23 votes

It Is Happening Here, Trump Is Already Early-Stage Mussolini

26 comments

  1. [18]
    TrialAndFailure
    Link
    Is it possible to have a discussion about Trump's failings where someone doesn't compare him to Hitler, or Mussolini, or Caligula, or Satan?

    Is it possible to have a discussion about Trump's failings where someone doesn't compare him to Hitler, or Mussolini, or Caligula, or Satan?

    22 votes
    1. [11]
      CALICO
      Link Parent
      The President and his administration have tendencies associated with fascism. It's neither unfair nor improper to use prior fascist politicians as a model with which to discuss current events.

      The President and his administration have tendencies associated with fascism. It's neither unfair nor improper to use prior fascist politicians as a model with which to discuss current events.

      40 votes
      1. [10]
        TrialAndFailure
        Link Parent
        If only it were that clear-cut. If comparisons to Hitler had been handled gracefully and appropriately since Trump started his political campaign, you'd have a point. But our culture is currently,...

        If only it were that clear-cut. If comparisons to Hitler had been handled gracefully and appropriately since Trump started his political campaign, you'd have a point. But our culture is currently, and has long been, embroiled in a state where calling someone a Nazi is basically a meme. These days, everyone is a Nazi. So when I hear for the thirty thousandth time how [person I disagree with] is LITERALLY HITLER, my reaction is not to investigate and weigh the argument. It's to shake my head and say, Yeah, so is everyone.

        14 votes
        1. [7]
          CALICO
          Link Parent
          That's very dismissive, considering the Administration undeniably shares many traits commonly associated with fascism. It's more than a euphemism for disagreeing with a policy, person, or...

          That's very dismissive, considering the Administration undeniably shares many traits commonly associated with fascism. It's more than a euphemism for disagreeing with a policy, person, or administration. The meme-status of calling any given thing, Literally Hitler, has no bearing on what fascism tends to consist of.

          It does, admittedly, make it tricky to nail down exactly what fascism is. The word has been abused for decades, and good luck trying to get people to agree on any rigid definition.

          In 1944, George Orwell (who fought against fascism in Spain in 1939), wrote a short essay titled, What is Fascism?. Briefly summarized:

          when we apply the term ‘Fascism’ to Germany or Japan or Mussolini's Italy, we know broadly what we mean. It is in internal politics that this word has lost the last vestige of meaning.

          ...the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, [...], astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

          Yet underneath all this mess there does lie a kind of buried meaning. To begin with, it is clear that there are very great differences, ...between the régimes called Fascist and those called democratic. ... By ‘Fascism’ they mean, roughly speaking, something cruel, unscrupulous, arrogant, obscurantist, anti-liberal and anti-working-class. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathizers, almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘Fascist’. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come.

          In 1995, Umberto Eco (who grew up under the Mussolini regime), wrote an essay titled, Ur-Fascism. Within he comes up with 14 signs of fascism:

          1. The cult of tradition.
          2. The rejection of modernism.
          3. The cult of action for action’s sake.
          4. Disagreement is treason.
          5. Fear of difference.
          6. Appeal to social frustration.
          7. The obsession with a plot.
          8. The enemy is both strong and weak.
          9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy.
          10. Contempt for the weak.
          11. Everybody is educated to become a hero.
          12. Machismo and weaponry.
          13. Selective populism.
          14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.

          Per the Encyclopedia Britannica, there are a number of Common Characteristics of Fascist Movements (not all inclusive):

          • Opposition to Marxism
          • Opposition to parliamentary democracy
          • Opposition to political and cultural liberalism
          • Totalitarian ambitions
          • Conservative economic programs
          • Corporatism
          • Military Values
          • The leadership principle
          • Violence
          • Extreme nationalism
          • Scapegoating
          • Populism
          • Revolutionary image
          • Anti-Urbanism
          • Sexism and misogyny

          In 2003, a Political Scientist named Dr. Lawrence Britt, wrote an article titled, Fascism Anyone?. He studied the fascist regimes of Germany, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and Chile, and found 14 elements in common he called the "identifying characteristics of fascism":

          \1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
          Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

          1. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
            Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

          2. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
            The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

          3. Supremacy of the Military
            Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

          4. Rampant Sexism
            The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

          5. Controlled Mass Media
            Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

          6. Obsession with National Security
            Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

          7. Religion and Government are Intertwined
            Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

          8. Corporate Power is Protected
            The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

          9. Labor Power is Suppressed
            Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

          10. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
            Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

