Is America becoming a fascist state? | The Tylt
President Trump and his movement's rise to power has some people worried they are witnessing the rise of fascism in the 21st century. According to Umberto Eco's "Ur-Fascism," there are 14 points that define fascists—and Trump comes eerily close to ticking off all 14 boxes. Not everyone is convinced though, and supporters say calls of fascism and parallels to the Nazi Germany are just sour grapes from liberals no longer in power. What do you think? 🎃
Is America becoming a fascist state?
The hard part about talking about fascism is defining what fascism even is. Umberto Eco wrote "Ur-Fascism" to do just that.
Despite the fuzzy nature of fascism, it does have features that distinguish it from other political ideologies. Eco described them in his essay. Trumpism lines up with all 14 of Eco’s features of eternal fascism.
The first is a cult of tradition, a hearkening back to an earlier time when everything was better. Republicans have long leaned on this trope, often touting the administration of Pres. Dwight Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961 as particularly wonderful and ignoring the racism, class struggles and systemic sexism of the era.
Eco's ideas are eerily correct when you look at the political landscape today. Perhaps his most damning observation is this:
Trump is the American T.V. fascist Eco warned us about in 1995. He uses a childish and confusing speech pattern to entertain his followers and confuse his enemies. Like some Orwellian villain, he also deploys softball terms to blunt the edge of his wilder plans. A Muslim ban becomes “extreme vetting.” Internment camps are “safe zones.” Authoritarian domination of trade partners is “winning.”
Trump is literally a textbook fascist. Take a look at the article below—Trump checks the box for every single to qualify as a fascist.
He’s a fascist. Plain and simple. When I sat down to write this article, go through the checklist and find supporting documentation, I didn’t realize it would be so easy — nor did I think Trump would meet all 14 criteria.
Umberto Eco ended his essay with a warning to remain vigilant. Fascism will not come announcing itself.
We must keep alert, so that the sense of these words will not be forgotten again. Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier, for us, if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Black Shirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances—every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: “I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” Freedom and liberation are an unending task.
Cooler heads say Trump and his administration may show fascist tendencies, but they are a far cry from a true fascist dictatorship. The goal of a true fascist is to destroy democracy and replace it. Trump, instead, seems to be an opportunistic pseudo-politician who is fumbling his way through government. He may share some traits with fascists, but he is no fascist.
Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric, his demagoguery, and his populist appeals to citizens’ economic anxieties certainly borrow from the fascist playbook. Italy’s fascists capitalized on similar themes in a different era of global uncertainty; in their case, it was the unemployment, veterans’ resentments, unions’ strikes, and political violence that beset the country following World War I. But Trump is, fundamentally, a blustering political opportunist courting votes in a democratic system; he has not called for the violent overthrow of the system itself. And whereas it can be impossible to discern any logic or strategy in Trump’s campaign, the fascists who marched on Rome in 1922 were relentlessly, violently focused on a clear goal: to kill democracy and install a dictatorship.
What's seen today is not inherently fascist. It is a reaction to the status quo that people were clearly unhappy with.
Men and women left in the cold by globalization and rising inequality, scared of immigrants often lumped together with foreign terrorists in the media and the popular imagination: This is not the base for the new Western World Fascist Party, but it is a powder keg powerful enough to inflame societies on both sides of the Atlantic. It will not destroy Western democracies, but it may poison them. Witch-hunts, racism, repression, and state surveillance may plague a democracy without morphing it into a fascist dictatorship.
Others observe that the calls of fascism and Nazism reveal how divided America truly is. It's an indication of how different parts of America simply do not understand the other.
America is deeply divided, but it’s not divided between fascists and Democrats. It’s more accurate to say that America is divided between the elites and everybody else, and Trump’s election was a rejection of the elites.
Trump is attacking the establishment and that's what has people scared. His supporters don't see him as a fascist, but as someone who's finally willing to stand up for them in Washington D.C.
In many ways, the 2016 election wasn’t just a referendum on Obama’s eight years in the White House, it was a rejection of the entire political system that gave us Iraq, the financial crisis, a botched healthcare law and shocking income inequality during a slow economic recovery. From Akron to Alaska, millions of Americans had simply lost confidence in their leaders and the institutions that were supposed to serve them. In their desperation, they turned to a man who had no regard for the elites – and no use for them.
Mainstream liberal media wants to spread the BS line that people who voted for Trump and against unwanted emigration are racist & fascist.— Jozi (@jozi_gold) February 6, 2017