Many people have said that Donald Trump is a fascist or he reminds them of Hitler. This is no accident. In fact, Trump demonstrably is a fascist. As Trump is a fascist, quite naturally he reminds people of Hitler.
Italian writer Umberto Eco wrote the essay “Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt”
In his essay Eco defines features that are commonly found in historical forms of fascism. Eco explains,
“In spite of some fuzziness regarding the difference between various historical forms of fascism, I think it is possible to outline a list of features that are typical of what I would like to call Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism. These features cannot be organized into a system; many of them contradict each other, and are also typical of other kinds of despotism or fanaticism. But it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.”
A brief examination of Eco’s fourteen features of fascism is quite revealing about Trump. Trump clearly embraces most,if not all, of the fourteen features of fascism. Thus, by definition, Donald Trump is a fascist. He doesn’t just seem to be a fascist, he is in fact a fascist.
1. According to Eco, “the first feature of Ur-Fascism is the cult of tradition.” According to Eco, “Traditionalism embraces the notion of a truth … Or a revelation received at the dawn of human history.” Eco explains a fascist believes , ” there can be no advancement of learning. Truth already has been spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.”
Trump boldly presents himself as the ultimate American traditionalist. He asserts that he alone knows certain truths about America, just as he alone knows how to “Make America Great Again.” Trump longs for the good old days when “political correctness” did not impede beating protestors.
2. Per Eco, “Traditionalism implies the rejection of modernism.” Eco explains, “Both Fascists and Nazis worshipped technology, while traditionalist thinkers usually reject it as a negation of traditional spiritual values. However, even though Nazism was proud of its industrial achievements, its praise of modernism was only the surface of an ideology based upon blood and earth (Blut und Boden). The rejection of the modern world was disguised as a rebuttal of the capitalistic way of life. The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
Trump rejects modernism. He rejects science, denying the existence of global warming. Any science that might impede commerce is ridiculed.
3. According to Eco, “Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action’s sake.” Eco explains, for the fascist, “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering’s fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play (“When I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my gun”) to the frequent use of such expressions as “degenerate intellectuals,” “eggheads,” “effete snobs,” and “universities are nests of reds.” The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.”
Trump clearly encourages violent action on the part of his supporters. He offers to pay legal fees for any supporter who attacks a protestor.
Trump does not deal in complex issues. He motivates his followers by an emotional appeal to their fear and hatred of what’s different. Trump never encourages his followers to study or think. He encourages them to follow and to swear allegiance to him. They do not need to think, they need only follow him. Trump knows everything, so no one needs to think;they need only follow.
Trump routinely attacks intellectualism as well as the press. He openly attacks the press in his speeches. He encourages his followers to share his disdain for the press.Trump holds President Obama up as the ultimate weak liberal. Trump rails against Obama and the liberal’s betrayal of American values. Trump, denigrates our President as having betrayed America. Trump’s accusations are sweeping and simultaneously cover everything and nothing.
4. According to Eco, for the fascist, “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For Ur-Fascism, disagreement is treason.”
Trump has a zeal for attacking, humiliating, and destroying any who dare disagree with him. One by one he has attacked, humiliated and destroyed his political opponents. Commonly recognized boundaries of decent behavior are looked down upon by Trump. Trump ridicules civility as unacceptable weak political correctness. He attacks without conscience or regard for the truth. For Trump, disagreement with him is equivalent to treason and merits the harshest condemnation.
5. According to Eco, for the fascist, “disagreement is a sign of diversity. Ur-Fascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
Trump proudly points to being first to raise the issue of illegal aliens and the need to get rid of them. He promises to throw 11 million illegal aliens out of the country. He never explains the ugly logistics of his plan. He promises to build a Great Wall to exclude the intruders who he asserts are destroying our country. Thus, Trump’s first appeal was and continues to be his appeal against the “intruders.”
Notably, Trump has not confined his hate-mongering to one group. Like other fascists, Trump’s hatred and fear-mongering continually adds new groups to despise. First it was the Mexicans who crossed our borders to rape and murder. Then it was the billion Moslems that he asserts hate America.
