Dinesh D’Souza, in his seminal book Death of a Nation, wrote, “Progressive Democrats are in fact the inventors of racism and white supremacy, and the Republican Party fought them all the way. Progressives and Democrats were also the groups that were in bed with fascism and Nazism in the 1920s and 1930s, while Republicans opposed this cozy alliance.” D’Souza notes that all the villains of the civil rights movement—Birmingham sheriff Bull Connor, Selma (AL) sheriff Jim Clark, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, Georgia governor Lester Maddox, Mississippi governor Ross Barnett, Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace—were Democrats. Every one of them.
D’Souza adds, “So we have the remarkable spectacle today of the party of racism, fascism and white supremacy blaming the party of anti-racism and resistance to fascism and white supremacy for being racist, fascist and white supremacist.” It is quite sad to me that middle class Americans, people of color, and those of alternative lifestyle, are buying into the fiction of GOP racism and white supremacy; additionally, they are convinced the Democrats have their best interests at heart; that a “blue wave” in America means a kinder, loving, supportive, understanding, equal-rights, open-minded government.
I must admit that President Trump’s claim “I’m a nationalist” has done more to poison America’s opinion of him than is warranted. I’m convinced that Trump means exactly what nationalism is: “…a political, social, and economic system characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining sovereignty over the homeland.” Trump proposes true, effective border security and enforcement of immigration laws for the sole purpose of maintaining the sovereignty and security of America.
WHAT IS LIBERAL FASCISM?
Ask the average, reasonably-educated person what comes to mind when he or she hears the word “fascism” and the immediate responses are “dictatorship,” “genocide,” “anti-Semitism,” “racism,” and (unfortunately) “right-wing.” The Urban Dictionary—at urbandictionary.com—defines liberal fascism as …a term to describe the alt-Left political movement… a group of liberals who believe that any free speech that opposes their views should not be allowed… who oppose and try to quiet any person or group who does not follow or believe their set of values and beliefs. Liberal fascists also believe that every American should follow and adhere to the liberal Democratic views and policies regardless of their political background or system.
There is no word in the English language that gets thrown around more freely by people who don’t know what it means than “fascism.” Roger Griffin, in his book The Nature of Fascism, defines fascism as “a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism.” Roger Eatwell, author of Fascism: A History, says that fascism’s essence is “a form of thought that preaches the need for social rebirth in order to forge a holistic-national radical Third Way.” It is a mass movement that combines different classes but is prevalently of the middle class, which sees itself as having a mission of national regeneration. Interestingly, fascism is both “anti-liberalism” and “anti-conservatism.”
Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, believes that fascism is primarily a secular religion. Goldberg writes, “…many modern liberals and leftists act as if they know exactly what fascism is. What’s more, they see it everywhere—except when they look in the mirror.” George Orwell, in his infamous 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language,” said the word fascism has no meaning except insofar as it signifies something not desirable. The New York Times is noted for promoting modern intellectuals who raise the possibility that the GOP is a fascist party, and that Christian conservatives are the new Nazis.
Goldberg asks, “…why aren’t we hearing similar denunciations of groups ranging from the National Council of La Raza—that is, ‘The Race’—to the radical Hispanic group MEchA, whose motto—‘Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada’—means ‘Everything for the race, nothing outside the race?’ Why is it that when a white man spouts such sentiments it’s ‘objectively’ fascist, but when a person of color says the same thing it’s merely an expression of fashionable multiculturalism?” Progressives and liberals today offer no answer at all to such questions. They would much rather maintain George Orwell’s definition of fascism as anything not desirable, thus excluding their own fascist hate mongering.
I believe the major pitfall in all this is that fascism, properly understood, is not a phenomenon of the right at all. Instead, as Goldberg states, it is and always has been a phenomenon of the left. Let’s remember that fascism and communism are not polar opposites—schools of thought from across the gulf between left and right—but are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to dominate and control the same sociopolitical space. Goldberg writes, “American Progressivism—the moralistic social crusade from which modern liberals proudly claim descent—is in some respects the major source of the fascist ideas applied in Europe by Mussolini and Hitler. Unfortunately, even those well-read Americans who understand this comparison simply smile and say, “Yeah, but it can’t happen here. Not in America. Not in the 21st century.”
Angry left-wingers shout that all those to their right, particularly corporate fat cats and the politicians who love them, are fascists. America is experiencing “nice fascism.” In many respects, fascism not only is here in America, but has been here for nearly a century. What we call liberalism—the refurbished edifice of American Progressivism—is in fact a descendant and manifestation of fascism. The main objectives of the Progressive Era—widespread social activism and political reform that swept across America from the 1890s to the 1920s—were eliminating problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and corruption in government.
A NEW PROGRESSIVE ERA
Today there is a growing constellation of voices and organizations trying to build a new progressive reform movement. It’s no accident that liberals now call themselves progressives and that the main Democratic Party-oriented think tank in Washington is named the Center for American Progress. Obviously there are differences between the Progressive Era of the early nineteenth century and today’s progressive movement. But take a look at the following list of factors:
- a conservative president who is deeply unpopular
- a country facing profound economic and security challenges
- new technologies upending traditional media
- a cohort of new immigrants
- a bulging generation of young people ready to transform the political landscape
Is this a description of 2018 America? Surprisingly, no. This is a list of factors present in America in 1932 at the tail-end of the Hoover administration. We know how that turned out for our beloved country. FDR and his fellow progressives built social programs and international institutions that ushered in an era of unrivaled dependency on the “nanny state” for prosperity and stability. They used a fresh, new medium—commercial broadcast radio—to reach citizens, and built a new “majority coalition” from the emerging demographics of that time period. As in FDR’s day, the new medium of the Internet has all but replaced commercial broadcast radio. In 2017 alone, smartphone shipments in North America amounted to more than 200 million units. Sales of these devices exceeded $50 billion. Imagine the opportunity this presents for progressives to saturate the marketplace with propaganda touting the supposed benefits of a social rebirth in America.
