To succeed, fascism needs indifference as much as hate

Most people will never be called on to commit monstrous acts on behalf of the nation—they just have to not care when others do

Justin Ward
8 min readAug 15, 2019


(Matt Rhodes / Flickr Creative Commons)

This past week, I traveled back to my home state to visit my father and brother. I hadn’t seen either of them in over a year, so it was nice catching up. I used to fight a lot with my dad growing up—mostly about politics—but since I moved out, our relationship has improved. These days, we get along for the most part, provided we stay away from certain subjects.

In many ways, Dad and I are a lot alike. We’re both really affable. I inherited his ability to bullshit about anything with anyone. At the same time, we’re also hard-headed and passionate about our respective beliefs, though we sit on the absolute polar opposite ends of the political spectrum.

When I was younger, Dad worked as an independent distributor of various goods, first bulk cookies then spices. His job, a combination of sales and delivery, required him to travel around to various grocery stores and stock their shelves with his products, so he was in the car a lot.

Before Fox News, there was conservative talk radio, and Dad listened to it for eight hours a day or more for more than a decade. He was a “Dittohead,” a diehard fan of Rush Limbaugh. It’s hard to overstate the effect this has on a person’s political outlook.

I was often right there in the van with him, but in spite of this I turned out to be a far-left radical instead of a Tea Partier.

There was a time when I used to try and push his views to the left a little. Now that he’s older and more set in his ways, I’ve mostly given up on that, since the aforementioned stubbornness we share makes these arguments intractable and emotionally exhausting.

Still, there are some things I can’t just agree to disagree on.

For the most part, my trip was without incident. I noticed he hadn’t been watching Fox the whole time I was there—most likely to avoid some kind of argument. But on one of the last days I was there, he was watching some talking heads who were up in arms over liberals blaming Trump for the shooting in El Paso.



Justin Ward

Journalist and activist. Founder and co-chair of DivestSPD. Bylines at SPLC, The Baffler, GEN, USA Today. Follow on Twitter: @justwardoctrine, @DivestSPD