Mindset that favors fascism

Regarding Barry Andrew Ward’s June 26 letter, “Scare tactics from the EU tribe“: Leaving aside Ward’s naive view that workers’ rights would be safe under politicians who regard Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron as lily-livered lefties, I would like to focus on his misunderstanding of German fascism.

He claims Germans were “misguided” by the “Nazi Pied Piper” but doesn’t say how this happened. Ward would do well to read “Escape From Freedom” (1941) by Erich Fromm, possibly the most important book of the 20th century. Fromm analyzes in depth the link between the sadistic mindset of the lower middle class and the tendency toward fascism.

The sadistic factor is still in evidence today. It’s part of what swept Thatcher to power — hatred of “lazy workers” etc. It’s also present in the U.S. justice system, which shovels poor people into jail for long periods for minor offenses in the name of “justice” (i.e., revenge).

We see the same thing in Japan. Three years after a nuclear power plant disaster, we have a prime minister committed to restarting reactors, yet he’s the most popular prime minister in a century. Why? Because he appears to hate the Chinese!

Hate is always a popular card for politicians. Most people are ruled by their emotions: the anti-Jew card in prewar Germany, the anti-union card with Thatcher, the anti-poor card in America, the anti-China card in Japan and the anti-immigrant card in England. The same psychology works on a personal level. It’s not hard to imagine the lack of green space in Japan leading to a fixation with such space. After all, there is a lot less green space in low-immigration Japan than in the U.K.

There are far worse problems in the world today than immigration, most of which are caused by the rich and powerful — not by immigrants working hard to feed their families.

jim makin
chiba

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.