On the day when wearing Khakhi shorts was seen as evidence of Fascism by eminent academicians (Shashi Tharoor takes pride in being youngest Ph.D), an excerpt from:
The Five Stages of Fascism
Robert O. Paxton (Columbia University)
The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 70, No. 1. (Mar., 1998), pp. 1-23.
A second difficulty in defining fascism is created by mimicry. In fascism’s heyday, in the 1930s, many regimes that were not functionally fascist borrowed elements of fascist decor in order to lend themselves an aura of force, vitality, and mass mobilization. They were influenced by the “magnetic field” of fascism, to employ Philippe Burrin’s useful phrase. But one can not identify a fascist regime by its plumage. George Orwell understood at once that fascism is not defined by its clothing. If, some day, an authentic fascism were to succeed in England, Orwell wrote as early as 1936, it would be more soberly clad than in Germany. The exotic black shirts of Sir Oswald Mosley are one explanation for the failure of the principal fascist movement in England, the British Union of Fascists. What if they had worn bowler hats and carried well furled umbrellas? The adolescent skinheads who flaunt the swastika today in parts of Europe seem so alien and marginal that they constitute a law and order problem (serious though that may be) rather than a recurrence of authentic mass-based fascism, astutely decked out in the patriotic emblems of their own countries. Focusing on external symbols, which are subject to superficial imitation, adds to confusion about what may legitimately be considered fascist.