He wants to exclude all Moslems from our country. He makes no distinction between radical jihadists who engage in terror and all other Moslems. In his world of hate, he promotes fear of all Moslems. He exploits the average Americans lack of knowledge of Islam and exacerbates that fear by constant references to ISIS beheading Christians.
6. According to Eco,” Fascism derives from individual or social frustration.” Eco explains, “That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
Trump’s message is simple. He will make America great again. Trump asserts that average Americans have been betrayed by the liberals. Trump alone will save the middle class. He raves about his fabulous wealth and extraordinary skills in business and negotiating deals. He rails against the inept federal government that allowed America to become an international patsy. Trump, the strongman, promises he alone will turn everything around. Trump promises to make new great international deals and in so doing he will make America, and Americans great and rich again. Trump claims his followers will directly benefit from his business skills and largess. His promises are vague, without detail and cynically rely on his supporters blind faith.
Trump points to the threat from lower social groups like the invading illegal aliens. He claims illegal aliens steal jobs, while he imports workers for his own companies. As punishment for the Mexican’s ill-defined crimes against America, Trump promises Mexico will pay for the wall.
His grandiose statements incite
fear, hatred, and the desire for revenge against those who he asserts have wronged us. Facts are unimportant to Trump. For Trump its sufficient that his supporters believe and follow him. Trump knows as other fascists have known that repeating a great lie enough times will make it believable. The truth is irrelevant to Trump.
7. According to Eco, “To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity, Ur-Fascism says that their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country.This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one. The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia. But the plot must also come from the inside. ”
Trump surrounds himself with flags. He is the ultimate American. He extols the virtues of being an American and tells his supporters that he loves them because they too are Americans. They are the good Americans because they see the world as he does. Americans who see the world differently are not good Americans. Americans who protest Trump’s fascism are, according to Trump, whats wrong with America.
According to Trump the enemies of America within America are liberals and anyone who disagrees with him. Those who oppose him are the problem. Trump encourages his supporters to physically attack protestors. Trump rallies feature Trump angrily shouting to throw the protestors out. Trump supporters spurred on by Trump-drag, kick and punch protestors with little or no consequence. Local police watch and do nothing as Trump supporters rough up the protestors. Trump proclaims he would personally like to punch a protestor.
8. Per Eco, “The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.” However, Eco explains “the followers of Ur-Fascism must also be convinced that they can overwhelm their enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
Trump brags about his extraordinary wealth. It is his credential. He brags that he is self-funding his campaign. He attacks his political opponents as mere puppets of the super pacs that give them money. In one breath, Trump condemns the establishment politicians and those who give them money. In the next breath, Trump is matter of fact about his years as a businessman paying off politicians. He is in the know about the evil politicians because he has laid down with them. Yet Trump, doesn’t explain these contradictions.
Trump asked His supporters to raise their right hand and pledge their support to him. His supporters are to follow and accept, never question. As a fascist, Trump’s word is the law and even if it makes no sense it must be believed and followed.
9. According to Eco, “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare.”
Trump went to prep school and never served a minute in the military. Yet Trump routinely loudly asserts he is the most militaristic person in the world. He speaks of wars on all fronts.
He is going to destroy ISIS and all our other enemies. We are going to win all battles and wars. We are going to win at everything.
Trump promises to build the strongest Military in the history of the world. Large armies are not built to sit, they are built to fight wars. For Trump, as a fascist, war is inevitable and desirable. For Trump the cost of war is irrelevant.
10. Eco says, ” Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak.Ur-Fascism can only advocate a popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best people in the world, the members or the party are the best among the citizens, every citizen can (or ought to) become a member of the party. But there cannot be patricians without plebeians. In fact, the Leader, knowing that his power was not delegated to him democratically but was conquered by force, also knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler.”
Trump lives in a golden palace of his own making. By own word he is smarter than everyone else about all subjects that matter. He touted his own book as the greatest book ever written until a political advisor cautioned Trump that he should at least pretend the Bible was a greater book.
Trump is the living embodiment of American aristocracy. In his mind, he is the best at everything. He is richer than everyone. His is the royal family and his followers are lucky to get front row seats to catch a glimpse of them.
