Tag Archives: fascism

America is mainlining fascism. It won’t end well for us.

Summary: Mainlining fascism – and heroin – have become fashionable in America. Trump has given little evidence of being a fascist, but his campaign has emboldened them. The Right’s extremists were expelled from mainstream conservatism in the early 1960’s. Let’s hope they come to their senses and do so again — or that the rest of us stand together to resist this infection.

America goes from freedom to fascism

Fascism is an endemic disease in the west since its origin in the late 19th century. There are warning signs of a revival in America. On the right, racism, white nationalism, and fascism have become respectable. For example, turn to Chateau Heartiste is a popular Men’s Rights and Pick Up Artists blog run by James C. Weidmann (aka Roissy; see RationalWiki). In the past year he’s gone big into White Nationalism. More recently, he’s become proto-fascist — as shown in yesterday’s post. While you read listen for the echos of history.

A White Hot Fire Rises.”

“There are signs of volcanic life surfacing in long dormant White America. A White hot fire rises. Recently, I saw once such sign, a very small sign, but magnificently portentous because it was an act of pro-White rebellion committed deep in the heart of a decadent anti-White shitlibopolis; the nature of the act was one that I had not encountered before in the wilds of any SWPLville.

“A handful of posters promoting an anti-Trump protest march were taped to traffic light poles and other utility boxes near an outdoor cafe. As I watched with growing interest, five corn-fed and bearded White men wearing working class clothes and ear-to-ear shitlib-eating grins strode purposefully from one poster to the next, tearing them down and (respectfully) walking to a nearby garbage can to throw them out. As they performed their valuable public service, an effete, stoop-shouldered white manlet snarled at them from across the street. Even at twenty paces I could see the manlet’s curled lip quivering with menopausal rage.

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The Left calls Trump a “fascist”, ignoring the many experts who disagree

Summary: Trump brings dark elements into Campaign 2016, and the Left responds with hypocrisy, misinformation, and anti-intellectualism — seeking to short-circuit the proper debates of the election. There are no angels in US politics.

Trump as Hitler

Declaring their foes to be illegitimate: the Left’s first line of defense

Declaring Trump a “fascist” has became the Left’s (broadly defined) first response to the resurgence of populism, with Trump as its unlikely (and deeply flawed) vehicle. Even neoliberals like Robert Kagan joined the play in his WSJ op-ed: “This is how fascism comes to America” …

{H}ere is the other threat to liberty that Alexis de Tocqueville and the ancient philosophers warned about: that the people in a democracy, excited, angry and unconstrained, might run roughshod over even the institutions created to preserve their freedoms. As Alexander Hamilton watched the French Revolution unfold, he feared in America what he saw play out in France — that the unleashing of popular passions would lead not to greater democracy but to the arrival of a tyrant, riding to power on the shoulders of the people. This phenomenon has arisen in other democratic and quasi-democratic countries over the past century, and it has generally been called “fascism.”

Here we see a classic play of the Left: radically broadening the meaning of terms, unhinging them from their original definition for increased political utility. Racism, sexism, rape, and now fascism — all powerful terms twisted for political benefit under the assumption that the American public is too stupid to see the game. So fascism — a term with specific (if debated) characteristics — becomes “the unleashing of popular passions”. But it no longer works, after years of misuse.

This poisonous assertion echoes endlessly in the Left’s community, another demonstration of the epistemic closure afflicting left and right in America. For example see these by Jamelle Bouie, a journalist at Slate (a fount of leftist propaganda)…

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San Jose’s riot tells us about the Left, Trump, & the coming violence

Summary: The violence after the recent Trump rally reveals so much about our America. Let’s start with the facts, and then look at the even more interesting reactions by the Left. It’s a story of political theory, myopia, and hypocrisy.

Journalists watching the riot at Trump’s event in San Jose reported with photos and videos.

“Donald Trump supporters were mobbed and assaulted by protesters on Thursday night … The violence broke out after the event in San Jose wrapped up just before 8 p.m. Some Trump supporters were punched. One woman wearing a “Trump” jersey was cornered, spat on, and pelted with eggs and water bottles. Police held back at first but eventually moved in. …several protesters were arrested and one officer was assaulted in the melee.” {NBC News.}

Protesters waved Mexican flags and one could be seen burning an American flag, with another burning Trump’s “Make America Great Hat.” Some chanted “F— Donald Trump” and “Donald Trump has got to go” … As Trump supporters exited the rally, protesters shouted insults at them and accused them of being racists …At one point, a man was sucker-punched and knocked to the ground and police arrested his assailant. In another instance, demonstrators closed in on a Trump supporter and started punching him in the face… {CNN’s report.}

Katrina Pierson, national spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, gave us one perspective on this: “Media complained that I say anti-Trump protesters are anti-American. They are flying the Mexican flag & burning the American flag tonight.” {Source: Twitter.}

Bien pensant Vox journalist Emmett Rensin gives us a liberal’s perspective on these events. It tells us much about their view of America, and what they consider the boundaries of free speech and political thought.

