Playing the Fascist Card

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

I've previously written on the way people label other people. Sometimes it's a means of reference, but quite often it's a way of pigeonholing them to avoid listening to what they have to say, or even as a means of trying to control their speech. Labeling can also be a means of demonizing and manipulation. There's another approach that is similar to labeling that is quite popular: playing the card.

Labeling people as a means of dismissal is one thing, but there are "trump cards" that get played when people want to attack others but have nothing rational to say.
Assembled using graphics from Openclipart and modified with Paint.Net
There are several cards to "play" that, in the mind of the user, trump all other considerations. In the United States, it's common to hear someone "refute" a criticism, complaint, or even an observation regarding someone of a minority ethnic heritage and say, "You're a racist!" That's the race card. (Reading that a black leftist called a black conservative a racist may cause Cranial Keyboard Embedment Syndrome.) Don't want women in elite combat forces? You hate women; the "woman" card was played. Christians have their version as well, the "Pharisee Card", generally used by someone who has a low view of Scripture against someone who is saying biblical truth. There is some material on the pharisee card that I recommend. First, an article. Second, and article and a podcast at "Fighting for the Faith". These can be found under the excellent graphic at this link from Why?Outreach.

One of the more recent trumps is the fascist card. I've been called this for the "crimes" in this "dictionary definition":

Labeling people as a means of dismissal is one thing, but there are "trump cards" that get played when people want to attack others but have nothing rational to say.

One of the earliest uses of the fascist card that I saw was on a television show. I disremember how long ago, and think it was the Phil Donohue show, but someone phoned in when Rush Limbaugh was on and called him a fascist. Rush asked him if he knew what the word meant. I believe this is a good way to holler, "Whoa!" I've pointed out to an angry atheist who calls me a fascist (he also uses this term for an American politician he hates) that he does not even know what the word means (which was further illustrated with his equating me with fascism and communism at the same time). If you ask for a definition, expect a retort along the lines of, "Well, I know what a fascist is, and you're one of them!" This shows that there's no need for further conversation.

Every once in a while, you'll encounter some tinhorn who refers to biblical creationists as fascists. There are several articles that do this, but again, they show ignorance of what the word really means. Ironically, evolutionary views were strong in Nazism. I've used the term "atheo-fascist", but have done it deliberately because I have laid out my case in "Evolution and the New Atheo-Fascism", but I have yet to see someone play the fascist card in anything other than as an emotive reaction.

Interesting that atheists who refer to Christians and creationists as fascists don't pay no nevermind when their cohorts will ban us from their sites, edit comments, misrepresent, and even lie about us. By their own definitions, I reckon that mayhaps they are the fascists.

When someone cries, "You're a fascist!", or any of the other "cards", they're employing a simplistic ad hominem attack. It is a trump card in an effort to win the hand. Even if someone was wrong, perhaps did say something racist/sexist/whateverist, that does not negate everything the person has to say. Usually, an accusation played through (whatever) card means that someone is furious, cannot refute arguments with reason, is attempting to gain support through an emotive term, and has nothing of substance to say. Also notice that people playing those trump cards demand "tolerance", but are the least tolerant of those who hold differing views. Keep an eye out, see if it's true that a trump-card player is actually the embodiment of what he or she is decrying. But you're not likely to get intelligent conversation, so it's best to move along. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do.