Fascism & Coercion


From a reader:

I’m enjoying the recent thread about thuggery in fascism. You need boil the argument down to one word: coercion. Coercion can be thuggish, or it can be subtle. But this is a distinction without a difference. Coercion is wrong, or at least anti-liberal, in all forms.
You have discussed Gleichschaltung, which is best defined as coordination, and others have chimed in with thoughts of totalitarianism, but I think coercion is the word that hits the target most effectively. So the rejoinder to any argument about fascism and thuggery is simply to state that fascism is coercive, whether thuggish or otherwise.
Today’s left-leaning intellectual, if intellectually honest — or if they at least understand the way they throw the term fascist around themself — should consider coercion, in even its most subtle forms, to be enough of an evil to leave the argument there. If not, then you are free to throw an appeal to slippery slopes into the discussion (i.e., subtle coercion must inevitably turn to thuggery when society does not respond obediently to it). Hopefully it won’t come to that.
All the best,


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review