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

All-candidates meet and greet at UBCO

Students and residents will have a chance to meet with the MP hopefuls on Friday

Parts of KVR Trail becoming dumping ground for stolen vehicles

More vehicles are turning up due to more patrolling, says Const. James Grandy

Grey, damp, warm week ahead in Okanagan, Shuswap, Columbia

Environment Canada calling for clouds and showers, and warm temperatures, throughout the area

Boats once plied Okanagan Lake

Lake was used as transportation corridor connecting communities in the valley

Election 2019: Robert Mellalieu — Green Party candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Robert Mellalieu is running for the Green Party in Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

Okanagan ski hills highlighted on website’s ‘most affordable’ list

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Quantum 1 cannabis retailer scheduled to open in Similkameen Nov. 1

Owner Russ Rossi promises modern shopping experience

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

Okanagan man killed in head-on collision on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police say 21-year-old died at scene after pickup truck collided with transport trailer

Most Read