Robert K. Merton (1910-2003), US Sociologist developed the Merton Theorem which says that German Nazism, European fascism, and U.S. Conservatism are functional equivalents. Both resemble the nativism that is at their roots and espouse a religio-or ethno-centrism that is both xenophobic and repressive. Both also seek to purge themselves of the impure (or infidels) by focusing aggression towards a convenient “out group” (liberals, Muslims, Jews, Quakers, Pacifists, Transsexuals, etc.).
The theorem posits that American conservatism, stemming from the original religious Puritanism, but extending through paleo-conservatists to the neo-conservative movement, seeks the same outcomes as Nazism and Fascism. That is, the all seek to stratify society between those that are acceptable and those that are not (Aryans v. Jews, Christian v. Non-Christian, White v. Color, etc.). All three seek homogenization of society either through forced relocation of unacceptable peoples, or in extreme cases such as the Third Reich, simple murder. All three seek to elevate the “traditional’ to a holy status which is unquestionable without risking being declared “unacceptable.” All three seek to engineer a “good” society – a euphemism for a society that meets all the acceptable criteria.
All three support a feudal social structure – a good example here is the American South pre-Civil War, which by and large could be considered fascist (and medieval) in nature given its social structure. All three promote aggression against outsiders – ethnocentric xenophobia. All three promote Jingoism – that is the idea that military force is the solution for most, if not all problems.
All three are expansionist – seeking to increase their group/nation’s influence by occupying territory –not recognizing that the constant warfare is a sign of ill-liberty, not liberty. Freedom may not be free, but by constantly having to “pay” for it, a fascist government, with its unending wars of imperial conquest, takes freedom away from its people.
All three also practice political absolutism – my way or the highway politics. All three consider Machiavellianism as effective policy and strategy All three decry the lies, hypocrisies, and sins of their opponents while ignoring, or even reveling in their own lies, hypocrisies, and sins.
In all three the leaders claim some sort divine right to rule, whether through the auspices of being an ubermenschen, or because their opponents are “unacceptable” in some way. All three abhor the open society, adopting religious absolutism, nihilism, moral absolutism, repression, and extreme radicalism as the basis of their ideologies.
America’s love affair with fascism dates back to at least the 1920’s when at least forty Fasce (Fascist clubs) operated in the United States. In 1933, fascist businessmen attempted a coup de etat against President Franlinklin Roosevelt, the coup was narrowly avoided. While observable support of Fascism necessarily went underground during WWII, the support did not actually die out. The American Conservative movement has acted, since at least the end of WWII as a sort of proto-fascist movement, gaining power during the Civil Right era when “conservatives” (racist) flocked to the Republican Party. They increased their hold on the nation with the election of Ronald Reagan and his Theo/Neo-Conservative movement.
Today the American Conservative/Fascist movement sees its ultimate goal in sight. To place a known nationalist, one who is supported by racists, fascists, and Nazis across the country, one who espouses violence in the face of opposition, one whose xenophobia and racism are worn as a badge of honor, into the highest office in the land.