Dare I compare?
Because of all their similarities, I’ve tended to compare the American Radical Right to Nazis and other fascists. I knew I would get flak for that, and I suppose I’m begging for it again.
Recently I was informed that I was uninformed, of some Brownshirt/Nazi history, although the correct information was never offered. The Brownshirts were Hitler’s Nazi storm troopers during his ascent to power. They were his “security”, but more accurately they were his brawling street thugs. They were his early versions of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, itching for fights with commies or anyone they declared a commie. He purged them the year after he became chancellor, awarding the security duties and brutality to Himmler’s SS.
I was told, “Comparing anyone to Hitler is an insult to the Holocaust victims and the millions of other victims”. I can understand equating mask requirements and vaccinations to the Holocaust would be an insult, but Holocaust victims HAVE compared Trumpism and its white nationalist core to the early Nazi movement, and rightly so.
I’m pretty sure my comparisons of similarities don’t meet the same level of insult as Marjorie Taylor Greene saying, “We can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens — so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany,” and days later, tweeting, “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
Readers are free to make their own call on comparing our two perspectives.
I do stand guilty of comparing the rise of the current American radical Right with the rise of Nazis and other fascists of Europe in the past. Similarities draw those comparisons, but in my defense I did not equate them. Fascists come in all sizes and colors, creeds and races. Nazis do not. They come almost exclusively in white.
I don’t want to be a blog Nazi, but I insist on an understanding of the difference between “compare” and “equate”. (Just joking. I suppose the olden days when Jews could joke about a “Soup Nazi” were too wild for today’s PC sensibilities. If so, I apologize to Holocaust victims and survivors on our joint behalf.)
I’ll summarize my case.
Remember "Godwin's Law"?
Mike Godwin updated it. Now he says this:
"I came up with Godwin’s Law. In its original form, Godwin’s Law goes like this: “As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or Nazis approaches 1.”
First, let me get this Donald Trump issue out of the way: If you’re thoughtful about it and show some real awareness of history, go ahead and refer to Hitler or Nazis when you talk about Trump. Or any other politician."
I'm comparing the similarities of radical Right movements and their common roots of fascism. Authoritarians have always been the minority, but that doesn't stop them from taking power.
Yes, I'm comparing racist American authoritarians to Nazis because Nazis were/are racist authoritarians.
Nazis didn't start out with camps and Kristallnacht. They started in the same place as other racist authoritarians. They had to win a propaganda war first.
Today's radical Right are doing just that. The anger, resentment, scapegoating, accusations, and lies from FOX(R) and Limbaugh and all the rest of the radical Right's hateful messaging has been sinking in to millions of Americans.
They have indoctrinated a significant percentage of our population into believing Democrats are Socialists and the radical left "hates America".
Good God, MOST Trump voters believe HE WON! This degree of brainwashing and delusion is a lethal cancer on the republic.
As with Hitler, all opposition is demonized as "Marxist" and communism. Why in the world should I NOT compare such similar ideologies?
As I noted, Tucker Carlson denied the existence of white nationalism, but he attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar for “hating America,” saying, “We have every right to fight to preserve our nation and our heritage and our culture.” He fanned outrage at, “non-white people cheering the extinction of white people”.
Systemic denial of systemic racism is actually systemic racism. No wonder the radical Right sees the study of racism and its effects as a Marxist assault on our freedom, and is why they want to ban the 1619 Project and anything that looks like CRT.
And while we’re at it, let’s ban masks and vaccines. It’s just patriotic, unabashedly American, common sense.
Some think I went too far with, “I get a lot of flak for comparing America’s radical Right to Nazis. But racists are racists. Authoritarians are authoritarians. They spring from the same fetid mire of bigotry and hatred. They are enemies of democracy and equality. They share the bloody trait and heritage of a violent coup and Putsch... They desecrated the “Back the Blue” and US flags by beating police officers who thwarted their coup and protected our Congress and Constitutional rule of law. Are they really that different from Hitler’s Brownshirts?”
