Fascism vs Democracy - What's The Difference? - Political Comparison
Throughout history, the world has seen the rise and fall of numerous types of political ideologies. From Feudalism to Monarchy, Communism to Democracy, humanity has almost always chosen some form of government over anarchy. With politics seeming to show up in everyone’s news feed now more than ever before, and with the word ‘fascist’ being slung around more and more, we thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the two forms of government currently pulling at the United States, in this episode of The Infographics Show; Fascism vs Democracy. Fascism is a political philosophy that exalts nation and often race over the individual. The term is derived from the latin “fasces,” which is a bound bundle of wooden rods, often including an axe with its blade emerging, an obvious symbol of power. Fascism is usually coupled with a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader that typically imposes severe social and economic regimentation, along with the forceful suppression of any opposition. Similar to socialism, the economic regimentation of fascism is a big pillar of the ideology. However, the two differ in that socialism seeks direct, totalitarian control of the economic process, while fascism seeks similar control, but more indirectly. Socialism would do things like nationalize property explicitly and abolish market relations outright, while fascism would require property to be used for the good of nation, but still allow for it to be owned privately, leaving the appearance of market relations, while manipulating the market behind the scenes.
On the other hand, Democracy, which literally means “ruled by the people,” is a political system in which all members have an equivalent access to power. Democracy is looked at as one of the oldest political systems on Earth. While modern-day democracies are quite a bit more complex, scientists believe that simple forms of democracy known as tribalism, or primitive democracy, could have existed for thousands of years. The origins for a more complex form of democracy is often thought to have originated around the turn of the 5th century B.C. with the Greeks in Ancient Athens. The term democracy actually derives from the Greek word “demos,” which means people.
However, even Ancient Athens was a far cry from the democracies of today since large portions of their society weren’t allowed to participate, most notably slaves and women. True democracies do not disqualify any group of people from having a say in government. Perhaps surprisingly, Finland is the first government to herald a more fair democracy at the national level when, in 1906, it was the first to abolish both race and gender requirements for voting and serving in government. Other modern forms of democracy are seen today in places like Canada, Australia, and many countries in Europe.
Fascism has seen quite a collection of political leaders try to spread its ideologies as well, even though it is a relatively new concept compared to democracy. Benito Mussolini turned Italy into the first fascist country in 1922, and he is known as one of the most prominent architects of fascism. Many fascist parties, like China’s Blue Shirts Society, popped up soon after, and even places like Canada had fascist fringe groups. Adolf Hitler is also seen as a fascist, though some are misled by the name of his political party and think he was a socialist. Hitler adapted Germany to fascism in 1933 with the Nazi, or National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
According to the officials of the Nobel Prize, only four places in the world actually claim NOT to be democracies; Vatican City, Saudi Arabia, Burma, and Brunei. In reality, regardless of how they label themselves, over 100 other countries have either non-democratic governments or only partially democratic governments.
In today’s political climate, there have been growing comparisons between the current President of the United States’ Donald Trump and fascist leaders of the past. Many cite his growing list of policies and executive orders to be akin to fascism. His views on suppression of the media and anyone that differs from or criticizes him can also come across as similar to suppression by fascism. Also, his Muslim Ban, his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border, his seemingly sexist views on women, and his choice of cabinet picks rife with conflicts of interest, all lead many to believe that America just elected its first fascist.
Comparisons of the Trump regime to fascism is upsetting to many people because they feel the democracy of the US is being threatened. However, while the United States of America is often thought of as simply a democracy, it is actually a little more complicated than that. The United States is considered a republic rather than a democracy, but the most accurate term for the United States is “representative democracy.” The citizens of the US rarely, if ever, have direct say in their government, but rather they elect officials to make political decisions on their behalf. While this is hardly as firm as the grip of fascism, it is a little different than a direct democracy.
Differing forms of government have risen and fallen, and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Do you think Fascism can ever rise again, and, if so, could it be a suitable form of government in today’s society? Let us know in the comments below. And, if you would like a quick daily comparison in your feed, follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram...go ahead, follow us now. Links can be found in the description of our video. As always, don’t forget to give this video a like and make sure to subscribe so you can keep up with our show!