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“Never Again?” How fascism hijacks democracies over and over | Rob Riemen

Rob Riemen — founder and president of the Nexus Institute — posits that the type and level of toxicity in today’s political climate is a breeding ground for fascism. He argues that most people in fully democratic Germany in the early 1930’s didn’t think that by decade’s end they’d be a fully fascist country, and goes further to say that perhaps history will look back on the 2016 American election in the same way. Is he correct? You be the judge.

Read more at BigThink.com: http://bigthink.com/videos/rob-riemen-never-again-how-fascism-hijacks-democracies-over-and-over

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Rob Rieman: Why is it difficult to identify fascism?

Well the first, the main reason I think, is that it’s bad news. And with bad news, with inconvenient truths the natural response is denial, right?

The most famous form of denial related to inconvenient truth was the report of the Club of Rome in 1972 limits to the growth, which was the first scientific report to make clear for the whole world that an ongoing economic growth in a industrial society will have devastating consequences for the planet. And the denial was enormous for decades. Now the denial is no longer possible and, you know, governments try to do what they do, and Greenpeace and other organizations—But imagine how the world, how the planet would have looked like if at that time people would have realized yes, it’s an inconvenient truth but they are right. We wasted time.

So the first part and to say look, the return of fascism is an inconvenient truth.

The second thing is… it’s very embarrassing, you know. After World War II, especially in my part of the world where fascism came from, Europe, at our commemoration day we will say, “never again”. That’s what we said all the time: “Never again.”

And so the whole idea that this terrible, terrible thing of fascism could be back was, you know, out of the question.

The third element is the phenomenon of we do not know our history anymore. There is a kind of political amnesia.

And so we are, we have forgotten some extremely important warnings which the warnings did not come from the political scientists. The warnings came from important artists. Novelists like Albert Camus and Thomas Mann, two great artists who lived through the era of fascism.

And in 1947, independent of each other, said “Don’t make the mistake. World War II is over but fascism did not disappear.”

Camus even wrote a very important novel about it, La Peste, The Plague, trying to explain “Look, this phenomenon of fascism is there to stay because it’s the dark side of every democracy. In every democracy it is possible that at the very moment the spirit of democracy is gone then you’ll get a society (which we now call a mass society) which is no longer cultivating the high ideals of a democracy, but you get the kind of society which is dominated by our lowest instincts – greed, fear, resentment, hatred, propaganda, stupidity. And that’s where the demagogues and the populists will move in and they will present their own version of fascism.

But we don’t recognize it, again because the idea is – well we know fascism is a bad thing, but in our, you know, media, Hollywood-oriented visual culture… look, in a visual culture, evil has to be very visible.

Look at Batman, right? Batman, handsome guy. And who’s the evil guy? The Joker, and you immediately see that is an evil man, right?

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