democracy.

Fascism is the reptilian brain dominating.

Fascism is full of fear.

Fascism is not happy and does not spread happiness.

Fascism is about Control, Control, Control

Fascism is about power-over.

“The 10 tactics of fascism” by Jason Stanley. Big Think.

Fascism is contrary to Compassion.

Fascism is deeply misogynistic.

Fascism is sadistic.

Fascism is about “I win, you lose.”

Fascism is not interested in truth.

Fascism is not interested in freedom.

Fascism is afraid of play.

Fascism is regularly pre-occupied with sex.

Fascism has no Via Positiva and is frightened of goodness and beauty and awe—anything bigger than itself.

Fascism is ill at ease with contemplation or meditation, silence or stillness or contemplation, thus with the Via Negativa.

Fascism is unmoved by the suffering of others.

Fascism is frightened of artists and art and creativity, thus ill at home with the Via Creativa.

Fascism knows nothing—and wants to know nothing–about justice or compassion or authentic celebration.

Fascism is uninterested in truth.  Power is its goal.

“Is Trump a Fascist?” Robert Reich on YouTube

Fascism has no heart and turns its back on Aquinas’s teaching that “the proper objects of the heart are truth and justice.”

Fascism is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.  (It is time the Pope write an encyclical against Fascism and dismantle Opus Dei while he is at it.)

This is what I have learned about Fascism from observing it and studying it.  In practice, it fills the definition of Susan Sontag as “institutional violence.”  Compare the Supreme Court’s decision to overthrow Roe v Wade and the violence that has ensued with pregnant women.  And how pleased the fascists are of their work that is rendering women so miserable and afraid—but fighting back.  Sadists need masochists to be “happy.”

See Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret War Has Imperiled the Church and What Can Be Saved.

And Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion.

And Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xiii, 9f., 20, 155, 195, 258, 300.

Banner image: “The Day They Hung Democracy.” Image by Daniel Arrhakis on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

Do these understandings of Fascism resonate with you?  Do they help explain some of the goings-on in politics in the world today?  How can healthy spirituality blunt fascism’s appeal in today’s world?

Recommended Reading

The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved

The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic Christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.”   — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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8 thoughts on “Some Truths about Fascism”

  1. Avatar

    * ‘The powers of world’ look to disconnect us, offer us very little hope and disengage us from meaningful ways and activities. We think ourselves less worthy and cannot see where we belong, if at all. We might look to enlist in causes with dysfunctional leaders in an attempt to blame others for our plight. Many do and we see that all around us now.

    * A ‘revolution of heart’ must be unwavering in offering compassion, forgiveness, acceptance and belonging to a larger interconnected group. Let’s say that ‘we all belong’ as a starting point and either willingly took ourselves ‘out of the fold’ or wandered off and became one of the ‘lost sheep’. Sound like a familiar story yet?

    * The ‘revolution of heart’ has its champion in Jesus, the ‘Sacred Heart of Christ’. As disciples we have not dealt with (i) improprieties of leaders of the faith; (ii) excluding the ‘lost sheep’ with barriers of dogma, and qualified forgiveness for the ‘lost’ sheep; and (iii) Christian factions that more resemble political views than the spiritual.

    * We have let the mission of Christ get diminished, cast aside, by the ‘powers of the world’. Now is the time to pick our Crosses up. Our true power in Christ lies ‘not of this world’ and the powers that rule it. As disciples of the Cross, we need to move forward on our mission. Thank God that ‘the past is past’. Now is the time for our new birth in Christ. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    I found the what Fascism is statements very powerful. I agree with having the Pope write an encyclical and dismantling the Opus Dei, I’ve never understood why he lets it be.

  3. Avatar

    Yes! Yes! Donald Trump and most of the Republican Party, MAGA movement, and Christian ultra fundamentalists/conservatives have patriarchal/authoritarian/fascist/racist beliefs and values that are destructive towards democratic and human values. This is why our presidential election in November 2024 is so important in the US, and also for the effects it will also have around the world, including our Sacred Mother Earth. It is sad and tragic that there is still so much ignorance and spiritual poverty among so many Americans and humanity. Our humanity is still slowly evolving spiritually, and the Faith, strength, and responsibilities of All spiritual warriors continues to be more important than ever in our daily lives with God’s Spirit of LOVE~WISDOM~TRUTH~PEACE~JUSTICE~HEALING~CREATIVITY~POWER~COMPASSION~ DIVERSE ONENESS… in Our hearts/Souls guiding and strengthening Us with one another and with our spiritual guides and angels from the spiritual realms….

    1. Avatar

      I hope “our humanity is still slowly evolving spiritually” There are signs that some elements are on track to reach the higher levels. The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court are beacons for truth and justice.

  4. Avatar

    Those principles perfectly describe the authoritarian personality feeding off reptilian hate, cruelty, rage, violence, narcissism, and insatiable greed – a profoundly damaged psychopath utterly indifferent to life. Such characters become terrifying monsters when given power.

  5. Avatar

    Healthy spirituality continues to reveal the truth and to speak truth to power in peaceful ways. The latest outrage related to the Supreme Court is the Alitos displaying an upside down American flag on the day of or after the Jan. 6 insurrection; that is a symbol of election denial. One can hope that the cumulative effect of the evils perpetrated by that group in their personal lives and in their unjust opinions may have a positive result in waking more people up. I will not hold my breath. But I will continue to pray and to be as active as possible in as loving a way as possible to love and to spread that love, even to the Alitos of this world, and especially to them.

  6. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson

    What is terrifying is how people who are fear-based are easily manipulated by fascists. If we watch some of the spectacles of Hitler, or Stalin, or Mussolini, you can immediately see how people become sycophants, cave-in to believing this person must know more than they do, because they seem so self-confident. Many of us felt nauseated and recognized the traits when Mr. Trump first started to obtain power and then it got so much worse. So many people wanted to give him the “benefit of the doubt”– we almost lost the country because of piety and loyalty and devotion by the people who thought he was a “good person.” Your list of what fascism IS, is excellent. We need to be constantly on the alert. There are people in the Church with the job of “shepherds” who should be removed from office, because they are incapable of blessing their flock. They induce fear, push people out for various “impurities or sins.” They live on dogma, and on divisiveness and ridicule. I love your idea that Pope Francis should speak authoritatively against fascism! Smelling like the sheep, forgiving each other, listening with compassion, caring about those who are suffering– these go along with the mammalian brain, rather than the reptilian brain. It is time to stand together against this kind of bullying, especially in the Church.

  7. Avatar

    Absolutely covers so much in a few words. A poetic like definition that, among other things shows a) the many ways to recognize fascism, but also, b) how widely held this term can be used for a wide range of people and groups these days. That is the saddest part of the message.

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