Defining American Fascism
An excerpt from Vice President Henry Wallace defining American Fascism:
Fascism is a world-wide disease. Its greatest threat to the United States will come after the war, either via Latin America or within the United States itself.
Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American Fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after “the present unpleasantness” ceases.
To the end of facilitating the re-establishment of international cartels, these stuffed-shirt Fascists are presently engaged — not always covertly — in a campaign to subvert the distinctively democratic public policy founded on the principle of economic freedom. They seek nothing more, of course (and, incidentally, nothing less), than a license for an even more rigorous and more remorseless application of the principle of “charging what the traffic will bear,” in league with their erstwhile Axis partners, than that which glorified the “new era” of the Twenties — and prostrated the world economy in the Thirties. They have a vain delusion that in this fashion they can again bring the common man to his knees and make of him this time a groveling suppliant who will “keep to his place.” The susceptibility to hallucinations of this kind is one of the surest signs of the fascist mentality.
The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination against other religious, racial or economic groups. Likewise, many people whose patriotism is their proudest boast play Hitler’s game by retailing distrust of our Allies and by giving currency to snide suspicions without foundation in fact.
The American Fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism.
They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the State and the power of the market simultaneously they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.