Monday, November 30, 2015

The Fascist Temptation

“Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” Max Boot, a military historian and foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, posted on Twitter.

“Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period,” added John Noonan, a national security advisor to former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

I'm impressed that Max Boot can clearly see that Trump is a fascist. Boot was one of the chief neocons of the 90's, and a huge enthusiast for G.W. Bush. I can't imagine why he supports Rubio now, except that, in the land of the blind, a one-eyed man (like Boot) is King.

Here are some eloquent thoughts by Sacramentan Jerry Kennedy:
Remember that scene at the end of Dear White People? The one where they're trying to figure out who sent out the invitation to the frat's blackface party and Sam is the likely suspect but she denies it and spins it back on the dean and says something along the lines of "The real problem isn't who sent the invitation out...the real problem is all the people who got the invitation and showed up to the party anyway." I kinda feel that way about Republicans trying to blame Donald Trump for what's happening in their party. Trump isn't the embarrassment here; the embarrassment is that when Trump showed up, the casual racism and radicalism that's been spreading like a silent cancer in your party showed up at his rallies, loud and proud, and you can't pretend it's not there anymore. You created this monster and now, like the original Victor Frankenstein, you get to sit back, powerless, and watch your creation destroy everything you claim to love and hold dear. I hope you're enjoying the show as much as I am.
Umberto Eco's checklist:
"The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism.

"The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.

"Disagreement Is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.

"Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.

"Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.

"Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat; This often involves an appeal to xenophobia (such as the German elite's 'fear'of the 1930s Jewish populace's businesses and well-doings, see also anti-Semitism) with an identification of their being an internal security threat: He also cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.

"Pacifism is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" - there must always be an enemy to fight; Both fascist Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini worked first to organize and clean up their respective countries and then build the war machines that they later intended to and did use, despite Germany being under restrictions of the Versailles treaty to NOT build a military force. This principle leads to a fundamental contradiction within fascism: the incompatibility of ultimate triumph with perpetual war.

"Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero; for example: the 1930s Germans, especially Hitler labeled Jews inferior humans thus weak as well as the physically disabled, the mentally retarded and mentally ill as weak—thus these "weak" or unwanteds were eliminated (executed) or "exterminated" (the Jews, or even Germans with disabilities).

"Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but directed by a dictator; This casts doubt upon a democratic institution, because the leader and government "no longer represent the Voice of the People".

"Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.

"Non-truths & Lying/Spread of Propaganda" - Umberto Eco wrote from a modern-day standpoint about Fascism; He did not study the Fascism of Spain, Italy or Germany where this style of governing evolved in the 1930s prior to World War II: Those involved were Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and more can be learned about fascism by reading on these people.

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