The Emptiness of the ‘Trump Is Not a Fascist’ Boast

A (probably computer-generated, but still, well-done) artistic fusion of the Donald and Der Führer

A (probably computer-generated, but still, well-done) artistic fusion of the Donald and Der Führer

This blog has already pointed out the narcissistic assurance of liberal commentators claiming to know in advance what’s going to happen, right after having the roof fall in, last November 8th.

Before us we have yet another example, one Kenneth Silverstein, whom I am assured writes for that eminent liberal journal Harper’s Magazine, where he is contributing editor.

Mr Silverstein writes here to tell us, in his words, that “Donald Trump Is Not a Nazi”:

Let’s quickly go through the charges being tossed around by Trump’s opponents. First off, there’s a lot to criticize Trump about — his early cabinet picks remind me a lot of the Reagan administration’s unabashed embrace of corporate power and foreign policy hawkishness, which is a huge threat — but a lot of the whining now makes Trump’s opponents look like crybabies and only serves to make him more popular. The media is totally discredited and despised after its wretched campaign performance so every alarmist op-ed in the Times and Post only serves to boost Trump’s standing.

Here we have the genuflection in the direction of good sense: the riotous street marches were indeed counterproductive and pointless; the petitions asking Trump not to appoint the people he is announcing he’s appointing are even worse. The fact that Silverstein is capable of a certain amount of clear thinking only makes the following worse.

Second, whatever you think of Trump’s policies, the guy is not a Nazi and the country is not Berlin 1933. (If you doubt that, go read “In the Garden of Beasts,” which tells the story of Hitler’s rise to power, and you’ll no longer be able to make that case without being embarrassed.)

Sure, this is not Germany, but the United States, and yes, it is not 1933 but 2016. That means that we live in a country that is at war with six countries spread across the Middle East and northeast Africa, that the Congress never even questions the endless war, but rather calls for its intensification, and that the leader of the country has assassinated American citizens with impunity with no indictment, no trial, and no judge. It is a country in which the political Establishment has just been massively rejected, in a historic upset predicted by one poll, that of the Los Angeles Times, but which has not been mentioned by anyone (including the Los Angeles Times) since.

We can agree that the political position of the incoming Administration is the usual collection of reactionary right-wing shills for corporate control of the resources and riches of this country, but the “fascist” label for The Donald refers to the Leader of this political upset, not the installation of a Reagan Cabinet, Version 3.0 or 4.0.

The essential feature of a fascist régime is, not that it wears swastikas or gives Roman salutes but that the Leader asks his audience to forget about procedure of any kind and tells his loyal followers just to trust him, his breaking all the laws and procedures of the Republic is just fine, because he knows best.

It’s insulting to the huge crowds of people who turned out at his rallies to be uniformly dismissed as Nazis and white supremacists.

Here it is Mr Silverstein who is willing to reduce the German followers of Adolf of Demented Memory as all of them evil racists; but the fact is, lots of people supported Hitler in Germany in the midst of the Great Depression and were neither anti-Semites or street brawlers. Rather, they were willing to go along with an obviously narcissistic, rule-breaking demagogue because he promised to right the wrongs imposed on the Fatherland by the Treaty of Versailles and to protect them from the threatening chaos of a Communist takeover. That is, he promised a whole lot of things he could not possibly deliver. “In der Dritte Reich wird jede Frau sein’ eignenen Mann haben!” [In the Third Reich every woman will have her own husband.] was one of Hitler’s memorable campaign promises.

That continues the type of coverage that dominated the campaign, when the media totally underestimated and misread Trump’s appeal and dismissed his voters as dimwitted racists. (Some obviously are, but certainly not all.)

There is a fascist being elevated to the highest office in the land, whether Mr Silverstein can wrap his head around that or not. He is an American fascist; petty, vindictive, rich beyond avarice; and very dangerous.

There are some very scary Trump supporters and if I were Muslim or Latino, in particular, I would be very worried. But if real fascism comes along, we’ll recognize it. Throwing out the Nazi charge now is totally misleading and it makes those doing so sound like the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

And part of the danger is that which is coming from those who cannot see what is right before their very eyes.

Update 11 December 2016: (with a hat-tip to Hyung Kyu Nam)

Editor’s note: This story is from 2015.

The comparison between Donald Trump and Hitler is being made more and more frequently — including on the cover of Tuesday’s Philadelphia Daily News — but the Republican front-runner said Tuesday that the comparison doesn’t bother him.

“You’re increasingly being compared to Hitler,” ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos said during an interview with Trump on “Good Morning America” Tuesday. “Does that give you any pause at all?”

“No,” Trump responded, “because what I am doing is no different than what FDR — FDR’s solution for Germans, Italians, Japanese, you know, many years ago.”

Stephanopoulos jumped in as Trump kept talking: “So you’re for internment camps?”

“This is a president who is highly respected by all,” Trump said of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “He did the same thing — if you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”

I need only repeat the words of our self-deluding contributing editor to Harper’s, namely, ” . . if I were Muslim or Latino, . . . I would be very worried. But if real fascism comes along, we’ll recognize it.”

Really, Mr Silverstein? Really?

There is this March 2016 quote, from a recognized authority on Italian fascism:

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).

Update 5 January 2017: Two prominent political activists explaining the fascist nature of the Trump régime:

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
This entry was posted in Bradley Manning, Brian Willson, Dan Handelman, Don Gavitte, Elections, Empire, Fascism, Healthcare, Inequality, Marxism, Police, Ronald Reagan, Spiritual life, U.S. Constitution, Uncategorized, Vali Balint, War. Bookmark the permalink.

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