Has the United States escaped becoming a fascist country?

I cannot find the intelligent article I recently read that argued this thesis, but I think it raises all sorts of interesting questions. I should say that I am not a political theorist, and I’d love it if some who are would add more depth to this discussion.

One interesting question is whether Romney and the republicans would have taken the government in the direction of fascism. Next is whether Obama is not doing that. But perhaps first is the question of what fascism is. And the trouble with this question is at least twofold. There doesn’t seem to be any agreed upon definition of fascism, and the elements that do get mentioned seem to be matters of degree.

One source gives what seems to me a fairly weak definition:

The common elements of fascism—extreme nationalism, social Darwinism, the leadership principle, elitism, anti-liberalism, anti-egalitarianism, anti-democracy, intolerance, glorification of war, the supremacy of the state and anti-intellectualism—together form a rather loose doctrine.

For one thing, “the leadership principle” is weaker than a more common “dictatorship.” “Anti-intellectualism” seems to cover anything from a continuing dislike of higher education to a forceful physical attack on people and structures. But even if we take some of these in a quite strong sense – e.g., social Darwinism – then the threat seems to be there. Or at least any segment of the country that blames those without access to adequate medical care on those very people seems to endorse a strong sense of the survival of the fittest.

I’d be really interested in hearing what you all think.

Survey on experiences of faculty with mental-health diagnoses or issues

This sounds like a really important survey, especially in view of some of the experiences described at Disabled Philosophers, and they’re encouraging people from outside the US to respond, too.  Go fill it in!

We (Margaret Price of Spelman College; Mark Salzer and Alyssa Balletta of Temple University; and Stephanie Kerschbaum of the University of Delaware) have just launched a survey that aims to gather information about disclosures of mental health issues among faculty.

This is the first large-scale survey that aims to gather information not only about how many faculty members experience mental health issues, but also what that experience is like and how it affects their work lives.

Who can take the survey: Anyone who has received mental-health care and/or a mental-health diagnosis. For the purposes of this study, faculty member means someone who is employed (part- or full-time) at an institution of higher education and is not a graduate student. Faculty members may have titles including “instructor,” “lecturer,” “professor,” or another title.

What the survey covers: The survey asks about topics including diagnoses, hospitalizations, relations with co-workers, and experiences of disclosure at work. We understand that some of these topics may be distressing or triggering, and we have taken great care to ensure that the survey is as safe as possible. It is completely anonymous, and participants may skip any questions they wish.

How long it takes: Pilot testers found that the survey takes about 15 minutes, although this will depend upon each participant’s particular speed and how much open-ended information is included.

Further information: If you have any questions about this research project, please email us at facultydisclosureproject@gmail.com. You may also email facultydisclosureproject@gmail.com if you’d like to take part in the interview portion of the study but would rather not fill out the survey.

Thank you very much for helping to spread the word.


Margaret Price
Mark Salzer
Alyssa Balletta
Stephanie Kerschbaum

(Also, I really recommend Margaret Price’s book Mad at School. Thanks for writing it, Margaret.)