Start of Fascism: Fascinating Fools & Muzzling Intelligence

What does the start of fascism look like? When discussing the origins and progression of fascism, the words of Bertrand Russell, a renowned philosopher and social critic, provide us with a thought-provoking perspective.


3/24/20242 min read

start of fascism
start of fascism

What does the start of fascism look like? When discussing the origins and progression of fascism, the words of Bertrand Russell, a renowned philosopher and social critic, provide us with a thought-provoking perspective. Russell famously stated, "First, they fascinate the fools. Then they muzzle the intelligent." This profound quote encapsulates the insidious nature of fascism and highlights how it gains momentum by manipulating the vulnerable while suppressing critical thinking.

Start of Fascism: The Seduction of the Fools

Fascism often begins by captivating those who are easily swayed or susceptible to manipulation. These individuals are disillusioned, frustrated, or fearful, seeking simple solutions to complex problems. Fascist leaders exploit these emotions, offering promises of stability, security, and a return to a perceived golden age. By appealing to the fears and desires of the masses, they gain a following that is willing to overlook or rationalize the erosion of democratic values and individual freedoms.

Through persuasive rhetoric and the propagation of divisive ideologies, fascists create a sense of belonging and purpose among their supporters. They provide a scapegoat for societal ills, blaming specific groups or individuals for the perceived decline of the nation. This strategy deflects attention from the real causes of societal problems. In addition it also fosters a sense of unity and solidarity among the followers.

Furthermore, fascists often employ propaganda and control over the media to shape public opinion. By disseminating misinformation, distorting facts, and suppressing dissenting voices, they create an echo chamber that reinforces their narrative and discredits opposing viewpoints. This manipulation of information helps to solidify their hold on power and maintain the loyalty of their followers.

Muzzling the Intelligent

As Russell astutely observed, the next step in the rise of fascism is the silencing of the intelligent. Intellectuals, academics, journalists, and anyone who questions or challenges the fascist regime are targeted and marginalized. Free speech is curtailed, and any form of dissent is met with harsh consequences, ranging from intimidation and harassment to imprisonment or worse.

Fascist leaders understand the power of critical thinking and the potential threat it poses to their ideology. By suppressing intellectual discourse and independent thought, they ensure that their propaganda remains unchallenged. They create an environment where alternative viewpoints are labeled as unpatriotic or dangerous, effectively stifling any opposition.

Additionally, fascists undermine institutions that uphold democratic values, such as independent judiciary systems and free press. They replace them with loyalists who prioritize their interests over the principles of justice and truth. This erosion of checks and balances consolidates power in the hands of the few, further entrenching the fascist regime.

Resisting the Fascist Tide

Understanding how fascism starts is crucial in preventing its spread and safeguarding democratic societies. Recognizing the tactics used by fascists to captivate the vulnerable and suppress dissent allows us to remain vigilant and actively counter their influence.

Education and critical thinking are vital tools in the fight against fascism. By promoting a well-informed and engaged citizenry, we can inoculate society against the allure of simplistic solutions and divisive ideologies. Emphasizing the importance of empathy, tolerance, and respect for diversity helps to build inclusive societies that are resistant to the divisive rhetoric employed by fascists.

Furthermore, safeguarding democratic institutions and upholding the principles of justice, equality, and human rights are essential in resisting the encroachment of fascism. Supporting independent media, advocating for freedom of speech, and holding those in power accountable are crucial steps in maintaining a healthy democracy.

Understanding the Dangerous Path That Fascism Follows

Bertrand Russell's words remind us of the dangerous path that fascism follows. By captivating the fools and muzzling the intelligent, fascists exploit vulnerabilities and suppress critical thinking. Understanding this process is vital in preventing the rise of fascism and preserving the values that underpin democratic societies.