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Nazi anthem called “The Horst Wessel Song”. He was a brown shirt storm trooper killed in a 1930 brawl, possibly by communists. Nazi propagandists, led by Joseph Goebbels, elevated him to martyrdom.
Not to equate anyone, it seems Trump has his own martyr.
“Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America”
"I spoke to the wonderful mother and devoted husband of Ashli Babbitt, who was murdered at the hands of someone who should never have pulled the trigger of his gun. We know who he is. If that happened to the “other side,” there would be riots all over America and yet, there are far more people represented by Ashli, who truly loved America, than there are on the other side. The Radical Left haters cannot be allowed to get away with this. There must be justice!"
President Donald J. Trump
August 11, 2021
It’s quite clear who to hate and blame in all this, and they are not the “very special” terrorists he “loves”.
He promoted and basked in a renewed elevation of nationalism. Flagrant patriotism was the new norm. Flag displays, many of him, were more abundant than any time since 9-11. National security, as in a strong military, was paramount. Without his leadership the military was “out of ammo” and weak. After he became president the military suddenly became the “most powerful military in the world”.
He wanted to expand interrogation torture tactics “beyond waterboarding”. "I would absolutely authorize something beyond waterboarding and believe me, it will be effective," he said on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "You have our enemy cutting heads off of Christians and plenty of others, by the hundreds, by the thousands."
"Do we win by being more like them?" asked Stephanopoulos.
"Yes," replied Trump. "I'm sorry. You have to do it that way."
The pro-torture serial sex offender pretended to embrace traditional family values. Denial of women’s reproductive rights was a priority. His appointments to the Supreme Court had to be pro-business and anti-choice.
History has echoes:
“The National Government...regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life." - Adolf Hitler "My New Order" - Proclamation to the German Nation, Berlin, February 1, 1933
In 1941 Hitler said, “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."
On October 10, 1936 Heinrich Himmler created the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion, or Special Office (II S), a sub-department of Executive Department II of the Gestapo.
Incidentally, Hitler’s “My New Order” was the only book his wife Ivana saw him read.
But Trump brought religion back to government, surrounding himself with preachers in the Oval Office. Better yet, Black preachers. After gassing protesters for exercising their First Amendment right, he brandished an upside-down Bible in a calculated campaign photo-op.
He anointed an unhinged woman as his “spiritual advisor” who reveled in her “assignment from God”. Paula White was the typical “prosperity” preacher who sucked up cash from unwitting dupes before bankrupting the church.
She employed the old scam of “speaking in tongues” to secure Trump’s reelection, as Jesus surely would have wanted. "We declare that we overcome every strategy of hell that has been aligned against this election, that has been aligned against your will, that has been aligned against the church," she said.
White claimed that "demonic confederacies" were attempting to steal the election from Trump.
"I hear victory, victory, victory, victory in the quarters of heaven," "Angels are being dispatched from Africa right now," she said, adding, "They're coming here."
Can I get an “Amen”?
He told us who the bad guys were. We’re not talking about ISIS, the Taliban, Russia or China, but fellow Americans. The enemies are everywhere, and they would be his scapegoats and targeted for blame for any and all ills within our borders. He blamed immigrants for gangs and crimes, saying Mexico and other “shithole countries” were sending rapists and murders to the US. He wanted to have protestors and people crossing the border illegally to be shot.
Athletes taking a knee to protest police violence were “sons of bitches” who deserved to be fired, “Radical left Democrats”, antifa, "The radical left democrat communist party" were more of his hated enemies. “Like it or not, we are becoming a communist country. That’s what’s happening.” The message is, “The Left hates America”.
He ran on a promise to ban Muslims from entering the country. His supporters were delighted to share his hate for all those “Anti-American others”. When he ordered the assassination of an Iranian bad guy, he pushed us to the brink of another war. Luckily Iran was satisfied by retaliating with a missile attack on a US base in Iraq.
