What The Heck Is A Fascist, Anyway?

People seem to be throwing the term ‘fascist’ around a lot these days, and when you think about it, no one really seems to have any idea what it means anymore. Oh, sure, everyone knows that fascists are bad guys, and no one wants to be publicly identified as one. But how exactly can Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, John Ashcroft, and parents who send their children to bed early all be fascists? Alexander Stille is concerned that such a fascinating and evocative word may be losing its meaning altogether. It may be time for a gentle reminder that ‘fascist’ is not a synonym for ‘powerful person who makes me want to scream.’