In Trump’s world, Americans are the best people in the world, and Trump supporters are the best Americans. Trump runs for office with the forgone conclusion that he will win and the election is merely a formality. He does not present himself as his supporters equal. He is no egalitarian. He presents himself as the superior to all. Trump,the fascist, will leave his wealth and opulence to lead us and we must be grateful that he has graciously decided to be our leader.
11. According to Eco in fascism, “everybody is educated to become a hero. In every mythology the hero is an exceptional being, but in Ur-Fascist ideology heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death. It is not by chance that a motto of the Spanish Falangists was Viva la Muerte (“Long Live Death!”). In nonfascist societies, the lay public is told that death is unpleasant but must be faced with dignity; believers are told that it is the painful way to reach a supernatural happiness. By contrast, the Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.”
As noted, Trump encourages his supporters to rough up opponents. His supporters are seen dragging protestors out of the hall,only to return to a heroes welcome. Trump and his supporters chant, “USA, USA” as they violate the most fundamental tenets of our country.
Trump talks of his desire to punch a protestor, but that won’t happen. As a fascist leader he will manipulate his followers into becoming increasingly more violent. When war comes, Trump will not lead the charge. He will look at maps and send other’s children to die for nothing.
12. Eco explains, ” Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the Ur-Fascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters.This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality).”
Trump married a super model. He commented that his daughter had a nice figure and if she wasn’t his daughter he might date her.
When challenged, He responded and bragged about the size of his penis.
Trump brags on how good he is for women while he refuses to recognize their right to control their own body. He is the state. As he knows what’s best for everyone else, he must know what’s best for women. After an early interview he insulted the female reporter and he made fun of the one female candidate’s looks. Trump is machismo in his body language, language and attitude. He is the boss and we are lucky to have him to obey.
13. Eco states, “Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say.”Eco says, “Because of its qualitative populism, Ur-Fascism must be against “rotten” parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.”
Trump’s movement is populist in nature. His simplistic message is designed to draw out those most likely to be attracted by bumper sticker philosophies. For his supporters, it’s enough that he is going to “Make America Great Again.” His supporters and followers are not overly concerned about the details. Thus, Trump easily relies on simplistic formulations which he steadily repeats.
Unfortunately, the weak politically correct television media has done little to expose Trump. From the beginning of his campaign Trump has portrayed himself as the heroic outsider. He has relentlessly attacked all three branches of government. He has attacked the President and the Chief Justice. Trump has reserved some of his harshest language for members of Congress. He engages in belittling individual Senators and Congressmen. They are all “losers” who have betrayed his supporters. Only Trump can save his supporters and America from Congress.
14. Eco explains ” Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”
Trump speeches are a repitition of simplistic phrases in different order. There is no complex thought in his speeches. There is no complex thought provoked by his speeches. Trumpisms are generally outrages statements designed to get press attention. He uses words less to convey information than to evoke the emotions of fear and hatred.
Eco concludes that ,” 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 Blackshirts 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: “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.”
Until last year Donald Trump was a harmless billionaire reality TV star. He used his celebrity to launch his campaign. He has manipulated the press to accord him obscene amounts of air time. He has in fact insulted his way almost to the nomination. Throughout the entire process, Trump has made outrageous statements. None of us wanted to believe it. His words were explained away by pundits. Time after time, we were told he didn’t hear the question, or he was taken out of context, or his earpiece malfunctioned. All of that was hogwash.
Trump defined himself by his words and statements. Trump took on everyone, including the Pope. Trump apologized to no one. Trump’s words define who he is and what he is. He is a megalomaniacal immoral man. He is without a doubt a fascist in every sense.
America has been confronted by fascism in the past. In the 1930s the American Nazi party filled Madison Square Garden. The fascists were stopped then and they must be stopped now. The majority of Americans believe in our democratic principles. The majority of Americans reject fascism. Our “Greatest Generation” fought and won a World War in order to defeat fascism.
We must always remember that as Americans we are united by far more than that which may divide us. Democrats, Republicans and Independents must work together to fight and defeat the fascist Donald Trump.
Robb Fickman, Houston