One of three signs along Highway 97 in West Kelowna that were vandalized. (Contributed)

COLUMN: Wartime ideology now used to express disgust

Accusations of fascism and Naziism used to target Canadian political candidates

The messages spray painted on some People’s Party of Canada signs in the Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding last week were stark and disturbing.

Some signs in West Kelowna were defaced with “Fascist?” and “Elect a fascist?”

People’s Party of Canada candidate Allan Duncan is not the only candidate during this election to have this label used against him.

Earlier during this campaign, some Liberal and Conservative candidates in Quebec and New Brunswick had their signs defaced with swastikas and other Nazi images.

This vandalism is disturbing, not only because election signs were defaced but also because of the accusation in the graffiti.

READ ALSO: ‘Fascist’: Vandals strike People’s Party of Canada election signs in West Kelowna

READ ALSO: LETTER: Party did not deserve fascist label

Fascism is a far-right ideology which has been described as authoritarian and ultranationalistic.

The only time it has been used by governments was in Europe after the First World War and during the Second World War.

It was the ideology of Nazi Germany and Italy during the Second World War, and it was directly responsible for the deaths of millions during the six years of that war.

While neo-fascist groups and political parties have emerged since the end of the Second World War, fascist nations have not arisen since that time.

The Second World War resulted in between 60 and 85 million deaths, the most in any war in human history.

Millions were killed in Nazi death camps including Jews, Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, people with disabilities, political opponents and homosexuals.

To accuse any Canadian political candidate, leader or party of being a fascist or a Nazi is to make an extremely harsh and unfair accusation.

None of our political parties, candidates or leaders has advocated anything even remotely like the fascist dictatorships of the 20th century.

Even worse, using these labels to describe candidates or parties in Canada minimizes the horrors of the Second World War.

The war began 80 years ago and lasted six years, but there are still some among us who remember.

There are veterans who fought in the war. Some may be willing to relive painful memories and talk about what they witnessed.

Others who served will not talk about their experience, but their silence speaks of atrocities few if any of us could understand.

There are some who survived Nazi death camps and others who lost friends and family members in these camps.

There are some who were civilians in Europe during the war and remember what their lives were like under a fascist dictatorship.

Conditions in Canada in 2019 are nothing like those in Germany and Italy in the 1930s and 1940s.

Perhaps the labels of “fascist” and “Nazi” were intended for hyperbole or shock value. But the shock has long been lost.

In 1944, while the Second World War was still raging, British writer George Orwell wrote, “The word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless…almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ for ‘Fascist’.”

And in 1990, American attorney and author Mike Godwin came up with Godwin’s Law.

This states that as an online discussion continues, someone will eventually compare someone or something to Hitler.

“I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler to think harder about the Holocaust,” he said later.

The people responsible for defacing election signs in the Okanagan Valley, Quebec and New Brunswick should have heeded this advice.

Terms like “fascist” and “Nazi” come from one of the worst periods in human history.

Such terms must not be used simply as expressions of extreme disgust.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health upgrades in South Okanagan and Similkameen forecast to cost nearly $10 million

Capital projects include CT scanner, medical vacuum system, ultrasounds and more

Committee discussing need for alternative power production methods in Penticton

Committee expresses disappointment following $75k report on alternative power methods

Purchase of Francophone school brings with it “sense of belonging” say parents

École Entre-lacs now has a permanent home in Penticton thanks to the provincial government

Penticton’s Slackwater Brewing to host Australian bushfire fundraiser

Money raised at Australia day party goes directly to Victoria Bushfire Relief Fund

COLUMN: Pre-clearance changes at Canadian airports

Some believe these expanded powers may be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Most Read