Why are human beings fascist by default?
Don’t agree with that statement? How did you react the last time you organized a night out with your friends, and that one friend showed up in something other than the agreed-upon dress code for the night? Or, when was the last time you had a lively but courteous discussion with someone who holds a political/social/religious worldview that is diametrically opposed to your worldview? Most of you probably threw a tantrum or desperately wanted to throw one in the former case, and “next to never” in the latter case.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not some paean for the “good old days” when everybody was good looking and their children were all above average (I’m looking at you Prairie Home Companion). Rather, consider the following breakdown by decade: in the eighties, you had to hate the Russians and Communism just to survive; in the nineties, the two most hated words were “Saddam” and “Hussein”; at the turn of the millennium, the new thing to hate was Terrorism; and now, in the two-thousand-tens, it is most fashionable to hate those that hold opposing views from the ones that you and your friends on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter hold.
This is not to say that hating people on the other side of the tracks is something new. Since the dawn of Homo sapiens, human beings have been dealing with interpersonal conflict on every level – in the family unit, in one’s local community, in one’s geographical sub-division, etc., etc. However, one cannot help but notice that how we deal with differences usually trends towards quickly establishing the norm and gathering like-minded individuals to this group so that we can immediately lash out at those who choose not to identify with that norm. That’s fascism in a nutshell. It isn’t Fascism in that it isn’t a political system that arose in post-war Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century. It’s merely fascism in that we seek to root out those elements that are opposed to us in our society. But, the thought that keeps me up at night, is the idea that fascism can quickly devolve into Fascism if the former is allowed to grow unchecked in one’s society. If you thought the Nazis grew rapidly as a political group in the nineteen thirties, try to imagine what they would have been like with a diverse digital social network.
Posted by Paul Yim