Fascism is a self-defeating ideology. In every case of a full-blown fascist government, and even those with budding fascist tendencies, you get to a point where supporters of the fascists have to start saying, doing, and believing ridiculous things. Never break from formation, never question, never ever let the idea get into your mind that the group doesn’t have the right answers and the best interests in mind.
But things will go wrong. Things will get out of control. If you allow someone to believe they are right 100% of the time, if you never question or even think that they might be wrong, they will eventually start to believe that they can do no wrong… and that’s where things get terrifying. So we know fascism is bad. We’re told from an early age that America is good because of freedom and democracy and what have you… so why do the American people, increasingly in the past 20 years, seem to support actions, candidates and platforms that are increasingly anti-democratic, anti-freedom? We want to believe that people are inherently good and just and prone to democracy, but History proves out that democracy is something that must be won and maintained, not just implied. So, what if a bunch of folks just did not care about the ideas that are supposedly integral to our liberal democracy? What makes the idea of fascism or authoritarianism or totalitarianism so appealing?
Because he makes the trains run on time.
It’s an oft-repeated little chestnut of history, and one that turns out to be not true, it seems, but in the era of Fake News, is it really that surprising that a lie gains more traction than the truth? The most important thing to look at (and something our current news media conveniently continues to forget to do) is not THAT the lie is accepted… but WHY. Far too often you see the easy, lazy excuses put forth that they’re just dumb, they don’t know any better, or they didn’t put in the hard work to figure it out. But it’s not as easy as passing judgment. It’s not as easy as saying it’s someone’s else’s fault. The WHY behind these lies getting accepted is just as much the fault of you reading this as it is mine and our entire broken system.
People want to believe the trains run on time. People want to believe that a fascist they voted for isn’t a terrible idea, but the trains are going to run on time. There are going to be benefits… maybe not for everyone, but maybe those folks didn’t deserve it. Yeah, that sounds right, it’s their fault. They didn’t deserve it like I did. All those kids with no future prospects just should have worked harder, it’s not that the system is built to fail for 98% of the population. I’d rather excuse horrible behavior from my government and have peace of mind than have to admit this entire system needs an overhaul… because if the trains run on time, I’m all right.
We were all wrong, but it’s not our fault. We just want to be happy, it’s how humans are. But now, with the mask off and a government doing its best to loot the till, knowing full well that their policies may very well cause the next Great Depression… we have no choice but to fight it. We read in our history books how Mussolini was bad because he was a fascist, and needed to be fought. We read how people, desperate for some good news, supported fascism, even with all its evils, on the promise of returned greatness and punctual trains. It is now our duty to look 100 years into the future to see what folks may say about us, about our time, and about our action… or lack thereof. People may have installed this government because they wanted the trains to run on time, but the people also have the power to remove it, even if it costs us in the short term.
Because, at the end of the day, a few late trains is worth it.