Lately, I’ve been appalled to hear some fringe voices in the Occupy Wall Street protests assert that the United States is “the most fascist country in the world.” Even worse, when asked to tone down the exaggerated rhetoric, the response has been either the insistence that it’s true if you look at the evidence or, almost equally preposterous, that we’re growing more and more fascist each day. Such statements seem to me to really be another way of saying, “Don’t take anything I say seriously because I’m crazy.”
Obviously, the U.S. isn’t the most fascist country in the world. On its worst day, the U.S. might not even make the top 100 list of fascist countries. And anyone who isn’t completely ignorant of the what’s happening in the rest of the world knows this. Hell, the very fact that Americans have no trouble publicly criticizing this nation and its government without fear that they’ll be assassinated or mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night by secret police demonstrates the absurdity of this claim quite well.
Another great example can be found in this recent case of an Iranian actress being sentenced to ninety lashes for committing no crime other than appearing in an Australian film critical of Iran:
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This is what fascism really looks like. And we do a great disservice to victims like this around the world when privileged Westerners downplay their oppression in ill-conceived attempts to exaggerate their own plight. Don’t get me wrong. The majority of the Occupy Wall Street Movement is fighting a legitimate cause against a legitimate target and I largely support their efforts. So I’m not trying to downplay the serious problems we face here at home. But it’s just that they’re first-world problems. I’d wager that even the American poor by in large have it better than many of the poor in third-world countries. So I’m all for the Occupy Wall Street Movement. But let’s just keep things in perspective. The U.S. is not the most fascist nation in the world and using such rhetoric only hurts the credibility of that movement.