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Response to edbermac (Original post)

Fri Nov 6, 2020, 03:52 PM

2. Kasparov was on to Drumpf from Day One

Trump, Putin, and Real Fascism

Garry Kasparov

When Donald Trump made his odious statements about banning Muslims from the United States my first thought was to wonder who would be first to turn them into a fundraising commercial, Hillary Clinton or ISIS. I didn’t have to pause to be surprised by Trump’s latest exercise in demagoguery because it was predictable. The media’s reaction showed why, as they rewarded Trump with endless hours of coverage of the professional celebrity’s latest bigotry, hours that weren’t going to his rivals Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, or even “Trump-lite” Ted Cruz.

Name-calling and outrage are important parts of the political horse-race coverage, so “is Donald Trump a fascist?” actually became something you saw on cable news screens for a few days. Like many I’ve tried to ignore the Trump show as much as possible (not very possible!) but this shift demanded my interest. I’ve watched in horror in recent years as Vladimir Putin has turned Russia in a genuinely fascist direction, well beyond the established petro-kleptocracy and posturing. And as a long-time enthusiast of George Orwell’s works, I do not take the word “fascist” casually, and nor should anyone else. (I recently revisited my favorite Orwell book, Homage to Catalonia, after picking it as one of the books that most influenced me for a National Review collection. It’s still an essential book.)

In 140 characters on Twitter, my quick response when someone put the question to me was that if Trump isn’t a fascist, he’s doing a very good job of sounding like one. I also shared, as I often do, the concise definition of fascism from Robert Paxton’s excellent 2004 book on the subject, The Anatomy of Fascism, since many people take fascism to mean “Nazi” or simply, “evil.”

“Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

Since I have more space here, I’ll add a few relevant examples of what Paxton calls the “mobilizing passions” of fascism:

• The belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;
• Dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
• The need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
• The superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason.



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edbermac Nov 2020 OP
SheltieLover Nov 2020 #1
LineNew Reply Kasparov was on to Drumpf from Day One
Kid Berwyn Nov 2020 #2
dchill Nov 2020 #3
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