I haven't seen much in the newspapers that actually tries to define fascism, but I think it's important that people can recognize the difference between free speech and hate speech.
I've been in Bosnia for 6 months, thinking on my own about this. Here is where my thoughts are now.
It's important for all states to have a national consciousness and culture. This develops over a long period of time and is the product of various conflicts over religion, class relations, and property rights. Think of the history of France, Italy, Germany or the US. Culture is constantly changing. And as science and technology progress, new opportunities are presented and people take advantage of them. It leads to new thinking processes, new outlooks, and with it changes in what citizens consider possible and preferable. This is normal development.
However, fascists aren't always comfortable with new ideas. They hold onto the idea of a national consciousness that is unchanging. If science is in conflict with their beliefs, then science is mistaken. The neo-Nazis are a perfect example of this kind of thinking: while DNA shows that Jews and Germans are 99.9% the same, they deny the science and hold to the idea of a German master race. Fascists will divide people into groups according to race, religion, or political views. They find the mingling of different people intolerable because integration can weaken (actually change!!) their way of life. Fascists will deny opponents freedom of speech or assembly to serve their higher goals of dominance and separation. Fascists believe that it is better to liquidate opponents through physical force (ethnic cleansing--such as the call to ethnically cleanse Kosovo and Bosnia) than accept them and live together in the same society.
Where does the thinking go wrong? Fascists are mistaken in their distinction between instinct, archetype, and reality. Instincts control behavior. But certain unconscious forms of understanding exist which control our perceptions. These are archetypes. They are primitive/primordal and spiritual forms of "intuition" which are important determinants of our psychological processes. They are the product of family life, culture, generations of influence on a people. We don't all hold the same kinds of archetypes/stories. For each of us, life is basically about the integration of contradictions of different archetypes in our psyches. That is reality! This struggle over what makes intuitive sense is hard and complicated and messy, and most people deal with the discomfort of "difference" and get on with their lives; others prefer to take an easier road.