          11. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
            Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

          12. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
            Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

          13. Fraudulent Elections
            Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

          If you made it through this post, and read at least some of, some of the links, there should be a common thematic sort of picture forming. One could say that fascism is a mindset more than a rigid ideology, given how tenuous it is to strictly define. But as Orwell said, "when we apply the term ‘Fascism’ to Germany or Japan or Mussolini's Italy, we know broadly what we mean."
          I ask this question seriously, and sincerely: do I need to show specific examples of the current Administration and Majority-Party conforming to a non-trivial amount of these commonalities, or is it apparent that 'fascism' in context of of the aforementioned is being used as more than a dirty word?

          66 votes
          1. microbug
            Link Parent
            Wow. Thank you for this. Tildes really needs a save button.

            Wow. Thank you for this. Tildes really needs a save button.

            11 votes
          2. [2]
            prosthetic4head
            Link Parent
            Do you know what Eco meant by 11. everyone is educated to be a hero? Great post.

            Do you know what Eco meant by 11. everyone is educated to be a hero?

            Great post.

            4 votes
            1. BlackLedger
              Link Parent
              Not the OP but I can go into a bit more depth on it. A more complete quote from Eco himself on the matter: "In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology heroism...

              Not the OP but I can go into a bit more depth on it.

              A more complete quote from Eco himself on the matter:
              "In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Spanish Falangists was Viva la Muerte ("Long Live Death!"). In nonfascist societies, the lay public is told that death is unpleasant but must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is the painful way to reach a supernatural happiness. By contrast, the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death."

              "Hero" in this context is more along the lines of the Spartans at Thermopylae than Superman in this case - a sort of grim expression of heroism in the sense that death is justified and heroic if one takes more enemies with them. Using World War II examples, we see expressions of this in Japanese kamikaze pilots or Hitlerjugend in Waffen SS divisions. At the risk of being controversial, you could use this same template for suicide bombers, mass shooters, and the like.

              4 votes
          3. [2]
            trecht
            Link Parent
            But what is new about this? Do you mean this in a broad sense and not specifically to Trump? All you made is a long winded comment which explains the traits of fascism but not how they are unique...

            But what is new about this? Do you mean this in a broad sense and not specifically to Trump? All you made is a long winded comment which explains the traits of fascism but not how they are unique to Trump.
            Pretty much every single one of those points has always relevant to the US because its just part of their culture or how things are.

            1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
              The America #1 sentiment has been for a long time, if anything the election of Trump made this sentiment less strong

            2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
              Bush, iraq, abu ghraib, and guantanamo bay & that's only the stuff I know about from the top of my head

            3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
              Been a thing at least since the start of the cold war

            4. Supremacy of the Military
              As you say, soldiers and military service are glamorized, nothing new either

            5. Rampant Sexism
              Perhaps you can attribute this to trump, but has this really picked up?

            6. Controlled Mass Media
              Clinton in 1996 introduced the Telecommunications Act, which allowed bigger companies to a much higher degree consolidate power, but it's not controlled by the government I guess

            7. Obsession with National Security
              Went crazy after 9/11 and has never returned back to normal

            8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
              Could be argued that Pence is aiding this, I guess, but is that new? The inaguration oath is also done with a bible IIRC

            9. Corporate Power is Protected
              Corporations are legally people so that the big guys can stay out of dodge, nothing new either, but Trump is expanding this IIRC

            10. Labor Power is Suppressed
              Not sure

            11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
              This is a new trend, and is rizing for sure, but is this coming from the government? Also it started before Trump came into office, climate change has become a political issue in the us...

            12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
              Always been that way

            13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
              Nothing new either

            14. Fraudulent Elections
              Nothing new, AFAIK there were also a lot of complaints about gerrymandering & shady shit when Bush came into office

            I'll gladly agree that Trump is a conman, complete idiot, shady salesman, and all terrible things, but I still don't see how Trump is significantly more fascist then anyone who came before him...

            3 votes
            1. Flashynuff
              Link Parent
              You say it's nothing new, but isn't that itself concerning? The seeds of fascism have been with the GOP for quite some time and it's only now that there is a polarizing figurehead to water those...

              You say it's nothing new, but isn't that itself concerning? The seeds of fascism have been with the GOP for quite some time and it's only now that there is a polarizing figurehead to water those seeds and let them grow. These things should have been addressed a long time ago, not today. That doesn't change the fact that they're STILL a problem, and that Trump and his advisors have managed to figure out a way to wrap them up into a somewhat coherent movement ("Make America Great Again") that seems dangerously close to full-blown fascism.

