Americans Worried About Fascism

Merriam-Webster says among the top searches for words in the past 24 hours were fascism and fact.
Merriam-Webster says among the top searches for words in the past 24 hours were fascism and fact.
Marcy Kreiter

Germany’s Nazis were famous for the big lie propaganda technique: If something is said often enough, people will believe it. It was the underpinning of Adolf Hitler’s regime and the Holocaust.

Americans appear to be worried something akin may be happening here if dictionary searches are any indication.

Merriam-Webster reports more people are looked up fascism than any other word in the past 24 hours, and that’s been the case for the past several months.

Other top words Sunday included feminism, torchbearer and fact, the latter defined as “a piece of information presented as having objective reality.”

Those in charge of social media at the respected dictionary appeared to take a poke at senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who Sunday denied presidential press secretary Sean Spicer lied about the size of the crowd that had witnessed President Donald Trump’s inauguration, saying the administration was presenting “alternative facts.”

The term “the big lie” was coined by Hitler in “Mein Kampf” but perfected by his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the state to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state,” Goebbels said.

Lookups for feminism — “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” — and torchbearer — “someone in the forefront of a campaign, crusade, or movement” — spiked Sunday, a day after hundreds of thousands of people participated in the Women’s March in Washington and companion marches across the country and around the world.

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