2. DISDAIN FOR THE RECOGNITION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. OBSESSION WITH NATIONAL SECURITY
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
4. SUPREMACY OF THE MILITARY
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. CONTROLLED MASS MEDIA
Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
- Highlights taken from Wake Up And Smell the Facism (see website for the 9 other characteristics and make your own opinions)
Although written in an American context, I think there's a familiar scent of Singapore in all this. The greatest trick the government has done, sort of like the devil in a way I guess, is convincing everybody there is no evil. But you have to read between the lines. Unlike more extreme cases of facism such as those experienced during WW2, certain governments around the world seem to take a much more passive and elusive approach that appears to legitimise their very actions that define facism.
Facism is defined as 'a system of government marked by centralisation of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism'. In "passive-modern facism", you replace the dictator with an authoritarian government of like-minded ministers and by being passive, no actual violence is carried out against people deemed "dangerous" to the government but are free to harass you in any number of ways while still abiding by their law. Thus creating the illusion of being a legitimate democracy and reinforcing my perception of Singapore's image as a plastic existence. There is no real opposition, which is only really being kept alive to validate and strengthen its image as a democratic system. Terror in today's context is translated into threats, fines, slander etc, which has already been displayed in many prominent cases. Nationalism is probably the foremost obvious characteristic of Singaporeans. Countless national day songs in the memory of every primary/secondary school kid, music videos and the patriotic display of flags on every HDB flat. This probably seems the most innocent of traits, but is really just a ploy to reinforce unity and trust between people and government. The underlying propaganda that we are a perfect society thriving on excellence in this competitive world. There is no room for anything less. Anything otherwise that is portrayed in the media just....ends up on the floor at the cutting room. Perhaps James Hetfield of Metallica says it best in his one-phrased opening track for the Garage Inc. album, "Free speech.....free speech for the dumb".