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.

Just Posted

Kelowna receives accolades for accessibility and inclusivity

“Receiving this provincial recognition reaffirms that everyone is welcome in Kelowna,” said Mayor

Kelowna council opposes ‘racist’ Quebec secularism bill

The city joins Calgary, Montreal, Victoria, Kitchener and Brampton in condemning the bill

Gotham Nightclub pumps up the jams for the first time this weekend

Gotham Nightclub is taking place of Level Nightclub eight months after it closed its doors

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

Sockeye Salmon return to Okanagan Lake for the first time in decades

The Okanagan Nation Alliance and Fisheries and Oceans Canada restored a fish ladder damaged over 50 years ago

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Troll Grandfather bridges gap in Okanagan

Spotlight Kids’ Series show comes to Vernon Sunday

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Hergott: Driving and talking to a passenger

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about distracted driving with passengers

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Summerland man celebrates 100th birthday

Bill Kenzle credits positive attitude as secret to a long life

Most Read