“Fascism in power is a compound, a powerful amalgam of different but marriageable conservative, national-socialist and radical Right ingredients, bonded together by common enemies and common passions for a regenerated, energized, and purified nation at whatever cost to free institutions and the rule of law…Fascism in action looks much more like a network of relationships than a fixed essence.”
-- Robert O Paxton — What Is Fascism?
I’m currently reading “A Warning” by Anonymous, and I’m amazed at the level of lack of self-awareness.
“I want to cut through the noise. I agreed to serve in the administration with the hope that President Trump would be successful and remembered for the right reasons, even if many of us had serious misgivings about signing on”
What were the goals they were so hopefully Trump would help with?
Preventing refugees from seeking asylum.
If there are really hundreds of miles of new wall on the way, as he nervously promises voters, experts say it still won’t solve the problem. Even with a giant concrete wall (or steel fence, or concrete-steel wall-fence) across the entire border, migrants can still come to our border and file for protected status. That is what Republicans begged Trump to address, but instead of using his political capital to fix the broken laws, he fixated on one of his favorite past-times — a construction project. The result is that the system will remain broken well past his presidency.
There’s an entire chapter of the book on the importance of character, citing Greek authors, after an introduction where they explained that they only supported Trump because they believed believed in his goals. There is no examination of the content of their own character, as they put politics over national interest and our Constitution.
The character of “Anonymous” can be summed up by quoting Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic; “Justice is the advantage of the stronger.” The bulk of Plato’s Republic is spent refuting that perspective.
“He has told officials that if they take illegal actions on his behalf, he will pardon them.”
When a President violates the Constitution, it is a violation of the oath of office to help him. It is a violation of the oath of office to *let it happen*. A corrupt President is a domestic enemy of the Constitution.
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Anonymous is not alone.
ICE is violating the human rights at people at the border. Separating families is a human rights violation. Putting people in overcrowded cages without proper vaccinations is just asking for wide-scale deaths when disease expands faster than medical staff can cope.
Their justification? We’re just following orders.
“I have said many times that I certainly understand the plight of these people and I feel bad for some of these people, but I have a job to do. I have to enforce the law and uphold the oath I took to enact the laws enacted by you in Congress.”
ICE chief tells Congress: Don’t call law enforcement ‘anti-immigrant’ for following laws ‘you all…
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief Thomas Homan slammed a Democratic lawmaker during a House hearing… www.washingtonexaminer.com
So, is it Fascism?
Well, let’s look at some of the elements of this compound.
Mussolini and Hitler both had strong support from an angry base that felt betrayed by established power. The people were looking for someone they could rally behind, who would be willing to achieve former greatness by whatever means necessary.
Their bases both found narcissists with stories that appealed to their biases, and would do anything to be considered “the greatest”.
The bottom end of our country has been devastated by industry for decades. Neo-liberal policies to increase trade increased tax revenue. This was great for investors, but workers found themselves losing work to cheaper foreign labor. Separately business has been investing in automation in an attempt to maximize profit, with little consideration to the lives of Americans.
I blame industry since they are the ones making the choices and getting the majority of the money. Government has certainly been enabling them, and turning a blind eye.
Some instead blame Government, because they believe that only an unconstrained market can be fair. They do not understand that government and corporate powers are manifestations of the choices of individuals. A self-centered society makes self-centered choices, and they will appear in all power structures that exist.
These are some of Trump’s angry base, looking for an authoritarian to destroy government power so that they can be more successful in their self-centered lives.
Others are evangelicals who believe the country is morally bankrupt, and that only a theocracy can save us.
“Today, I fear that the power and pervasiveness of our high-tech popular culture not only fuels the collapse of morality but also drowns out the scattered voices raised against secularization.”
These are the types of people who would willingly start a holy war to protect their religion as the result of an existing nationalistic fight where we are the foreign oppressive invading force.
Prior to the fight against ISIS, there was an illegal invasion and destruction of Iraq based upon bad intel, which drove their recruitment and cleared the way for their ascent.
Others, like Gary Cohn, are willing to put aside moral objections in order to achieve policy goals.
Trump turned to trying to make Cohn feel guilty. “You are driving our policy and if you leave now, taxes are over. You can’t do this.” Cohn had spent months working a tax cut plan and was in the middle of negotiations on the Hill, a massive, complex undertaking. “How could you leave me hanging like that?”
“Sir, I don’t ever want to leave you hanging. I don’t want anyone to ever think I betrayed them. I have a reputation I care more about than anything in the world. I’m working for free here in the White House. It’s not about money. It’s about helping the country. If you think I’m betraying you, I will never do that.” And relenting, he added, “I will stay and get taxes done. But I can’t stay here and say nothing.”
Vice President Pence walked in and stood next to Cohn and touched him affectionately. They needed to keep Cohn, Pence said, but he understood the position Cohn was in. Yes, Cohn should say something publicly.
Bob Woodward — Fear
Gary Sondland was a billionaire capitalist who paid $1M for a ticket to an inauguration, and ended up with an Ambassadorship. A man willing to solicit a bribe upon the request of the President, and brazenly admitted to it in front of Congress.
That’s the action of a man who doesn’t understand his own culpability.
Then there’s the Heath Ledger’s Joker type who just want to watch the world burn.
People like Steve Bannon, who was highly involved in the Trump Campaign, Trump Administration, and was a VP at Cambridge Analytica, a company that used psychological profiling to attempt to game an election in Trump’s favor.
Followers of the Breitbart Doctrine, which states that “ The way that you’re going to change politics is by changing the popular culture.”
Bannon is a goal focused propagandist, who had the ear of a President who is so emotionally fragile that he is trivial to manipulate.
“Donald Trump is an empty vessel, he is a black hole. He spent his whole life trying to fill that hole. That is the essence of Donald Trump.” An interview with Tony Schwartz, Ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” and CEO of “The Energy Project”.
That is the essence of Plato’s Demagogue.
The missing element for our already polarized, corporatized, authoritarian, imperialistic government. The rallying force for hyperfocused “leaders” willing to support a broken man to achieve their view of what is right.