Thank Goodness We’re Not Fascists. Here’s The Academic Proof
In his 2003 article Fascism Anyone? political scientist Dr Lawrence Britt delineated 14 evident characteristics of a fascist state witnessed in the behavior of societies with repressive tendencies. Although some of these points can be observed in various countries across the globe, a despotic society in particular encompasses most, if not all, of these qualities. As a Pakistani, it comes as a relief for me that our country is free of any of the following 14 traits mentioned in Dr Britt’s illustrious list.
1) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Most people are proud of the country they are born in; their patriotism is devoted to their homeland with which they attach a socio-cultural value, making it an integral part of their identity. This, however, is not the definition of nationalism, which is a belief in the inherent superiority of one’s nation and culture over all others. Fascists thrive in the confidence that their country was made to do something momentous, destined for greatness and supremacy. For them, symbols and representations of their country are sacred and anyone who ‘insults’ them, or doesn’t partake in their celebration, is a traitor. Thank goodness we Pakistanis have dodged that bullet and live in a diverse society where a person’s loyalty to the nation is not constantly under check.
2) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Fascists regard Human Rights violations as necessary for the safety of the precious homeland from nefarious forces that threaten the country, and under this impression, people are convinced to ignore and even defend abuse of rights. We must thank our lucky stars, and be grateful, to be living in a nation where people don’t randomly go missing, or are arbitrarily assassinated, and everyone gets due representation in the court of law because our state and its citizens respect all the basic tenets of Human Rights and will fight to uplift them in the society instead of condemning them as ‘Western agenda’.
3) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
In order to keep the populace in control, the single-most successful unifier is the ‘Ultimate Enemy’. We Pakistanis have no such enemy, within or without, and can enjoy the complete absence of negativity and constant war mongering. There’s no hint of racism or bigotry towards a despised ‘Other’ in the society.
4) Supremacy of the Military
Well here’s one we don’t have to worry about at all. We are not among those who would spend a disproportionate amount of their budget on the military at the expense of domestic development and people’s wellbeing. How awful would that be?
5) Rampant Sexism
As a society we have denounced sexism completely. Why, for instance, during the recent Aurat March, did the country’s men take to the streets in droves, with flowers and placards in hands, raising slogans in support the movement? There are no honour killings here, no domestic violence against women; we are not a patriarchal society. In fact only recently Pakistan was ranked 2nd best in the Global Gender Equality report. We can only pity the countries at the bottom of that list.
6) Controlled Mass Media
Well this one’s a no-brainer really. Just switch on the television or read the newspaper, you will see uncensored information from impartial sources with not even a hint of agenda-driven propaganda. We can grill politicians and all state institutions without censorship or fear of arrest without due process, and denounce any form of PR efforts made by state institutions and agencies whose job is to merely perform their constitutional roles rather than fund propaganda films and be active on Twitter.
7) Obsession with National Security
We have no obsession with national security because we have no enemies and hence no existential fear – which can be manipulated by the powers that be to constantly procure a sizeable chunk of the national budget.
8) Religion and Government are Intertwined
In a fascist state, religion is the most potent tool used to manipulate the public. Religious terminology is embedded in the state’s rhetoric to control behaviour, and suppress dissent and difference of opinion in such a manner that it is wholeheartedly supported by the society under the faux guise of moral superiority. Pakistan, thank God, does not suffer from this horrible predicament that befalls repressive nations.
9) Corporate Power is Protected & 10) Labour Power is Suppressed
Pakistan is an egalitarian state. Here, there is very little divide between the rich and the poor. We have a thriving middle class and negligible poverty. Corporations, capitalists, feudal lords have no influence on the politics of our country, and the working class is treated with dignity, and provided with fair wages. When foreigners come to Pakistan, they marvel at how the country has managed to provide equal education and opportunities to its non-elite class enabling them to live a life of self-respect and upward mobility without any exploitation from the privileged elite.
11) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
In order for science and artistic expression to thrive in a society, there must be tolerance towards differing ideas and opinions; this is the mark of a progressive and evolutionary society. In Pakistan, we provide our citizens with the right to freely express themselves, ask difficult questions, and challenge commonly held beliefs and notions to ensure that they have the space to experiment with ideas in the Arts and the Sciences without fear or censorship. This is why Pakistan is thriving in these two areas as is evident from the competent state of our academia, global leadership in science and technology, and successful export of our culture with diverse and aesthetic content doled out by Pakistan’s thriving film, television, and music industries.
12) Obsession with Crime and Punishment
We Pakistanis are very particular about Human Rights so there is no way we can tolerate providing limitless power to the security institutions. If ever a community is wronged (which it never is), or an individual is killed in terrorism (which never happens), we will always take those responsible to task and not demonise the victims by calling them traitors or agents.
13) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
There’s no cronyism or corruption here. This Land of the Pure is completely free of nepotism and fraud whether it is within the state institutions or in the private sector.
14) Fraudulent Elections
Pakistan is a republic; we take democracy very seriously, hence our elections are free and fair, completely free of deceit and interference. In fact, the recent 2018 elections were globally praised for being completely unobstructed and transparent.
Keeping all these true facts in mind, it is clear as day that we are no fascists; thank goodness we are such a transparent, tolerant, and progressive nation, a shining example for the world to emulate.