“Advice: If Trump comes to your town, start a riot.” on June 3, 2016.

“Let’s be clear: It’s never a shame to storm the barricades set up around a fascist.” on June 3, 2016.

After people followed Rensin’s advice, he justified his statements.  First, it’s everyone’s fault! He gives passive aggressive support to the rioters.

“What, we can’t repeat every day that a man is a unique threat to the fabric of society without some people taking us up on that?” {June 3, 2016.}

“And listen: I do tend to agree Trump is atypically threatening. That’s why I’m not going to condemn rioters.” {June 3, 2016.}

Rensin conflates “protest” with “violent riots”, a standard line of defense for liberal hypocrites.

“This is the same thing. Instinct is to concern troll people protesting as an affront to democracy and the rule of law. It’s a bad instinct.” {June 3, 2016.}

It’s ok for Rensin’s team to wreck other people’s property. Again, he doesn’t say if the right can also legitimately do so.

“It’s very simple: All violence against human lives and bodies is categorically immoral.
Property destruction is vastly more negotiable.” {June 3, 2016.}

Rensin explains that conservatives pointing at inconvenient facts are wrong (that’s the essence of political correctness).

I am looking for a charitable interpretation of this tweet {June 3, 2016.}:

 

The Left’s power to designate someone as “Hitler” justifies violence!  Can the Right designate someone as “Stalin”, justifying political violence? Rensin doesn’t say.

“Listen, if Trump is Hitler then you’ve got no business condemning rioters. If he isn’t, you’ve got no business pretending normal is better.” {June 3, 2016.}

Other perspectives on the San Jose riot

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo gave the “blame the victims” defense:  “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.” (Source: AP.) But perhaps the best analysis of Rensin’s thinking was by Maximilian Forte (Prof anthropology, Concordia U, Montreal).

 

For more about the Left’s role as the unique wielder of domestic violence, see Michael Tracey’s “A quick thought on Trump and the justifiability of political violence, drawing on earlier discussions” (he’s a professor of media studies at U CO-Boulder). Also see this leftist paean to violence by the left: “Riots are destructive, dangerous, and scary — but can lead to serious social reforms” by German Lopez at Vox, 30 April 2016. He doesn’t mention if violence by those on the right also leads to “serious social reforms”.

He trots out the hoary “the American Revolution was good, so my violent riots are justified” defense. He doesn’t mention if that justifies violent protests by the right.

Conclusions

Many on the Left casually support violence to advance their goals, often without clear thought about how limits, the likely responses by their foes and the government, or the effect on society if political violence becomes commonplace.

The big question (so far ignored): are we starting a new cycle of political violence in America?

For more about the Left’s use of violence in Campaign 2016: The Left disrupts Trump’s rally. More of this might put him in the WH and The Left attacks US politics by shutting down Trump’s events.

Some consequences: a statement by Vox

On Thursday night, Emmett Rensin, the deputy editor of Vox’s first person section, sent a series of tweets that, among other things, urged people to riot if Donald Trump comes to their town. We at Vox do not take institutional positions on most questions, and we encourage our writers to debate and disagree. But direct encouragement of riots crosses a line between expressing a contrary opinion and directly encouraging dangerous, illegal activity. We welcome a variety of viewpoints, but we do not condone writing that could put others in danger. In this case, Emmett’s tweets violated Vox’s standards and Emmett has been suspended as a consequence.

For More Information

This is a follow-up to The Left attacks US politics by shutting down Trump’s events.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See these posts about political violence, about Campaign 2016, and especially these…

  1. How to stage effective protests in the 21st century.
  2. Martin Luther King Jr’s advice to us about using violence to reform America.
  3. Why America has militarized its police and crushes protests.
  4. Why don’t political protests work? What are the larger lessons from our repeated failures?
  5. About civil disobedience: Thoreau reminds us about one of the few tools we have to control the government.

The Left calls Trump a fascist instead of focusing on the issues

Summary: Campaign 2016 is the most ideological election since 1982, perhaps since McKinley-Bryan in 1896 (our most expensive election). Rather than deal with these issues, and the serious reasons to oppose Trump, the Left prefers to focus on bogus condemnations of him as “fascist”. This preference for cartoon-like fantasy over messy reality is why they have been losing to the Right (& its hard focus on money and power) for generations.

Definition of Fascism

During the past generation the Left has fallen into the lazy habit of attempting to defeat its foes by declaring them as illegitimate — rather than addressing what they say. The Left fires off labels such as racist, deniers, sexists, or fascists — with an increasingly flimsy basis for these accusations. These efforts have become futile through repetition and now only further diminish their influence in America,. The faithful thrill at these chants while they are ignored by the larger public. It’s a way to avoid debating serious issues. it’s another way to lose.

The rise of Trump and populism brings forth another round of knee-jerk claims. Authoritarian! NAZI! Hitler! These words have been drained of meaning by generations of mindless use, an now mask the serious reasons to oppose Trump and conceal the overlap between populism and progressivism that might lead to an alliance capable of winning (which neither can do by itself).

