Anyone who has ever been a lefty college freshman has probably uttered the word “fascist” more times than she can count. Everyone who insisted on any type of rule–like the Resident Assistant, the Floor Fascist–merited that appellation. But it turns out–as it has so often these days–that the college freshman has a better sense of “fascism” than does our current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. In a recent speech, he says:
> I recount this history because once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism.
>Today, another enemy — a different kind of enemy — has also made clear its intentions — in places like New York, Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, and Moscow. But it is apparent that many have still not learned history’s lessons.
As il Duce instructed us, fascism is defined by its insistence on totalitarian State power. In order to be a fascist state, in other words, you have to be a *state.* So the terrorists–who don’t have a state, as Rumsfeld said elsewhere in the speech (read the whole thing, it’s a gem)–aren’t fascists. While the totalitarian Resident Assistant may not be a fascist, he is at least in the right category. It’s one thing in political speeches to use words for pure rhetorical effect, but it’s another to pick words that only highlight the impropriety all of your historical analogies.
The terrorists aren’t fascists and it’s not 1938.