This is the second in a two-part series on Fascism. Last week: Mussolini and Trump
Madeleine Albright concludes her book, “Fascism: A Warning” with 10 questions that we should ask ourselves about our prospective leaders:
- Do they cater to our prejudices by suggesting that we treat people outside our ethnicity, race, creed, or party as unworthy of dignity and respect?
- Do they want us to nurture our anger toward those who we believe have done us wrong, rub raw our grievances, and set our sights on revenge?
- Do they encourage us to have contempt for our governing institutions and the electoral process?
- Do they seek to destroy our faith in essential contributors to democracy such as an independent press and a professional judiciary?
- Do they exploit the symbols of patriotism—the flag, the pledge—in a conscious effort to turn us against one another?
- If defeated at the polls, will they accept the verdict or insist without evidence that they have won?
- Do they go beyond asking for our votes to brag about their ability to solve all problems, put to rest all anxieties, and satisfy every desire?
- Do they solicit our cheers by speaking casually and with pumped-up machismo about using violence to blow away enemies?
- Do they echo the attitude of Mussolini: “The crowd doesn’t have to know,” all it has to do is believe and “submit to being shaped?
- Or do they invite us to join with them in building and maintaining a healthy center for our societies, a place where rights and duties are apportioned fairly, the social contract is honored, and all have room to dream and grow?
The answers will not tell us whether the prospective leader is right or left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. The answers will tell us a lot about who wants to lead and whether we have confidence in the future or are face dire warnings.