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What Fascism Really Is — And What It Isn't
We often hear rhetoric comparing certain political leaders and moments to Fascism. But, is that accurate? Perhaps more importantly, is that a good thing?
It seems everyone is a fascist these days. Doesn’t matter who, doesn’t matter why, they are fascists. We have all been stuck speaking with the self-proclaimed constitutional expert who finds everyone who disagrees with them to be worthy of the name. I have personally been called a fascist numerous times for holding political positions opposite that of the person accusing me.
Of course, lots of people really were fascists once; and they killed millions. The constant use of the term in our political discourse as a pejorative does those people a disservice. It is also detrimental to we the living. You’ve heard of the boy who cried wolf, imagine the fate of the boy who cried “Fascism”.
There really are fascists in the world today, in the interests of being able to identify them and properly draw attention to them we had best limit our use of the term to those persons. But what is fascism? What does it mean? What do its followers believe?
In his work “Fascism” British political theorist Roger Griffin declares fascism to be “a palingenetic form of populist ultra nationalism”. “Palingenetic” meaning rebirth, in fascism there is a dedication to the idea of “national rebirth” along with the more typical populist and ultra-nationalist tendencies.
He goes on to state that without this element of rebirth or rejuvenation a movement is not fascism, but rather a look alike. Of all the right wing authoritarian movements he examines in his book only two make the club of “real” fascisms, Italian Fascism and German Nazism. The rest, from Vargas and Perón in South America to Franco in Spain and Tojo in Japan, fail the key test.
He then goes on to list ten features of “generic” fascism. They are:
Fascism is Anti-Liberal: Fascists oppose pluralism, tolerance, individualism, democracy, the idea of natural rights, and the like. While fascist movements have often used democratic means to achieve power this does not deny their anti-democratic ends. Fascists view liberalism as a decedent and failed ideology.
Fascism is Anti-Conservative: The key element of Fascism is that it seeks a “national rebirth” or “new order”, this may make reference to a glorious past but doesn’t call for a to return to it. They reject conservative status quo politics.
Fascism Tends to Operate as a Charismatic Form of Politics: Fascism tends to rely on personality cults, mass movements, and appeals to collective emotions over reason.
Fascism is Anti-Rational: Fascists do not view man’s capacity to reason as the key human ability, but rather the capacity to be driven to heroic action by means of belief, myth, symbols, and the like.
Fascist ‘Socialism': Fascists claim that their movement offers the end of class conflict in society along with adequate reward for the productive members of the nation. Fascists reject Marxism and international socialism, but do favor a strong state role in the economy. Syndicalism and Corporatism are strong elements in fascist economics. Self described socialists are noted haters of fascism in all forms. For their part, Fascists in Italy banned trade unions; the Nazis sent social democrats to concentration camps.
Fascism’s Link to Totalitarianism: A fascist utopia would see the state as all powerful, and the population as homogeneous and well regimented to the ends of the state. The machinery required to ensure ideological and behavioral uniformity in that state would be Orwellian in scale. Mussolini put it frankly when he said: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”
Heterogeneous Social Support: In theory, fascism has no bias in support by class. In principle fascism should appeal to all classes equally. Both Italian Fascism and German Nazism made strong rhetorical gestures to all classes. The same could be said of support by gender, though the tendency to emphasize militarism and physical courage could be considered an appeal to chauvinism.
Fascist Racism: Griffin says, “By its nature fascism is racist, since all ultra nationalisms are racist in their celebration of the alleged virtues and greatness of an organically conceived nation or culture”. In the same way, fascism opposes the "liberal vision of the multicultural, multi-religious, multiracial society”.
Fascist Internationalism: While focused on issues relevant to its nation, fascism is perfectly capable of supporting and finding solidarity with fascist movements in other nations. Especially when facing common enemies. The Axis Powers are a clear example of this.
Fascist Eclecticism: The concepts that make up Fascism are various, and historically ideas have been taken from both the far right (illiberalism, racism) and the far left (syndicalism). This was considered a strength by fascist leaders and these nearly contradictory ideas are always united by their relation to the concept of national rebirth.
It of course must be said that one or two of these traits in a movement does not immediately designate such a movement as “fascist”. After all, the Nazis went to great links to improve health by fighting smoking, and we would hardly consider basic anti-smoking campaigns to be fascist. In the same way, being able to combine ideas from the left and the right is not always “Fascist Eclecticism”, and the ability to appeal to all groups in a society is not inherently fascist demagoguery.
The term “fascist” is difficult to define, as so few people have claimed it since 1945. However, it’s overuse in conversation was noted even then by George Orwell who said:
“It will be seen that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-ﬁghting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.”
An understanding of what fascism is, as is offered to us by Dr. Griffin’s definition, can help us preserve our democracy. It will also be, undoubtedly, of great use when you are forced into a discussion with somebody who tosses around the word “fascism” loosely when they want to win an argument.
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Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
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Professor Luis Escobar.
Credit: Virginia Tech