Fascism is fashionable. Autocratic rule and the suppression of opposition—two clear signs—are all over the place.

The reaction of a few Muslims to a dozen cartoons is a fascist impulse—a desire to silence people who don’t agree with you. In this case, a Danish newspaper printed a dozen cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Subsequently there were protests, some violent, in Pakistan, France, Lebanon, Afghanistan and other places. What a waste of energy.

My fourth- or fifth-hand understanding is that the protesters are upset because not only is the Prophet not supposed to be depicted graphically at all, the cartoons are disrespectful and derogatory. Some people want the cartoonists and editors responsible to be murdered. Killed for a cartoon.

Some years ago several Christians got bent out of shape when an artist immersed a crucifix in his own urine and took a picture of it, an admittedly goofy thing to do, but he’s an artist, and you know how they are.

When some neo-Christians complained last year about people and businesses acknowledging winter holidays in addition to Christmas, that was fascist, too. If there’s an activity or attitude or word you think is bad, avoid it. Don’t do it, don’t think it, and don’t say it, but leave the rest of us alone.

One of Chico’s fascist wanna-bes seems to be Larry Wahl, who wanted to boot Jon Luvaas off the Chico Planning Commission because Luvaas was insensitive to old people when he referred to “… 82-year-old people who are going to live for a year and a half anyway.”

What was so horrible about that phrasing? He didn’t lie. Eighty-two-year-olds are closing in on the finish line. They know it. Luvaas knows it. Wahl knows it. The rest was hooey.

Planning commissioners balance cost against everything anyway, including lives. Wahl’s bleeding-heart hand-wringing was disingenuous, don’t you think?

The folks who want to tell us how to think and what to say often do it on behalf of someone else, so the potential offendee won’t feel badly. Wahl wanted to control Luvaas for the old people, I guess.

Not long ago Rev. Al Sharpton complained about another cartoon, this time the animated television show, The Boondocks. He didn’t say whose feelings he was trying to spare. It seems the episode in question had Martin Luther King Jr., saying what Sharpton referred to as the “n” word. What word do suppose he was talking about? That’s a mystery.

Rev. Sharpton also wants Cartoon Network not to air any episodes that desecrate black historic figures. Sharpton said if Cartoon Network doesn’t do as he says, he and his National Action Network will hang around outside its corporate headquarters. Presumably, he’ll let Cartoon Network know what desecration is and isn’t. Al Sharpton’s a fascist, too.