              5 votes
          4. arghdos
            Link Parent
            You nailed that one.

            handled gracefully and appropriately

            You nailed that one.

            2 votes
        2. 235789012983
          Link Parent
          I recall Trump being compared to Hitler from the beginning. "Fake News" is a Nazi slogan. Hitler called it "lügenpresse." He used it to refer to publications which didn't support Nazi ideology....

          I recall Trump being compared to Hitler from the beginning. "Fake News" is a Nazi slogan. Hitler called it "lügenpresse." He used it to refer to publications which didn't support Nazi ideology. Hitler used the Jews to rile up anger, similar to what Trump is doing with Mexican immigrants. Do you remember the Charlottesville protesters carrying Nazi flags, shouting "Jews will not replace us," and "Blood and Soil?" I don't know about you but when I see someone waving a Nazi flag and shouting Nazi slogans, I am going to assume they are probably a Nazi.

          18 votes
        3. moriarty
          Link Parent
          No, because before his campaign those comparisons were handled civilly https://www.salon.com/2015/01/13/7_conservatives_who_have_compared_obama_to_hitler/...

          If comparisons to Hitler had been handled gracefully and appropriately since Trump started his political campaign

          No, because before his campaign those comparisons were handled civilly
          https://www.salon.com/2015/01/13/7_conservatives_who_have_compared_obama_to_hitler/
          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/01/republicans_comparing_barack_obama_to_hitler_my_favorite_examples_of_the.html

    2. [4]
      Emerald_Knight
      Link Parent
      Honestly, prior comparisons to Hitler have always been political hyperbole. Being liberal myself, even I thought people were stupid to compare Bush to Hitler. Trump is different, however. I'm not...

      Honestly, prior comparisons to Hitler have always been political hyperbole. Being liberal myself, even I thought people were stupid to compare Bush to Hitler.

      Trump is different, however. I'm not saying this out of hatred for Trump, but because of the real historical parallels between Trump's rhetoric and policies and those of Hitler. It's these historical parallels that have me concerned. There are even parallels to Nixon's Watergate. Additionally, beyond the historical parallels to Hitler's rise to power, beyond the parallels to Watergate, and beyond my issues with Trump himself, I'm also concerned about the historical parallels we have to the Stasi and East Berlin, particularly with the current state of surveillance in this country (an issue that precedes Trump and which I do not attribute to him).

      My concerns aren't so much about political affiliations or individual politicians as they are about history repeating itself. We have historical references immediately available at our fingertips and can draw the parallels ourselves quite easily. Seeing it happen in real time, especially when we've already seen what the end result was before, is terrifying.

      I would agree with you if we were talking about any other politician under a completely different political climate, but under current circumstances I have to respectfully disagree and say that this is the perfect time to be making these comparisons.

      19 votes
      1. [2]
        Emerald_Knight
        Link Parent
        With the above in mind, I thought I would take a moment to recommend a couple of fantastic films that cover these exact issues in particular: Look Who's Back (German title: Er Ist Wieder Da) and...

        With the above in mind, I thought I would take a moment to recommend a couple of fantastic films that cover these exact issues in particular: Look Who's Back (German title: Er Ist Wieder Da) and The Lives of Others (German title: Das Leben der Anderen).

        Look Who's Back is a bit of a dark comedy about Hitler appearing in modern Germany and is based on a satirical novel of the same name. Despite being a satire, it does a wonderful job of showing how Hitler would rise to power in a modern political environment, using the same rhetoric and political tactics he used before, appealing to the worries and fears of the working class. The author of the novel studied history and politics, so he provides a fairly educated and insightful scenario. The film itself is also very entertaining and has a few pop culture references that are (in my opinion) fucking hilarious.

        The Lives of Others, on the other hand, is a drama. The film director's parents were from East Germany and he was born in West Germany and apparently visited the wall with his parents before it fell, so he had some amount of first-hand and second-hand experience with that entire situation. It's an incredible film and, while certainly not a documentary by any stretch, effectively shows you what kinds of conditions and problems the people of East Germany had to struggle with, especially with regards to surveillance by the Stasi, and even then it still fails to show you the true extent of those struggles.

        Both are well worth watching, and neither sacrifice entertainment value for the insight that they provide.

