but not for the reason the purveyors of the term are thinking. No, it is to defend myself against those that use the expression.
Fascism has two basic usages today, one precise, and one nebulous.
The precise usage is in the field of Economics, which defines fascism as a command economy retaining private property. On this definition, ours is arguably more of a fascist economy than some Muslim nations.
The nebulous usage includes a smorgasbord of attributes, such as authoritarian. Usually, you can expect the N-word to crop up in the same discussion (I mean of course “Nazi”). There are two problems with the nebulous usage:
1. Each attribute by itself defines too broad a class; but in conjunction the list defines too narrow a class if not indeed the empty set. For example, someone might say, “willingness to use torture to maintain power,” but then communists were willing to do so, and they are generally regarded as anti-fascists. Likewise, examine any list of attributes in conjunction: “A and B and C and … Z” and you will often learn more about the writer than any group of people that fits the connotation.
2. To the extent that a meaningful list of attributes can be given, it applies par excellence to the very people that throw the term around! See an excellent analysis of this phenomenon here.
My $20 to your ten that anyone using the term “Islamo-fascism”
- doesn’t know what fascism is
- doesn’t know what Islam is
- doesn’t know about the relation of language and logic
What they do know, is how to commit rhetorical terrorism.