Read: October 2020

Inspiration: Frequently mentioned in the news, what exactly is “fascism”? (recommended by a friend)


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“How Fascism Works”, published in 2020 by author and professor Jason Stanley, examines the tactics used by fascism to gain and maintain power. Stanley argues that fascism is not just a political ideology, but a system of control that relies on propaganda, censorship, and the manipulation of language and information. The book explores the history of fascism and how it has evolved over time, and provides insight into how it continues to influence contemporary politics and society. Stanley argues that fascism relies on the creation of a common enemy, the suppression of dissent, and the erosion of the rule of law in order to maintain power. It also seeks to undermine critical thinking and the ability of individuals to make informed decisions by manipulating information and language. The book provides a thorough analysis of the ways in which fascism operates and the dangers it poses to democracy and civil society.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Fascism is ultranationalism of some sort—leverages the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, unreality, law and order, mussolini and nazi recognize past is myth but use to change present, mask corruption under guise of anticorruption, Nazis think feminism was jewish conspiracy to subvert and destroy aryan race, fascist politics make room for studying myths as facts (e.g. no need for class to show earth is flat for free speech and diversity of opinions), fascist replace reasoned debate with fear and anger, conspiracy theories not meant to be taken as fact but at least sow doubt and slander, claim media not covering bs is because media controlled/biased, if grew up privileged then see move to equality as oppression (since benefitted from injustices, now feels weird), fascists leverage past oppression to fuel a struggle for dominance and nationalism not equality (leverage victimization), linguistic intergroup bias (attribute good to character if “us” vs concrete terms “them” and attribute bad to character if “them” vs concrete terms if “us”), if think laws are color blind then must think black americans are one of most dangerous groups in history of civilization given % of blacks in jail as only 13% US pop, fascists prefer rural agrarian bc self-sufficient, not rely on state (see city as source of disease/crime/lazy), self-perpetuating cycle towards inferiority such as blacks to prison more and then can’t get job then poor and framed as lazy and repeat til true, labor unions unify across class lines so fascists oppose (unions enhance equity), right to work = forbid unions to collect dues from employees not wish to pay but require equal union representation and rights, stark inequality in liberal democracy gives rise to fascism

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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