The critical point is, I think, that just because Trump isn't a fascist, that doesn't mean he can't be bad news. People have a hard time with such situations, I think, where they assume that the label is some sort of necessity.
Yes. A lot of the leftist responses to articles questioning whether or not Trump is a fascist have been basically "Why are you engaging in pedantic arguments over definitions? Trump is really, really bad so you're hurting the fight against him to equivocate over whether or not he's a fascist!"
Um, words mean things. We can agree Trump is really, really bad without agreeing that therefore he is whatever bad label you want to attach to him ("fascist," "Nazi," "white supremacist," etc.).
I find that most of the people who cry "fascism!" and "socialism!" have no idea what those terms mean anyway. They just don't like the person or thing and they hear other people saying it so they just know it's somehow "bad," so they join they mindlessly join the chorus and start chanting along.
ARE YOU PEOPLE HAPPY! You've polluted my high-minded thread with runaway silliness! Gah!
Okay, to get back on topic, what of Umberto Eco's Ur-Fascism and his eleven features (summarized in this article)? The Trump regime checks most of those boxes, IMO.
Eco identifies the eleven defining features of Fascism:
1. A mythologizing of tradition that glories innate virtues and heroic deeds
2. A rejection of Enlightenment ideals with their emphasis on rationality, individualism and the pleasure principle
3. The exalting of action for action’s sake — especially physical action with a penchant for violence
4. Intolerance for criticism from any source — domestic or foreign
5. A stress on mystic unity that subordinates all particularisms
6. An articulation and amplification of the grievances and frustrations of those social strata who lack power and collective vehicles for effective political action
7. A cultivated sense of status denial or threat from combined internal and external sources
8. A doctrine built on the idea that “life is a struggle” whereby only the strong and resolute prevail
9. Contempt for the weak stigmatized as life’s losers and nature’s failures
10. Conveying strength and will and superiority in sexual terms personified by the Hero/Leader
11. Elaboration of a special vocabulary build around cultish code words and symbols
Or perhaps John T. Flynn's As We Go Marching? I've just started that one, but Tucker's preface has me interested. His exploration of common fascist elements in Italy, Germany and the US should be worthwhile. These are also the common traits I think come to the mind of a lot of people when they hear the "F" word.
If you would know, therefore, who are the fascists in America, you must ask yourselves not who are the men and women most vocal in their denunciations of Hitler and Mussolini. The most ardent enemies of those two leaders were some of their rival fascist dictators in Europe. The test of fascism is not one’s rage against the Italian and German war lords. The test is—how many of the essential principles of fascism do you accept and to what extent are you prepared to apply those fascist ideas to American social and economic life? When you can put your finger on the men or the groups that urge for America the debt-supported state, the autarchial corporative state, the state bent on the socialization of investment and the bureaucratic government of industry and society, the establishment of the institution of militarism as the great glamorous public-works project of the nation and the institution of imperialism under which it proposes to regulate and rule the world and, along with this, proposes to alter the forms of our government to approach as closely as possible the unrestrained, absolute government—then you will know you have located the authentic fascist. ... Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans, as violently against Hitler and Mussolini as the next one, but who are convinced that the present economic system is washed up and that the present political system in America has outlived its usefulness and who wish to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of the states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing billions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshaling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers with Congress reduced to the role of a debating society. There is your fascist.
____________________________________________________ Economics puts parameters on people’s utopias. ~Peter Boettke "It's the voter's fault" is victim-blaming in its purest sense. ~Don The 'social contract' is to the politician what 'original sin' is to the priest. ~Don The vision of the helpful and protective state is the most pervasive and counter-productive ideology in the world today. ~Don ____________________________________________________