Salon: Trump’s Not Really Hitler, He’s Mussolini

An article at the reliably bat guano insane Salon that isn’t quite so bat guano insane

Trump’s not Hitler, he’s Mussolini: How GOP anti-intellectualism created a modern fascist movement in America

In an interview with Slate, the historian of fascism Robert Paxton warns against describing Donald Trump as fascist because “it’s almost the most powerful epithet you can use.” But in this case, the shoe fits. And here is why.

Like Mussolini, Trump rails against intruders (Mexicans) and enemies (Muslims), mocks those perceived as weak, encourages a violent reckoning with those his followers perceive as the enemy within (the roughing up of protesters at his rallies), flouts the rules of civil political discourse (the Megyn Kelly menstruation spat), and promises to restore the nation to its greatness not by a series of policies, but by the force of his own personality (“I will be great for” fill in the blank).

Not much of a case for being a Mussolini type fascist, especially when the Obama movement featured much of the same (mocks, encouraging confrontation, and force of personality. Obama got others to do his uncivil discourse work).

To quote Paxton again, this time from his seminal “The Anatomy of Fascism”: “Fascist leaders made no secret of having no program.” This explains why Trump supporters are not bothered by his ideological malleability and policy contradictions: He was pro-choice before he was pro-life; donated to politicians while now he rails against that practice; married three times and now embraces evangelical Christianity; is the embodiment of capitalism and yet promises to crack down on free trade. In the words of the Italian writer Umberto Eco, fascism was “a beehive of contradictions.” It bears noting that Mussolini was a socialist unionizer before becoming a fascist union buster, a journalist before cracking down on free press, a republican before becoming a monarchist.

Some of the article makes sense, some of it is way off base. Of course, one has to wonder whether Trump is interested in making people not just reliant on The State, but getting people to worship The State above all others, which is an important part of fascism. Adherence to Government above all else. Government as the dominant, driving force for all citizens. Is he interested in nationalizing “the means of production”, along with simply creating massive central government control of the economy? I seriously doubt it.

Enter Fascism. Fascism promised people deliverance from politics.  Fascism was not just different type of politics, but anti-politics.  On the post-WWI ruins of the Enlightenment beliefs in progress and essential human goodness, Fascism embraced emotion over reason, action over politics.  Violence was not just a means to an end, but the end in itself because it brought man closer to his true inner nature.  War was an inevitable part of this inner essence of man.  Millions of European men had found this sense of purpose and camaraderie in the trenches of the First World War and were not going to sit idly by while politicians took it away from them after the war (famously, after the war Hitler was slow to demobilize and take off his uniform).  Fascists’ main enemies were not just Marxist politicians, or liberal politicians, but politicians in general.

And these people wanted Government. They wanted to replace those in charge with more authoritarianism. Is that Donald? Is he a dictator in waiting? Reading through the article, it certainly makes some links, but, here is where it breaks down

Branding Trumpism Fascist has the political benefit of mobilizing disparate forces in the fight against him just like the antifascist coalition of World War II led to unprecedented alliances between ideologically disparate forces (the Soviet-American alliance being the primary example).  In the American context, seeing Trump as a 2016 reincarnation of Mussolini can unite Democrats, Republicans, independents, Naderites, neo-cons, constitutionalists, and others, into a broad anti-Fascist coalition which would bring Trump down and save our democracy.

In other words, Salon doesn’t like Trump, so they will simply brand him a fascist, attempt to make it stick, and then attempt to destroy him, using weak links and rationales.

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3 Responses to “Salon: Trump’s Not Really Hitler, He’s Mussolini”

  1. Jeffery says:

    Salon doesn’t like Trump, so they will simply brand him a fascist, attempt to make it stick, and then attempt to destroy him, using weak links and rationales.

    Trump’s unfavorable ratings hover around 70%. Actually Salon didn’t “simply brand him a fascist”, they made a case for why he is a fascist. Someone once said that “Politics ain’t beanbag”, so trying to destroy him is to be expected from his political opponents, the Democrats, Cruz, Rubio, the GOP establishment. Trump is a con man, a misogynist, a racist, vulgar, a flip-flopper, a panderer, a womanizer, and a liar. What’s not to like?

    Once Trump secures the nomination, Republicans including Cruz, Rubio and the GOP establishment will fall in line and support him. You’ve already commented that he could be a great President. Many white men agree with you.

  2. […] William Teach on The Pirate’s Cove: Salon: Trump’s Not Really Hitler, He’s Mussolini […]

  3. You’ve already commented that he could be a great President.

    I’ve also commented that he could be a dreadful president. Seriously, who knew Obama would be this bad? We thought he would be bad, but not worse than Jimmy Carter bad.

    Many white men agree with you.

    Please explain why white men are not allowed to protect their interests. Women are allowed. So are Blacks. Hispanics. Muslims. LGBT. Etc. Last time I checked, civil rights apply to all. It’s a cute bit of race baiting from you. Tell me, have you moved to a minority neighborhood yet?

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