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Déjà vu of Fascism

In the Chaucerian world, society was classified according to a hierarchical order. Among them, the knights were given the top ranks and enjoyed esteem from courts and the public alike.

The sons of these knights were also trained under the supervision of their fathers from their childhood. Those were the times of war, and chivalry was admired as a noble quality.

Truth, honor, freedom, and defending faith were the mantra of every knight, and these were the values to be preserved and fought for.

It was centuries ago when the purpose was empire formation, but it still relates to modern times. The knights of the modern day are military dictators, authoritarians, and fascists.

Though the nation-state system and democratic structure were tabled to curb wars and promote people's republics, they have yet to stabilize themselves.

Monarchies and nobles fell, and a mutual consensus of nations was put forward to form distinguished nation borders. But the balance of power kept jolting, and Locke’s social contract was compromised.

Chivalry, honor, and faith saw new packaging in the form of nationalism, patriotism, and revivalism of the past. All these tendencies fall under fascism.

It was only recently in history that the world saw two major wars and a cold war. And now in the twenty-first century, the Russia-Ukraine War has created a global recession and caused destabilization.

Fascism first emerged in the literature of French and German writers. They were against the progressive and revolutionary movements of enlightenment, socialism, and feminism and instead focused on ethnic rootedness and authoritarian nationalism.

Gradually, in the nineteenth century, fascist ideas began to fuse with political thought. The Great Depression served as a growing field for German and Italian fascism. the products of which were Mussolini and Hitler and two world wars.

The nineteenth century was a war of ideologies, from Bolshevism, Socialism, Leninism, and Nazism to a change towards liberalism.

After the cold war, although the communist model was defeated, it didn’t wipe itself out, and there is still a tug-of-war between these two ideologies in the face of the Russian-Ukraine war.

According to the democracy index, there has been a decline in the ratio of democratic countries. Out of 176 countries, only 21 have full democracies, which make up only 6.4% of the world’s population.

The rest of the countries practice flawed, authoritarian, and hybrid regimes. Three ideologies are prevailing in the global political sphere: authoritarianism, fascism, and populism.

According to Federico Finchelstein, a history professor in New York, there are some similarities between fascism and populism, like the promotion of polarizing views, curbing press freedom, and disdain for the opposition, the judiciary, and democratic procedures.

The marked difference between populism and fascism, according to Finkelstein, is the use of violence. Populism uses authoritarian ideals to run "democracy," while fascists are backed by the military and impose their hegemony through batons.

Imbued with nationalistic delusion and lost glory, all such regimes gain their political support through emotional gimmickry. However, these distinctions are arbitrary, and the doctrines can combine as neo-authoritarianism and neo-fascism because their core values are strikingly similar.

Let’s take a look at Europe: Donald Trump in the US, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Australian Senator Fraser Anning—all three are national supremacists and a strong indicator of far-right emergence.

The pinpoint moment would be the 2016 Brexit by Britain, according to the Observer. Brazil saw the incitement of riots by Jair Bolsonaro.

Sweden’s Jimmie Akesson, Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have their own ideological alliances and are brothers in arms.

Catherine Fieschi, author of Populocracy: The Tyranny of Authenticity and the Rise of Populism, states that populist leaders or far-right leaders use the "idea of the traditional Christian conservative right."

As cited by the Guardian, the Russian-Ukraine war has surged as a concern for Democrats, and the rise of the right wing has become a pan-European problem.

According to the Center for International Private Enterprise, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India have a jolting political order.

As a young democracy, Nepal has yet to form a strong political structure and government. The federal parliament, provincial assemblies, and judiciary have put the country into political mayhem.

Bangladesh had military coups along with judicial and extrajudicial measures to silence critics. The introduction of the Digital Security Act (DSA) in 2018 is a draconian law against press freedom.

The political situation in Sri Lanka is a conundrum, as the country faces default on April 12, 2022. The increase in presidential powers by Gotabaya Rajapaksa led to his ultimate win in 2019, forming a semi-authoritarian government.

This created resentment in voters and left room for autocracy to breed. Similar is the case with India, where the BJP’s Narendra Modi is creating a Hindutva revivalism massively supported by the deluded masses.

Pakistan is facing a political farce as the civil-military alliance has led the country to an imminent default. The power distribution and exercise are a head-scratcher as there is no strong provincial structure.

Democratic disillusionment is the main reason for harboring right-wing parties, extremism, and authoritative regimes.

The failure of liberal or neo-liberal orders to solve economic, health, and living problems has created dissatisfaction among people.

In such circumstances, the populist or the fascist comes up with easy solutions and a strong man stature, giving a messianic depiction, and already dejected people find it to be their savior.

The only solution to this is somehow given by political thinker Michael Oakeshott, who stressed the enigma of "the dictator’s shadow." He claimed that one man was not the problem, but rather the weak state of affairs that led to the rise of such demagogues. So, strong institutions with political strength can keep such ideologies and extremism at bay.



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