Home | About | Donate

It’s Time to Use the 'F' Word to Describe Trump


#1

It’s Time to Use the 'F' Word to Describe Trump

Bill Blum

Is Donald Trump a fascist? With each passing news cycle, more people here and abroad are asking the question.

On a trip to Berlin in early June, my wife and I were pressed for answers in spontaneous encounters with cab drivers, waiters, hotel clerks and sundry others. Regardless of occupation, everyone closely followed U.S. politics, and most had come to the conclusion that the American president had long ago crossed a dark ideological line.


#2

Like a petulant child, Trump pushes the envelope to see what he can get away with (money included, of course). He genuinely “gets off” and feeds his narcissistic urges by his outrageous demeanor, or should it be put de meaner. Knowing that he has the power of the presidency, he will only continue to seek total control for control’s sake. No moral compass guides him and he provides cover for his self-serving minions to ply their antisocial policies at will. We must acknowledge at this point (and much, much earlier) that we are at war and under continual assault. Resistance is required for us to maintain our integrity.


#3

It takes more than one person to create a fascist state. Trump is the fascist figurehead; Wall Street is the fascist machine.


#4

The Fascists will Fall!


#5

It was “time to use the F word” when Cheney and his puppet Dubya took due process away from anybody they deemed an “enemy combatant”, a term that has no legal definition.

POTUS and Congressional action subsequent to 2001, much of it “bipartisan”, greased the skids for Trump to roll out unabashed fascism.


#6

It was time to use fascism to describe Trump since at least Charlottesville if not sooner than that. Little late to the party, aren’t you?


#7

Mussolini took the word fascism from fascia, and spoke of government, industry, and a national population pulling in one direction–in unity rather than in diversity.

Over the decades since Mussolini’s demise, it becomes clearer that the model of despotism that we need most fear is not that of Mussolini nor that of Mao or Stalin. This does not mean that a comparison of any recent American leader to these might not be useful, and of course Trump is not the least comparable.

But what we actually have is a shadow government involving various collusions of an intelligence community and international banking, arms, and energy-industry actors. It might be far more useful for Americans to study banana republics and CIA coups in Chile and Argentina and Honduras than to study 30s fascism.

Yet here we are, so let’s recheck the more familiar image. Blum treats fascism as a broader cultural entity rather than as a form of government. That has merit, but it requires more nuance.

  • A cult of traditionalism. Fascism was actually a modernist movement that incorporated cultural modernists. Fascist leaders did call on traditions of nationalism, much as did Churchill and Roosevelt.
  • A rejection of modernism (cultural, rather than technological). The fascists’ 20th century moves towards industrialization were modernist, not antiquarian. I am tempted to say, “Tell that to Ezra Pound,” but Blum may mean by modernism something like contemporaneity.
  • A cult of action for its own sake and a distrust of intellectualism. There is a distrust of dissent, including intellectual dissent. There was no special distrust of Werner von Braun, for instance, nor of Carl Schmitt.
  • A framing of disagreement or opposition as treasonous. Yes.
  • A fear of difference. … Fascism is racist by definition. Whose definition? The fascist governments were quite racist, of course. And Blum does stop short of suggesting that the inverse is true. But it was Churchill who regarded Parliament as delicate because they refused to use poison gas on subjects of the British crown, preferring high explosives. Blum’s insistence on racism as definitive pares away current organizations with despotic tendencies that are not overwhelmingly racist, though they include racist individuals. Since these prominently include the CIA and the DNC, this deserves attention. What term are we to use for those who are otherwise equally despotic and bigoted, but somewhat less concerned with race per se?
  • An appeal to a frustrated middle class—either due to economic or political pressures from both above and below. I find Blum’s construction peculiar, so I may not know just what he means. There was little middle class in either Italy or Germany in the 1930s, when Hitler came to power. Both despots rose appealing to workers and patriots offended by their losses in WWI and losses thereafter to the victor states and to an actual cabal of bankers, though the truth of that latter observation has been effaced by the ridiculous antisemitism in which so many of the discussions of the time were couched. Am I to take it from Blum that at least the fascists did this one thing right and well? I doubt it, but I am not certain why the middle class should not be appealed to. (And pressure on the middle class, we should be clear even where the middle class is not, comes from above).
  • An obsession with the plots and machinations of the movement’s identified enemies. Do we understand by this a paranoia or a government? Does this article itself qualify? Can I question this and not be seen as fearing difference or engaging in opposition treasonous to something or other?
  • A requirement that said enemies be simultaneously seen as omnipotent and weak, conniving and cowardly. Well, much like the paranoia above.
  • A rejection of pacifism. Life is permanent warfare. Yes, very characteristic, but also very much through the power centers of both parties and, presumably, their financiers and the related shadow government entities. Surely peace exists, and that’s worth holding on to, but is there anywhere a pacifist government?
  • Contempt for weakness. Check.
  • A cult of heroism. Remember Tennyson’s “Light Brigade,” or Shakespeare’s Henry V? What about Homer’s Iliad? This is a quality of militarist and nationalist culture, surely including the fascists, but not distinguishing them.
  • Hypermasculinity. It is unclear what, apart from the other qualities enumerated, might be intended. Was Arnold Schwarzenegger more fascist than Martin Heidegger? Is he more masculine? Would being more masculine make someone more hypermasculine?
  • A selective populism, relying on chauvinist definitions of “the people” that it claims to speak for. Yes, insofar as it is indeed populist. But again, this says little more than that the fascists are also a political faction.
  • A heavy usage of Newspeak—impoverished vocabulary, elementary syntax and a resistance to complex and critical reasoning_. Blum should read Carl Schmitt or Martin Heidegger to get past the cartoon version. Sophisticated fascists are not necessarily better fascists, but they do exist.