Dylan Matthews consults experts, whose analysis will end this daft comparison in the reality-based community (which unfortunately has little overlap with today’s Left — or Right — in America).

I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist.
Here’s what they said.

By Dylan Matthews at VOX.
Excerpt; it’s worth reading in full.

To be blunt: Donald Trump is not a fascist. “Fascism” has been an all-purpose insult for many years now, but it has a real definition, and according to scholars of historical fascism, Trump doesn’t qualify. Rather, he’s a right-wing populist, or perhaps an “apartheid liberal” in the words of Roger Griffin, author of The Nature of Fascism. He doesn’t want to overthrow the existing democratic system. He doesn’t want to scrap the Constitution. He doesn’t romanticize violence itself as a vital cleansing agent of society. He’s simply a racist who wants to keep the current system but deny its benefits to groups he’s interested in oppressing.

Griffin, who is a professor of history and political theory at Oxford Brookes University, puts it best: “You can be a total xenophobic racist male chauvinist bastard and still not be a fascist.”

…Matthew Feldman, a fascism expert at Teesside University in the UK, agrees. “He’s still in the democratic family,” he says. “Trump is calling for ethnocratic small-l liberalism. It’s liberalism that’s racially tinged.

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Edward Luttwak: Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Summary: This morning’s post warning about the resurgence of racism — open, unabashed — was a bust, traffic-wise (we prefer not to know). Let’s look at something different, such as this prescient warning by historian Edward Luttwak. Written in 1994; reads like written today. Articles like this can entertain, but provide more value if acted upon. Elections are won by those who act; voting is not enough.

Fight fascism!

 

Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Excerpt from an essay by Edward Luttwak
London Review of Books, April 1994

 

That capitalism …is the ultimate engine of economic growth is an old-hat truth now disputed only by a few cryogenically-preserved Gosplan enthusiasts and a fair number of poorly-paid Anglo-Saxon academics. That the capitalist engine achieves growth as well as it does because its relentless competition destroys old structures and methods, thus allowing more efficient structures and methods to rise in their place, is the most famous bit of Schumpeteriana, even better-known than the amorous escapades of the former University of Czernowitz professor.

And, finally, that structural change can inflict more disruption on working lives, firms, entire industries and their localities than individuals can absorb, or the connective tissue of friendships, families, clans, elective groupings, neighbourhoods, villages, towns, cities or even nations can withstand, is another old-hat truth more easily recognised than Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft can be spelled.

…In this situation, what does the moderate Right – mainstream US Republicans, British Tories and all their counterparts elsewhere – have to offer? Only more free trade and globalisation, more deregulation and structural change, thus more dislocation of lives and social relations. It is only mildly amusing that nowadays the standard Republican/Tory after-dinner speech is a two-part affair, in which part one celebrates the virtues of unimpeded competition and dynamic structural change, while part two mourns the decline of the family and community ‘values’ that were eroded precisely by the forces commended in part one. Thus at the present time the core of Republican/Tory beliefs is a perfect non-sequitur.

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Good news: we begin to see that we are sliding towards fascism

Summary: Slowly we have begun to move into the problem recognition phase of our struggle to resist fascism, as people begin to speak out. But that means nothing unless we act on what we see. Will this darkening future spur Americans to become politically active again?

Fight fascism!

One of America’s major problems, subject of many scores of posts here, is our clouded vision of the world — especially our slow ability to see things. Our slow recognition of the major elements of the climate change policy, after 27 years only now coming into focus (e.g., the source of most nightmarish forecasts). Our inability after 14 years of war to see what’s happening (see these stories from Afghanistan). And perhaps most seriously, the death of the Constitution and the rise of fascism in America.

The last of these has been visible for years. Donald Trump did not just happen. For example, there is the long slow loss of confidence in our institutions — except for the police and military. There is the growth of our military and the permanent war (built largely on lies), our national security agencies (the Deep State) and the erosion of civil liberties. There is the slowly growing islamophobia. Perhaps most significant of all, is the growing role of fear in our political discourse; it has become the major means by which our elites gain our attention.

Note that many of these trends are bipartisan.

The good news is that now it has become apparent to many of us. Here are a few recent examples of people who have realized that it can happen here.

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Two scary graphs about the rise of Donald. Fear fascism. Act now.

Summary: Here are two of the most important graphs about America today. They show the rise of Donald. Our experts assure us, as they have since July when Trump began his meteoric rise from 6% to 30%, that he is a flash in the pan — soon to implode. Perhaps he will. But Trump has revealed dark aspects of America, and changed the Republican Party in ways not likely to fade soon.

The GOP candidates (Donald is blue)

GOP Presidential Polls, as of 10 December 2015

(1) The Rise of Donald

After 3 months of fierce attacks on the Donald by the Great and Good of America — by both parties, journalists, political gurus, and academics — the net effect on his support is nil.  Worse, in match-up polls of Trump (red) vs. Clinton (blue), during the past three months he has remained only one to five  percentage points behind her — well able to win if he gets a break or two (e.g., recession, a large terrorist attack on America, a new Clinton scandal).

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