“Fascism” and “fascist” are two words not to be used lightly to characterise someone. Nor should we fear to use them, though—when these words truly apply. However, I've seen them being used of late without much thought or care. And this, I fear, may not be as innocent or as noble as might prima facie seem.
The thing with words is that they represent concepts before they’re even uttered or written. And these concepts are mental representations of how we perceive the actual world around us through our senses and our mental capacity to process the data we collect. How we perceive the world and, perhaps critically, ourselves in it. It’s an exercise of discretion and intelligence coupled with wisdom and awareness.
Using such strong words lightly may likely indicate a cavalier way of approaching, perceiving, and considering the world around us. Moreover, it indicates decisive deficiencies in our ability to discriminate between facts and fiction; to collect all pertinent evidence while discarding anything superfluous or misleading; and to process whatever remains in the form of valid information into a meaningful syllogism which successfully reconstructs the world and interprets it in as high fidelity to the actual truth as possible.
The actual phenomenon of Fascism is very real, very dangerous, and more pervasive than most people might think. This makes it, therefore, precisely the kind of phenomenon deserving of a great deal more than being treated lightly.
When distinguishing between who’s a fascist and who’s not, it’s beyond just crucial to keep in mind that if we fail to identify the truth properly, this failure comes at a price. This price is that our callousness—and occasionally, our plain stupidity—may end up muddying the waters and confounding perceptions, concepts, and notions beyond our already clouded ones; that is to say, we may end up clouding the judgment of others as well, those who listen to us or read our writings.
And since Fascism thrives on deceit and the spread of deceptive notions misrepresented as truths, we would be doing it great service if through mere flippancy we were to lay its groundwork by misnaming events, situations, and behaviours. In the war against Fascism, it is ill-advised to use the same weapons as it does, namely generalisation, racist profiling, and stereotypes, among others. Our most priceless virtue in this never ending fight should remain our ability to tell friend from foe and truth from untruth.
Diagnosing cancer is vital; diagnosing it when it’s present; diagnosing it to its true extent and its true location inside the body. A correct, timely, and accurate diagnosis might just make it possible to have a tumour surgically removed in time. Ask yourselves: would you trust an oncologist who tends to treat his job thoughtlessly and whose approach involves a considerable degree of inaccuracy?