In the US, "liberalism" is synonymous with the Democratic left. However, the US liberal paradigm is not primarily freedom. It's primarily belief in institutions and their ability to solve problems. Obviously, there's nothing liberal about this, so it's better called "progressive" or somesuch, but the idea is to have strong, powerful institutions and to solve all sorts of problems with them.

It doesn't strike Democrats as ironic at all that the most powerful institution on Earth, the US federal government including the armed forces that are by far the largest in the world, is currently led by Donald Trump. The left fails to realize how this is a bit of a chink in our plan to save the world with powerful institutions, seeing how we haven't solved the problem of who leads them.

The desire to save the world with powerful institutions comes hand in hand with a mentality that if you're not prospering, then an institution has failed you. If you're mentally struggling, then the health care system has failed you. If you're a minority and economically struggling, then systemic racism has failed you. If you're obese, it's not how much you're eating and moving, it's that the companies that sell you food have failed you.

In this paradigm, no personal circumstance is under the control of the person experiencing it. People come together to create the world, and yet everyone is seen as helpless, and some top-down intervention is required to fix everyone's outcomes.

This is profoundly fascist. The very concept of society coming together to exert top-down control is the core property of fascism. The disempowerment of the individual that this involves is what makes it creepy and dystopian. The right is guilty of that to some extent, like when it wants to regulate sexuality, but the left wants to use the state to "fix" pretty much all problems.

This is the symbol of fascism, the fasces. The many (the sticks) bundle together and create a joint force to "fix" things (the axe).

As an example, here are some things believed by US progressives:

  • We can trust the USPS to handle elections without shenanigans. The many individuals who would have unsupervised access to ballots all have integrity, none of them can be swayed by beliefs or money to do certain things, or to look the other way when they happen.

  • We can trust the CIA and the NSA to have our best interests in mind. Snowden and Assange deserve punishment for informing us how these agencies grossly violate laws and the constitution. It is good that we're protected from such knowledge so that the principled people at these agencies are most free to act with our best interests in mind.

  • The intent of the media is to inform us. They would never use editorial control to limit the content we see, spin it to make us support some things and oppose others, and consistently avoid criticizing the US foreign policy. This is, except when the out-of-control President is betraying the country by not involving us in enough new wars.

  • The intent of schools and universities is to educate. They would never engage in widespread indoctrination based on some borderline-religious secular ideology completely based on denial and misrepresentation of fact.

Conservatism has its own problems, but its current flavor avoids these naive beliefs. For this reason, conservatism is currently the more grounded option than liberalism. Even though Trump is obviously corrupt, he represents casual, individual corruption, where liberalism represents systematic, institutional corruption. The accusation of fascism is projection: except when it comes to human sexuality, the left is more guilty of it than the right.