Monday, June 6, 2016

Trump: Fascist Moderate or Moderate Fascist, Part 2

A simple Google search of  the words "Trump" and "fascist" yields 6,900,000 results. I haven't heard an adjective applied to a person's name that frequently since Dan Aykroyd spent the entire film Dragnet protecting "the virgin Connie Swails."

To call Trump a fascist implies he has a coherent political philosophy. It's not clear that Trump has any philosophy other than a belief that he should selfishly satisfy his ego, bask in puffery, and frequently issue 140 character insults. These qualities indicate he is a truculent demagogue, but while nearly every fascist leader is a truculent demagogue not all truculent demagogues are fascists.

The most obvious illustration of Trump's lack of philosophical integrity is his complete refusal to follow Machiavelli's advice. In The Prince, Machiavelli urges leaders to avoid virtue when necessary but always to appear to have virtues:

Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.

Trump seemingly doesn't care if anyone views him as faithful or upright or merciful. In fact, he appears to relish being the most vile politician to seek the Presidency since George Wallace sought the office to continue legal racial segregation in the South.

Contending that Trump is not a fascist does not mean one should doubt he would be a dangerous President. His truculence indicates he will brook no challenge to his efforts to enact whatever ill-considered whim strikes his fancy. Further, no one should doubt that a President Trump would use the power of his office to curtail civil liberties. Chris Christie, his first major endorser, has not, to the best of my knowledge, encountered a civil liberty he did not want to quash. Trump's entire campaign seems predicated on similar views. Although that fact makes him a threat, his distaste for civil liberties means a Trump administration would differ from the Obama and George W. Bush administrations in degree not in kind.

Quite frankly, calling Trump a fascist lends his campaign gravitas it doesn't merit. Trump is a fascist in the same way goose-stepping professional wrestler Baron von Raschke was a Nazi Now that I think about it, Trump has other things in common with von Raschke.  Both are brilliant entertainers. Both are bombastic. When questioned both conclude "Dat is all da people need to know." Both combine weird facial expressions with bizarre gesticulations.

Baron von Raschke illustrating his Claw finishing move

Donald Trump illustrating that he's Donald Trump

Von Raschke and Trump share one other similarity: both are equally qualified to be President. That fact alone, not assertions that he holds a dangerous political philosophy, should dissuade everyone from voting for Trump.

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