… unless of course the discussion really is about European politics or history from 1918 to 1945.
I have, I find, used the word very sparingly anyway, so I will hardly notice the difference.
How devoid the term is of any real meaning was made plain by Imre Salusinszky in his piece (not online) in today’s Australian. He was alluding to Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning by Jonah Jacob Goldberg – the review at the title link comes from The American Enterprise Institute, but does give you an idea of its highly contentious reworking of “fascist” to mean anything The American Enterprise Institute would find objectionable. Rather than elucidating something called “fascism”, Goldberg has, it would seem, quite emptied the word of any usefulness at all. But as Imre wryly points out, conceding Goldberg’s use of the term is “too wide to be entirely defensible”, the Left have been using the word as a bludgeon for years. True. Imre goes on to discuss views he finds objectionable – anyone who isn’t John Howard really, except he hasn’t written Obama off entirely – as if Goldberg’s definition really did make sense. (Before someone notices Goldberg is probably Jewish I should mention that so was Einstein, so was Hannah Arendt, so indeed was Trotsky… And the grocer in Vermont Street Sutherland in the mid 1960s.)
So a word I had little use for in the past has now become a word I have no use for at all, except for specific historical instances.