North Texas Daily

Shut up, you fascist!

Shut up, you fascist!

Illustration by Ari Solorio

Shut up, you fascist!
January 19
13:15 2018

And the “Most Misused Word” award of 2017 goes to… “Fascist!”

Simply typing the word “fascist” into the Google search bar births a multitude of articles about President Trump that precedes other articles about actual fascists.

There are endless YouTube videos of collegiate debates in which protesters or, in some cases, the debating parties purposefully label someone a “fascist.” It seems that we have adopted, redefined and defiled the term, much like the word “literally” — which makes me want to literally jump out of a moving vehicle.

Is it possible that fascism is really just being used as a title to silence opposition?

Historically, fascists killed millions of people while their regimes reigned supreme, oppressing the population and showing little mercy. “Fascism,” according to The Oxford English Dictionary, “tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach.”

Adolf Hitler called for the extermination of any group that he deemed impure. Families were torn apart, and 11 million innocent, disarmed people were murdered at the hands of the government due to circumstances beyond their control. Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, a high-ranking Nazi politician and close friend of Hitler, ordered raids on Jewish libraries, stores and homes, burning all material that challenged Hitler and his ideology.

Benito Mussolini was not afraid to censor the Italian population, either. He introduced censorship legislation that barred journalists from speaking against his dictatorship because he wanted journalists to understand their jobs were a service to the nation.

I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it with conviction: Donald Trump is not a fascist. Hillary Clinton is not a fascist. Our political system is too well-structured to allow for the rise of any fascist regime, and we should stop referring to those with whom we dislike or disagree with as fascists.

The truth is that no one in this country is being murdered at the hands of the government for simply existing. In fact, the current president fights for the public’s right to own firearms in the interest of their protection from a potential oppressive government. No information is being censored to protect the promulgation of a regime’s agenda. And, before you jump to Trump and the media, allow me to make clear that, while I personally dislike how Trump interacts with the media, he has not supported or introduced legislation barring journalists from writing pieces challenging his presidency.

So, why is it that we throw around the term “fascist” like confetti?

This propensity is indicative of a deeper problem: an inability or unwillingness to debate. It reminds me of children fighting. Kids aren’t cognitively capable of rationalizing who is right or wrong in a fight with their friends. Rather than providing rationale defending why he or she is in the right, a child will simply scream “you’re dumb! I hate you!”

Much like a child screaming, “you’re stupid,” many are far too willing to yell “fascist,” “racist” and “hater.”

It’s a naïve, irresponsible tactic for rendering the opposition defenseless. Where would one even begin to defend themselves from being called a fascist? It’s like explaining why your skin is not blue. This compulsion to shut down conversations instead of having uncomfortable ones is degenerative to healthy political debate. We, as rational students with a vested interest in freedom, should be more capable of providing rationale for any given opinion.

We are not children. Let’s stop acting like it.

Featured Image: Illustration by Ari Solorio

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