        14 votes
        1. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. Deimos
            Link Parent
            Please try not to just post quotes from movies/shows/etc. They don't add anything to discussions, and are one of the main examples of things that should be tagged "noise" (when we get comment tags...

            Please try not to just post quotes from movies/shows/etc. They don't add anything to discussions, and are one of the main examples of things that should be tagged "noise" (when we get comment tags back).

            5 votes
      2. danjac
        Link Parent
        I'd compare Trump not to Hitler, but to an earlier German leader - Kaiser Wilhelm II. "Kaiser Bill" was spoiled, impetuous and (in the words of his cousin, King Edward), a bully. More to the...

        I'd compare Trump not to Hitler, but to an earlier German leader - Kaiser Wilhelm II.

        "Kaiser Bill" was spoiled, impetuous and (in the words of his cousin, King Edward), a bully. More to the point, he was dumb as a sack of rocks and deep down knew he could never match up to his father, who along with Bismarck founded the German Empire. He fired Bismarck and started pissing off every potential rival power in Europe, drawing Britain into an alliance with Russia and France through madcap naval building schemes and gunboat diplomacy (the Agadir crisis). We all know where this ended (with the help of a Balkan crisis, as predicted by Bismarck).

        Trump is similar in temperament to the Kaiser. He has an inferiority complex and is a bully by temperament. He has fired - or pushed out - any smart State Department and other officials who don't offer him fealty. Just as the Kaiser tore up Bismarck's carefully designed web of alliances and balances in Europe, he wants to tear down the carefully constructed web of treaties and alliances underlying the global balance of power such as NATO, the EU and NAFTA. Likewise he has a zero-sum view of the world of winners and losers, where if Canada or Germany are winning, it's at the expense of America.

        11 votes
    3. Eva
      Link Parent
      Mussolini hasn't come up in comparison to Trump often; and I have to say he's probably the only real parallel. It's a fair comparison.

      Mussolini hasn't come up in comparison to Trump often; and I have to say he's probably the only real parallel. It's a fair comparison.

      10 votes
    4. crius
      Link Parent
      I'm sorry that this article bothers you but as an italian (we study our history and even with that, there are idiots that still praise Mussolini in our country, go figure) I cannot bear to see how...

      I'm sorry that this article bothers you but as an italian (we study our history and even with that, there are idiots that still praise Mussolini in our country, go figure) I cannot bear to see how USA is falling into a fascist regime day after day and repeating errors done by my country several tens of years ago.

      I don't know anymore how to express the frustration of seeing this de-evolution of USA society and people just covering their eyes/ears for god knows which reason, assuming good faith.

      5 votes
  2. [3]
    rain1
    Link
    How do I turn off politics? I don't want to hear about this shit.

    How do I turn off politics? I don't want to hear about this shit.

    8 votes
    1. BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      I would suggest filtering out "opinion" and "politics" as tags.

      I would suggest filtering out "opinion" and "politics" as tags.

      4 votes
  3. starchturrets
    Link
    I really hope that these are just unfounded fears, but if that writer's write, the whole world's in for a mess.

    I really hope that these are just unfounded fears, but if that writer's write, the whole world's in for a mess.

    6 votes
  4. [2]
    nic
    Link
    This is not news. This is not even very insightful analysis. While Trump is clearly attracted to dictators, he is also at heart a capitalist, and he also has to keep both his base happy and Rupert...

    This is not news.

    This is not even very insightful analysis.

    While Trump is clearly attracted to dictators, he is also at heart a capitalist, and he also has to keep both his base happy and Rupert Murdoch happy.

    6 votes
    1. tvfj
      Link Parent
      Why are you using his being a capitalist as counter-evidence to him being a fascist? Fascists are corporatist capitalists who oppose socialism. Him being a capitalist is a requirement for him to...

      Why are you using his being a capitalist as counter-evidence to him being a fascist? Fascists are corporatist capitalists who oppose socialism. Him being a capitalist is a requirement for him to be a fascist.

      33 votes
  5. [2]
    OriginalBinChicken
    Link
    Nothing like a good sensationalist headline to drive ad revenue.

    Nothing like a good sensationalist headline to drive ad revenue.

    1 vote
    1. crius
      Link Parent
      You should really read the article instead of just judging by the title, which is, I agree, kinda click-bait.

      You should really read the article instead of just judging by the title, which is, I agree, kinda click-bait.

      4 votes