A warning

Carol M. Russell


Madeleine Albright gives us a chilling message, in fact, “a warning.” And she isn’t kidding. In her latest book, “Fascism,” she cites historian Robert Paxton who tells us: “Fascism was the major political innovation of the 20th Century.” Benito and Adolph are glaring examples.

Fascism, an extreme form of authoritarian rule, often starts quietly and incrementally as a bottom up movement, rather than top down. It is led by a group of people who feel they are deprived of economic well-being and rewards to which they are entitled. A charismatic leader inks him or herself emotionally to the group, exploits them, and fosters an us-against-them mentality. The leader becomes almost a cult figure who, in turn, draws energy from that special group or crowd. According to Albright, Fascism can more easily spread in a democracy when that leader brings “deep and ugly feelings” to the country’s surface.

Typically the leader is less concerned with political ideology and the rights of others than seizing and holding power.

You may be interested to know that our own president was not the first to campaign on “draining the swamp.” Who was first? Mussolini.