Also, whenever the press portrayed him in any negative or unflattering way, they became “fake news” and “enemy of the people”. He led the media in circles with daily outrages and rants against journalists. In one week in 2018 he singled out three African-American women journalists. The women - Abby Phillip, April Ryan and Yamiche Alcindor - earned his contempt apparently just for asking him questions. Trump, the Birther President, called one of Ms Phillip's questions "stupid," described Ms Ryan as "a loser" and scolded Ms Alcindor, saying her question was "racist."
In the radical Right’s twisted world, only Blacks, BLM, and liberals are racists. They will tell you they “don’t see color” and judge only on the “contents of one’s character”. They will tell you racism isn’t really a problem anymore, but white conservatives are the real victims of racism.
The far Right’s primary Big Lie was “liberal media” in their war on journalism. Journalism has always been seen as a threat to totalitarians and authoritarians.
The German Nazis used the term “Lügenpresse”, or lying press, in their campaign to replace journalism with their party propaganda. Now American fascists replaced “liberal media” with “fake news” and “enemy of the people” when journalists threaten their agenda with truth.
He cut taxes and regulations for corporations and the economic elites. He scorned organized labor and embraced opponents of unions and labor rights.
He proposed cutting activities funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Following the Goebbels playbook, he projected his dishonesty onto the press and opposition. “That’s what they’re doing. You know what it’s called? Disinformation. They make up a lot of crap and they say it over and over and over…”
This projection is to deflect away from Trump’s 30,000 plus lies in office, as well as the stolen election “big lie”.
From the Jewish Virtual Library:
“The original description of the big lie appeared in Mein Kampf. Adolf Hitler applied it to the behavior of Jews rather than as a tactic he advocated. Specifically, he accused Viennese Jews of trying to discredit the Germans’ activities during World War I. Hitler wrote of the Jews’ “unqualified capacity for falsehood” and “that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation…. From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited.”
The OSS psychological profile of Hitler described his use of the big lie:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.
Goebbels did describe the big lie in different language in an article he wrote in 1941, “Churchill’s Lie Factory,” but he was accusing the British of the ploy: “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
Hollywood Access personality Billy Bush, of the infamous “Grab ‘em by the pussy” interview, reported Trump’s telling response after being called out for inflating his ratings. "People will just believe you. You just tell them and they believe you,"
He claimed the mantle of “law and order”, but he had different standards for BLM protestors and his own insurrectionist mob. He praised his violent mob, saying they were special and he loved them. He and his party are dug in on protecting violent and crooked cops with “qualified immunity”. They resist any reforms to police powers and practices.
He placed unqualified family members and loyal cronies into the Cabinet and high lever advisory positions. His daughter Ivanka would be an advisor. Her husband Jared Kushner was to solve every problem from the Middle East to the opiod crisis, in addition to being Liaison to Mexico and China.
Trump assured us, "I know all the best people".
Roger Stone **
General Flynn **
Michael Cohen *
Tom Barrack ***
Rick Gates *
Allen Weisselberg *****
* Convicted & imprisoned
**** Raided by FBI
He undermined and interfered with elections with his big lie that he won the 2020 election, and by demanding Georgia “find” him enough votes to win. He twisted arms at the Justice Department and demanded acting attorney general Rosen to, “Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.” In self-serving subservience his party actively works to restrict voting rights, registration, and ballot access. Minorities are specially targeted for disenfranchisement of both the vote and fair representation.
There is no doubt that the American radical Right, like all fascists before them, are absolute enemies of democracy and equality.
But are they really fascists? If that’s not clear by now, here’s a handy guide for your search for any similarities and shared characteristics between our American Radical Right and fascism.
Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism.
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
by Lawrence Britt
The 14 characteristics are:
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.
2. 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.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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 .
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.