Seeds of fascism sprout anew in Trump’s America (?)
H.D.S. Greenway below focuses mainly on style and it is true that Trump has a forceful style. But style is not substance and what Greenway omits is that Mussolini was a Marxist and Trump is a capitalist. Those are REAL differences and they matter. And the ideology matters too. Mussolini was a centralizer intent on expanding government control whereas Trump has scrapped regulations by the bagful. The unending shrieks from the Left should tell you about that. So the idea that Musso is a forerunner for Trump is a strange comparison indeed. H.D.S. Greenway should look to policies, not appearances
Leftists make many attempts to redefine what Italian Fascism was -- some examples below -- so let us look at Mussolini's own summary of the Fascist philosophy: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato" (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State). Clear enough? How does that compare with "Drain the swamp"?
WATCHING DONALD TRUMP on TV whipping up his base of supporters at a rally in Harrisburg, Pa., I had a sudden feeling I had seen this all before. I remembered a speech I had seen on YouTube. It was a speech Mussolini had given in Milan in 1932. I watched it again, and it was all there. The chin thrust, the pouts, the hand gestures, the adoring base cheering every word. He spoke of the might of his army “second to none,” the “injustices committed against us,” and how he had “stormed the old political class.” There was even a complaint about the press that had drawn “arbitrary conclusions” to what he was saying. Mussolini’s Blackshirts, his squads of roughnecks, were used to assaulting reporters they didn’t like.
Today the Italians are an easygoing and generous people. But when Fascism took hold in the early 1920s, Italy became belligerent and bullying. Its concentration camps for the native population in Libya and its use of poison gas became genocidal. And it was quick to join the Nazis in dreams of conquest. Mussolini was telling Italians they had to begin winning again.
In his 2004 book, “The Anatomy of Fascism,” Robert O. Paxton wrote that fascism did not die with the end of World War II, that its seeds were planted “within all democratic countries, not excluding the United States.” According to Paxton, fascism was a “form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood. . . . “Fascism was an affair of the gut more than of the brain.”
Or as R.J.B. Bosworth wrote in his 2005 book “Mussolini’s Italy,” “Border fascism,” an obsession with borders and keeping the population pure, was always a “key strain in the fascist melody,” as was “allowing the nation to stand tall again.” All you needed was a charismatic leader, Mussolini, whom Paxton compared to the modern “media-era celebrity.”
Thirteen years ago Paxton wrote that all that is required for a rebirth of fascism is “polarization, deadlock, mass mobilization against internal and external enemies, and complicity by existing elites. . . . It is of course conceivable that a fascist party could be elected to power in free, competitive elections.”