IS PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP A FASCIST?
The United States’ supposed lurch toward authoritarianism—or maybe full-on fascism—has become an obsession among progressives and even a few centrists and conservatives. The word fascism has recently reemerged as a key piece of political terminology in our country. The headlines immediately after Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2017 read like a disturbing question and answer session. I remember the textbook definition from my Political Science class at Penn State, and it does not ring true with what progressives want us to believe about America today:
Fascism is a political ideology that seeks to organize the government and economy under one centralized authority, with strict social controls and suppression of all opposition. It advocates a single-party rule, and rejects the autonomy of any ethnic group that it does not consider to be part of the nation. Typically, this ideology supports policies of nationalism and racism and solidifies power through terror and censorship.
Frankly, I don’t see any indication that Donald Trump seeks to create a centralized “big government” in America; that is the design of liberals. Nor do I see any tendency for him to push for a single-party system, or the rejection of individual rights based on race or socioeconomic class. Trump is not a racist, and has no designs to solidify power through terror; nor does he want to repeal the First Amendment. Whenever President Trump has to address issues relative to illegals pouring into America unfettered, he looks at the safety and security, indeed, the economy, of the United States. There is no “smoking gun” of Trump claiming (publicly or privately) that Hispanics are sub-human; that legal immigration to our great country (especially from war-torn, despotic, dehumanizing, poverty-stricken nations) is evil and must be stopped at all costs, in any form (legal or undocumented), with no exceptions. I just don’t see it.
I am grateful, however, that he insists on immigrants coming into our country through established, legal channels, and that he stands firm against undocumented aliens entering America. How many of us truly understand the tremendous threat of allowing anyone to simply walk across the border without knowing who they are, where they’re coming from, why they’re emigrating, and where they go once they’re here. Recently, intelligence sources have determined that Islamic extremists bent on attacking America from within have allied with Mexican drug cartels. They’re being aided and abetted by drug lords (indeed, narco terrorists). Allowing illegal aliens into this country unconstrained represents a clear and present danger to the sovereignty and security of the United States.
President Trump’s concern over massive illegal immigration is at the root of his claim to be a nationalist. He intends to put America first.
Bizarre claims that President Barack Obama was a Kenyan Muslim spy weren’t meant to be taken at face value; rather, they were designed to undermine trust in anything Obama said. “Donald Trump is a fascist” sounds more like a campaign slogan spouted by the opposition than a statement of fact. Bill Maher recently stated on his show, “If liberals believe President Trump is a fascist or an authoritarian leader capable of using force to suppress the opposition they should rethink their beliefs about guns.” This is a solid example of rhetoric spouted by pundits that tends to incite concern and panic. What evidence does anyone have that President Trump has designs on elevating his presidency to a dictatorship?
Key Trump administration officials have been confronted at restaurants. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged protestors to hound Trump officials at restaurants, gas stations or department stores. Progressive pundits and the liberal media almost daily think up new ways of characterizing President Trump as a Nazi, fascist, tyrant or buffoon. Celebrities openly fantasize about doing harm to Trump. Just as Barack Obama was not a centrist, neither is Trump. Obama promised to fundamentally transform the United States. Trump pledged to do the same and more—but in the exact opposite direction. Democratic Party leaders are obviously not in agreement with the direction—right of center—Trump’s policies are taking. I believe the current Progressive meltdown is about more than just political differences; it is mostly about power—or rather, the utter and unexpected loss of it.
Donald Trump is not a fascist. Fascism has been an all-purpose insult for many years, but it has a real definition, and according to scholars of historical fascism, Trump doesn’t qualify. Rather, he’s a right-wing populist. He doesn’t want to overthrow the existing democratic system; nor does he want to scrap the Constitution. He doesn’t romanticize violence itself as a vital cleansing agent of society. But if this populist upheaval isn’t fascism or anything close to it, what is it?
The Trump phenomenon is a distinctly American upheaval: admittedly ugly in its overtones at times (which tends to rub people the wrong way), and occasionally disruptive of valuable traditions and institutions, but basically a necessary remedy to the centralizing dynamic of consensus liberalism. “It is certainly true,” said neoconservative intellectual Irving Kristol, “that any kind of populism can be a danger to our democratic orders. But it is also true that populism can be a corrective to the defects of democratic orders—defects often arising from the intellectual influence, and the skillful entrepreneurial politics, of our democratic elites.”
Today’s Democrat elites—the liberals and progressives who run our institutions—have become too complacent in their dominance and too conformist in their opinions. The populist movement that’s turning our politics upside down won’t win them over, but it will weaken their influence and rattle their piety. When the dust settles and the United States is still the free and vibrant place it was before—when the nation hasn’t metamorphosed into some fascist dystopia—they just might engage in a little honest, candid, self-criticism. In the meantime, I suggest taking any accusation that Trump is a fascist with caution.