Become An Individual If You Want To Defeat Fascism

A notice in a German Youth Camp during the time of the Nazis read: “The People is Everything; you are Nothing”. A popular play during the same period was entitled “All Against One, One For All”. Nazis weren’t the brightest bulbs, but they understood what it took to control people. And to control people, they had to eradicate the idea of individualism.

Fascism is a terrifying thing, so it is no surprise we respond to it in the way we respond to most things that frighten us, in a reactionary manner. We react in fear, and when we are fearful we retreat to those very things that are most likely to strengthen fascism: herd-mentality, authority, censorship, and a stronger police/military force. Our fearful reaction to fascism keeps us from doing the one thing fascists fear most: developing and expressing our individuality. We square off into our separate groups in order to feel safe and secure, the very thing fascists do. Make no mistake, however ugly and horrible and violent fascists are, what drives them to it is a greater fear of self than the average person. They seek authority, seek protection from a world outside of their control, seek a father figure who will protect them so long as they are obedient little children. Perhaps more than anything, they seek justification for the kind of emotional and often violent outbursts that adult children cannot live without.

Every modern society will have this sort of people to some degree. It is unrealistic to imagine we can stamp this tendency out until we can construct something approaching a utopia, where every person feels a modicum of security and sense of belonging. But in any halfway decently functioning society, the amount of people who see an answer in fascism will be minute. They will be marginalized, the movement will not be taken seriously enough to attract any appreciable following, and, as can be seen in the Skokie Nazi marches of the 70’s, society as a whole will be healthy enough to keep it from spreading.

Fascism is spreading now. I see it quite clearly and I believe most others do, as well. It infects those most easily who are unable to self-actuate. But though you might not be infected yourself — or at least if you are not showing obvious symptoms yourself — you may still be a spreader of fascism. If you yourself are unable to self-actualize, if you are unable to draw healthy boundaries between yourself and authoritarian structures, if you feel the need to conform with others and suppress your own individuality, if you feel uncomfortable expressing your own unique opinions or even your own feelings but feel instead the need to parrot the party line, you may very well be a part of the problem and not the solution.

Ask yourself these questions: Am I comfortable enough in my own opinions to tolerate opinions and values that are different from my own? Do I question the information I receive from authority figures, or do I uncritically believe them and repeat them to others? Do I seek to find common ground with others or do I appeal to authoritarian structures to make others conform to what I believe (or have been told to believe) is right? Do I hold opinions that differ from the majority that I feel comfortable sharing with others without needing their approval, or do I feel obliged to abandon my initial opinions/impulses if they are not what the crowd or some anonymous authority dictates?

There is no greater enemy to fascism than the self-actualized individual willing to speak their truth. Fascists do not fear those who oppose them by fearfully herding together in opposition. Fascists recognize the herd mentality and know that herd beasts will eventually flock to the herd that will offer them the stronger protection. Fascists will permit the herd-minded to gather in their separate flocks, knowing that they can attack them at their leisure. The fascists will concentrate on those who prove themselves able to step outside the herd. Once they are taken care of, the fascists know there will be no real leaders the herd can flock to, none but the leaders the fascists themselves have already gathered around.

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