There’s nothing wrong with describing Trump as authoritarian or despotic or fascist or lots of other things. But these tendencies are so strong and so general within ruling classes and within the American government and deep state and shadow government that one finds oneself repeatedly wondering at the motivations for omission.


#8

Calling donnyjohn a fascist is not new. A list of characteristics of fascism have be published during and after 2016 election champaign. The link below is the most widely noted.


#9

Amen to Fascism is not the result of one person. I have read much on Holocaust, Stalin’s gulags before, during and after and The Slave Trade. What truly bothers me is how neighbors and even children turned their friends and parents over to the “authorities” How easy is it to fall for persist, ubiquitous brainwashing of propaganda.

https://www.ushmm.org/learn/introduction-to-the-holocaust/ethical-leaders/overview/ethical-leadership


#10

Keep in mind all fellow Americans: Trump will go under while we all keep advocating for the truth on all we believe in. KEEP THE FAITH…


#11

The ‘C’ Word, “conservative” works too.


#12

Exactly. And I disagree that we’re in a pre-fascist state…I like the Rense article, cited above, for The 14 Characteristics of Fascism. It’s a little easier for the under-informed to grasp and relate to. And according to those characteristics, we is there.

So operationalize “hold Dump accountable.” I.e., what’s that look like?


#13

Troy, go back to an older more accurate term: reactionary.


#14

For a more balanced perspective on American Fascism, I suggest you skip Rense and instead read Edwin Black’s, "Nazi Nexus: America’s Corporate Connection to Hitler’s Holocaust. The quick glance summary is that Hitler in particular, and the Nazi’s in general not only borrowed their ideas from the US intelligentsia and its Captains of Industry, they were aided every step of the way by willing American corporations and think tanks. on their way to creating the thousand year Reich.

Whether it was IBM, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, or the Rockefeller Foundation, (which sponsored Dr. Mengele and his gruesome medical experiments). Trump is nothing more or less than the expression of industrial age America.


#15

Agreed


#16

“Reactionary” as well as “regressive”, “fascist”, “warmonger”, “fear monger”, “superstitious”, “ignorant”, “liar”, “crook”, “oligarch”, “racist”, “misogynist”, “coward”, “hoarder”, “torturer”, “polluter”, “dictator”, “killer” and worse fit the modern “conservative” as well.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
John K. Galbraith


#17

Poet, thanks for the recommendation! I agree with you…the Pense article is just a quickie primer I suggested for the uninformed people short of attention span or time, to get their feet wet. I THINK it might have some jarring points that might bestir the inert… I dunno. My mind is boggled by the Fox News minions, and I can’t bring myself to listen to that crap even one day… am afraid of apoplexy…


#18

…and they passed …Citizens United…


#19

Touché! Great quote! (I wish I had the memory for substantiation and detail some of you have. Galbraith was not part of my majors or focus, and so help me, I’ve forgotten everything I ever read by him. Phooey, I can barely remember my own supposed area(s) of expertise.)