Whenever I see modern pundits pointing their finger at Donald Trump and loudly proclaiming him a fascist, I point out that these same people have three fingers pointing back at themselves. The new fascists are the same today as they were in the ’20s and ’30s, meaning they are creatures of the hard left, not the hard right in American political life. If you examine the intellectual underpinnings of Fascism, you find three main hard-left sources: Rousseau (French Revolution) Gramsci (Italian National Socialism) and Marx-Engels (fathers of modern Communism).
Let me explain my point as it applies to modern U.S. politics.
In America, the measure of right versus left can be fairly accurately plotted on an X/Y chart. The first axis (X axis) plots differences in the amount of government control one allows to be exerted on the individual in the name of enforcing the “will of the people.” The political right wishes for government to be small, very limited and essentially powerless to override the natural rights of the individual. The left believes in large government that has the power, the will and the means to supersede the desires and actions of the individual, always in the name of the “greater good.” To take the right wing political goals to their far extreme, the right believes in almost no government, few laws and almost no control of the people. This far right theory inevitably results in anarchy, not big government totalitarian police states.
If we take the left to its most extreme, we end up with near total government control, yet we recognize that the bigger the government, the smaller the individual. Think of all the examples we know of ... socialism, communism and, yes, fascism are all massive big government regimes with extremely strong enforcement arms, meant to exert maximum control over the individual. The government resulting from any far-left political theory is very powerful and very hard to hide from or resist in any way. The fight between the communists and fascists of 80 years ago was essentially a turf battle between the International Socialists and the National Socialists, akin to gang wars between rival drug cartels.
The second axis (Y axis) is the presence or absence of God in both public and private life. The right sees societal constructs as an extension of God-given laws, and seeks to keep government out of the churches that see God’s laws as superior to manmade laws. The left seeks to diminish and dismiss God as the fantasy of a weak-minded individual, and rejects the notion of God as really anything more than a fairy tale that should not ever be allowed to drive the far superior laws and policies designed by the enlightened thinkers of the left.
The most universally despised fascist of the 20th century, Adolph Hitler, led a party named the National Socialist German Workers Party. Which of those words describes anything on the right? Hitler was a big, all-powerful government addict who also despised religion, was virulently racist and destroyed anyone or anything that competed with his goals of world conquest.
Benito Mussolini was the other well-known fascist of the 20th century, and was the poster child of the international left for 15 years before he joined with Hitler. Another anti-church atheist and consummate socialist, Mussolini attracted the same adoring gaze from the American left then that Che Guevara and Fidel Castro would attract later in the ’60s. Cole Porter regaled Mussolini in his 1934 song “You’re the Top.” Will Rogers visited Italy in 1926 and interviewed Mussolini, and subsequently praised him in his article in the Saturday Evening Post. His quotes such as “I’m pretty high on that Bird” and “Dictator form of Government is the greatest form of Government, that is if you have the right Dictator” flowed through his effusive praise of the man.
Sigmund Freud sent Mussolini a copy of a book he co-authored with Albert Einstein that was inscribed, “To Benito Mussolini, from an old man that greets the ruler, the hero of culture.” Even Columbia University established a center for the study of Italian culture and its governing theory of fascism called Casa Italiana. The New York Times foreign correspondents wrote dozens of glowing articles on Mussolini. In 1933, Columbia Pictures released a film called “Mussolini Speaks” that was supervised by Mussolini himself.
So, if you superimpose 2018 onto this portrait you will see the press, the universities, Hollywood and the American left again in lockstep with adoration for big authoritarian government like we had with Barack Obama, the demise of God in our schools and society, the desire to eliminate nation-states in favor of international super-states (a la the European Union, North American Union, Trans Asian Partnerships).
The right wishes to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C., secure the U.S. borders to allow us to get to know new citizens before bestowing citizenship upon them and again reduce the size and scope of government to literally half of what it is today.
The reader must ask: Which vision will you choose?
Ken Johnson is a software industry entrepreneur. Contact him at theamericantune@yahoo.